On the Docks with Vacances Sous Voiles

A soupcon of French flair keeps this small fleet busy in the Caribbean.

Michel Guerra

Michel Guerra of Vacances Sous Voiles takes a break from preparing Charme, a Lagoon 500, for a season of crewed yacht charters.Elaine Lembo

It’s always fun to meet someone new in the charter business. Michel Guerra of Vacances Sous Voiles is approaching the venture with gusto, I discovered, when I caught up with him on the docks at Nanny Cay Marina, in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Seven years ago, Michel and his wife, Michele Riva, of Montreal, Canada, saw a career switch on the horizon, he explained, taking a break from working on the mainsail of Charme, a Lagoon 500 in his fleet.

“We’d been sailing and chartering for 30 years and owned a boat,” Michel said. “When we decided to change our career we decided, ‘what’s better than just exploring your passion’? ”

Starting with one boat, they spread the word about Vacances Sous Voiles at boat shows throughout North America; each year, they added another, and today, they offer a mixed fleet of seven crewed and bareboat multi and monohulls.

How’s business?

“It’s pretty good for us,” Michel said. “We’re in a niche, we differentiate ourselves from the big guys in all sorts of ways. We offer a French flair to our menus, with wine. And we pay attention to service. Being small, it’s easy for us to be very responsive. We give our guests cell phones to ask us any questions.”

Happy sailing and bon chance! For more details contact the company (www.vsvbvi.com).