So here we are in Tortola, under a waxing moon with the other guests, about to climb into the dinghy that will deliver us in shifts to Eye of the Wind. Once aboard, we stow our gear in our small cabins and meet in the galley for introductions. There are 11 passengers — 10 adults and an 11-year-old boy — and 10 crewmembers, hailing from Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Spain. We will spend the next 10 days together. Eating and sleeping. Working and reading. Conversing and staring silently out at the endless sea and night sky. We raise glasses of champagne in a toast (after we clean up the remains of several shattered flutes tossed to the deck by a sudden swell). Then our chef, Marina, and her brother, Sergio, serve us dinner. We sleep in a rolling anchorage. The wind in the rigging resonates in the steel hull like a bass violin.
Sunday morning, Capt. Cornel gathers us on deck. We're anchored off Jost Van Dyke, after having refueled and topped off the water tanks. We'll all have a last day and night to swim, snorkel, drop by a beach pub, eat without concern for the placement of our plates, shower without bracing ourselves against the bulkheads, and sleep without rolling into one another. But first, the orientation.