I became interested in sailing fairly late in life and thought it would be a good activity to enjoy once I retired. In the summer of 2015 with only a basic knowledge of sailing I made a day trip from the USVI to see a boat model I liked that was in the TMM Charter fleet in Road Town, Tortola. The boat was a 44’ FP Helia. Continued from here...
Don was the salesman I talked to about our visit and he offered to pick us up at the ferry dock and take us to the charter base. Once at the base Don took us straight to the boat and gave us a complete tour of the boat answering all kinds of questions. After a thorough tour of the boat, Don gave us a tour of the charter base including introducing us to several current owners in the fleet and other employees of TMM. We had several hours to spare after our visit before the ferry was scheduled to take us back to the USVI so Don offered to give us a tour of Tortola. It was an unexpected surprise to our initial visit.
Between 2015 and 2017 we traveled to boat shows and the BVI several times including chartering different Helia’s with TMM and other charter fleets. Don always kept in contact with us and not just as a salesman, but as a friend and advisor for everything including charter itineraries, restaurants and thousands of boat questions. I finally decided I had enough research by the fall of 2017 and planned on going to the Annapolis Boat Show and surprising Don (and by this time everyone at TMM) with a placing an order for a FP Saona.
Ordering a boat like this is an easy process until you get to the details and that’s when I had to rely on the advice and knowledge of the TMM staff on what specifications worked in a charter fleet and which ones didn’t. The boat arrived in the BVI in February 2020 and our checkout sail was in early March and we were very impressed with the boat and how TMM handled the whole process. From the initial order, a few option changes, delivery of the boat and commissioning in the BVI, the entire staff at TMM did a great job! Don even helped us christen our Saona “Idalia”.
After our checkout sail, we left the BVI with great memories and the boat schedule full of charters. Within 4 days the country completely shut down due to COVID so all of the charters went away and the boat sat mostly unused for about a year. TMM’s response to this unexpected event was amazing. They continued to take care of the boat and operate the systems on her so that nothing sat too long and broke because of the lack of use. Barney was also able to negotiate lower insurance rates and other savings for the owners who had little to no revenue coming in but still has the costs associated with owning a boat. I really can’t say enough good things about how everyone at TMM handled a difficult time.
From meeting owners at that initial visit in 2015 to meeting other owners at boat shows, on the docks at TMM or at a beach bar or anchorage in the BVI, they all say the same thing; “We couldn’t have picked a better fleet to be in” and I completely agree.