Owner Interview: Sunsail 41 Tortola Moon

Sunsail Owners

We recently interviewed Sunsail owners Jim and Marley Lummis, who own both a private Leopard 38 and a Sunsail 41 monohull. See what Jim and Marley have to say about the pros and cons of ownership, and hear their thoughts on the Sunsail Ownership programme. The Lummis family has sailed all over the world. Take a look at what they have to say about their Sunsail ownership experience.

Q: How would you compare and contrast ownership between your private yacht and your charter yacht?

A: We are fortunate to own a Sunsail 41 monohull, Tortola Moon, chartering out of Tortola, and another boat, a 2003 Leopard 38. The Leopard, Cool Runnin', was originally part of the Moorings fleet in Belize; now we live and sail on her for about half the year. Contrasting the two, Tortola Moon is very well maintained by the staff and is trouble-free from our point of view. Fly in, sail away, and drop the boat off at the marina when we are done. It's great to have no worries about the boat when we are gone, knowing that the excellent staff will look out for her. Cool Runnin', like all boats, takes constant effort and expense to maintain. When we are away from the boat for extended periods, we watch the weather closely and worry a bit. We enjoy the challenges of keeping a sailboat in good shape, but it can be a full-time job. I have joked on more than one occasion that the boat was neither Cool nor Runnin'.

Q: Tell us about the Sunsail boat that you own and the destination where you own it. Why did you choose that yacht and that destination?

A: The Sunsail 41, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey, was already in charter for half a year when we purchased her, and because of that the price was somewhat discounted. We like the BVI base because they seem to have the most resources; mechanics, readily available parts, and a large happy friendly staff. The sailing area is world class, plus, when away from the marina, the boats are generally on moorings. That eliminates most incidents involving dragging anchors in crowded anchorages.

Q: Do you sail your Sunsail boat annually? If so, what time of year do you like to sail?

A: We sail our boat every year, generally after hurricane season. As owners, we think it is important to check on the boat and keep up on any little maintenance issues that come up.

Q: Have you developed any tips, tricks, or habits for your sailing holidays, such as provisioning strategies or rules, etc?

A: We always do our own shopping for provisions, but that's probably because we have lots of time, and can do it in a relaxed manner. It’s a chance to meet the locals!

Q: What’s the most memorable thing you’ve ever seen on the water?

A: We have seen too many remarkable things to even list! Once in the Sea of Cortez we saw a pod of dolphins that seemed to stretch to the horizon. In a tropical storm in the Bahamas, lightning hit 20' behind the boat and nearly knocked our fillings out. How about the eerie green glow of the Thai fishing fleet at night, with blaring Thai and Malay voices yelling over the radio. We also saw a huge squid die-off in Mexico, where hundreds of miles of the coastline turned into a warm, stinky Bouillabaisse.

Q: What makes a Sunsail holiday special to you?

A: The Sunsail holiday is special to us because it is just that - a holiday. For us, it's a care-free period of relaxation from the 24/7 responsibility of boat maintenance.

Q: Have you taken advantage of sailing on a sister ship in a different destination? If so, where all have you been and is there a destination that sticks out to you? If so, why?

A: Aside from our one annual visit to our boat, all of our time is on reciprocal charters. Some favorites: the Seychelles, expensive to get to but strikingly beautiful; and Tonga, which was so undeveloped it probably looks like it did 50 years ago. We also loved Thailand because of the monkeys!

Q: Have you gotten to know the base manager, staff, or locals your base or others that have made an impact on your life?

A: We do our best to learn everyone's names and chat with them. After 5 years in Belize we feel that the managers, Kevin and Renee, are good friends of ours. We have visited them at their property in Southern Belize, a nature reserve called The Farm Inn. Yes, that is a plug!

Q: What do you plan to do with your boat at the end of the programme?

A: I think we'll do a few upgrades to Tortola Moon, like a watermaker and some solar panels, and then sail the E.C. from one end to the other. We've never done that. Then back to Florida to put the boat on the market, and think about another Sunsail or Moorings boat.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: I think many people will agree with us when we say that sailing can take us to places that we never would see otherwise. The sailing part is (often) fun, but for us it's really more about the unusual locations, learning about other cultures and meeting new people.