It started in 1969 with six boats in the British Virgin Islands. Today – post Irma – The Moorings has a fleet of over 400 vessels, 300 of which can be found in the Caribbean destination where the premier yacht charter company was founded.
“BVI is far and away our most popular destination,” said Ian Pedersen, marketing manager for The Moorings, in Toronto yesterday (Sept. 18) from Clearwater, Florida. “It’s like god just built those islands to go sailing.”
From its newest additions like Sicily, the Exumas and Antigua, to the Seychelles, Greece, and Thailand, The Moorings now operates in over 20 destinations worldwide.
“Anywhere you want to go sailing, we are somewhere nearby,” he said.
Another example is Tahiti, where he feels the company has a unique offer.
“This is still an overwater bungalow, you can just take it with you to about eight different islands,” he said.
Although The Moorings was established as a bareboat sail-it-yourself company, it has expanded to offer powered, skippered and crewed vacation options. Describing it as “the creme de la creme” of its product offering, he says the all-inclusive packages come complete with a captain and chef.
“If you have a skipper they’ll do the work for you and you can focus on doing your job, which is drinking and swimming and enjoying your vacation,” he said.
Added by popular demand, there’s even an option for travellers to book just one stateroom on a yacht, and share the space with like-minded travellers. It’s been so successful in the BVI, he says they’re looking to expand the offer in other destinations.
As for the trade, The Moorings offers a sliding commission scale depending on the frequency of bookings upwards of 5% to 15%.
Pedersen says the company is increasing its focus on the Canadian market and has hired Greg Marlo as its Canada BDM.
“This is the type of product the average traveller isn’t going to know about or they think they can’t afford it,” he said.
Although the cost of a trip can be around $30,000, split between up to five couples, he says it’s comparable to a high-end all-inclusive getaway, but with every day on board being an excursion where travellers can do as much or as little as they like.
“If you like a place you can drop anchor and spend an extra night,” he said.
Next year The Moorings will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Stay tuned for new branding to mark the occasion.