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The Company of Joy and how it came to be 8:56am, Sat 03 Jun 2023

“Company of Joy” or simply “Joy” is starting her life in the Whitsunday Islands as the pride and joy of a group of family members who have for many years loved holidaying together in the Whitsundays. Captain Morgan told us about the Company of Joy. This is his story.....

Love affair with the Whitsundays

I first heard about bareboat charters in the Whitsundays as I was strolling around the Sydney Boat Show and came upon the Cumberland Charter Yachts' stand where we met Charlie. We had gone to the boat show looking for a small trailer boat and had of course been drawn to the “dare to dream” yachts on display in Circular Quay.

Charlie’s bareboat pitch came with perfect timing. We fell instantly in love with the notion of taking a sailing boat out around the Whitsundays as we hadn’t realised it was possible and seemed like a well-kept secret at the time. Distracted from buying a trailer boat we booked a bareboat charter with Charlie on a Seawind 1000 for the September school holidays.

Our first charter with three kids aged 4, 7 and 9 took us to Nara Inlet, Bali Hai, Butterfly Bay, Luncheon and Mantaray Bay, giving us lots of space to learn how to handle the boat. We visited Whitehaven Beach, a number of other beautiful beaches and secluded coves before concluding our holiday on Daydream Island.

We didn’t think at the time it could get much better than being aboard a Seawind 1000, it was an amazing boat to us and still remains amongst the fondest of our memories.
This was the first of very many bareboat holidays over the next 15 years, where we came to know the Whitsundays well, but always ready to be surprised with yet another new destination or experience.

Family and Friends

Over the years we enticed many of our family and friends to come and join us, each time increasing the size of our vessel. We tried monohulls and power cats but found sailing catamarans were perfect for us. Our crew grew so big we would take 2 boats to accommodate us all.

We loved the perfect holiday of sailing, snorkelling, fishing, swimming and playing card games so much our holidays became longer and longer, and it became harder and harder to leave.

We hired a 50 foot catamaran on the last couple of holidays and loved the huge space it provided. Everyone had enough space to enjoy the tranquility, but wished we could accommodate more people aboard.

Our family began to ask if we could spend more time and book for every year because it is just too good an experience to miss out on, but we by now had the issue of not all fitting on two large catamarans and the cost for three boats was taking the price of a holiday higher and higher. There were already rumblings from the now adult offspring about having a cabin rather than a made-up bed in the lounge. We needed a large catamaran that could comfortably sleep 12 people (in cabins).

Dare to Dream

The only vessel we could find when searching for a genuine 12 berth catamaran was a , a stunningly high-end boat and perhaps hence none in the fleets of the charterers, so we were again looking at chartering the three vessels to accommodate us all.

There was a late night phone call from a friend of mine in Thailand who happened upon a 50’ catamaran for sale in Phuket. It was off market and ready to go to a new owner straight away. I explained patiently that there was no way I could afford to buy a 50’ catamaran, particularly one 4,000 miles away in Thailand but he persisted to tell me the story of “Joy”. It wasn’t until I had told him several times I couldn’t buy it that he told me it was a Saba 50, a rare example with SIX cabins.

I had truth be known finished a lovely bottle of shiraz before I took the call, and this is what perhaps made me agree to fly to Thailand to inspect Joy. It was a hard sell to my better half, going to look at a boat we couldn’t afford in Thailand but she let me go. As soon as I saw Joy it was love at first sight and I had to find a way to buy her. With arm twisting family and friends answered the call and we bought Joy. All we had to do was get her home from Thailand.

A Joyful Journey

We carried out a full refit in Thailand, bringing her to the thing of beauty she is now and we then (family and friends) set off on our journey home. Our most experienced crew member; around the world skipper, showed us the ropes from Phuket to Langkawi and stepped of saying “you’ll be fine”. None of us remaining had much more than coast cruising experience but we had a skipper with a commercial ticket so on we went.

We explored the Thai islands in the Andaman Sea, travelled the Strait of Malacca, crossed the South China Sea to Borneo, chilled with the orangutans, stumbled upon remote Indonesian islands, in the Java, Bali and Flores Seas. We dodged the huge tankers and cargo ships, evaded the pirates and had more than our fair share of near mishaps with unlit fishing boats.

Every day brought adventure and fun, from being under full sail and cruising at 12knots, to catching a marlin, bantering and bartering with the locals, exploring the jungle, snorkelling the reefs, watching the dugongs, dolphins and flying fish or chilling at anchor.

We brought her home through the Timor and Arafura and Coral Seas, stopping in at Thursday Island and a number of layovers before reaching Joy’s new home in Airlie Beach with Cumberland Charter Yachts at Coral Sea Marina where she will bring joy to all those who sail upon her.  

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