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“Small enough to care” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sail Away Custom Sailboat Charters

Sail Away Custom Sailboat Charters
4050 Sunny Hill Lane, Lummi Island, WA 98262
(360) 305-0835
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1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Small enough to care”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2011

What makes a great crewed sailing charter? In my opinion, the elements are a great boat, beautiful scenery, good winds and weather, good food, and a skilled and amiable captain. When you schedule your charter you can't know what winds and weather will be, but with Sail Away Charters in the San Juan Islands, you can count on the boat, the scenery, the food, and the captain being memorable--in a good way.

Sail Away has one boat: Happy Talk, a beautiful 50 foot long, 50+ year old mahogany Kettenberg sloop. While a modern fiberglass boat is perfect for Miami or Los Angeles, a classic wooden boat looks and feels just right for the Pacific Northwest. Yes, a modern 50 footer would have more interior room and more amenities (showers etc), but again, this boat just fits here. And you'll stop at places where you can shower ashore. The boat is well maintained and in very good condition, and has all required safety equipment and modern electronics for navigation and communication. And it sails beautifully, with a very gentle motion. And it's always fun when people on other boats look admiringly at your boat as they sail by...

Re: scenery, the San Juans are simply spectacular. I won't elaborate--look it up.

We had spectacular weather and good winds during our August charter, and that appears to be the norm for summer in the San Juans. Because of that, summer--especially late summer--is the high season for San Juan Islands sailing charters, so plan your charter several months ahead.

I'll discuss food and the captain together, because Captain Charlie DeWeese is both skipper and chef. We were used to sailing our own boat and to bareboat charters, where we did the sailing and the cooking ourselves, so it was a real luxury (especially for my wife) to let someone worry about those things and simply enjoy the trip. Charlie enjoys cooking and is good at it, using fresh local ingredients whenever possible. Charlie prepared meals that were delicious, plentiful, and prepared and presented with care. And he did this while handling a 50 ft boat essentially singlehanded, with skill and calm confidence. As a sailor myself I can vouch that Charlie, who holds a Coast Guard captain's licence, really knows what he's doing.

Aside from his skills as skipper and chef, it was a pleasure to spend time with Charlie. He has an interesting life story of his own, but he makes the trip about you, not him. He finds out what you want to get out of the trip, and builds the itinerary accordingly, with flexibility to change on the fly. He enjoys people and is able to get along very well with all types of people. He'll spend time with you if you wish, and he'll make himself scarce if and when you want privacy. He is an excellent host.

We have chartered elsewhere with the world's largest charter company, and now with Sail Away, which must be one of the world's smallest. We found Sail Away to be big enough to offer a truly wonderful charter in the San Juans, but small enough to provide personal attention the likes of which we had never before experienced. We recommend Sail Away without reservation.

Bill and Barbara Young
Greensboro, NC

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3 reviews from our community

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English first
Arlington, VA
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The best vacation our family has ever taken!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2010

We wanted to take our kids somewhere relaxing, Pacific Northwest breathtaking and different. My husband would love to sail and spend more time on the water but in the DC area, and with three active kids, it isn't logical. We found Captain Charlie by some fluke of internet searching and truly had a remarkable 3 day sailing adventure with our 6, 10 and 13 year old kids. From the personalized itinerary Charlie did for us, with equal amounts of sailing time, island hopping, kayak touring and a dinner out to the eventual docking in Victoria, BC, it was just fabulous. The sleeping arrangements were ideal and we felt like we were in our own B&B. Charlie is a wonderful chef and my kids still try and get me to recreate his famous french toast. Being disconnected from TV and phones was in and of itself grand but to play cards and other board games with the kids was a great treat. Charlie was essentially part of our family by the end - mainly because he was so endearing but did make himself equally as scarce before we indicated our interest in including him. We've gone on family trips to Europe, Costa Rica, Africa and all over the US and we all agree this was our best get away ever.

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Raliegh, NC
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Dreamy day, wanted it to last forever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2009

Everything was fabulous, from our gracious host to the incredible wilderness he introduced us to. Charlie picked us up on a beautiful beach on Lummi Island and sailed us across the sunny blue waters of the Puget Sound to a remote island teeming with interesting wildlife such as huge starfish, Bald Eagles, lush forests with ferns taller than me. The sailboat is well kept and absolutely gorgeous. Next time, we would like to go for a much longer trip.
I highly recommend Sail Away.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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