I was in the British Virgin Islands in May of this year to cover the sailing regatta, where I was invited to attend a small press conference on Necker Belle, Sir Richard Branson’s 105’ catamaran. I introduced myself and chatted to Sir Richard and toured his boat.
the press conference in full swing
The photographers were all trying to get different angles
As I sipped champagne and nibbled on scrumptious appetizers, I introduced myself to three of the five crew. Even though he was making drinks for all the journalists at the press conference, Adam is actually the full time Engineer on Necker Belle. The boat has satellite tv, satellite internet and two sewage treatment plants on board, one in each hull. Marketed as ‘Piranha powder’, the sewage is fully treated first, then pumped out into the water. After studying mining in Perth, Australia, he worked for Caterpillar which is perfect training for dealing with the two 480 HP Caterpillar engines on Necker Belle.
I went into the kitchen to see who was responsible for the delicious nibbles, and had a chat with Jared, from Perth Australia. He had only worked for Sir Richard for 3 months at that point, but had worked for him previously in France and worked on boats for many years. He mentioned that Sir Richard’s favourite foods are chicken wings and lobster.
Bailey, originally from San Diego is the steward and deck hand, and had also been working for Sir Richard for about 3 months when I met her. She previously worked as a scuba instructor, teaching people on yachts how to scuba dive.
I went below deck to have a look at the staterooms and instrument panel, and look who showed up to chat to me! I asked Sir Richard if he ever tried water skiing to put those huge engines to use. He laughed and said he would have to give it a go.
the instrument panel was very complicated looking .
guest suites on board
the man himself on board during the sailing competition (this photo courtesy of Laurie Fullerton)
Melody’s trip was sponsored by the British Virgin Islands Board of Tourism. For more information: http://www.bvitourism.com