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22Isea&iIAUTUMN 2011

AUTUMN 2011I sea&iI23[on boardTop TimesThe captain of the 34.47m (113') Top Times recalls fond memories of life at sea and offers cruising tips for Caribbean charters]FOSTER ON... HIS BACKGROUNDI began my career at sea running dive charters around the Caribbean's GrandCayman and Turks and Caicos islands in the late 1990s. But I soon neededmore of a challenge, so I hung up my wetsuit, upgraded my licence and landedmy first job on the 45m (148') Feadship Lady Sheridan. During fourincredibleyears we travelled from Maine to Tobago, and crossed theAtlantic six times from Costa Rica to Croatia. This first experience of life atsea had me hooked and I went on to work on the 43m (142') Positive Carry, the56m (184') Allegro and the 47.5m (156') Sea Racer, before joining Top Times.FOSTER ON...TRAVELAmong my favourite cruising grounds are the Amalfi Coast, Croatia, theChesapeake Bay area, St Vincent and the Grenadines and New England. TheBahamas always captivates me because it presents something new,undiscovered and enchanting with each trip. My favourite charter expeditionsthere include a slow tender ride through the mangroves of Shroud Cay,snorkelling in the Sea Aquarium off O'Brien's Cay, and watching the falling tiderecede on the flats at Sampson Cay. On the rare occasions I get to relax ashorewith my wife and children, my favourite hangouts are my back garden andthe beach.ÊThe one region I would most like to cruise around is the SouthPacific, particularly New Zealand and Australia.FOSTER ON... BEING A CAPTAINI have had a few challenging charters over the course of my career, both as ayounger crew member and as a captain. Some charters were definitely morememorable than others, but I cannot recall any clients walking off the boatunhappy or reporting that they had less than an amazing time. It's all abouthaving fun and relaxing with a little spontaneity and adventure thrown in tomake sure everyone is on their toes. The most challenging part of my job is also what keeps me interestedin it -and fit. When we're not chartering we run the boat with just threecrew, so the mate and I divide our time between engineering tasks, being ondeck and managing the bridge. It amazes me how all the work gets done. FOSTER ON... TOP TIMESTop Times is a pleasure to work aboard. She is a classic, American-built yachtthat impresses guests the moment they set foot inside her warm,inviting interior. We run an exciting programme that keeps things fun andinteresting for the guests and crew. Our coolest toy at the moment is the 4m(14') Com-Pac picnic sailboat. It is always popular and is a great waytogenuinely escape the whole world and relax. nSPECIFICATIONSLENGTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34.47m (113')BEAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7.93m (26'2)DRAFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2.02m (6'7)BUILDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BurgerYEAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2003GUESTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10CREW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5CRUISING AREA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bahamas (winter)PRICES FROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .US$70,000 per weekMichael Foster captainÕsview