Similar to traditional timeshares, the AvYacht concept entitles owners to the joys of yacht ownership minus the hassles, offering increments of 10% ownership from three to six weeks per year. Jopaju’s destinations change seasonally, with winter 2019-20 trips including the Exumas/Bahamas and South Florida. 34-meter yacht trial cruises from $52,500 per week, 40-meter yachts trial cruises from $120,000 per week, avyachts.com
I’m a water junkie. Oceans, rivers, lakes, I love them all. So when an invitation came to spend a couple days aboard Jopaju, a 112-foot luxury yacht, I started packing right away.
The itinerary was perfection. Prior to the cruise, we enjoyed dinner at Newport, R.I.’s legendary White Horse Tavern, followed by a night at The Atwater, a lovely boutique hotel nearby. Then, an early boarding for a cruise to Martha’s Vineyard for a full-packed agenda including island exploring, a clamming excursion and watersports.
The latter changed suddenly when, Aperol spritz in hand on Jopaju’s sun-kissed deck, word came that Mother Nature had put the kibosh on our plans. Seas were running unusually high. We weren’t going anywhere.
Now, while this news might have dashed the hopes of passengers on any ordinary yacht, this one was anything but. Managed by Fort Lauderdale-based AvYachts, Jopaju is one of the Westport shared ownership yacht opportunities offered from AvYachts growing fleet. Led by Cpt. Alex Cosmakos, the resourceful crew embraced the circumstances and floated a new itinerary. We were in for a spontaneous, if landlocked, adventure.
Some of us, my husband and I included, took advantage of the opportunity to dive off Jopaju’s swim platform into clear blue waters and tour around Narragansett Bay on a speedy Sea Vee tender. Others hopped on Jet-Skis, hit the hot tub or simply lounged in the sunshine, drinks in hand. A few hours later, we were whisked off for a private tour of The Breakers, one of Newport’s opulent summer “cottages,” built by the Vanderbuilt’s at the turn of the century. After that, we enjoyed a sunset drink on a grassy hillside overlooking the Bay at historic Castle Hill Inn.
Over our 48 hours aboard Jopaju, we luxuriated in the five-star frills of our VIP stateroom and were spoiled with meals, including a lobster feast by chef Joseph Albert (who coincidentally had cheffed at The Little Nell). A highlight came on our final afternoon. As seas mellowed, we set off on a luncheon voyage that satisfied our cruising appetites too.