About Us - Belize Sailing Vacations About Us - Belize Sailing Vacations

About Us – The Vacation Experience

Why charter with Belize Sailing Vacations?

We are a family-owned, full-service yacht charter business dedicated to providing the best all-inclusive sailing vacations in Belize.  With over 250 five star trip advisor reviews, it’s clear why our guests come back time and time again!

We are proud to have some of the best crew in the industry. Our captains and first mates have years of sailing experience and intimate knowledge of Belizean waters. Combined with extensive knowledge of Belizean history and culture, they are always ready to share their experiences with guests. Our operational team are all based in Belize, bringing years of Belize tourism experience to enhance guest experiences and to tailor make itineraries to best suit guests’ tastes and preferences.

History of Belize Sailing Vacations – Early Beginnings

In 2001, Cliff (Big Cliff) and Sherry Wilson left their professional careers and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area to live on their Lagoon 47, ‘Aubisque,’ in Belize. Racing enthusiasts with over 30 years of experience cruising everything from 505’s to 70 ft Maxi’s, some of Big Cliff’s sailing experiences include several Transpac Yacht Races from California to Hawaii, and Sherry is best known in the yachting community as making history as the first female skipper with an all-women crew in the San Francisco Big Boat Series.

After hosting multiple friends on board their new home on the water — sailing, snorkelling, gourmet dining and entertaining — one of their guests declared “you can make money from doing this!” So Aubisque Sailing Charters was promptly born.

Famed for their elaborate hospitality, excellent cuisine (as featured in the Travel Show and as members of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs), and passion for the waters and sailing, they established a 5-star reputation in the Caribbean charter industry and created the legacy for what followed.

From Aubisque Sailing Charters to Belize Sailing Vacations

Cliff, Jr., or ‘Cliffito,’ worked in Belize both with his parents and as a skipper and delivery captain for Moorings before moving back to the United States to work in the ski industry for several years. He returned to Belize full-time in 2009 and expanded the business, working with multiple catamaran owners to create a yacht management and charter program to bring new boats into the fleet, as well as establishing the business as an ASA (American Sailing Association) school.

His wife Rachael joined the team in 2011 and oversees guest services, charter operations, and marketing, along with running her travel concierge business ‘Absolute Belize’.

The metier of the business was founded on elaborate hospitality, charter professionalism, and unforgettable Belize sailing experiences, which has continued to this day. With seven catamarans in the fleet, a team of 20 amazing individuals and a 5-star reputation, Belize Sailing Vacations is proud to be the leading all-inclusive luxury charter operation in the Western Caribbean.

Cliff Wilson

Owner & ASA Instructor

Born and raised sailing in the San Francisco yacht community, Cliff has been racing since 1980 with sailing experience ranging from the Pacific to the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, BVI’s, Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Dulce of Guatemala. Cliff’s mantra is “ski boots or barefoot!”, so throughout his career Cliff has headed up mountain operations for Mount Rose Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, worked as an environmental consultant and has captained charter sailboats throughout Belize over the course of the last 20 years.

When he’s not at the helm, in an engine room or teaching ASA instructional classes, Cliff loves to scuba dive, spear fish and entertain guests. Some guests have returned 6 times to Belize Sailing Vacations with Cliff being 1st on the top of their request list!

Rachael Wilson

Owner

Rachael moved to Belize in early 2009 after a 10 year corporate marketing career in London and a six month solo travel tour of South America. Before her travels, Rachael worked as a marketing and innovation manager for a luxury food company, so brings her passion for gourmet cooking and spirit for adventure to Belize Sailing Vacations. Rachael loves playing host to our guests, sharing her experiences and ensuring everyone has the ultimate Belizean adventure. Rachael also owns our sister business Absolute Belize, providing travel planning services and countrywide knowledge and expertise for guests opting to spend time on land as well as the water.

Rueben Trejo

Head Captain & ASA Instructor

Another San Pedrano, Ruben, has been an integral part of one of Belize’s top destinations, having worked as a Master Scuba Diver, avid (and competitive!) fisherman, and tour guide for over 20 years. As a successful entrepreneur, he specializes in private diving excursions, snorkeling, and fishing, including reef, spear, and deep-sea.

Having been with us for over 8 years, Ruben brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the BSV Family, especially as the company’s passionate Head Captain. In addition to his duties, you will find him leading his guests on epic diving and snorkeling adventures along the coast. And when he is not on a charter, he remains actively involved in all aspects of Belize’s tourism industry, serving in the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and as a Tour Guide Director for the Tour Guide Association in San Pedro.

Christian “Capt. Chris” Ferrell

Captain

Christian “Capt. Chris” Ferrell was born and raised in the beautiful fishing village of Placencia, where the open waters and sandy beaches have always been his playground. Chris has been sailing Belize’s waters as a captain for 17 years and has been a licensed tour guide for 18. His experience also covers neighboring international waters, and he’s well-known and well-regarded for his intricate knowledge of the atolls along with the inner reef.

Having been recognized in Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine in 2007 for his early career performance and having worked for many years at the top sailing charter companies in Belize, you are assured of the ultimate sailing experiences for your charter.

An outgoing and personable host, Chris is passionate about delivering epic days of fishing, snorkeling, and spearfishing. And he loves to free dive to provide fresh catches for dinner, which is why he has a long list of annual repeat guests that come to Belize to sail with him year after year.

Daniel “Deadshot Danny” Estell

Captain

Daniel hails from one of Belize’s top locations for scuba diving, snorkeling, and sports fishing.

Also known as “Deadshot Danny,” Danny is a licensed tour guide who has been with us for over six seasons, bringing a wealth of [underwater] adventure, hospitality, and ultimately, fun to your private charter.

The northern waters of Ambergris Caye, which were once his playground and later became his “office,” cultivated him into the legendary spearfisherman he is today, free diving up to 60 ft. to deliver your catch of the day!

With Danny at the helm of your catamaran, you can [over]indulge in the freshest seafood to your heart’s and palate’s content. Talk about sea-to-table done right!

DAVE UNDERILL

Captain

The ocean is Captain Dave’s playground and life, having been fortunate to begin sailing Hobie cats as a child and moving on to own monohull yachts and then Lagoon catamarans, which were his homes and livelihoods in the charter world. Dave is an outgoing people person, having worked in the very ‘face to face’ profession of Optometry before moving on to captaining charters in amazing destinations including the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Turks and Caicos, Mexico, Guatemala and now Belize.

In addition to sailing the azul Belize waters, Dave has some interesting and fun accolades under his belt, including being the co-author of “The Captain’s Guide to Hurricane Holes of the Caribbean and Bahamas”, completing the Hawaiian Ironman and being named top beach guard lifeguard in Florida. With Captain Dave, you can always be assured of safety, experience, adventure and fun!

David Keith

Captain

For the first time at BSV, we have a charter guest turned BSV Captain! David was a guest in 2010, where he instantly fell in love with Belize and BSV’s concept of providing over the top all-inclusive sailing vacations.

Since then, he and his wife Carla booked several more charters to explore the country before settling on the beach in Caye Caulker, where they acquired Pura Vida Inn, which is now home. You can often spot them sailing around on their recently restored 1973 23-foot Sea Sprite.

David has been passionate about sailing since being introduced to it on a boat he and his dad built in their garage when he was a very young man. He has sailed in California, the Caribbean, the Carolinas, and the Gulf of Mexico for most of his adult life.

David formerly served as a navigator on C-130s in the U.S. Air Force for eight years (before GPS) and owned a marine engineering/environmental consulting company for the last 20 years. David is an “anything water-related” sports nut and loves sharing those experiences with others.

Eric Ortega

Captain

Born and bred on La Isla Bonita, Eric is the epitome of a “San Pedrano” (referring to the residents of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye) and one of the few privileged enough to have grown up in one of the most authentic island fishing villages in the world!

He also spent some time on Belize’s mainland, primarily Crooked Tree Village, home of the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary – a protected area of natural wetlands dubbed one of the best birding sites in the country.

After his studies, Eric joined his uncle in the tourism industry, learning to captain tour boats before pursuing his Divemaster and SSI Dive Instructor certifications.

An inherent sea lover, sailing is Eric’s passion; he enjoys combining his ability to sail his guests along the largest living barrier reef to remote islands and unrivaled snorkeling spots with his tour guiding experience.

You are in for the trip of a lifetime with Eric at the helm!

Hubert “Shorty” Logan

Captain

Shorty grew up spending most of his time in and under the water as a resident of Ambergris Caye, where the world’s largest living barrier reef sits just a quarter of a mile from its shores.

Aside from being a catamaran captain for many years, he has been a divemaster for 20, a dive instructor for the last 4, and is an avid spearfisherman. You are assured of having the ultimate guide for your underwater pursuits throughout your charter. His love of Belize, her ocean, and islands is infectious as he enjoys sharing unforgettable travel experiences with his guests.

When he is not working charters, Shorty loves taking his family on travels around “The Jewel” and one day dreams of owning his sailboat to sail around the world.

Lavonne Brown

Captain & ASA Instructor

Affectionately known as “V,” Lavonne grew up in the Carolinas, enjoying and exploring rivers and the Appalachian Mountains. Later she fell in love with all things ocean – sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling – adventuring, and traveling after moving to Key West, Florida, over 18 years ago, where she lived aboard her monohull sailboat, Restless Ketch, for 6 years.

While cruising the Caribbean, she explored Belize’s azure waters and spectacular marine “rainforests” and slowly made it her seasonal home. She enjoys sharing her love of the sea, her passion for life, and the invaluable experiences she has gained over the years – everything from child counseling to teaching scuba diving as a PADI-certified instructor to working in restaurants and working with animals. She has done it all!

Lavonne has her RYA/MCA Yachtmaster License, USCG Captain’s License, and ASA Instructor Certificate. For those of you interested in learning how to sail, she can’t wait to help you complete your ASA Sailing Certification Courses!

V looks forward to meeting you, showing you the freedom and relaxation that only “being at sea” provides, and treating you to all the wonderful experiences Belize offers.

Manuel Requena

Captain

Hailing from Belize’s southernmost town of Punta Gorda – a sleepy coastal townlet in one of the most underrated regions of the country – Manuel has been in the tourism industry for over 20 years, working as a tour guide, divemaster, and avid fisherman on the northern shores of Ambergris Caye.

Affectionately known as Manny, he has been a catamaran sailing captain for over 10 years. Aside from his charter duties, you can look forward to his lobster-spearing expeditions, killer conch ceviche (the ultimate Belizean appetizer and stuff legends are made of!), epic snorkeling, and so much more!

Kainie Manuel

Chef & 1st Mate (& Admiral)

Kainie (your very own Belize sailor girl and party planner extraordinaire) has been a chef and first mate at BSV since 2014. Aside from providing guests with exquisite meals, her thoughtful touches go above and beyond – she knows how to throw a party!

Growing up the eldest in a family of 5, Kainie learned to cook early on. Recipes were handed down from Grandma and shared between the aunts at home. This sparked her love of the kitchen, which her Grandma called “el Corazon de la casa” (the heart of the house).

The Caribbean Sea provides Kainie with a sense of nostalgia, belonging, and home. An innate island girl, the sea meant hours of fun at the beach with her family – she has loved it and its underwater world ever since! She even learned to dive – at the age of 12, no less – a sport she finds relaxing to this day.

Kainie is truly passionate about sharing her country with everyone willing to have a wonderful time in Belize.

Andrea Reyes

Chef & 1st Mate

Born and raised in the Cayo District, the adventure capital of Belize, Andrea grew up surrounded by all the elements and experiences you go on vacation for – from Maya Ruins to lush rainforests, bustling markets to chic eco-retreats, and, of course, the rich culinary fare that this diverse region offers, all of which Andrea enjoys showcasing on her charters.

After completing her studies, Andrea’s spirit for adventure took her around the world to Jaipur, India, where she spent 5 years living with a local family. While learning myriad new practices and experiences (including learning to speak the Hindi language!), she also learned how to prepare exotic and delicious cuisine, so her fascination with international culture and fabulous global food was firmly born.

Brianna Samuels

Chef & 1st Mate

Brianna has been part of Belize Sailing Vacation’s family for many years, since her father Sherman has been our chief detailer and maintenance wizard for over 10 years! Brianna joined the team 3 years ago working in detailing, food and beverage management and charter preparation and is now in her second season working as Chef / 1st Mate, so knows how to run a tight ship.

Brianna grew up cooking with her mother, Patty, as soon as she could walk. Her mother owns a popular food establishment in Belize and is known to be the cook of legends. Brianna’s loves to prepare delicious impromptu dishes with the day’s catch and embellish her Belizean recipes with international twists. Watch out if you enjoy games night – rumour has it she’s a handy poker player too!

Christie Gentle

Chef & 1st Mate

Christina Gentle is a Belizean originally from the small northern community of Corozal. Having managed a popular restaurant and bar in San Pedro, her passion is cooking and wowing guests with her gourmet twists on local cuisine. She is also becoming skilled at spear fishing and is giving the guys a run for their money! Christie is a big people person and a gracious host to our guests, which is why so many repeat guests request her time and time again.

Ellen Nicholas

Chef & 1st Mate

Born and raised in Belize’s quintessential “Go Slow” island of Caye Caulker, Ellen is a gracious island girl and a warm host, first mate, and chef de cuisine.

She has been in the hospitality industry for many years and with Belize Sailing Vacations for 5, bringing to the table – quite literally – her passion for gourmet cuisine paired seamlessly with exquisite service. Her attention to detail is unmatched, and she enjoys spoiling her guests with her creative flair and decadent concoctions.

As a health and wellness enthusiast, Ellen’s ultimate dream is to become a certified yoga instructor and own a yoga retreat on her home island.

Hannah Beesley

Chef & 1st Mate

Hannah comes from a family with a passion for adventure and entertainment. A creative and energetic chef and first mate, Hannah grew up playing sous-chef to her mom and learned to cook from a young age. She enjoys adding creative flairs and healthy twists to her dishes.

Born with an adventurous streak, fed by the surrounding mountains of Tahoe, she spent much time exploring the great outdoors and skiing. She also enjoys making pottery in her spare time from travel and work and often has her hands deep in clay!

Kimberlyn Logan

Chef & 1st Mate

Located between two scenic rivers – the New River and Rio Hondo (Spanish for deep river) – Kimberlyn, or Kim, hails from Belize’s northernmost district. Born and raised in Corozal, she joined her family’s deep-rooted passion for the food and hospitality industry. Her mom headed up the kitchen of the acclaimed Lamanai Outpost Lodge before moving to the US.

Kim moved to the shores of Ambergris Caye 25 years ago, where she followed in her mother’s footsteps, working as a private household chef and manager, before moving her career to the water. She has since worked as a yacht chef for 8 years, touring the atolls while hosting adventure seekers, anglers, and avid scuba divers.

Her love of animals is infectious, especially when she plays nature guide to our guests… and her passion for fishing yields epic catches of the day, which she cooks with gusto and finesse.

Maresha Reid

Chef & 1st Mate

Hailing from the island of Ambergris Caye, Maresha has achieved many accolades in her 15 years working in the restaurant and hospitality industry – primarily from her own restaurant ‘Pirate’s Treasure,’ which she opened at just 21 years old!

Her Chef’s Table concept sees her cooking 3-course meals from scratch for up to 18 people at a time in a theatre-style setting. Known as the “Spitfire of the Kitchen,” Maresha has won various awards in local culinary competitions and achieved 2nd place in the Belize Tourism Board’s “Taste of Belize” nationwide competition in 2016 against chefs from some of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in the country.

Her passion is being on the beach, cooking, and making meals look like works of art.

Patricia Johnson

Director of Sales & Guest Services

Patricia introduces our guests to warm Belizean hospitality from the first point of contact. She is also a highly regarded and trusted travel expert with over fifteen years of experience in Belize’s hospitality industry. Patricia is very detail orientated and loves ensuring that visitors have the best experience possible while showcasing the gems of her special country. Patricia is also the Head of Trip Design for our sister company Absolute Belize and has secured partnerships with some of the best resorts in the country for guests looking for a land-based stay before or after their sailing trip.

Josue “Josh” Diaz

Marketing Manager

Josue has been in Belize’s hospitality industry for over 10 years. Having worked at several prominent hotels and resorts, including the former prime minister’s boutique hotel on the golden shores of the highly sought-after Placencia Peninsula, Josh brings with him a wealth of knowledge in guest services, hotel management, and sales and marketing.

Operations Team

Mechanics, Systems, Maintenance, Operations & Detailing

Belize Sailing Vacations is lucky to have one of the best Operations teams in the country. Consisting of mechanics, maintenance, systems, detailing, food & beverage and operations, the team ensures the yachts are in the best working order, stocked with everything needed for your charter and are gleaming.