Designed by acclaimed naval architect Ron Holland, AURORA's performance is as impressive as her sleek lines and surprisingly spacious interior.
DECK & SYSTEMS
AURORA Crew Profile
Captain Neil Wood & Chef/Hostess Debbie Wood
Neil and Debbie Wood are an enthusiastic couple who make every effort to deliver a grand sailing and culinary experience to their guests on board Aurora.
Neil's experience, confidence and dedication to safe sailing make guests feel relaxed from the moment they step aboard. He holds a UK RYA/MCA Ocean Yachtmaster license, with a 200T commercial endorsement and with Debbie by his side, has sailed between and along East and West Atlantic coasts including Europe, the Mediterranean, the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean. Taking pleasure in every aspect of his job, he is equally adept at helping guests with their boating skills and mixing memorable cocktails to toast the sunset.
Neil grew up near the world-famous yachting waters of the Solent on the south coast of England which he refers to as his playground. After completing his schooling, he worked for years as a computer specialist, but he loved being on or in the water on everything from water skis, to windsurfers, to sailboats. When not on the water he enjoys getting out and about on his mountain bike and is also a keen walker and runner. He made the move from recreational to professional sailing accidently during a sabbatical over 12 years ago!
He has served as captain along with Debbie as mate on a number of interesting vessels, both sail and power. The most unusual craft they worked aboard was an 1895 Thames Sailing Barge, which they sailed in the British Isles and Europe. This vessel commanded considerable sailing and boat handling skills that have been passed from generation to generation over hundreds of years.
Neil and Debbie married in 2002 and honeymooned in New England where they have especially enjoyed sailing and exploring, and first took command of Aurora in 2006.
Debbie was also born in England - in Kent, and spent her summers by the English Channel enjoying all kinds of water sports. Before going to sea, Debbie worked as a hairdresser in a top London salon. She is also a qualified fitness instructor, and has held posts in such varied areas as VIP airline passenger services, resort management and public relations. She loves and is naturally talented for working in hospitality. Both she and Neil are also qualified PADI open water divers and keen outdoor enthusiasts.
Debbie enjoys cooking with the freshest local ingredients, tailored to guests’ preferences, which ensures delicious, wholesome, exciting and healthy dishes that compliment a sailing adventure. She has trained at one of the world’s leading cookery schools, but has mostly her mother to thank for her wonderful culinary skills which invite constant compliments.
Together they make a winning team - not only as experienced sailors but also as attentive, accomplished and warm hosts. They are looking forward to welcoming you on-board Aurora.
Aurora – here we go again, almost a year to the day because the time we spend with you is just so relaxing and amazing. It is so hard to resist Sam’s wonderful cooking so I just throw caution to the air and will diet again in the New Year! All I can say is thank you again for another wonderful cruise and guess what – we will be back!
One Family – St Maarten-St Barths-Anguilla – New Years 2010
You have made our honeymoon worth a lifetime of special memories! A wonderful start to our adventures ahead, however I think my husband is now rethinking his choice of bride and her culinary skills!
Honeymoon Couple – New England – August 2009
This cruise was very special to me. I came to relax, reflect and have fun. That all happened…but then, a surprise! I witnessed passion from being with you two. Your passion for your life, your work, each other, truly has been an inspiration to me. Not often will one experience all that in one short week. We feel very fortunate to have been in your company for so many laughs, such great food and lovely sailing. Thank you very much for encouraging us to take our noses out of our books, to see the whales, hike the mighty mountains, learn Scrabble and put on a wet suit. We loved how you gave us our personal space yet would join in with us for great conversation.
One couple – Maine – August 2009
Sam and Rich, what a wonderfully intelligent, competent, interesting, multi-talented fun crew you are! We couldn’t have asked for better food, better sailing or better company – since we have had many experiences – crews and trips (as you have heard ad nauseum!) we can honestly say you are the best in 30 years of chartering.
Two couples – Antigua to St Maarten – May 2009
We will remember this as the Bingo Cruise
Bingo for your good company, you’re still great fun even though you’re an old married couple
Bingo for your glorious cuisine Sam – you never cease to amaze!
Bingo for the weather
And (almost) Bingo for the Scrabble Games.
Thanks for everything – we are going home feeling SO relaxed.
Repeat couple – BVI’s – April 2009
What a fantastic crew from sailing to dining - everything was terrific. We did lots of sailing and lots of fine dining. From breakfast with lots of fresh Caribbean fruit to lunch to dinner, the meals were superb - great variety with many new items to enjoy. With all of Sam's fabulous cooking we could hardly keep the weight off, but with a little help from the ocean we managed. Cheers to the real Sam Malone and her husband Rich.
Pre-Wedding Couple – St. Lucia to Antigua - February 2009
We are headed for St Maarten about to disembark from our wonderful 9 day cruise on Aurora. We thank Sam for her smile, disposition and joie de vivre and can only say that your culinary skills are amazing and every day is a discovery. As for Captain Rich, we love his understated competence and quiet sense of humour. What a wonderful way to start the New Year. We have sailed all over the world and this was without doubt the best experience we have had. We look forward to returning in the not too distant future.
One Couple – Antigua to St Maarten– New Years 2009
What a wonderfully intelligent, competent, interesting, multi-talented fun crew you are! We couldn't have asked for better food, better sailing, or better company. Since we have had many previous crews and trips (as you have heard - ad nauseum!) we can honestly say you are the best in 30 years of chartering.
(Chef) Sam and (Captain) Rich were the perfect crew in every way. This was the first time we’ve sailed without our family in a very long time and they were excellent companions, as well as most accommodating at all times. Nothing was too much trouble. We thoroughly enjoyed being with them and came home feeling like we had made new friends. AURORA was in very good condition….tastefully appointed, clean and perfect for 2 – 4 people.
Sam is an excellent chef who obviously enjoys putting exquisite meals on the table. Her presentation was creative, beautiful and delicious! We are lovers of good wine and her choices were flawless accompaniments to the meals.
We cruised the Virgin Islands, where we’ve been many times before, but Rich introduced us to several anchorages that were unfamiliar, secluded and suited us perfectly. He quickly understood what kind of vacation we were looking for and provided us with just that.
One couple – Virgin Islands - April 2008
Dear Sam and Rich, we owe you a big thank you for restoring our faith in a sailing vacation – all memories of our unfortunate Christmas charter [on another yacht] have been erased and replaced by glorious images of the week we have spent with you.
Rich, you were the perfect captain – safe, competent and knowledgeable, fun to be with and flexible to our desires.
The thought and creativity that went into every meal was extraordinary. Your wine selections were excellent – and you know how fussy we are!
One couple – St. Thomas - April 2008
Sam’s gastronomic skills and Rich’s bonhomie are experiences reserved for the few.
Just wish our time aboard AURORA had been longer. Sam’s culinary expertise would surely merit at least a final, if not winning place on Masterchef, whilst Rich’s mastery at the helm coupled with his nautical DIY skills are equally impressive.
Two couples – Grenadines - February 2008
The boat was immaculate. A lovely yacht. It looked really great and we were very impressed.
Richard is plainly a very experienced skipper and host. He was happy to answer questions and discuss sailing issues. Sam is a very capable cook and produced great food throughout. More than that, she worked very hard to meet some dietary issues. She is a keen wine lady and we were agreeably surprised at her selections.
Two couples - St. Vincent to Grenada - February 2008
|LENGTH||67ft (20.4m)||BEAM||17ft (5.2m)||DRAFT||8ft 0in (2.4m)|
|YEAR BUILT||1988||BUILDER||Belliure||DESIGNER||Ron Holland|
|GUESTS||4||CREW||Captain Neil Wood & Chef Debbie Wood||REFIT||2009|
|SPEED||7kts / 8kts||STABILISERS||None||FLAG||United States|
The Master Cabin has a full width walk around queen size bed, marble bath, shower and head.
The Guest Cabin has a double bed, plus single upper, shower and head. Both cabins are ensuite
AURORA is fully air conditioned through out. Crew has a separate head and shower.
AURORA is a no-smoking yacht: No smoking anywhere on board.
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