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Zazzara Story: Paradise Not Lost

Like many passionate boaters, New Yorker, Grazi Zazzara, and his family thought the ultimate answer to their boating dreams was to own a yacht within easy access to the Caribbean. They purchased a second home in Del Rey, Florida and a 50-foot yacht in their back yard. Dream fulfilled. Not quite.

Like many passionate boaters, New Yorker, Grazi Zazzara, and his family thought the ultimate answer to their boating dreams was to own a yacht within easy access to the Caribbean. They purchased a second home in Del Rey, Florida and a 50-foot yacht in their back yard. Dream fulfilled. Not quite.

Planning frequent adventures to the islands, the family and their friends would arrive in Del Rey only to find their beautiful yacht needed servicing and upkeep. Causing delays and frustrations.

At the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Grazi met Raul Bermudez who laid out the advantages of the MarineMax Vacations Charter Yacht Ownership Program. A fixed monthly income, 9 weeks of destination boating per year, no operating expenses, professional yacht maintenance and personalized customer service.

"Factoring in the cost of maintenance, dock fees and insurance and the advantages of tax write-offs, hassle-free ownership and basically unlimited access, the MarineMax Charter Yacht Ownership Program just made sense. Since purchasing our Aquila 484 named Villa our frequent adventures to BVI have proven to be just that, hassle-free fun," explained Grazi

September 7, the British Virgin Islands sustained a devastating blow from Hurricane Irma leaving its 30,000 residents without basic services and shelter. The MarineMax Vacations team had prepared for the worst and made it through the category 5 hurricane with minimal damage. The dedicated team members who lost their homes and most of their possessions began fleet assessments almost immediately and were able to prepare for the winter charter season.

"Well before Hurricane Irma, we had made reservations for a 6-day adventure in paradise with friends for November 3," Grazi offered. "After frequent communications with Raul and Michelle Bonasoro, the MarineMax Vacations office manager, they convinced us that the islands would be ready for charter visitors, and they needed to restore the tourism that sustains the archipelago."

The Zazzara's and their guests arrived in the BVI and witnessed the devastation to the infrastructure of Tortola. However, it was apparent that the population of the island were earnestly rebuilding their Eden-like home.

"We were welcomed like family," Grazi extolled. "Our Aquila 484 was perfectly prepared and provisioned and the waters and ideal weather had not changed. The biggest difference was the uncrowded beaches and destinations."

Foxy's and the Soggy Dollar Bar are two of Grazi's favorite stops on Jost Van Dyke. The island, with 298 full-time residents, was shattered in the crippling hurricane. The normally lush hillsides were brown from the trees and vegetation being swept away. Foxy's was one of the few restaurants with some of the island's only generators. Under the broken roof, residents rationed supplies and cooked meals twice a day for most of the residents. The residents rallied together to restore a sense of normality while waiting for the British government to send relief.

"When we pulled up to the beach in front of Foxy's we didn't know what to expect. The hills were green and fairly verdant but you could see all the larger trees were stripped bare," offered Grazi. "The pleasant surprise was being greeted by Foxy himself. He was jubilant that the tourist are beginning to return. He spent hours regaling us with songs and stories. It was an awesome experience."

The crew discovered that the beaches and gin-clear waters and the BVI famous welcome had not changed. The group visited the Soggy Dollar Bar on a separate trip in the cove just west of where Foxy's is located. They had a good crowd but not compared to before the hurricane. Everyone played the Soggy Dollar's infamous ring game.

"We all loved the uncrowded nature of this trip and the greater personal attention. However, we also enjoy the throngs of revelers that we have experienced in past visits. I cannot overstate how much I enjoy the carefree nature of the MarineMax Yacht Charter Ownership Program. All the tax advantages and expenses without the nuisances of owning and maintaining your own yacht. We essentially own two vacation homes, one in Del Rey and the other on Tortola. My wife and I are taking some more friends this January. We would recommend MarineMax and the team to any and every one," concluded Grazi.

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