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Everything’s bigger from Texas

Monday June 11, 2018 Written by Published in Local
Berry for him, wild for her: Bill and Sherry Berry onboard their catamaran Wild Berry in Avatiu Harbour. Berry for him, wild for her: Bill and Sherry Berry onboard their catamaran Wild Berry in Avatiu Harbour.

The massive, 23.3-metre long catamaran Wild Berry has been dwarfing all the other private yachts docked at Avatiu Wharf for the past fortnight now, but her owners just flew in on Wednesday night.

Hailing from Texas in the US, Bill and Sherry Berry had Wild Berry built in 2014 at the Sunreef Yachts shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, and took possession of her in early 2015 after the boat spent 42 days crossing 6000 nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean to get to Fort Lauderdale in the US state of Florida.

Bill had originally wanted to sail Wild Berry to Rarotonga from Tahiti, after sailing from Panama to French Polynesia last year, but his work schedule didn’t allow it, so the yacht’s three-person crew sailed her here instead.

This is the Berrys’ first visit to the Cook Islands, although their UK captain Lee has been here once before, aboard his parents’ boat back in 1992.

“I’ve always wanted to come to the Cooks,” Bill told CINews yesterday before departing for a week in Aitutaki.

“We’re trying to figure out what we can actually see of the Cooks, and which islands we can go to.”

After returning from Aitutaki, the Berrys will spend another couple of weeks or so on Rarotonga before facing the weighty decision of sailing west to Niue or heading north to Suwarrow.

Bill says he’d like to see both places, “but that’s exactly the conundrum you get into – sometimes you can’t see it all”.

“And particularly at my age you can’t!”

Having previously lived all over the world with the company they worked for, including stints in China and West Africa, the Berrys say one of the best things about now spending half the year living on a sailing boat is that they’ve really been able to experience the various different cultures they’ve visited around the globe.

“We bounced around a bit and one of the things was that you would go some place, get to know the hotel you were staying in, learn the airport – but a lot of times you really don’t learn the people and the culture,” said Bill.

“Living there is always a lot more fun, because after a while you really get a sense for the rhythm of how people think, and that’s the joy for us, is going out and learning about the people of the world.

“Having a boat enables us to kind of open that window to different cultures.”

Having a boat the size of Wild Berry also enables the Berrys to travel the world with most, if not all, of the comforts of home.

With more than 240 square metres of total living space, including a 35 square-metre open saloon and 20 square-metre master cabin complete with king-size bed and bathtub, the Wild Berry sounds as impressive on the inside as she looks from the outside.

Designed to accommodate six guests in well-appointed luxury and two to three crew members, the yacht can also be easily manoeuvred by only two people.

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