#RealTravel: They Met and Fell in Love While Sailing in the British Virgin Islands
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A much-needed break led to an unexpected romance for Erin and Ben. (Photo: Erin Duggan Kramer)
Who: Erin Duggan (now Erin Duggan Kramer) and Ben Kramer
Where you met: British Virgin Islands
Relationship status: Married for one year and three weeks!
(As told by Erin)
After a particularly grueling summer at work, during which I had to cancel all of my vacation plans, colleagues and friends started suggesting (and then demanding) that I take some time off. The sailing club I belonged to (mostly in name and dues only, as I rarely made time to sail) was having a winter regatta in the British Virgin Islands. I was hesitant to go because I didn’t know anyone going on the trip. But I signed up and asked our skipper if I could fly down with him.
On the flight, he mentioned that his good friend Ben had moved from New York City to St. Thomas the year earlier, to escape the hustle and bustle and to work on boats. “He’ll meet us for a drink,” the skipper said and went back to his book.
The day before picking up our boat on the island of Tortola, we all headed to the bar at our hotel in St. Thomas. As I was sitting with the woman who was to be my cabin-mate (and is now one of my best friends), this cute guy walked over, sexy blonde in tow, and introduced himself as Ben. I assumed he was spoken for, so it was easy to relax and listen to his hilarious stories of tourists and sailing.
Erin and Ben bonded over sailing. (Photo: Erin Duggan Kramer)
The next morning on Tortola, one of the men who was sailing on another boat in our regatta swam across the pool to me, popped his head up, and said, “Hey, Erin, I’ve got a message from Ben on St. Thomas.”
"He couldn’t have meant it for me," I replied.
"Yes," he confirmed. "He wanted me to tell you he’s a cool guy, and you should get to know him. He’s going to meet your boat on Jost Van Dyke on Thursday. He’ll see you at the Soggy Dollar Bar.”
I thought for sure he had the wrong person, but my new friend was insistent and told me that Ben was single. Ever the skeptical New Yorker, I wasn’t going to hold my breath.