By now you may have heard that The Moorings have partnered with a Brazilian group to establish a charter base in a town between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. And, yes, it has all the elements of a great chartering ground. It's compact with protected waters, lush and tropical, full of great bars and restaurants and replete with history and colonial architecture. There are 65 islands set against a mountainous backdrop.
The islands and bays around Paraty have something else going for them. These are waters where cachaça is the liquor of choice. More on that subject after some geography and history lessons.
Here from The Moorings:
A Paraty yacht charter invites you to explore the beautiful southeastern coast of Brazil and its neighboring hidden jewels of Ilha Grande Bay. Paraty was founded in 1667 and had a strong sugarcane mill presence, making it synonymous with premium brandy production. Enjoy serene passages over emerald-green waters, stroll along ancient cobblestone streets, and immerse yourself in the irresistible culture and diverse nature at each new harbor.
Paraty holds the key to many natural wonders you can only discover by boat. Backed by mountains on Brazil’s Costa Verde, this UNESCO World Heritage site offers charter guests a blend of lush Atlantic forests, scenic hikes, hidden mangroves, emerald-green passages and soft-sand beaches. A 7-day charter will take guests to such stops as Cotia Island, Ilha Grande, Gipoia Island, and Cedro Island, each with its own distinct flair and a wonderful mix of both populated and more quiet, isolated zones.
“We wanted to make a special announcement to celebrate our 50 years on the water. Brazil is a sought-after vacation destination, and we’re excited to give our guests a unique place to sail and explore. Our customers will enjoy protected, remote harbors where they’ll personally connect with the locals and explore areas untouched by massive tourism,” said Josie Tucci, VP of Sales and Marketing.
At start-up in January, the selection of charter vessels will not include a power option but Tucci says they will be adding power craft as soon as possible.
The fleet of three- and four-cabin sailing monohulls will be located at Marina do Engenho in Paraty and will be operated by Moorings partners at Wind Charter Brasil. This will include a Moorings 413 and Moorings 419, both manufactured by yachtbuilder Delta, as well as a Moorings 45.3, built by Beneteau, and a Moorings 51.4, built by Jeanneau. All four models sleep up to eight passengers.
SEVEN-DAY 'ILHA GRANDE' BAY ITINERARY
Day by Day
Besides qualities of climate, cuisine, history and geography, a good charter ground needs a signature cocktail or, perhaps more generally, a signature liquor. The Painkiller is the British Virgin Island rum drink of choice, having been originally concocted at the Soggy Dollar bar on Jost Van Dyke. For Bahamian cruising we have the Goombay Smash, first imagined by Emily Cooper, aka Miss Emily, at the Blue Bee Bar in New Plymouth. Med charter guests, of course, have a fabulous selection of hyper-local wines.
The Caipirinha is Brazil's national cocktail, made with cachaça, sugar and lime. Cachaça, also known by a multitude of traditional names, is Brazil's most common distilled alcoholic beverage. Hard to belive, I'll admit, but there are reports that it is the third most popular liquor in the world after whisky and vodka. Maybe the Chinese have discovered it.
Outside of Brazil, bars will often make Caipirinhas using white rum, but they're not quite the same. Cachaça is distilled from fresh sugarcane, whereas rum is made from molasses. Cachaça is most associated with a handful of places in Brazil along the "cachaça trail," and one of them is Paraty. Writing for the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper a few years ago, Vicky Baker said:
An apt place to wind up the cachaça trail is Paraty, a postcard-pretty colonial town on the Atlantic coast and a popular stop-off between São Paulo and Rio. The town was once so synonymous with the production of cachaça that people would ask for a glass of parati. I visit a few alambiques in the surrounding countryside, dotted between waterfalls and streams, and meet two more local cachaça enthusiasts. Yara Castro Roberts–a chef originally from Minas Gerais–runs a cookery school here with her husband, Richard.
As Richard mixes Caipirinhas, Yara tells me tales of the cocktail's unglamorous origins as a flu remedy: cachaça, lemon and sugar, served hot. It was only when it was "reimagined" with ice–allegedly at a São Paulo bar in the 1950s–that a classic was born. I feel like I have got an entire history of Brazil through one spirit. "That's true!" she cries. "Cachaça is interlinked with our history, our way of life. We just need to get over the stigma."
Ingredients: Half a lime cut into 4 wedges, 2 Teaspoons brown sugar, 1 2/3 oz Cachaça.
Preparation: Place lime and sugar into old fashioned glass and muddle (mash the two ingredients together using a muddler or a wooden spoon). Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the Cachaça.
Served: On the rocks; poured over ice.
Standard garnish: Lime, Sugar cane.
Drinkware: Old Fashioned glass.