Captain Ben Raley and First Mate/Chef Rachel Haskovec are an energetic, professional yachting and charter host team. Together they have a deep passion for all of the adventures that the Virgin Islands have to offer and enjoy sharing them with others. As a couple they offer a charming graciousness that helps people to feel comfortable and fully relaxed. They work closely with every charterer to match their guest’s level of interest with the right level of activity, dining, and relaxation. This year will be their eighth season chartering together in the BVI.
Captain: Ben Raley
Ben was born and raised on the Gulf of Maine, and has harbored a love of the sea his entire life. Building his first rowboat with his father at the age of six, Ben knew that the ocean was where he belonged. At eight, he started sailing aboard a Rhodes 19’ and by the age of 18, he made his way from Portsmouth, NH to Hawaii via the Caribbean islands and Panama Canal aboard various sailboats. Eventually settling in Washington State’s Puget Sound, Ben taught sailing in a community sailing program during the summer months and apprenticed under a local shipwright in the winters. Finally, aboard his own 32’ sailboat, he was able to fulfill a dream of sailing back to New Hampshire. Adventures along the way to fund his dream included; working as a deckhand aboard ocean going tugboats hauling freight through Southeast Alaska, commercial fishing for giant bluefin tuna, delivering sailboats along the west coast of Central America, and working as mate aboard a luxury charter yacht based in Petersburg, Alaska where he learned the finer points of running top quality charters. Tropical seas calling him, Ben focused his efforts on the Virgin Islands and has successfully Captained three charter catamarans based in the BVI. Ben is excited to be aboard Copper Penny, sailing the crystal-clear waters and trade winds of the US and British Virgin Islands.
Ben is an avid angler, with a particular interest in fly fishing, and has spent many hours discovering techniques and places in the Virgin Islands that can be productive for catching Tarpon, Bonefish, and several other species of hard fighting saltwater fish; the best season for targeting these species is April-July.
As a kitefoiler and paraglider, Ben knows where the conditions will be best on any given day for sailing and sport. Ben’s newest endeavor in the water sports world is hydrofoiling. He loves to teach others how to fly above the water. Copper Penny has recently acquired a Lift electric hydrofoil and a towable hydrofoil, both designed for novices to learn on.
Chef/Mate/Yoga Practitioner & Therapeutic Yoga Instructor: Rachel Haskovec
Rachel was born with an adventurous spirit, and grew up hiking, camping, fishing, and eagerly exploring her love for the outdoors on the front range of Colorado, between Boulder and Fort Collins. With a degree in Business Administration from CSU, she worked in sales and marketing for a power tool company and relocated to Boston, quickly developing a passion for the ocean, enjoying swimming, SCUBA diving, sea kayaking and catching and cooking the freshest seafood. Her fascination with sailboats also started in New England, where she called on and worked with the manufacturing facilities of Hinckley Yachts in Maine and observed the construction process from start to finish of some of the finest yachts in the world.
Rachel has also pursued her passion for food and entertaining, working with the Culinary Institute of Montana where winters included skiing and working in fine dining establishments while the summer months involved rock climbing, rafting, and racing sailboats on the largest natural freshwater lake in the western US. Missing the salty air and vastness of the ‘big blue’, Rachel left the US to live and work aboard a sailboat and deliver her from Florida to Bocas del Toro, Panama. Eventually spending extensive time in Central America, Rachel founded Nicaragua Energetic Flow Yoga, working as a full-time traveling yoga instructor at six resorts on the Pacific side of Nicaragua. She also managed and cooked at a B&B guesthouse in the jungle outside San Juan del Sur. As an athlete and therapeutic yoga instructor, Rachel is adamant about using the freshest quality local ingredients to create healthy and delicious meals that feed the body, mind and the soul.
Rachel is a passionate Yoga practitioner and Licensed Yoga Instructor, specializing in therapeutic practices. Over the years in the VI Rachel has had access to beautiful beaches and outdoor venues where she loves to bring interested guests to start their day with a gentle class or meditation. Her teaching style reflects her belief that yoga should be accessible to everyone, whether they have been practicing for years or have never been to a yoga class. These activities can be incorporated into your charter aboard Copper Penny and can add another layer of excitement or relaxation to your experience.