And I immediately sensed the air of glamour that pervades life onboard Iduna. Members of European royalty had chartered the yacht the week before - now I knew why.

Editing other people's chartering stories, I had wondered whether sharing one's floating holiday home with crew was intrusive. Far from it. Iduna's residents have an innate ability to be at the other end of the boat to where you are, and yet be right behind you when the thought of a cold beer or chilled glass of wine materialises. This discrete service made for a truly relaxed onboard atmosphere.

Comfort zone
A good crew flourishes on a good boat and Iduna was everything I had imagined when writing the book, and then some. Her teak deckhouse and cherrywood interior combines a traditional maritime feel (much of the boat is restored from the original) with elegant colours and fabrics. The staterooms were exceptionally comfortable, luxuriously fitted out and immaculately finished in every detail.

On our trip the weather was so lovely that we spent very little time in the light and spacious lounge. Should we have wished to retire below for an evening, the dining table seats up to eight in style. There is a large plasma screen, satellite tV and a library of DVDs (tip: there's loads more stashed in the crew area). In the unlikely event that you want to do some work, the facilities are in place.

However ambient the interior atmosphere may be, the essence of life onboard Iduna is her glorious deck spaces. Much of the equipment here is original and everything else has been recreated in a like-for-like fashion using time-honoured methods. As you rest in one of the fabulous classic deckchairs, a gentle aroma of varnish pervades. A giant canvas Bimini offers shelter from the sun and, despite what had been said about wasting aircraft fuel, I managed to read three books in the week!

The story continues...

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