About us

About

Eagle Tours is a charter company located on the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.

The tours are also available for all visitors to the island.

With great facilities and fantastic crew on all the vessels, the tours are a fun and enjoyable way to see a side of the island that most visitors would miss.

It is also possible to charter any of our vessels for private tours, dinner parties, weddings, corporate events and more.

The Team

Petro & Sophie Managing Directors

Melody Rouveure Marketing & Activity desk at Sapphire

Joanne Moo Office & Reservations

Ryan Crew member

Andre Captain

Debbie Bar Lady

Norm Crew member

Video



Reviews

“Excellent Day Sailing Around St Maarten” - April 2015

Wow what a great day. the crew was outstanding, the cruise was fantastic and the experience was awesome. A 10 out of 10 day. Highly recommend this cruise around St Maarten Island.

- Pauline L.

“A great way to see the island!” - April 2015

We spent the day on this great catamaran with a wonderful crew. Yazmine was one, can’t remember the other lady’s name. Both were great! They were attentive and friendly all day. The captain (Guy) told us things about the places on shore that we were passing. The food was wonderful and we had a fabulous day! We will definitely take this cruise the next time we return to SXM.

- Claudia T.

“Fantastic crew and experience for the family” - April 2015

“Had a great time on the tour around St. Maarten and the entire crew was very knowledgeable and ensured we made the most of the outing. Highly recommend!”

- Mike G.

“Extra-ordinary twice in a row!!”     -24 July 2012

“We had a grand time both times..we loved the crew, food, drinks, snorkeling and the mud treatments…even the island music…oh what fun!! Going to Grand Case was a special experience for lunch. It was, by far, the most fun day on the island. My husband and I liked being up front on the “netting”…more fun in the sun and the view was spectacular.. Make sure you have your camera, sunglasses, a towel, wear your swimsuit and a t-shirt or cover-up. We are planning another trip to St. Maarten the end of August and we are looking forward to the Farewell Tour aboard the Golden Eagle catamaran. It will be a priority with us on our last Friday on the island!!”

-Debbie H, Fort Wayne

“”Quality Time” was exactly what it was!” -17 July 2012

“This by far was our best day in St. Maarten. 4 of us boarded this catamaran tour not knowing what to expect. The crew’s hospitality made us feel welcome. We had a blast. They were very accommodating & fun at the same time. Didn’t want to get off the boat. Loved my spot on the trampoline. My husband was afraid of swimming & got his swimming wings back & even swam to shore with goggles, when he originally was only going to take the dingy to shore. One of the crew was about to help him swim off the boat, & he just dove in & swam for it! As soon as we go back to St. Maarten, we are booking again with Eagle Tours. Oh by the way this is for couples, family, friends, solo or any other type of group.”

-kkdibona ,New Jersey

“Our Best Day on St Maarten!”-14 April 2012

“We want to thank Eagle Tours for a fabulous day on the water sailing today! Sophie was right, we loved it! Our girls had so much fun they wish they could go again tomorrow! We were on the Quality Time all day sailing trip around the island and what a great value for the money we spent today! The sailing was magnificent, the snorkeling was fun, the beaches were pristine, the water was a sparkling bright blue, the food in Grand Case was superb, the rum punch was never ending and the captain and crew of Manuel, Debbie and Otis were exceptional and so fun! The service was incredible and the traditional YMCA song and dance at the end of the day was a perfect ending to a fantastic day! We would do it all overagain tomorrow if you were not already booked! Thank you again for a wonderful St. Maarten memory for our mother /daughter vacation! We will definitely be back again and would highly recommend this day of sailing to anyone vacationing on St Maarten”

-Lisa H,Chanhassen

“Don’t Miss”-22 March 2012

“A great way to see everything beautiful and with a fun crew! Drinks, food and music are non-stop, and you’ll be sure to add some firsts your “firsts” list on this excursion. Lunch was spectacular by the way. Fresh, local fish served with a smile. And the end of the day is even fun with a champagne toast. A definite ‘must do’!”

-ormondgirlie1,Ormond beach

Should be called the “Amazing Tour””-27 February 2012

“We booked the Friday Farewell Tour with Eagle Tours.I am not sure why they call it the Farewll tour, a better name would be Around the Island Tour. The company sent a bus to pick us up from where we were staying. Once at the dock, we boarded the beautiful catamaran(Quality Time) that had adequate seating both in and out of the shade. There were two restrooms on board. The staff served punch and rum punch as we pulled out of the Marina and began our voyage around beautiful St. Martin. At our first stop, La Samanna, the staff gave out snorkle gear to anyone interested. I would say 60% of the passengers got off the boat and snorkeled in the calm waters. One of the crew came out on a rubber dinghy and made sure everyone was okay. Once we all were back aboard, we set sail for our next stop, Happy Beach, an area only accessible by land if you are willing to take a fifteen minute walk from where you park. We had this on our list of places we had wanted to visit and were thrilled that we were able to approach it from water A crew member served drinks in the ocean to anyone who wanted. Talk about service.Back opn board,sandwiches were available as well as an open bar which remained open all day. Once we left this area, we sailed up past Marigot to the beautiful area of Grand Case, known for its fine restaurants. The boat came as close to shore as possible as then we were taken to shore on the rubber dinghy(some swam) where we had a wonderful lunch in Calmos Cafe, on the beach with our toes in the sand. We had eaten dinner there the previous night and the lunch menu was pretty similar to what we were offered for dinner so I was shocked that this was all included in the price of the tour. ( I believe the cost of the tour was about $110 each). After our wonderful lunch, it was back on board to our final stop, Orient Bay Beach (see my separate review, my favorite beach in St. Martin). On our way back to the Marina, the crew sang and danced and all the passangers got involved, it was a fun way to end a beautiful day.”

“Best way to spend a day!”-22 January 2012

“My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Great Bay and knew right away we wanted to do a catamaran tour. We did the Friday Farewell Tour on the Too Rhum Punch with Roel, Anki and Daniel. It poured rain just as we were getting on the boat but it passed quickly and Anki kept the energy level up. Once we were out of the marina, the sun was out and it was a perfect day. The swimming stops were beautiful and lunch in Grand Case was great. If you want to stay dry, don’t sit on the canopy when you get to the Atlantic – you will get soaked. Was definitely fun though! We had so much fun on the boat and had complete faith that Roel and Anki would take good care of us. I highly recommend this tour company and this tour.

We also did the champagne sunset cruise on the Wednesday night – another perfect cruise in a perfect locale.”

The Scape 51 Cat – an owner’s perspective

Du Toit Yacht Design designed the Scape 51 – a 15.62m / 51 foot day charter cat – for Petro Jonker, an experienced Caribbean charter operator based in St Maarten.Quality Time, as she was named, was launched in November 2010 and Petro has loved every minute of owning her. She was built in epoxy E-Glass composite materials and was designed for back-to-back day charters in the Caribbean. The substantial sail plan and electric motors follow Petro’s brief for a performance-orientated, yet eco-friendly boat. Seating in the covered and forward cockpits easily accommodates 60 passengers.

Petro’s charter company, Eagle Tours, is a family owned and operated sailing tour and charter company started in January 2002 on St. Maarten by Petro and his wife, Sophie. They sailed to St Maarten on their schooner from Cape Town in May 1999 and arrived in St Maarten a month prior to a hurricane called “Lenny”. Petro joined the Company calledOutisland Charters. As Sophie is French and Petro is from a Dutch background, the transition to living on a French/Dutch island was an easy one. In 2001, Petro and Sophie took over Outisland Charters and formed their current charter business, Eagle Tours.

We asked Petro a few questions about the boat and his experiences with her, a year and a half or so after her launch:

What were your main objectives for the boat when you designed the Scape 51 with Anton du Toit?

Petro Jonker:

The main objectives were to improve the efficiency of existing day charter vessels. This meant a design which could successfully charter with a large number of passengers, utilising mainly sail. To achieve this meant a big improvement on less weight, increased sail area and maximising comfortable seating areas. Secondly, it was also important to me to have interesting and modern lines by avoiding the often – “boxy” look associated with catamarans. Thirdly, we were seeking an eco-friendly design which could operate with a minimal use of fossil fuels. Fourthly, I enjoy racing so was looking for a vessel which we could use for work and play.

How long did the design process take and what were your experiences?

Petro Jonker:

Anton had existing plans for a similar size vessel and was able to provide concept drawings in a relatively short space of time. Some modifications were requested to provide a soft, rounded transom and we found the deck layout with the central “Jacuzzi” seating very attractive. Further modifications were made to provide easy access and entry and exit points for moving large numbers of passengers on and off the vessel with minimum queuing.

Are there any unique design features and characteristics you can talk us through?

Petro Jonker:

The initial design called for electric motors with Lithium batteries. As a day sailing vessel, the motor running time can be kept to two hours per tour. Given overnight charging and recharging via solar panels and propeller back-charge, this would be feasible for our type of operation.

At the 11th hour we converted back to diesel motor backup as the batteries and recharge systems required further time and testing. I am very pleased we followed this route as we are still looking to change over to electric as the newer advances take place. So a retro fit would be fairly straightforward.

The second important consideration was for the vessel to actually carry 28 plus passengers at full hull speed under sail in our average trade winds of 12 – 15 knots.

Finally, we operate in a hurricane area so we had large ballast tanks fitted in the forward compartments for flooding in extreme weather conditions.

Where is Quality Time based now?

Petro Jonker:

The vessel is operating out of Phillipsburg, St Maarten, doing mainly full-day round the island sailing tours.

She is also in good demand for charters to neighbouring islands such as Anguilla and has pretty much captured the high-end market.

What sort of sailing are you doing with her?

Petro Jonker:

Fun sailing as well as competitive regatta sailing!  For the last regatta we entered, as we were completing the entry,Quality Time was returning from a full day sail around the island with 65 passengers on board! When questioned how many crew were on board, for the regatta, the regatta officer certainly did a double take as I pointed to the vessel!

It takes our crew about two hours to clear all the charter gear and set up for competitive racing. And competitive she is!  In the past year we have chalked up a number of first places and had very close racing with the top boats. In the recent Heineken Regatta we were racing boat-for-boat with a 66 foot Gunboat and were within a whisker of beating her. Pretty cool going with Dacron working sails…maybe time to gear up!

In normal charter mode we find that Quality Time operates very easily to our mandate and the Captain Andre Swart calls in to confirm her reaching at 12 – 14 knots with a full passenger count under sail only!

When operating with our Eco Tour, which is restricted to 28 persons, Quality Time, under sail alone, outsails the other day sailing catamarans which are using sail and engine.

This has brought a quality element to the tours as there is no doubt the sailing experience is enhanced and we have seen a marked increase in demand for our tours.

Tell us a bit about Eagle Tours and the sort of charters you do.

Petro Jonker:

Eagle Tours started operating in 2002 in St Maarten, operating two Gold Coast 63’s and a 75 foot St Kitts- built catamaran under contract to the cruise lines. The business expanded into island and resort tours. For these tours, a 39 foot Scape and the more recently, Du Toit Yacht Design’s 51 foot design, were brought into service.

Charters are high volume with cruise ship charters doing two tours a day and the island resorts full day tours. Standards and quality of service are maintained to excellent levels and safety of passengers is of prime concern.

In what sort of waters is Quality Time sailing?

Petro Jonker:

We are fortunate to have generally good light trade winds in clear Caribbean waters. As we moor or anchor close to beaches and reefs a shallow draft is an asset. 

Are you doing any racing with her? If so, what regattas have you taken part in and what was your experience of her as a racing yacht?

Petro Jonker:

Our first race was the Multi-hull Regatta, sailing around the island of St Maarten.

We were entered in the cruising class but found ourselves mixing it up with the racing class boats. We won our class!

Next off was the Anguilla Regatta with light wind conditions. We were competitive but found our handicap would suit us better in stronger winds.

We sailed the first race of the Heineken Regatta and found we were competing with the 66’ Gunboats; they had a slight edge on us but then they are fast boats, designed for racing.

We sailed in a local Captain Oliver’s Regatta and won the multihull class.

Recently, we entered the racing class in the Multihull Regatta and picked up second spot.

We have set the time for the Three Island Race of Saba, Statia, completing the race in just over nine hours and currently hold the trophy.

This year’s Heineken Regatta was close racing but we found with our handicap it now means we give the Gunboat 66’s time! So, a bit of tough call but maybe comparative high tech sails will give the edge! 

To your mind, what are her most positive features? What would make you recommend this design to other potential buyers?

Petro Jonker:

This is an excellent day sailing vessel, great carrying capacity, (we are licensed for 71 passengers but operate 68). We have only had positive passenger feedback.

The vessel has very low maintenance, way below budget for this type of vessel, which is pleasing business-wise. She does require an experienced sailing captain; we can lift a hull in 25 knots hard on the wind in racing mode!

I can say without hesitation to potential buyers, this is an investment which will bring high returns in any tourist destination.

Anything else you would like to share?

Petro Jonker:

The vessel has met every design criteria in terms of operation. Whether chartering with 65 passengers or racing in 25 knots upwind at 14 knots and, as we found recently, hitting high twenties under spinnaker (28.2 knots!) – she feels like a real race horse.

We are still learning after only a handful of races and get the feeling there is still a lot more in the tank. After 15 months of operation there is not one design feature that I would change, other than completing the electric drive feature.

“I think about 6000 passengers would agree!”

The DTYD Scape 51 Principle Dimensions:

 

  • LOA: 15.62m or 51.24ft
  • LWL: 14.80m or 48.56ft
  • Beam Overall: 7.92m or 25.99ft
  • Draft (Boards up):  2.27m or 3.47ft
  • Draft (Boards down):  1.06m or 3.47ft
  • Displacement (DWL): 7520kgs or 16582lbs
  • Sail Area: 146.30m2 or 1575ft2

Comments are closed.