If you’re looking to book a charter in the Caribbean and don’t want to worry about excessive fuel charges, or maybe you are trying to be more eco-friendly, KAI is a charter boat to consider. She is a 70-foot sailing vessel that leaves little carbon footprint in her wake.
“We try to run KAI as green as possible,” said Justin Smith, the captain and owner of the boat. Smith bought KAI after losing his previous boat in Hurricane Irma in St. John.
As soon as he bought KAI, he converted her to LED lighting and wired her so that she runs off solar entirely. “That was the first thing I did,” he said during our phone conversation on a brisk New England morning. KAI is currently undergoing a refit in Groton, Connecticut, and will soon head down to the Caribbean for the winter season.
With a 17-foot beam, KAI provides a large amount of room for six guests to move around. She has two queen beds, one twin, and two showers. A/C is provided for an additional $80/night although, with the usual trade wind breezes that blow through the islands in the winter, you probably will sleep like a baby without it.
Sarah Ford is a chef and 1st mate aboard KAI. Ford, originally from North Carolina, moved to the Caribbean a couple of years ago and soon fell in love with the Virgin Islands. Particularly St. John. “St. John is home,” she said after Smith passed the phone over to her.
Before moving into the yachting industry, Ford worked with the Virgin Island National Park services. “I know every inch of St. John,” she said. Which is a great advantage for charter guests. Having grown up in the islands, I can tell you from experience that it is always great to have a guide that can show you not just the tourist traps, but the areas that only locals know how to get to.
Smith loves showing guests the pristine coral island of Anegada. “It’s one of my favorite places,” he said.
Ford’s self-described cooking style is “comfort meets health,” focusing on incorporating locally-sourced products as much as possible. Funnily enough, Ford didn’t like fish before moving to the Caribbean, but now she tries to incorporate fresh Mahi Mahi and Wahoo into dishes as much as possible.
Before hurricane Irma hit, Ford utilized a farm-to-table program in St. Croix to provide healthy, eco-friendly meals. “When I get down there, I am going to look into the program again,” she said.
KAI also has paddleboards onboard, a kayak, and an assortment of other aquatic equipment. The 12′ tender is great for cruising around secluded coves, and guests are welcome to bring along kitesurfing equipment.
KAI is based out of the US Virgin Islands, with pickups from Charlotte Amalie or the BVI upon arrangement.
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