First Impression: Akasha
Date toured: November 2008
Akasha is one of three nearly identical 76-foot sailing catamarans that offer charters in the Virgin Islands (the other two are Zingara and King’s Ransom). Akasha was the first to launch, in May 2005, and has since earned a solid reputation, doing 23 weeks of charter in 2008 alone. There were already 15 weeks of charter booked for 2009 when I got aboard in late 2008.
The yacht does get heavy use, but looked nice inside and out during my tour. She had just received all new cockpit cushions, linens, varnishing work, and guest bathroom floors, and the crew told me that new leather sofas were on the way for the interior. I am always impressed with the master cabin on Akasha and her sisterships, as it is on the main deck with great exterior views.
Also impressive to me is the fact that Akasha recently got a new water chiller that eliminates the need for bottled water during charters. Each guest gets a high-quality water bottle that can be refilled endlessly, thus helping the yacht to leave less plastic-bottle refuse in the islands, which don’t all offer recycling. This is a big deal: Akasha goes through about 22 cases of bottled water during each charter week. With 24 bottles per case, the new water chiller is saving the landfill from more than 500 empty plastic bottles per week of charter. I like that attitude toward “green chartering.”
Two husband-and-wife teams rotate as captain and chef aboard Akasha. Chris and Joanne Plowman, who were aboard during my visit, work from mid-May until mid-January, and the yacht is run the rest of the year by Brett Williams and Veronica Chamberlain, whom I met about a year ago. All impressed me with their professionalism and understanding of charter client needs, and made me feel immediately comfortable onboard.
While Akasha is based in the Virgin Islands with her sisterships, she is willing to go to the Northern Caribbean and beyond for charter bookings. “We’ve spent a lot of time in the Grenadines,” Capt. Plowman told me, “and we think that’s the second-best chartering area after the British Virgin Islands.”
Akasha’s clearinghouse is CharterPortBVI. She takes 10 guests with four crew at a lowest weekly base rate of $48,500 (a nicely priced option if you have been considering more expensive motoryachts that take the same number of guests). Any reputable charter broker can tell you more.--Kim Kavin