This season, Captain Kennon Jones and Chef/Mate Stephanie Johnson take the helm and galley of Altesse. It’s a beautiful Lagoon 56 that charters in the Virgins. Formerly aboard Ventana, Kennon and Johnson jumped aboard Catamaran Altesse, bringing their veteran skills to a yacht with a new owner. What an opportunity for an incredible charter. Now read about the Lagoon 56 Catamaran Altesse. Follow the crew.
Chefs change restaurants, and hotels change owners. The same is true in the crewed charter yacht industry. Crews often swap yachts in the fall at the start of a new Caribbean charter season. This trade-up offers a lot of fun for guests. Namely, to follow a favorite crew on a different boat and a new crew on a favorite boat. Either way creates a whole new yacht charter experience unlike any other.
Kennon got his nautical start sailing Sunfish on Georgia’s lakes as a kid. After moving to Washington, D.C., for a State Department position in 2010, he jumped into boating significantly. Namely, he purchased a Paceship PY23 on Craigslist for $500 and cruised the Chesapeake Bay.
Tongue-in-cheek humor well developed by then, Kennon named this craft ‘Starting Salary.’ From there, he caught the sailing bug and hasn’t been cured. Along the way, he’s completed a two-and-a-half-year double-handed circumnavigation. This added over 33,000 miles of nautical experience under Kennon’s belt.
A big clue to Kennon’s sense of humor comes in a story he tells of cruising in the Pacific.
“I love to share stories with guests. One is from the Marquesas in French Polynesia. We found our first ‘real’ South Pacific tropical anchorage on Tahuata and went ashore to make friends. Having watched too many movies, I decided to try fetching fresh coconuts from a tree on the beach. That’s what any real tropical sailor does, right? Just shimmy up and grab them. Easy, or so I thought. I made it a generous one-third of the way up; then, I shimmied back down.
This was much to the amusement of our new Polynesian friends. Defeated. Our friends asked if we’d like to know how they do it. Sure! What could be the secret? They grabbed a long stick with a hook on the end, swung it at the coconuts, and down they came. Effortlessly. No climbing was involved. We all enjoyed a great laugh,” tells Kennon.Captain Kennon
Tubing is usually the most popular. We have guests that want just a leisurely pull and others that want a full-throttle thrill ride. The Subwing is also a hit. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to effortlessly dive and ‘fly’ underwater,” he says. “I also create a ‘custom’ obstacle course by stringing all our floats and toys together in various combinations. This proves a big hit with guests. It provides great entertainment for all, especially when paired with Stephanie’s curated motivational playlist.”Captain Kennon
A wide range of water toys aboard Altese include but are not limited to; paddle boards, fishing gear, wakeboard, snorkeling gear, convenient swim platforms, a two-person kayak, and more.
There’s a solid global element to what Stephanie brings to a charter. The Oregon native’s life is far from a career employing her Marine Biology degree to write grant proposals. Years ago, a charter yacht vacation to the Virgins with her family jump-started Stephanie’s desk-to-deck jockey career. For 15 years, she and her late husband chartered their 72-foot yacht from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad. Today, she continues combining her love of adventure, marine life, meeting new people, and celebrating life through shared cuisine.
“This life has provided me with so much time to travel. What better way to see the world than through local cooking classes? You can usually tell where I’ve traveled by my menu for the season,” says Stephanie. “In general, I gravitate towards lighter meals with lots of flavors. But I’m also one for a good burger and fries too, and I think it’s nice to mix it up. Plus, I’ve been known to change my menu mid-charter. This is especially true if I overhear a guest saying they like a dish they’ve had in the past. I love surprising people like that! I keep my ears open for little nuggets I can sneak in that makes a charter special for someone.”
Altesse was out of charter and in private use only for the last few years. Now, she’s back with a strong team and favorite crew in Kennon and Stephanie. Notable is the catamaran’s ample champagne deck over the dinghy lift. There’s a beautiful flybridge and a large forward seating area with room for up to 8 passengers to relax. There’s also a 14.5-foot tender and a compressor onboard for scuba diving. Stephanie is a certified dive master, and Kennon is completing his credentials.
“Stephanie and I both have unique individual experiences that we bring. I think that makes us able to offer our guests an exceptional charter, and now aboard Altesse,” says Kennon.
We’re sure the story will continue: Catamaran Altesse Follow The Crew.
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Freediving is becoming more popular in the Virgin Islands. More catamaran crews and guests are enjoying the freedom from Freediving. Captain Heiko of Catamaran Tedavi is a Master Freediving Instructor. In addition to scuba diving in the Virgin Islands, you may wish to try freediving.