Kristi Chesher is a name that surely rings a bell for many in the yachting industry, particularly if you have spent any time in Antigua, New England, or hanging around any yacht regattas lately; she is seemingly everywhere at the moment. As we go to press, you can find her in Barcelona at the MYBA Charter Show; however, officially her home base is in Newport, Rhode Island, where she is Managing Partner of BWA Yachting New England. Later this month you’ll find her in Bermuda assisting with the America’s Cup Superyacht Program, which coincidentally was raced off the shores of Newport from 1930 to 1982. We recently saw Kristi also competing in the St. Barth’s Bucket and Loro Piana Caribbean Regatta on board SY Rebecca. When the team at Superyacht Content reached out to her, she, in fact, was driving to NYC to hand deliver an APA to a captain at Chelsea Piers. Kristi, never without a smile on her face, has a contagious love of everything yachting is; she is someone you will want to get to know this summer if you are cruising the northeastern coast of the U.S.A.
It was in Antigua where Kristi started her career in the superyacht industry and made her first foray into yacht services. Growing up in an active sailing family, she started working in the industry somewhat by chance, like many in the business, just helping out captains on the dock as a child. This later developed into a successful yacht agency business on the island. Today, based out of the Newport Shipyard, a local institution and the oldest working shipyard in downtown Newport, Kristi is a well-known point of reference for captains. She and her team take care of everything from custom itinerary planning to provisioning, formalities, bunkers and spares and is perfectly placed to provide a full service, one stop shop year round to the yachting community.
Kristi and the team at BWA New England are finding themselves doing more itinerary planning this year than ever before. “While New York City is a hot spot at the moment, the Hamptons, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard still remain cruising favorites. Boston is getting a lot of interest as a crew friendly stopover, and many captains and brokers have been inquiring about Maine as well this year,” Kristi explained.
The area around Newport is not only strategically located, but it is chock-a-block with fantastic cruising itineraries. From Martha’s Vineyard, just past the pretty Elizabeth Islands (home to the famous Black Dog Marina, to Nantucket, popular with antique and art lovers, there is something for everyone in the area. Starting in New York and cruising along the Long Island Sound, stopovers in Shelter Island, Sag Harbor, Fisher Island and Block Island are all popular before hitting Newport, Cape Cod, and Boston.
While Newport is well known for its crew and yacht service companies, more and more yachts are not merely stocking up but saving some time at the beginning or end of a charter for a visit. With its Gilded Age mansions, once the summer playground for families like the Astors and Vanderbilts, this area is known for the nation’s largest concentration of registered historical landmarks without forgetting to mention all of the quaint seaside towns alive with local festivals. From its colonial origins in the fishing trade to its status as an international mecca for sailing, New England is gaining more and more interest from the superyacht industry.
This season inquiries are up. “The average size of yachts booking in Newport is now closer to 180 feet as compared to 140 feet just a short few years back. And with more vessels looking at the Northwest passage, many will be using Newport as a stopover, and it is already fully booked for most of July.” As yachts get bigger and bigger, dockage is a challenge in many parts of the world, and New England is no exception.
“While there are a host of really good marina facilities along the coast, getting in touch with us as early as possible is key so that we can pre-arrange your dockage,” Kristi advised. Keep in mind this is also crucially important during some of the prestigious yachting and sailing events taking place this year including the Candy Store Cup in late July, the J Class World Championships at the end of August, and of course at the beginning of the season for the Newport Charter Show in June.
Fun facts about Rhode Island