Husband and wife duo, captain Graham Gips and chef Kristiann Gips are in their third season of operating crewed charters in the BVIs on board their yacht Allende, and they don’t do anything halfway.
They started sailing a decade ago, while living in Lagos, Nigeria. After racing dinghies and competing internationally, they decided to honor their love of sailing and their passion for hosting guests by running their own charter yacht. We caught up with Kristiann to find out more about Allende, what they offer their customers and why they love their full-time sailing jobs.
Life before sailing
We used to have very normal lives working in the oil and gas industry. We consider ourselves lucky to have had jobs that sent us traveling internationally, but we secretly craved a life that was more serendipitous. We learned to sail together and now both hold a Master’s 50-ton license from the United States Coast Guard and are CPR/first aid certified.
What a typical day looks like
Graham spends most of his time sailing the boat, while I keep busy by creating bold-flavored dishes using what is available on and around the island. We also have a huge support staff on shore who help make it all happen, such as people who deliver provisions, to people who clean the boat, for example.
What we love about our job
Running our own business, working together and having control over the choices you make are the greatest rewards. But that is also the greatest challenge. We are solely responsible for our financial success. It is a very physical job – we love it but it takes a great amount of physical effort on a daily basis.
Where our guests love to sail
Our guests tend to ask to see The Baths and the Soggy Dollar Bar, but there are certain highlights that are favorites. For guests, we like to find anchorages where we are the only boat. Our crewed yacht is rented by one person for a family vacation or group of friends. The average size tends to be six people and we’ve looked after a huge variety of guests. We see lots of families with young and older kids who are celebrating special occasions, such as milestone anniversaries and birthdays.
Why our vacations are so special
Listening to what guests are saying and what they aren’t saying is our unique selling point. We make it seamless as an experience – from the moment they land, everything is arranged. Our itineraries work in the same way as our menus, they change depending on diet and preference. Nothing is preset. We work closely with our guests to tailor their vacation entirely to their liking. If you’re new to sailing, we’d love to teach you how much fun it can be. We also have special entertainment on board – our dog, Friday!
Allende is a Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Evolution crewed catamaran with three cabins that can accommodate six passengers sailing between October and August in the Caribbean.
Get in touch with DYC to book an all-inclusive, luxury crewed charter with Kristiann, Graham and Friday! Contact our team and they will help you organize your all-inclusive crewed getaway. Email us at [email protected] or give us a call at 855.650.8902.