An Introduction To Kahu Moana, A Sailing Passenger And Refrigerated Cargo Vessel For Hawaii
The 180-foot long Kahu Moana (Ocean Guardian) will be the first of class of our “Island Carrier” series of vessels for Hawaii. She is in the design phase now. We’ll have CAD drawings of her on this page soon, so you can understand what she looks like. Among other things, she will solve this specific problem that outer island farmers have:
A farmer may grow 500 to 1,000 pounds a week of a produce item, but if they can only sell 200 pounds a week on the Big Island, or Kauai, or Molokai, what’s the point? And how is that small farmer going to pay their bills?
More to a bigger point: how long are we in Hawaii going to remain dependent on imported food when we have the incredibly fertile and productive Big Island, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai and all their farmers available to feed all our islands? Our Island Carrier project addresses that question well.
Without access to the relatively large market on Oahu, the amount of produce outer island farmers can grow and sell is limited by the amount they can sell on their own island. This is because there is no affordable refrigerated transport available. The only way for an outer-island farmer to transport refrigerated cargo to Oahu is to ship an entire 20-foot refrigerated container for $2,500. Only the big guys who grow 20,000 pounds a week can afford to do this.
But, you say “air freight”. There IS no service for refrigerated air cargo except for Aloha Air Cargo, which charges $1/lb; and the “refrigerated” cargo Aloha carries is ONLY refrigerated while it’s in the origin and destination terminals, and the cargo is carried on the planes in uninsulated containers. In other words, when it get to its destination, it has warmed up quite a bit.
Kahu Moana will solve that problem for them: she’s going to carry refrigerated agricultural products from the small farmers on the outer islands of Kauai, Maui, Molokai, and Hawaii to the market in Honolulu on Oahu, where 1 million people live. And most importantly, she will ship small shipments affordably so the farmers can make money.
Kahu Moana will have a 60-ton refrigerated hold, will supply insulated containers at no additional charge for the farmer to load at their farm, and will charge these same farmers 50 cents a pound for refrigerated transport to Oahu. The cargo will be shipped and stored in a refrigerated space from the time the farmer drops it off until the time their representative picks it up at our terminal.
Kahu Moana is a 180-foot long light cargo and passenger vessel with a US Coast Guard rating for 149 passengers (for day trips) and 62 passengers (for longer voyages), built using a completely sustainable, ecologically friendly, carbon-negative modern technology which employs 95% wood for construction. This technology builds boats using the cheapest, lowest-quality wood available in a manner that is technically sophisticated, yet inexpensive. The result is a vessel that is strong, durable, unsinkable, safe, and comfortable at sea. That is a very strong claim; but we can substantiate it:
Starting with the proven construction technology from our original 56-foot Tropic Bird, and adding all the improvements to the design we have learned during construction and operation of the 38-foot long “Lata”, which we’re building for the people of Taumako, and our new 90-footer Tropic Bird, Kahu Moana is based on a traditional Polynesian canoe design; only she uses all modern components such as epoxy, fiberglass, marine plywood, and dacron ropes and sails for strength, safety, and longevity.
The resulting vessel not only travels the ocean at almost no cost, it does so at passage speeds of 20 to 30 knots in the tradewinds; speeds unheard-of for sailboats! She has a 60 ton refrigerated cargo space, and her own energy-efficient refrigeration system that runs primarily off the wind. Part or all of the refrigerated cargo area can be used for “dry cargo”, with the refrigeration to that area turned off to save power.
Kahu Moana is designed for safely and comfortably carrying cargo and passengers in all open ocean conditions. She will be ABS rated (American Board of Shipping), US Coast Guard Certified, both for cargo and 149 passengers, and Lloyd’s of London 100A1 rated for insurance purposes.
Right now, Kahu Moana would be profitable based only on her carriage of refrigerated produce, or only on her carriage of passengers and tourists. Put them together, and the EBIDTA for each Kahu Moana is around $24 million per year.
She’s just talk now. But then, wasn’t everything at some point?