Superyacht owners fall into two types – those who want to be on show and be seen in all the right places like the Cote d’Azur and those, who are an emerging new breed, who want to explore unusual places such as the Galapagos Islands or North Canada.
St Tropez is a magnet for the owners who hire a yacht or a boat from the marina only to sail around the corner and moor up at Pampalone beach for a couple of weeks. Some would argue that spending in the region of £1 million per week to charter a luxury boat only to stay in the same place is a little peculiar, but you pay your money and you make your choice and this is a tried and tested formula by those who can….
The new breed that charter agents are noticing, are owners looking for the spirit of adventure. Over the last 15-20 years, the style and build of boats has changed dramatically and now that GPS and wifi and vastly improved communications can be installed into a luxury boat, it means that owners can set sail and still remain in touch or even work as they travel across the sea.
The key to successful chartering is knowing the right agent. Experienced local agents will know the best and most interesting places to seek out. They will advise on the most suitable bo at and which marinas, harbours and ports will accommodate various sized boats. Rather like property agents, there are the great and the good in the boat charter world, there are the likes of Savills who have offices and representatives in the prime places such as London, Antibes and Monaco and there are ‘hustlers’, those with insider knowledge, who make calls and make things happen to procure the superyacht no one thought was available. It is a competitive market and there are deals to be had if you know who to go to.
Superyacht costs and technology
Costs are astronomical with fuel being one of the biggest. I was once alongside a superyacht off the Sicilian cost, that took four hours to refuel and at the end the owner handed over £250,000. Taxes and the cost of moving a boat from one beautiful location to another does not come cheap and can cost in the region of £10,000 just to move from one bay to another. Running costs can be around 10 per cent of the value of the boat; so some private owners will charter their boat to recoup the running costs each year. Even when a boat is standing still the costs continue with generators and air conditioning to be maintained.
These days technology extends to tracking superyachts across the globe, so in the summer from May to September you can see plenty of boats moored up along the coast of Ibiza for the club and party scene. Certainly the Med sees the most boats flocking to enjoy the host of islands and social life from June to August. Croatia and Montenegro are now becoming popular new hotspots and the Ionian Islands are a perennial favourite. In the winter months the Caribbean plays host to fabulous boats and glamorous visitors celebrating New Year on one of the luxury hideaway islands like St Barts and Richard Branson’s Nevis.