Navigating the New CharterWave
If all has gone according to plan, then you are reading our first eNews of 2009 on the redesigned version of CharterWave. Boy do we have a lot of new and improved features to share with you!
For starters, you will notice that we have succumbed to the demand for banner ads. We know they make the site look more commercial, but frankly, our strong editorial content is drawing more sponsors than we previously had places to accommodate. This is good news overall. It means we’ll have even more income to invest in developing CharterWave for many years, and that we will be able to continue bringing you the best charter industry editorial coverage in the world.
You’ll see that our navigation bars are the same. You can still find our yacht reviews, destination articles, crew interviews, broker interviews, eNewsletters, and helpful articles in the same places that they used to be. Even better, you can also find articles using our new and improved Search box, in the top right corner of every CharterWave page. We also have a new Site Map that you can use to find things. It’s accessible through the link at the bottom of every CharterWave page.
Another new feature that we think you’ll find helpful is the ability to print, e-mail, or convert to PDF any article here on CharterWave. There are little icons at the top of each story now. All you have to do is click on them and, presto, the article goes into the format of your preference.
We also have some nifty new content for you. Three of our biggest additions include:
Digital Newsstand: This is your one-click spot for finding all the newest charter-related articles, videos, and informational brochures posted by every reputable, editorial source that we can find online. Maybe you missed recent destination features in Yachting or Showboats International magazines, or recent articles about the charter industry in British or Australian newspapers, or recent photos and videos about charter yachts on websites like MegayachtNews.org and SuperyachtTimes.com, or new e-magazines from reputable brokers. You don’t have to go to all those different places to find them. You just have to come to the CharterWave Digital Newsstand. One click. That’s it.
Sponsored Blog News: Several of our sponsors have become excellent bloggers in recent months. Now, we’re promoting their blog posts on our home page. The list of headlines works the same way as the list of headlines from our Daily Editor’s Blog, with one exception. The Daily Editor’s Blog is written by one person, while the Sponsored Blog headlines come simultaneously from every sponsor-written blog on CharterWave. Thus, you can always find the newest information from all our sponsors by simply clicking on the headline at the top of this new Sponsored Blog News list on our home page.
Three Brokers Say: The popularity of our This Week’s 10 Best feature tells us that you like lists, so we’re adding another one. Every month in Three Brokers Say, we’ll ask three of our reputable broker sponsors a single question and give them some prime space to offer expanded answers. Questions we have lined up for our first few editions include, “What is an appropriate gratuity for a charter crew?” “Is booking at the last minute ever a good idea?” and “What is the biggest mistake that first-time charterers make?” We can’t wait to hear what the brokers think—and to share their in-depth thoughts with you. You can get to the most recent edition of Three Brokers Say through the CharterWave home page.
We hope you find the new version of CharterWave even more interesting and helpful than the old one. And if you’re in the mood to give out pats on the back, send one over to a guy named John Turner at MediaBuoy.com. He did all of our redesign work, including creating the beautiful new graphic icons throughout the site. We plan to work with MediaBuoy for a long time to come.
Report from the Antigua Charter Yacht Show
CharterWave editor Kim Kavin was on the docks in early December at the Antigua charter yacht show, the biggest of its kind in the Caribbean. As first reported in our Daily Editor’s Blog, the mood in Antigua reflected the current global economic downturn. Almost every broker, from independents to international companies, reported charter business being down between 40 percent and 60 percent.
“The global economic crisis is now hitting the crewed charter industry at all levels,” Kim says. “That includes the largest, most expensive yachts, which remained busy this past summer in the Mediterranean while smaller yachts went unbooked. Now, I’m seeing yachts that typically charge more than $500,000 per week making deals for charters in the high $300,000 to low $400,000 range, just to get bookings on the calendar.
“The message to anyone wanting to take a charter vacation at any price point right now is: Make an offer. The yacht’s owner just might take it.”
Camper & Nicholsons International dominated the show in terms of new yachts, displaying a pair of new 197-foot Benettis (Xanadu and Amnesia) as well as the new 121-foot Benetti Beverley. All three showed well, though very differently in terms of interior styling and amenities. We’ll have exclusive First Impression reviews of them all posted in the next few months, alongside our recently posted review of the new 161-foot Trinity motoryacht Destination Fox Harb’r Too, which won rave reviews while on display by management company Northrop & Johnson.
In the sailing yacht category, Nicholson Yachts, Oyster Yacht Charters, and Perini Navi each had several beautiful charter boats on display, and as with the motoryachts, we’ll post our exclusive reviews of those during the next few months. We’ll also have reviews for you of the two yachts displayed at the Antigua show by YachtZoo, a growing company based in Europe that is earning good reviews for the quality of its boats and operations.
Kim was fortunate to be invited for lunch aboard two yachts whose chefs won prizes in the Antigua show’s chef competition. We’ll have those crew interviews for you, too, including the one just posted of January’s chef of the month, Philippe LeScelleur of the motoryacht Arioso.
Report from the St. Maarten Charter Yacht Show
This year’s St. Maarten charter show ran on concurrent dates with the Antigua show. While our editor Kim Kavin was in Antigua, we looked to broker Tim Nelson of Seven Seas Yacht Charters to be CharterWave’s eyes and ears on the ground in St. Maarten.
“I thought it was the best show so far,” he said. “In Antigua, there is a combination of motoryachts and sailing yachts, with fewer motoryachts overall . St. Maarten was pretty much all powerboats, with most of them being motoryachts over 100 feet.”
Tim, who specializes in booking charters aboard yachts 100 feet and larger, gave us this exclusive interview about the St. Maarten show. In it, he discusses everything from the global economic crisis to the yachts that made great impressions during wine tasting events and tours. He also discusses the increasing use of fold-down swim platforms in yacht design, which can improve the charter experience by making water access easier.
Fraser Yachts Pacific Opens for Business
Without making an official announcement, Fraser Yachts Worldwide has opened a new division called Fraser Yachts Pacific. Its goal will be to increase charter opportunities from the western coast of Mexico up through the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
A longtime broker with the company says the effort to open the office took more than a year, culminating with the unofficial launch in November. For now, only yachts in the Fraser Yachts fleet will be offered for charter in the new location because, as the Fraser broker explained it, Mexican laws make it challenging for the company to use its new base to support yachts that are part of other charter fleets.
CharterWave editor Kim Kavin has been invited to check out the new operation in Mexico next month. Stay tuned to the Daily Editor’s Blog and to our monthly eNews for more information as we get it.
Ocean Independence Predicts “Tough Negotiations” in 2009
Ocean Independence, which manages the second-largest fleet of crewed charter yachts in the world, posted an article in its December newsletter that warns yacht owners: “These are not the days where charter bookings can be achieved easily.”
This news of course also applies to charter clients, who would be smart to be aware that the savviest of charter clients are already feeling confident demanding the best packages and best prices, as opposed to simply paying whatever listed rate the yacht’s owner requests. “We surely expect tough negotiating to become part of charter brokerage,” the newsletter states.
The message is that if you are thinking about booking a crewed yacht charter anytime soon, conditions are better than they have been in many years for getting the most that you can for your money. Work with a reputable broker who will help you negotiate the best possible deal.
Best of the Daily Editor’s Blog
230-foot Christensens on the Way. I learned this week that a quote I gave to a reporter several months ago has found its way into the new issue of BusinessTN, a magazine that covers business in the U.S. state of Tennessee. If you’re interested in looking into the charter industry’s future, then you might find the article interesting. It discusses plans by builder Christensen Yachts to create a new facility in that state for the construction of 230-foot motoryachts. … Read more …
Best of the Sponsored Blogs
From the Northrop and Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters blog: Yacht charter Bora Bora. Bora Bora Mystical, mythical Bora Bora is renowned for its spectacular scenery, romance and a brilliant blue lagoon and reef that James Michener hailed the most beautiful in the world. The island is an extinct volcano that formed two towering black peaks on the center of the island. Many visitors are drawn to the central lagoon, famed as a great dive site with a variety of sharks, rays, and tropical fish. Those seeking expansive beaches will be disappointed as there are relatively few beaches on the main island; however there are miles of sandy cays along the reef line, with secluded beach areas, home only to sand crabs and palm trees that are ideal for a picnic and shelling. … Read more …
Motoryacht of the Month: Noble House
This 173-foot motoryacht made an excellent impression on charter brokers at December’s boat show in St. Maarten, where the chef took part in a progressive evening of wine tasting and food that included several boats in management company Burgess Yachts’ fleet.
Our exclusive First Impression review includes an interview with Noble House’s captain, which our editor conducted at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October.
Sailing Yacht of the Month:
Andromeda la Dea
As large sailing yachts go, this 154-footer sure is nice. Her chef, Nicole Poirer, took home an award from December’s Antigua boat show cooking competition, and the yacht itself earned a lot of rave reviews from charter brokers who especially liked the large, open seating in the cockpit area.
Our exclusive First Impression review includes photographs of the yacht that you won’t see anywhere else.
Captain of the Month: Carol Benbrook
It’s not every captain who will ride a bicycle to a shipyard daily to oversee a multimillion-euro refit—while in the final months of being pregnant. Such is the story of Carol Benbrook, who is now finishing her work aboard the 143-foot motoryacht Sedation before returning to the shipyard to oversee construction on the owner’s forthcoming, even larger motoryacht.
Here’s our exclusive interview.
Chef of the Month: Philippe LeScelleur
Our editor can still taste the deliciously fresh tuna seared lightly in a coffee-bean-and-wasabi mixture that chef Philippe LeScelleur prepared onboard the 130-foot motoryacht Arioso during the Antigua charter yacht show in December. He took home a prize for the dish in the show’s cooking competition, and he shares some of his cooking secrets in this exclusive interview for CharterWave readers.
Broker of the Month: Sharon Bahmer
As the Boatbookings.com charter director for North America and the Caribbean, Sharon Bahmer stands squarely in the face of the myth that online charter agencies are no more than robots and computer servers. She discusses her company’s attention to detail and customer service in this exclusive interview.
Fleet and Management Company News
Absolute Yachting has eight motoryachts available for charter in Greece during the summer 2009 season. They are the 164-foot Alexandra, 147-foot Bella Stella, the 160-foot El Chris, the 152-foot White Knight, the 132-foot Corvus, the 110-foot Rena N, the 109-foot Pollux, and the 102-foot Nino II … Coming into the Greek fleet after launching brand-new from the shipyard this month will be the 52-foot sailing catamaran Elvira, taking 10 guests at a lowest weekly base rate of €11,000…
Bermuda IV, a 96-foot motoryacht, is offering five-day, all-inclusive scuba charter packages in Bermuda. The rate is $3,000 per person with a four-person minimum. Contact any reputable charter broker…
Boatbookings.com, one of our sponsors here on CharterWave, tells us that the 50-foot sailing catamaran Maya is offering seven days for the price of five for all charters until the end of April 2009 in and around Phuket, Thailand…
CharterPort BVI fleet member Free Ingwe, a 45-foot sailing catamaran, is offering a 20-percent commission to brokers who can give an extra percentage to their clients for charters between January 20 and February 5…
C.U. Yacht Charters, one of our sponsors here on CharterWave, welcomes the 75-foot Hatteras motoryacht Two Honey’s to the fleet. The yacht is based in Fort Lauderdale with a special rate being offered for relocation charters on the U.S. East Coast during summer 2009. She takes six guests at a weekly base rate of $16,000…
Edmiston & Company is trying to drum up some charter business in exotic destinations. The company’s December newsletter includes information about chartering in Thailand, Venezuela, and the Red Sea…
International Yacht Collection announced restructuring of its Palm Beach and Monaco offices in mid-December. The changes, which are a result of the global economic slowdown, affect sales brokers and not charter brokers, according to the company’s public relations director…
Luxury Yacht Group welcomes the 123-foot motoryacht Perseverance II to the fleet. Newly refurbished, she takes eight guests at a lowest weekly base rate of $68,000. The yacht is in the Caribbean this winter, and will move to the Mediterranean for summer 2009… Luxury Yacht Group also congratulates the first-place winner of its recent photo competition: Max Lettner of the motoryacht NOA VII…
Neptune Group Yachting says the 103-foot Broward motoryacht Trilogy is offering an “inauguration special” weekly base rate of $25,500 for six guests. The yacht is based in Nassau, Bahamas, and tows a new 32-foot center console tender… The 78-foot Hatteras motoryacht Temptation is offering eight days for the price of seven in the Bahamas… New to the fleet is the 106-foot Lazzara motoryacht Bella Contessa, taking eight guests at a lowest weekly base rate of $35,000 in Florida and the Bahamas… Package deals are available for tandem charter bookings aboard the 100-foot Broward motoryacht Turnin’ Left and the 58-foot Hatteras sportfishing yacht Reel Left…
Nicholson Yachts says the 82-foot sailing yacht Fortuna is offering rare, by-the-cabin bookings at €1,900 per person, including full board. The dates for this offer are January 17-24 from Martinique to St. Vincent; February 8-15 round-trip from St. Vincent; Feb. 28-March 8 round-trip from St. Maarten including participation in the Heineken Regatta; and March 21-28 with the destination to be announced… The 58-foot sailing catamaran Alidade has reduced its winter rates, which now start at $14,050 for two guests… the 75-foot sailing catamaran Matau and the 90-foot motoryacht Tivoli are offering up to ten days for the price of seven … the 72-foot sailing yacht Pacific Wave is offering eight days for the price of seven throughout the winter season…
Ocean Independence is celebrating a Book Printer of the Year award for Granite Colour, the company that produces the Ocean Independence Charter Portfolio. It was submitted as a work sample for 2008 in the competition’s brochure category… New to the fleet are the 197-foot motoryacht Titan, the 112-foot sailing yacht Ecce Navigo, the 107-foot motoryacht Paolyre, the 100-foot motoryacht Synergy, and the 82-foot sailing yacht Noheea…
Primo Yachts welcomes the 68-foot Azimut motoryacht Princess Sissi to the fleet. She takes eight guests at a lowest weekly base rate of €24,500 in the South of France… The 146-foot motoryacht Costa Magna, due to a cancellation, is available for a charter during MIPIM 2009, a real-estate summit held each March in Cannes… Also still available for MIPIM 2009 is the 95-foot Princess motoryacht Mimi La Sardine… The 130-foot motoryacht Ineke IV is willing to consider day charter bookings this winter in the South of France…
New First Impressions Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Akasha, 76-foot sailing catamaran
Andromeda la Dea, 154-foot sailing yacht
Arioso, 130-foot motoryacht
Lohengrin, 161-foot motoryacht
Noble House, 173-foot motoryacht
Paladin, 87-foot motoryacht
Perseus, 163-foot sailing yacht
Sedation, 143-foot motoryacht
New Crew Interviews Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Carol Benbrook, captain, 143-foot motoryacht Sedation
Philippe LeScelleur, chef, motoryacht Arioso
New Boat Show Report Posted on CharterWave This Month:
2008 St. Maarten charter show with broker Tim Nelson of Seven Seas Yacht Charters