Massive Swells Empty St. Barth’s at New Year’s Eve
At least 30 charter yachts were forced out of Gustavia Harbour on St. Barth’s as large swells swamped the docks and closed the port altogether from December 28 through January 2.
Many of the world’s largest and most expensive charter motoryachts were affected, including the 311-foot Oceanco Indian Empress, the 257-foot Princess Mariana, and the 269-foot Alfa Nero. Some New Year’s Eve parties were canceled, according to multiple sources, while others were held ashore with charter yacht crew bouncing guests through the rough seas in tenders.
“My family and I have been coming to St. Barth’s for New Year’s for about six years, and we have not ever seen it like this,” a charter client who asked to be referred to only as Heston told CharterWave, in addition to sharing the photograph above. “The streets had water everywhere. Some boats appeared to be having difficulty with landing the tenders.”
Capt. Peter Carlsson told CharterWave from aboard the 161-foot Trinity motoryacht Lohengrin that every yacht tied up at Gustavia Harbour on the morning of December 28 was hitting the dock as the waves rolled in from the sea.
“Some had more damage than others,” he said. “We hit the dock once, and then I started the engines so that I could engage them every time a swell pushed us too close to the dock. I had to do that for eight hours while we waited our turn for divers to come and help us recover our anchors. It took the divers about 10 hours to recover all the anchors, so that all the boats could get out.”
The harbormaster at La Capitainerie du Port de Gustavia said no yachts suffered serious damage. For a list of the 30 charter yachts that are known to have been anchored outside the harbor on New Year’s Eve, see this post from the CharterWave Daily Editor’s Blog. For more photographs from charter client Heston, see this post.
MYBA Ends Affiliation with Sint Maarten Show
On December 11, just four days after the gates closed at the annual charter show on Sint Maarten, the professional association MYBA ended its affiliation with the event.
The official announcement marked the end of several years’ worth of tumult as the Sint Maarten show, organized by the Sint Maarten Marine Trades Association, attempted to compete with the long-running charter show on Antigua. The MYBA announcement stated:
“The MYBA Board gave notice at the beginning of this year of the Association’s wish to terminate what has been a contentious and unpopular partnership since their decision was made in 2006 to invest in the Sint Maarten Show. Ordinarily, the contract called for two years’ notice, but SMMTA President Jeff Boyd was gracious enough to absolve MYBA of its obligation to finance another show in 2010, since the past two years’ shows have run at a considerable loss to the Association.
“Even when the Sint Maarten show was fully sold out and easily covering its costs, charter agents and captains strongly objected to the need to attend two Caribbean charter shows running almost simultaneously. The clear consensus now is that MYBA should simply step aside and let the market determine which of the two charter shows should prevail. The Caribbean charter show controversy (2006-2009) is already well-documented and need not be revisited.
“Suffice it to say that this troubled chapter in the association’s history is now over, and the MYBA Board will think long and hard before committing its members’ resources to any boat show again.”
Report from Antigua Charter Show: Market Remains Mixed
Talk on the docks at the well-attended Antigua charter yacht show in December indicated that the charter industry is in better shape now than it was a year ago, when the global financial crisis hit.
However, there was no consensus as to exactly how the market is improving. Various charter brokers reported successes where others reported continuing problems, with individual brokers’ experiences appearing to vary wildly in terms of bookings for the current winter Caribbean season and the upcoming summer Mediterranean season.
Some brokers said the smallest sailing yachts are the only industry segment holding their own, while others pointed to sailboats of at least 100 feet in length enjoying the bulk of the inquiries coming in. Some reports were that megayacht owners have stopped offering discounts at all, while other reports included discounted rates of 30 to 50 percent. Some brokers said they won’t even approach a yacht owner without asking for a large discount, while other brokers said that if a yacht’s owner is offering more than a 15-percent break, they assume something is wrong (with the boat, the owner’s finances, or something else). Some insiders noted that they think the market correction is over and that the status quo has simply shifted to more last-minute instead of advance bookings. Other insiders countered that their phones were ringing for advance bookings a year into the future, which means not a general market correction, but a year-long blip that has finally passed.
It appears that the sizes of yachts, the nationalities (and preferred currencies) of their owners, the financial health of specific repeat clients, and the negotiating skills of individual brokers are all fostering a seriously mixed picture of where the market stands today, and of where it is headed next.
Three Brokers Say: More on the Mixed Market
Just a few weeks after the aforementioned mixed messages came off the docks at Antigua, CharterWave asked three leading brokers to elaborate on their thoughts about the upcoming Mediterranean charter season.
The responses were quite different and served to validate the message left at Antigua: that the global charter market remains mixed in terms of bookings, pricing, and forecasts for 2010.
Here is the January edition of Three Brokers Say, with insights on the topic from brokers Kathleen Mullen of Regency Yacht Vacations, Trina Howes of CharterWorld.com, and Missy Johnston of Northrop and Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters.
Sound Advice: Watch for Charter Yachts on Brokerage Market
Terry Hines, the charter marketing director for International Yacht Collection, urged all charter brokers during a presentation at the Antigua charter show to keep a watchful eye on the yacht brokerage market.
While explaining how some contracts protect charterers in the event of a yacht’s sale before a charter can commence, Hines quipped: “Every retail charter broker needs to be watching the brokerage markets very carefully right now.”
The comment was based on what she is seeing both within the International Yacht Collection yacht sales division and across the yachting industry as a whole: Some owners dramatically dropping the prices on their yachts for sale—sometimes by millions of dollars or euro—hoping to find a buyer fast as the global recession lingers. Such sales, of course, could hinder or outright cancel any charters that are planned for dates after a new owner takes control of any given yacht.
Charter clients can do two things to protect themselves, and their charter investments, in the current market. First, ask your charter broker whether the yacht he or she is currently recommending is also for sale and, if so, whether there have been any recent announcements of price drops. Second, take a hard look at any charter contract before you sign it, and make sure it gives you recourse in case the yacht’s owner sells the yacht before any travel dates that you book. The phrase “liquidated damages” is the key to ensuring that you are in fact protected.
Top Chefs Earn Honors at Antigua Charter Show
The annual culinary competition at the industry-only Antigua charter yacht show sees chefs vying for top marks in categories based on their yacht size. Winning first, second, or third place in any size category is considered one of the highest honors in the global charter market, as the competition is fierce.
Here are the winners from the competition that took place in mid-December, should you want to choose your next charter yacht based on the chef’s skills:
Category: Best Use of Coffee
Yachts up to 89 feet long
Third place: 75-foot sailing yacht Shaitan of Tortola
Second place: 82-foot sailing yacht Raveneous
First place: 63-foot sailing yacht Dulcinea
Category: Best Table Setting
Yachts up to 89 feet long
Third place: 82-foot sailing yacht Raveneous
Second place: 75-foot sailing catamaran Matau
First place: 89-foot sailing yacht Icarus
Yachts 90 to 149 feet long
Third place: 115-foot motoryacht Paradigm
Second place: 118-foot motoryacht Shalimar
First place: 115-foot motoryacht Kapalua (read our interview with Chef Patrick Roney)
Best Buffet with Caribbean Flair
Yachts up to 89 feet long
Third place: 73-foot sailing catamaran Wonderful (read our interview with Chef Elizabeth Lee)
Second place: 72-foot sailing yacht Pacific Wave (read our interview with Chef Mark Miles)
First place: 72-foot sailing catamaran Matau
Yachts 90 to 149 feet long
Third place: 118-foot motoryacht Shalimar
Second place: 115-foot motoryacht Kapalua
First place: 129-foot motoryacht Lionshare
Atlantica Named ‘Best in Show’ at Sint Maarten
The 135-foot Christensen motoryacht Atlantica–a favorite of the editor here at CharterWave–won “Best in Show honors at the Sint Maarten charter show in December
Congratulations to Capt. Roy Hodges, chef/purser Stephanie Hodges, and the entire Atlantica crew. The honor is well-deserved, indeed.
Still Time to Charter for Winter Olympics in Vancouver
The winter Olympic Games are scheduled to begin February 11 in Vancouver, Canada—a city with no highways, but plenty of marina space.
Several charter yachts are still available for bookings during the Games, with tenders at the ready to ferry guests to the sporting events while the rest of the attendees sit stuck in what is expected to be brutally clogged local traffic.
One motoryacht, the 114-foot Pacific Yellowfin, has confirmed dockage from February 11 through March 1 at Coal Harbour Marina, which locally based broker Michael Sawyer of Infinity Yacht Charters describes as “the best location in downtown Vancouver.” That’s the yacht’s main salon shown in the photograph above.
Any reputable charter broker can help you book Pacific Yellowfin, or talk with you about other yachts that are available for charter during the upcoming Games.
New Vidcast: Aboard Vita and Ranger
In mid-December, management company Northrop and Johnson invited CharterWave’s editor to sample the tandem charter experience being offered by the 150-foot Trinity motoryacht Vita and the 136-foot, J-Class sailing yacht Ranger.
Here is a two-minute video of what our editor experienced during her gourmet luncheon aboard Vita followed by several hours of sailing aboard Ranger off the coast of Antigua:
‘Dream Cruises’ Now Available on Kindle
Amazon.com reported in late December that at Christmas, it sold more electronic books than printed books in a single day–for the first time in the company’s history. The demand was most likely a result of thousands upon thousands of people opening their Christmas presents to discover that Santa had left them a Kindle e-book reader.
If you are among the lucky recipients who is currently shopping in the Kindle store, then please note that “Dream Cruises: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Charter Vacations” is now available for download.
The book, by CharterWave’s editor, has received multiple reviews of high praise since first being published in 2006. The Kindle edition for 2010 includes a newly updated reference section of reputable charter brokers.
Price for the Kindle edition of “Dream Cruises” is $9.95—half off the printed book’s cover price.
Motoryacht of the Month: Slipstream
The 196-foot Slipstream is one of two similarly designed motoryachts that launched from the CMN shipyard in France and entered the charter market in 2009. (The other is Cloud 9.)
Our newly posted First Impression review includes exclusive photographs of Slipstream’s interior, which is bold with red and black accents, as well as information about the features that set the yacht apart from her sistership. We also offer information about Slipstream’s chef, Geoffrey Fisher, who was previously featured on CharterWave and just last month took new honors in the chef’s competition at the Antigua charter yacht show.
Sailing Yacht of the Month: Ranger
There are only three J-Class sailing yachts available for charter in the world today, and only the 136-foot Ranger—a recently built replica of the early 1900s classic—is available for bookings in tandem with a 150-foot luxury motoryacht.
Our editor spent a few hours sailing aboard Ranger off the coast of Antigua, where the yacht had guests hooting and hollering with excitement as she sliced through the offshore seas. Here is our exclusive First Impression review.
Captain of the Month: Colin Boyle
Before taking command of the 196-foot CMN motoryacht Cloud 9, Colin Boyle was a philharmonic musician who toured the world and taught at the Royal Academy.
Today, he leads a crew of 15 aboard one of the newest motoryachts available for charter. Our exclusive interview includes his philosophy about chartering, as well as a tidbit about what makes Cloud 9 an ideal charter yacht for anyone who loves privacy as much as karaoke.
Chef of the Month: Magali Ragot
Magali Ragot may be French, but she refuses to douse the charter clients aboard the 62-foot sailing catamaran Tahaa II in thick, rich, heavy sauces. Her style is to pair traditional French cooking techniques with lighter ingredients to produce healthier fare.
We got aboard for a luncheon that Ragot prepared, and for this exclusive interview.
Broker of the Month: Agnes Howard
Charter broker Agnes Howard of Camper & Nicholsons International recently returned from her first trip to the Galapagos Islands, where she spent time aboard a yacht new to the local charter fleet: Queen of Galapagos.
Our interview includes Howard’s review of the yacht itself, as well as her impressions of the types of activities that charter guests might enjoy in this exotic cruising location.
Fleet and Management Company News
37 South reminds us that it is summertime near the Auckland office in New Zealand, where the NZ Marine Superyacht Race is scheduled for March as part of the buildup to the Louis Vuitton World Series on March 4. The 103-foot sailing yacht Pacific Eagle and the 75-foot motoryacht Escapade are both available for charter during the events…
Absolute Yachting has moved into new, larger offices in the heart of Piraeus port near Athens, Greece. The new address is 7 b SAHTOURI st, 3d floor…
CharterPortBVI fleet yacht Pas de Deux, a 60-foot sailing catamaran, has changed its plans for the upcoming summer season. Instead of chartering in the Mediterranean, the yacht will offer four to six weeks of charter availability in the Spanish Virgin Islands beginning in May…
Churchill Yacht Partners welcomes the 105-foot sailing yacht Apache to the fleet. She takes eight guests with five crew at a lowest weekly base rate of $40,000 and is currently available in Charleston, South Carolina… The 95-foot motoryacht Zazu is available for a Super Bowl charter next month in Florida. She takes six guests with four crew at a lowest weekly base rate of $29,500…
Edmiston and Company welcomes the 124-foot Benetti motoryacht Lady Ellen to the charter fleet. The yacht is currently completing an interior upgrade and will be available for charter in the Eastern Mediterranean beginning in May. She takes 10 guests at a lowest weekly base rate of €60,000… The 161-foot Feadship motoryacht Teleost, a CharterWave favorite that previously was offered at a lowest weekly base rate of $225,000, is now available at a lowest weekly base rate of $200,000. She takes 12 guests and is chartering in the Caribbean through April, including scuba-centric charters in Bonaire in March…
Hoa Yachting in Slovenia tells us that the 77-foot Elegance motoryacht Politeia will be available for charter this summer in Croatia. Built in 2002 and refit in 2007, the yacht takes eight guests with two crew at a lowest weekly base rate of €25,900…
Nicholson Yachts tells us the 80-foot Southern Wind sailing yacht Matelot is currently completing work to ensure the yacht is in top shape for its upcoming transit to the South Pacific. Matelot will be available for charter in Polynesia this summer. Dates and rates are still to come…
Ocean Independence welcomes three yachts to the charter fleet. The 177-foot motoryacht Seagull II was built in 1954 and extensively refit in 2004-05, making her a modern yacht with a classic appearance. Seagull II will be available for charter with 12 guests this summer in Croatia. The 156-foot CRN motoryacht Azzurra II, fresh from a 2008 refit, is currently available for charter in the Caribbean, taking 10 guests. Azzurra II is expected to charter in the Mediterranean this summer. The 80-foot Mangusta motoryacht Erasmo, which was refit in 2009, takes six to eight guests. She will be based in San Remo, Italy, this summer with charters available throughout the Western Mediterrranean… Also from Ocean Independence this month comes news that Daphne d’Offay has joined the Fort Lauderdale office as a charter manager…
Paradise Yacht Charters says the 70-foot Maiora motoryacht Wil Power is available for charters in the Virgin Islands or Sint Maarten area, with a 10-percent discount availabe for anyone who books before January 31. The charter can take place throughout the duration of the winter season…
Primo Yacht tells us that the owner of the 257-foot classic steam yacht Delphine is offering anyone who books a four-week charter this summer in the Mediterranean a special base rate of €980,000, as opposed to the regular base rate of €1.46 million for four weeks onboard. The yacht is currently in Tunisia and, following refit work in April, will become available in Croatia or the Western Mediterranean beginning in May…
RJC Yachts welcomes the 112-foot Westport motoryacht Silver Moon to the charter fleet. She will be available for charters beginning this spring in Florida and the Bahamas at a lowest weekly base rate of $49,500…
Seascape Yacht Charters notes that it has now been operating for three years in the Eastern Mediterranean, and that the company’s charter fleet now includes 10 motoryachts ranging in length from 78 to 165 feet. Most are available primarily in the Greek Isles…
Sunseeker Charters has a 60-foot Manhattan motoryacht available for charters this winter in Cancun, Mexico. Itaca takes six guests with two crew who speak Spanish as well as English. The weekly base rate for Itaca is $28,000… The company is premiering the United Kingdom’s largest luxury charter yacht this month at the London boat show. High Energy is an 88-foot Sunseeker Yacht with an estimated value of £4 million.
New First Impression Reviews Posted on CharterWave
Blind Date, 161-foot Trinity motoryacht
Cloud 9, 196-foot CMN motoryacht
Inukshuk, 82-foot Swan sailing yacht
Ranger, 136-foot J-Class sailing yacht
Slipstream, 196-foot CMN motoryacht
Tahaa II, 62-foot Sunreef sailing catamaran
Vita, 150-foot Trinity motoryacht
New “This Week’s 10 Best” Posted on CharterWave
10 Best recent charter yacht refits
10 Best charter yachts for movie lovers
10 Best lessons learned at the 2009 Antigua charter yacht show
10 Best reasons to book a yacht charter instead of a cruise ship cabin