Yachts, Brokers, and a Cash Controversy in Genoa, Italy
Dozens of charter brokers climbed on and off nearly 75 yachts during the first week of May at the annual charter show in Genoa, Italy. CharterWave Editor Kim Kavin was right there with them, interviewing crew, sampling chefs’ offerings and inspecting boats to give
you insider information that you won’t
find anywhere else.
“I thought the yachts in Genoa were generally of very good quality, and many of the new and returning crew impressed me with their enthusiasm for chartering,” Kim reports. “I also noticed that smaller yachts made a better showing than in years past, with almost as many 60- to 120-footers along the docks as 150-foot and larger yachts.
“That’s a great thing for Mediterranean charter in general,” Kim adds. “It means more options for charterer clients at a less-expensive price point than the super-luxurious boats that dominate marinas from Monaco to St. Tropez.”
One of those super-luxurious charter boats, the 183-foot sailing yacht Selene, was the belle among the sailboats at the show—just one month out of the Perini Navi shipyard in Italy and having yet to perform a single charter. As you’ll see in our exclusive First Impression review, Selene has a beautifully executed interior of art deco influence along with several built-in features that should enhance charter service.
Among the motoryachts, the new 155-foot ISA called Ocean Victory seemed to draw the most accolades among reputable charter brokers, even though her weekly base rate of 180,000 euros (about $244,800 before expenses) makes her accessible to only the wealthiest charterers in the world.
Looking to also satisfy guests with more moderate budgets, many brokers gave high marks to the 113-foot Star of the Sea, a recently (and beautifully) refit 1983 motoryacht that takes 12 guests at just one-quarter of Ocean Victory’s rate: 49,000 euros in low season (about $66,670).
Also at the Genoa show, a lively, well-attended roundtable discussion among yacht captains and charter brokers brought a long-simmering controversy about gratuities into the light of day. Industry experts are having a hard time agreeing on
exactly what percentage a “proper” charter gratuity should be. Some brokers advise charterers to tip 5 percent of a yacht’s weekly rate, while others suggest leaving hard-working crew 25 percent or more.
Whom should you believe, and what percentage should you tip at the end of your next charter vacation? We take an in-depth look at this controversial issue in our exclusive feature on tipping, posted in our News & Info section this month.
Crewed Charter Fleet Makes Strides in Greek Isles
CharterWave editor Kim Kavin was also on the docks this May in Poros, Greece, at the country’s sixth annual charter yacht show—where top brokers from the United States and Western Europe agreed that the Greek crewed yacht fleet is offering quality far above what has been available in years past.
Reputable charter brokers who offered their compliments on improvements in both yacht and crew quality were from major international companies including Camper & Nicholsons International, Fraser Yachts Worldwide, Nigel Burgess, Northrop & Johnson, Ocean Independence, The Sacks Group and Yachting Partners International. The fact that so many top brokers from these agencies attended the Poros show at all is a testament to the improvements the Greek fleet has made in recent years.
While the overall quality of the crewed yacht fleet in Greece is still not quite up to par with the Caribbean and Western Mediterranean markets, more than a few Greek-owned yachts are striving to achieve those levels in terms of yacht quality and crew service.
In this sense, two sailing yachts and three motoryachts had the most brokers talking.
The 131-foot Swan sailing yacht Aristarchos, built in 2006, was easily the belle of the show, stunning in both quality of construction and crew experience. At a base rate of 95,000 euros during high season for just six guests—a whopping $26,000 per person with 25-percent expenses included—Aristarchos is certainly one of the premier crewed sailing yachts on the world stage today. She’s part of the fleet at Atalanta Golden Yachts, and you can read our exclusive First Impression by clicking here.
Docked right next to Aristarchos was the other sailing yacht that had the docks abuzz: the 124-foot Aello, a gorgeously rebuilt 1921 schooner that is part of the fleet at Fraser Yachts Worldwide. We nabbed an interview with a member of the family who undertook this restoration project specifically for charter market use. You can learn more in our extended First Impression review of Aello this month.
Among the Greek motoryachts on display, there was no clear belle of the show. However, the three that garnered the most praise were the 125-foot Kintaro, the 112-foot Pandora and the 134-foot Ouranos Too.
Brokers praised Kintaro, a 2005 model built by Cantieri di Pisa, for injecting a light, contemporary, minimalist interior into a fleet that typically includes darker interiors and more traditional decors. Look for our First Impression review of Kintaro soon. She’s part of the Atalanta Golden Yachts fleet.
Also part of that fleet is Pandora, which caught brokers’ attention not just because of her good looks, but also because her chef, Yannis “John” Kouteranis, prepared a 15-dish gourmet sampling menu ranging from swordfish on rosemary skewers to a chocolate and chili terrine. Look for our exclusive, extended interview with Yannis soon in the Crew Interviews section.
Last but not least, Capt. Yiannis Kozakis of Ouranis Too received rave reviews from brokers who have known him for many years onboard other boats as he worked his way up to his current charge, a 134-foot Codecasa that was built in 1994 and extensively refit earlier this year. The yacht is part of the Cape4 Yachting fleet. Read our First Impression review by clicking here, and read our exclusive interview with Capt. Kozakis by clicking here.
Several smaller powerboats, too, made excellent impressions at the Greek show. Our two favorites were the 91-foot Sefira, part of the fleet at Big Blue Yachting, and the 80-foot Nicola II, part of the Athens Yachts fleet.
Read our exclusive First Impressions of these yachts by clicking here for Sefira and by clicking here for Nicola II.
Gulets, More Gulets, and a Few Nice Surprises in Turkey
A good number of American and Western European charter brokers made the trip to the charter yacht show in Marmaris, Turkey, in May—a reflection of the continuing improvement in the crewed yacht fleet that is available along the stunning southwest Turkish coast.
Gulets, which are traditional Turkish motor-sailing yachts, continue to make up the bulk of the Turkish fleet. However, more than 15 percent of the 54 boats registered for this year’s show were motoryachts (including one powercatmaran), and there were a few proper sailing yachts, as well.
The Turkish market is definitely broadening, and bringing with it a lot of questions that potential charter clients would be smart to heed.
“The yachts in Turkey are starting to come up in quality, just as they are in Greece,” explains CharterWave editor Kim Kavin, who spent several days touring yachts and interviewing crew at the show. “But the variety of yacht sizes, prices, and crew competence is still quite wide in Turkey. The boats at this year’s show ranged from 50 feet to 140 feet long, and they ranged in price from about $3,000 a week to about $75,000 a week, all working from different contracts that include different amounts of things like fuel, food and taxes.
“This is clearly an evolving market,,” Kim continues. “It’s certainly the kind of place where you can enjoy an exceptional charter vacation, but it’s still the kind of place where you can get burned if you fail to work with a reputable charter broker.”
Luckily, there were more reputable charter brokers than ever from the United States and Western Europe at the Turkey show, all of them drawn by the improvements the Turkish fleet has made in just the past two or three years.
Among the brokers Kim saw inspecting yachts and interviewing crew were Jody Lexow of her eponymous Rhode Island-based agency, Tina Hinckley of Hinckley Yacht Charters in Maine, Diane Fraser and Liz Howard from the California offices of Fraser Yachts Worldwide, Ray “Rags” Weldon from the Fort Lauderdale office of Ocean Independence, Noelle Alice-Fasciato of International Yacht Charters in France, Beverly Parsons of California’s Interpac Yachts, and Missy Johnston of Rhode Island-based Northrop & Johnson.
“These brokers deserve a lot of credit for spending the time and money to fly out to Turkey and see firsthand which yachts and local agencies their clients can trust,” Kim says. “If I were chartering in the fast-changing Turkish market right now, I would definitely work with a broker who has been here and done the personal legwork of ensuring my boat and crew are really as good as the brochures say.”
We have a sample of First Impressions online now from the Turkey show. Click here for our favorite motoryacht, the 105-foot Amazon-A, or click here for what we found to be the best-value-without-sacrificing-comfort gulet, the 75-foot Blue Piranha (just 9,000 a week outside of the prime cruising months, including three meals a day with wine at dinner).
You might also want to check out our full-length feature on the gorgeous, gulet-style sailing yacht Clarissa, which is our CharterWave Crewed Yacht of the Month for June—and still has available weeks for bookings this summer in southwest Turkey. Click here to read our Clarissa feature, or click here to go straight to The High Five.
It’s a Good Year for Charter in France’s Wine Regions
We know that barges cruising along rivers at 3 knots aren’t exactly yachts, but we followed a former yacht crew to France in late April to see how they’re bringing a taste of charter to inland wine regions.
Our host barge was the 128-foot Le Premier, recommended to us by Maryland-based broker Ann-Wallis White. Le Premier is run by Richard Shields and Kathy Williams, a lovely couple who previously spent more than a decade operating a 70-foot charter sailboat in Turkey and Greece.
In between tasting Burgundy whites and sampling delicious local cheeses, we learned that Le Premier’s crew are the only former yachties offering what we think of as proper crewed charter on the Burgundy Canal. Perhaps more important, they are among just three or four couples who are bringing yachting standards to barges operating on canals in Bordeaux and elsewhere in France.
We’ll post a full review of our charter onboard Le Premier soon, but first we want to give you an overview of your crewed and bareboat (a k a “self-drive”) charter barge options throughout France. Look for that feature in our Helpful Articles section next month.
Top-Dollar Sailing Charters
The awe-inspiring 295-foot sailing yacht Athena—built for software guru Jim Clark by the Dutch yard Royal Huisman—is quietly accepting charters at a base rate of a cool half-million dollars a week.
A principal at management company YCO tells us Clark is “very selective” about the guests he allows onboard, offering only limited destinations and no more than two months’ advance notice on available dates. Clark apparently personally screens every charter application before deciding whether to accept the guests onboard.
We’re told Athena will be available during the upcoming months “in parts of Polynesia,” which is about as cryptic an itinerary schedule as you can get. We guess that when the yacht itself costs a reported $90 million, the owner has no need to be more specific in seeking out paying charter clients!
We’re Scouting for You in the United States and Russia
CharterWave editor Kim Kavin is crisscrossing continents again this month, starting in June at the industry-only charter show in Newport, Rhode Island, and later heading all the way to St. Petersburg, Russia, for a look at charter options on the eastern edge of Northern Europe.
We look forward to sharing Kim’s discoveries in the CharterWave Crewed Yacht Review, Crew Interviews and First Impressions sections.
Until then, keep an eye on Kim’s crewed yacht blog. She hopes to post every day from Russia, and she’ll be reporting daily from the Newport charter show, as well.
Have the Whole Boat Earns Reader’s Choice Designation
Kim’s insider’s guide to yacht charter vacations recently sold enough copies to earn a coveted Reader’s Choice designation from publisher iUniverse.
“I owe a big thank you to companies like Bluewater Books and to brokers who continue to see this book as a valuable marketing tool for new clients coming into the charter vacation lifestyle,” Kim says. “We have more book signings planned in the future, both with Bluewater and, soon, with West Marine as well.”
You can get your copy of Have the Whole Boat today by clicking here.
Best of the Crewed Yacht Blog
"Bad, Bad Broker"
I met a new charter broker at the recent boat show in Greece. She invited me to lunch onboard a yacht she represents, so that I could see for myself just how "fabulous" the food and service were. ... Read more...
Best of the Bareboat Blog
"The Graveyard of Dreams"
Today I visited a friend at La Paz’s new Costa Baja Resort & Marina, just north of town on the La Paz-Pichilingue road. As we were visiting aboard the yacht on which he serves as first mate, he pointed toward a motley assortment of boats in a yard just outside the resort property. “That’s where dreams go to die,” he said. ... Read more...
Crewed Yacht of the Month: Clarissa
This traditional-looking Turkish gulet offers a heck of a lot more than meets the eye--including exceptional safety features you won't find onboard her competitors along Turkey's beautiful turquoise coast.
Click the following links to read our exclusive full review, or click here to go straight to The High Five.
Captain of the Month: Yiannis Kozakis
This captain has been a favorite among U.S. and Western European charter brokers for years, and he’s now onboard a beautifully refit motoryacht in Greece.
To read our exclusive interview with Kozakis, click here.
Chef of the Month: Robert Hedge
We admit we still aren’t sure what Mille Feuille of Langoustine means, but we know we loved it when this Aussie prepared it onboard the 150-foot motoryacht Perfect Persuasion.
See photos of Hedge's handiwork by checking out our exclusive interview.
Bonus Crew Interview of the Month: Lena Sundell
This chief stewardess onboard the 141-foot motoryacht Northern Cross created all-inclusive “mini-Med” charter packages that are available right now. She's all smiles in the photo at right--as she was pretty much every minute we spent onboard with her in Italy.
Learn more about Sundell by clicking here.
Broker of the Month: Carol Kent
Boston-based Carol Kent is a longtime independent broker who books yachts of all sizes around the globe—and who has special expertise in corporate and day-event charters.
Read our exclusive interview with Kent by clicking here.
Fleet and Management Company News
Camper & Nicholsons International: We got the lowdown from an inside source that CharterWave favorite motoryacht Java is reducing its rate for charters in New England this summer. The owner is knocking $7,000 of the usual $42,000-a-week price... tells us JAVA has New England Openings at a $7,000 reduction rate of $42K… We're also thrilled to tell you that longtime broker Sussie Kidd has joined the company and is available to help you book crewed yacht vacations...
Fraser Yachts Worldwide recently signed a bunch of new boats into its crewed yacht fleet: the 163-foot sailing yacht Aurore, the 143-foot motoryacht Deep Blue, the 148-foot motoryacht Her Honor, and the 126-foot motoryacht Le Montrachet... we also have the inside scoop that Fraser is welcoming a new 124-foot Hakvoort motoryacht called Perle Bleue into its fleet any minute now...
International Yacht Collection is offering a special introductory summer rate of $29,000 a week on the 116-foot motoryacht Margaux... It's also offering eight days for the price of seven onboard CharterWave favorite motoryacht Symphony II ...
Merrill-Stevens Yachts has two crewed boats available in New England this summer at a base rate of $35,000 a week: the 110-foot Kaleen and the 97-foot Gigi...
Nigel Burgess is promoting long-weekend, all-inclusive packages in the western Mediterranean onboard the 141-foot motoryacht Northern Cross. Check out our exclusive interview with chief stewardess Lena Sundell, who created the package deals...
Northrop & Johnson is offering the 122-foot motoryacht Shogun in Alaska this summer at a weekly base rate of $69.000...
Offshore Sailing School will teach you to sail for half the regular price if you book your three-day course at the same time as a weeklong cruise with the company in Maine, Croatia, or the British Virgin Islands...
Rikki Davis at Churchill Yacht Partners has turned behind-the-scenes charter manager Maggie Vale into a full-fledged retail charter broker who is now accepting new clients...
New Crewed Yacht Review Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Clarissa, 93-foot sailing yacht
New First Impressions Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Aello, 124-foot sailing yacht
Amazon-A, 105-foot motoryacht
Aristarchos, 131-foot sailing yacht
Blue Piranha, 75-foot gulet
Celtic Dawn, 102-foot motoryacht
INXS, 76-foot sailing yacht
Nicola II, 80-foot motoryacht
Ouranos Too, 134-foot motoryacht
Princess Iolanthe, 150-foot motoryacht
Prometej, 147-foot motoryacht
Sefira, 91-foot motoryacht
Selene, 183-foot sailing yacht
New Crew Interviews Posted on ChartehrWave This Month:
Capt. Yiannis Kozakis, m/y Ouranos Too
Chef Robert Hedge, m/y Perfect Persuasion
Chief Stewardess Lena Sundell, m/y Northern Cross
New Broker Interviews Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Beverly Parsons, Interpac Yachts
New Feature Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Tipping Your Yacht’s Crew: How Much Is Enough?