Discount Charter Offers Abound; Most Size Ranges Are ‘Buyer’s Market’
Reputable charter brokers are saying they feel “flooded,” as one put it, with discount offers from charter yachts sitting idle this summer from New England to the Mediterranean.
And as our daily reporting on the CharterWave Editor’s Blog has shown during the past month or two, such offers are coming from charter yachts in all size ranges, power and sail alike, except the world’s largest, most exclusive yachts.
Some yachts are offering broker bonuses as incentives for agents to market their boats more prominently than competitors, while other yachts are offering straight discounts and delivery fee exemptions that brokers can pass along to charter clients. In one case, the Greek agency Absolute Yachting sent out a notice that for 2009, a half-dozen of its yachts will offer a 1-to-1 dollar-euro exchange rate on charters to help rekindle bookings from U.S. clients, no matter what the actual exchange rate is at that time.
The sheer number of such offers supports the anecdotal evidence we’re hearing about charter business being down in virtually all cases in traditional summer markets. Brokers cite a “perfect storm” of the flagging U.S. economy, fuel prices that increase charter and air travel fees alike, and a strong euro against the dollar.
As one broker from a major management company put it: “Three years ago, if I was looking for a Mangusta in August, I couldn’t beg, borrow or steal one. Today, almost every day, there’s one offering eight days for the price of seven. One owner was going to throw in the dockage, the food, and the fuel. I would never even dream of asking for a discount in July or August, but I’ve done it three times this year, and all three times I’ve gotten the discount. It’s become a buyer’s market.”
Welcome New Sponsor: Northrop and Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters
We here at CharterWave are thrilled to welcome Northrop and Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters as our newest sponsor. The two brokers who run this Newport, Rhode Island, agency are among the most knowledgeable and experienced in the world.
Broker Missy Johnston has long been an active leader in the charter community, with credits that include being a past president of the American Yacht Charter Association and having served as a charter industry liaison to the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Congress during the creation of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act. Johnston is considered an ace at international charter laws and contracts, so much so that other brokers often turn to her for advice on their own bookings.
Broker Carolyn Titus has worked in the charter industry for 30 years, including having been a founding member of the American Yacht Charter Association and having helped to create what is now the biggest annual charter yacht show in Europe. Titus has strong experience booking charter vacations as well as managing charter yachts, andshe has special expertise in booking luxury racing charters—a specialty that can be hard to find in the charter industry.
The team has already started blogging on the new Northrop and Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters sponsored page, where they plan to post updates regularly. You also can learn more about Johnston and Titus by reading our editorial interviews with them, or by going to their own website, which was recently updated and has a place where you can request the company’s informative newsletter.
Insurance Agent Says Hold Harmless Clauses Becoming More Common in Charter Contracts
Gary P. Carroll, a marine insurance agent with Comprehensive Yacht Assurance in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told CharterWave in July that he has been receiving more calls than usual from reputable charter brokers asking about “hold harmless” clauses in charter yacht contracts.
Such clauses state that one party releases the other party from liability should anything go wrong. In the case of charter, it’s the client releasing the yacht’s owner and crew from any legal liability for anything. According to Carroll, these hold harmless agreements even nullify a charter client’s personal liability insurance, because insurance companies will not pay for damages if a person has agreed in writing to take full responsibility for anything that might go wrong.
Carroll told CharterWave that these clauses have been in charter contracts for some time, and that the most reputable charter brokers work to negotiate them out. But recently, he said, even some of the world’s most elite brokers have been asking how to handle hold harmless clauses because the companies that manage charter yachts are beginning to insist on their inclusion in charter agreements.
“My advice in these cases is for the brokers to find another boat,” Carroll said.
CharterWave readers, take heed and make sure your broker works for your best interests in this area.
British Virgin Islands Shelve Plans for Port Tax
As we here at CharterWave first learned from broker Ed Hamilton of the booking agency Ed Hamilton & Partners, the government in the British Virgin Islands has shelved its plans for a Port Tax—meaning charterers booking vacations there will no longer have to worry about paying several hundred dollars in extra costs.
That’s good news all around, and yet another reminder of why it’s important to work with reputable charter brokers who keep tabs on more than just sending you boat brochures full of pretty pictures.
Voyage Fleet Raises Rates, Cites Rising Fuel Costs
In July, Voyage Charters, a company that manages crewed and bareboat yachts for charters in the British Virgin Islands and Spain’s Balearic Isles, announced that any charters booked aboard its boats in the British Virgin Islands beginning August 1 will be priced 10 percent higher than usual to make up for rising fuel expenses. The new rates are likely to remain in effect well into the winter 2008-09 charter season.
This rate change is believed to be the first blanket company response to global fuel price increases, at least in the smaller, entry-level, often all-inclusive segment of the yacht charter industry.
OceanStyle Opens Office in Palma
OceanStyle, a sister company of superyacht management house Burgess Yachts, has opened an office in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
The company says it chose Palma for its newest office because the Balearic Isles yachting market is primarily composed of yachts in the 65- to 130-foot size range, which is OceanStyle’s specialty. The company focuses primarily on yacht sales, but, as we reported on the CharterWave editor’s blog back in February, OceanStyle has quietly been building a charter fleet in that size range, as well. The company is aiming to have a fleet of 25 yachts for charter by the end of this year.
The new office in Palma is in addition to OceanStyle’s offices in London, Monaco, Miami, and Athens. It will be headed by sales manager Jamie Small, a former yacht crew member with experience working in yacht brokerage houses in Spain. There is no indication that a charter broker will be immediately based in the new office.
Northrop and Johnson Opens San Diego Office
Fort Lauderdale-based Northrop & Johnson announced in July that it is opening an office in San Diego, California.
According to the press release, “West Coast veterans David Roscow, Gregg Morton and Sue Fewster will be based in the new office to assist in every aspect of the sales, charter, crew placement and management of luxury yachts.”
We called the company to clarify that statement, since those names appeared to be unknown in the charter segment of the industry. As it turns out, the new office will be primarily focused on yacht sales, but Fewster apparently has about 20 years’ experience as an office manager at a large-yacht company, and so will be answering questions about charter before directing clients to charter brokers June Montagne and Ann Landry in the Fort Lauderdale office.
The new office’s contact information is (619) 226-3344,
New Vidcast: In the galley onboard MITseaAH
It’s not every day that we get to be onboard a gorgeous 155-foot sailing yacht while its crew dresses up as superheroes to entertain guests during an afternoon tea party. Such was the case when we interviewed chef Troy Harrison—aka Zorro for the day—onboard MITseaAH during the Genoa charter show.
Make sure you watch our exclusive vidcast on a full stomach. Harrison’s sweet treats are about as tempting as food can get.
Dream Cruises Wins Good Reviews on Reuters, Fox Business News
Reuters news service and Fox Business News ran a positive review in July of CharterWave editor Kim Kavin’s book Dream Cruises: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Charter Vacations.
Apparently, these media outlets use reviews written by a service called Reader Views, which posted this review of Dream Cruises before the national and international versions of it ran in the other outlets.
The review calls Dream Cruises “an all-encompassing guide” and “an excellent book to familiarize you with the world of private yacht chartering.”
Best of the Editor’s Blog: A Study in Contrasts
There’s an interesting dichotomy brewing down in the Western Hemisphere’s tropics. In one tourist location, locals are struggling to get bigger boats into their ports. In another, the locals are raging to keep them away. ... Read more ...
Best of the Sponsored Blogs: Gyspy Queen — learn to cruise on this sloop
From the Regency Yacht Vacations Blog: For those who know how to sail a bit, but want to see what cruising on a small boat would be like, come sail with Captain Bob on the 38′ sloop Gypsy Queen. ... Read more ...
Motoryacht of the Month: Sherakhan
What does a half-million-dollar-per-week base rate buy you in the world of yacht charter? Our editor spent a few days onboard this 228-footer to get the inside scoop in the Caribbean, and she was just as impressed as she hoped she would be.
Here is our exclusive feature about the trip, or you can jump straight to our quick-hit High Five review.
Sailing Yacht of the Month: Amneris
The 76-foot Amneris was built as the personal vessel for the owner of Alden Yachts. Now with a new owner and recently refit with, among other things, a larger bed in the master cabin, she is available for charter this summer in New England.
Our exclusive First Impression review includes comments from the captain about the refit work.
Captain of the Month: Ken Bracewell
Ken Bracewell has been working on the water since he was 7 years old, helping his father to run a dinner cruise ship carrying 200 passengers in Ontario, Canada. Today, he commands the popular 145-foot motoryacht Curt-C in New England and the Caribbean.
Our exclusive interview with Capt. Bracewell is online here.
Chef of the Month: Troy Harrison
It’s not enough for Troy Harrison to cook delicious food onboard the 155-foot sailing yacht MITseaAH. He also takes pride in helping to entertain the guests by doing things such as dressing up in superhero costumes.
We caught that one on video, or you can read about it in our exclusive interview.
Broker of the Month: Sandy Carney
After years of working for boating and charter companies, broker Sandy Carney recently opened her own shop. She says she’s different from other brokers because she actually sails, and because she’s eager to respond to clients the same day they call, making service as good as she can.
Learn more about Carney and her business in our exclusive interview.
Fleet and Management Company News
Absolute Yachting is offering a 5-percent early-booking discount for 2009 summer charters in Greece that are booked before October onboard the following yachts: the 101-foot motoryacht Obsession, the 101-foot motoryacht Monte Carlo, the 101-foot motoryacht A.K., and the 128-foot motoryacht Monaco… The 52-foot sailing catamaran Infinity is available for charters in late August and early September from Greece’s Santorini Island…
America’s Cup Charters says it now manages the world’s largest fleet of 12-meter racing yachts. New to the Newport, Rhode Island, fleet are Easterner and Enterprise. The yachts are available for racing or destination charters…
Athens Yachts tells us that five of its yachts still have availability for charters this summer. They are the 110-foot motoryacht Astir, the 115-foot motoryacht Ragazza, the 80-foot motoryacht Nicola II, the 80-foot motoryacht Chrysanthe S, and the 104-foot motorsailer Hermina…
BCR Yachts says the 91-foot motoryacht Where the Dreams Have No End is open for charters from the end of August onward in the South of France… Also still available in the South of France is the 118-foot motoryacht Sunliner X, based in Antibes… The 64-foot Oyster sailing yacht Blue Destiny joins the fleet and is available for charters in the Western Mediterranean at a lowest weekly base rate of 18,000 euro for six guests… The 73-foot sailing yacht Concerto will be moving into the Caribbean for the upcoming winter season, taking six guests…
Blue Latitude Yachting has last-minute summer availability on several 58-foot sailing catamarans. They include Emotion2 in the Seychelles, Go Free in the Grenadines, and Sagaponack and Ocean’s Seven, both in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean…
Burgess Yachts says the 191-foot motoryacht Unbridled, which is still under construction at Trinity Yachts, has joined the fleet and will be available for charter during the 2009 summer Mediterranean season. The lowest weekly base rate will be 308,000 euro for 10 to 12 guests. … Also new to the fleet are the 157-foot ISA motoryacht Ellix Too and the 144-foot Heesen motoryacht One-O-One. … The popular 156-foot charter motoryacht Va Bene has just completed a multimillion-dollar refit and will be available late this summer in the Mediterranean before moving into the Caribbean for the upcoming winter season…
Camper & Nicholsons International says the 112-foot Westport motoryacht Symphony II has expanded her cruising area and will be available in the Grenadines, as well as the Southern Caribbean’s ABC islands, from August through October. Her weekly base rate is $49,500…
CEO Expeditions is offering a special on the 120-foot motoryacht Kayana in the San Juan Islands. The yacht, which is typically $79,000 per week plus expenses of about $25,000 (about $15,000 total per day), is available for $6,995 per day, including expenses, for charters of at least three days in the San Juans…
Churchill Yacht Partners says the 154-foot Perini Navi sailing yacht Andromeda la Dea still has availability for charters this month in the Western Mediterranean at a weekly base rate of $150,000… Also available this summer is the 88-foot motoryacht Lady Victoria, which is finishing the season in the unusual charter grounds in and around Charleston, South Carolina, before moving to the Bahamas for the winter… The 107-foot Burger motoryacht Silver Seas is preparing to move to Annapolis, Maryland, which she will use as a base for charters this fall in the Chesapeake Bay…
Edmiston & Company welcomes two new motoryachts to the fleet. The 131-foot Feadship Seaflower takes six to eight guests at a lowest weekly base rate of 130,000 euro. She is currently in the Western Mediterranean. The 120-foot Couach Sheleila takes eight guests at a lowest weekly base rate of $110,000 and is available in Dubai for weeklong or daylong charters…
Fraser Yachts Worldwide, in conjunction with New Zealand-based 37 South, says the 115-foot motoryacht Surprise and the 112-foot motoryacht VvS1 are both available for charter in Australia. Surprise is there now, while VvS1 will be available there in October and November… Fraser also will have five charter yachts on display at next month’s YachtFest San Diego. The are the 156-foot motoryacht Piano Bar, the 140-foot motoryacht Leight Star, the 127-foot motoryacht Bellissima, the 118-foot motoryacht Isabella, and the 90-foot sailing yacht Die Swaene…
Hargrave Charters says the 100-foot Seafarer is still available for New England charters this summer. She takes eight guests with four crew at a weekly base rate of $42,500… Also available in New England this summer is the 98-foot Tiger’s Eye, taking eight guests at a weekly base rate of $42,500…
International Yacht Collection’s 115-foot motoryacht El Jefe is running two summer promotions. The weekly base rate has been reduced from $50,000 to $45,000 (plus a $2,000 broker bonus), and a four-day all-inclusive rate is soon to be announced… New to the fleet, and all in the Bahamas this summer, are the 80-foot Lazzara motoryacht Rejoyce, the 74-foot Sunseeker motoryacht Aqua Novia, and the 108-foot Broward motoryacht Summer Nights…
Neptune Group Yachting says the 82-foot Horizon motoryacht Adriana II is arriving in Newport, Rhode Island, to begin offering charters the first week of August. She takes six guests at a lowest weekly base rate of $28,500… The 120-foot motoryacht Paladin, whose regular weekly base rate is $55,000, is offering 10-day charters in the Bahamas during August and September for a base rate of $65,000…
Nicholson Yachts is offering a 10-percent discount for a charter onboard the 75-foot sailing catamaran Matau from August 19-26, round-trip from Venice, Italy. Beginning in September, Matau will be available in Italy, France and Croatia… The 72-foot sailing yacht Bonnie Lynn is offering a 5-percent discount for charters the last two weeks of September in Maine and Rhode Island… The 62-foot sailing yacht Conundrum still has availability for charters in late August in New England… The 82-foot sailing yacht Fortuna is offering a 10-percent discount on a charter beginning August 11 in Spain… The 112-foot sailing yacht Gitana is available for charters this summer in Croatia… The 138-foot sailing catamaran Douce France will charter in Micronesia through October before moving into the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand this winter… New to the fleet is the 95-foot gulet motorsailer Quasart, which is available in New England through October for 12 guests at a weekly base rate of $35,000…
Northrop and Johnson is offering a 10-percent discount on seven-day or longer charters this summer on the 115-foot Trinity motoryacht Watercolours. The weekly base rate is $49,500, which includes a 32-foot Intrepid tender…
Ocean Independence welcomes the 228-foot Nomad (previously Floridian and Aussie Rules) to the fleet. Rates are available on request for 12 guests… Also new to the fleet are the 140-foot motoryacht Berzinc, the 113-foot motoryacht Paola, the 88-foot sailing yacht Tiketitan, the 78-foot motoryacht Solal, and the 73-foot motoryacht Samakanda…
Primo Yacht Charter announces that the 95-foot Peri motoryacht Bibich has launched from the shipyard and arrived for charters in the South of France. She takes eight guests with four crew at a lowest weekly base rate of 60,000 euro… The 146-foot motoryacht Costa Magna is open for charters this month in and around Monaco…
Robert J. Cury and Associates says the 80-foot Azimut motoryacht Joe Cool is available for charters in Florida and the Bahamas for as many as six guests at a lowest weekly base rate of $23,000…
Seascape Yacht Charters says the 110-foot motoryacht Pollux is available for charters with eight to 10 guests after August 19 in and around Athens, Greece, at a lowest weekly base rate of 65,800 euro… New to the fleet is the 92-foot Falcon motoryacht Pouaro, which takes eight guests in Greece at a lowest weekly base rate of 43,400 euro…
Sunreef Yachts Charter tells us that Capt. Robert Davidson and Chef Sharon Munroe have moved from the 62-foot sailing catamaran Mister T to the brand-new, 67-foot sailing catamaran Seazen II. They are in the Mediterranean for the rest of this summer, and then will move to the Caribbean for the winter season… The 60-foot sailing catamaran Miti is available for charter during Les Voiles de St. Tropez in September… The 62-foot sailing catamaran Anassa will soon move to the Caribbean for the upcoming winter season… The 56-foot sailing catamaran Blue Note is moving to the Caribbean to begin charters there in October…
Voyage Charters welcomes the Stealth 540 high-performance powerboat Eagle Ray to its fleet. It will be available in Florida and the Bahamas with a top speed of 50 miles per hour…
New First Impression Reviews Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Berzinc , 140-foot motoryacht
Eliza, 80-foot sailing yacht
Lady Z, 62-foot motoryacht
Lauren L, 295-foot motoryacht
MITseaAH, 155-foot sailing yacht
Namoh, 125-foot motoryacht
Titan, 198-foot motoryacht
New Crew Interviews Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Capt. Ken Bracewell, motoryacht Curt-C
Chef Troy Harrison, sailing yacht MITseaAH
New Broker Interviews Posted on CharterWave This Month:
Sandy Carney, Sanderson Yachting
New Vidcast Posted on CharterWave This Month:
In the galley with chef Troy Harrison onboard the sailing yacht MITseaAH
Please Support CharterWave’s Sponsors:
Regency Yacht Vacations
International Yacht Charter Group
Virgin Island Sailing
C.U. Yacht Charters
Shannon Webster Charters
Northrop and Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters
Broker Agnes Howard
Broker Gail Hartman