|Broker Report: Onboard Audacia in the Western Mediterranean|
|Written by Kim Kavin|
|Tuesday, 24 May 2011 00:00|
Charter broker Tom Collins of the Burgess Yachts office in Miami, Florida, recently spent several days onboard the 159-foot Feadship motoryacht Audacia in the Western Mediterranean. I spoke with him about the yacht’s condition, the standard of crew service, and the overall experience that Audacia provides as part of the Fraser Yachts Worldwide charter fleet.
Audacia is an older yacht, built in 1987 and marketed as having been refit in 2011. How did she look in person?
I thought the boat looked great. She makes a really good first impression. Sometimes with older boats, I step onboard and think, “Well, the owner hasn’t been taking care of this boat.” Or, as anybody in the boating business will tell you, there is sometimes an old-boat smell. I didn’t feel that way with Audacia at all. She really had a fresh feeling to her.
She was in great shape, obviously well maintained, and ready for charter clients to step onboard.
What was the recent refit work that is being promoted?
The owner just extended the swim platform, and it’s a really nice, new amenity. There’s now a pair of curved stairways coming down off the aft deck on both the port and starboard sides. Those stairs lead to a big, extended swim platform that is ideal for swimming off the back of the boat. It’s the kind of extra-large swim platform that is typically only found on newer boats. It’s a truly contemporary feature.
How did you find the level of crew service?
They did a great job. The crew met us at the airport in Nice, France, and took us to the yacht’s tender, which was waiting at the dock near where Audacia was anchored. So our feeling of being in good hands started immediately. Within about 20 minutes of collecting our bags at the airport, we were on the boat, and we were made to feel at home right away.
I can’t overstate enough that the crew absolutely is a real strong point of this boat. Capt. Simon is very sharp, and he runs the show. That crew knew what they were doing the entire charter. The atmosphere on Audacia is professional, friendly, and warm. All of the guests felt very much at home. We were all experienced charter brokers who felt the service was exactly the level that it should be.
Where did you go after boarding Audacia in Nice?
Our first stop was St. Tropez, and I have to say, one of the advantages of visiting the Western Mediterranean in early May is that we could actually get a marina slip in St. Tropez. It’s a really chic place, and a bit of a crowd gathered on the quay as the crew backed Audacia into her slip. There were paparazzi, and we had some fun playing with them in our baseball caps and sunglasses. They were snapping photographs furiously, and we were being very coy. Then they saw us come down the passarelle, and they realized that we were absolutely nobody. We got a nice laugh out of that.
We had a lovely time in St. Tropez and a nice dinner in town, where there is plenty of shopping as well as good restaurants. It’s a really cool spot.
That sounds hard to beat. Did you have similar experiences during the rest of your time onboard?
Actually, after St. Tropez we went to Monaco, and from there, to Portofino in Italy. We stayed at anchor in both of those places, and it was also a lovely time. As much as we enjoyed the experience in St. Tropez at the marina, we all recognized that you really don’t have to always be in the marinas to have a great charter experience in the West Med.
For instance, the crew took us to this great little spot between Portofino and Santa Margherita. We had lunch there, just this little beach club overlooking the rocky shoreline, and then we enjoyed a really nice walk from there into Portofino itself before meeting the tender to go back to Audacia at anchor. It was completely different than St. Tropez, but absolutely beautiful and fantastic.
It sounds like you ate out quite a bit. Did you get a chance to sample the food onboard Audacia?
We did, and I thought the chef was very good. He’s French, but he doesn’t cook only those heavy, traditional French dishes. He was versatile, and the quality of everything he cooked was what I expect onboard a megayacht. He was easygoing and talented—which, I have to say, describes the entire crew aboard Audacia.
So, will you be recommending Audacia to your clients?
Absolutely. She’s a great value as well as a fantastic operation. Her upper deck had all new furniture, so we know that the owner is continuing to make investments. Her captain and crew did an outstanding job. The boat herself looked terrific. I really had a great time onboard, and I’m certainly going to tell my clients about her.
Audacia’s lowest weekly base rate in the Mediterranean is $210,000 for 12 guests with nine crew. She is available for bookings as part of the charter fleet at Fraser Yachts Worldwide. Broker Tom Collins may be reached for additional information or bookings through the Burgess Yachts office in Miami, Florida.