How to Pick a Yacht Charter
This year’s Newport Charter Yacht Show showcased the best the industry has to offer. Here are the top power and sail yachts on display, and how to pick which one is right for you.
One of the hottest topics in today’s economy is the “sharing of resources.” There are dozens of books and hundreds of articles explaining how the growing trend is to use, rather than own, objects and “share” experiences. Our lives are influenced by Airbnb, Uber, Zipcar and WeWork.
For the yacht chartering industry, this is old news. Playing to millennials’ desires for experiences rather than things, this year’s Newport Charter Yacht Show, which was held in Rhode Island last month, displayed the best power and sail experiences available in New England this summer.
If you have ever owned a captained yacht—usually one larger than 60 feet—you know what a big responsibility they are. The yachts at the show are substantially larger than that and often have crews of five or more, which is not only very expensive—anywhere from $2 million to $10 million—but a serious time commitment. Even with a yacht manager, a legion of decisions must be made concerning staffing, maintenance, repairs and itinerary planning. As an alternative, and to help defray costs, the charter industry exists to match those who want to enjoy a yachting lifestyle with boats owned by others but not in use. The Newport show had both power and sailing yachts. Here’s the difference between the two and how to choose the right one for your trip.
I would break the power group into three sub-groups: luxury, super-luxury and unique experiences. The luxury yachts like Carpe Diem, Cru, Essence of Cayman and Pneuma are under 100 feet but have full crews and all the amenities and water toys. Each was in pristine condition with impeccable furnishings and decorations. They’re the only power yachts you can charter for a day or two, at an approximate cost of $7,000 per day plus expenses like food and fuel.
In the super-luxury group were yachts like Fabulous Character, Invision, Namaste and, the largest power boat of all at 150 feet, Time For Us. These superyachts have more decks, more cabins, more staff and more room for toys. Most require a week’s minimum charter, and a yacht like Fabulous Character is around $150,000 per week.
The one entry in the unique experience category was the 124-foot Ariadne. She was completely updated in 2018 and made to feel like an ocean liner of yesteryear. She has antiques from the Normandie and SS America and recreated deck chairs from the Queen Mary. No expense has been spared to create the feeling of understated elegance and a bespoke environment.
If you want to see the sights at a more leisurely pace, sailing is the way to go. I would arrange the six sail boats in the show into three categories: classic, modern and multi-hull.
At 141 feet, Columbia stood out as a classic. This recent replica of a Grand Banks fishing schooner from 1924, with its warm and intimate interior, would be perfect for a family looking for an adventure. It’s around $60,000 a week plus expenses.
Eros, with its 80-year history as a luxury yacht, has been rebuilt to museum-quality standards and is ready for groups or families who need a lot of space.
In the modern sailing category at the Newport show were Aphrodite, a Swan 68, and Raven Claw, an Oyster 82. Both are high-performance, top-of-the-line boats in pristine condition. If you want to help sail, they will let you take the helm.
If a cutting edge, one-of-a-kind performance, luxury catamaran is your idea of sailing, 60-foot Cygnus Cygnus is available for approximately $30,000 per week plus expenses. She is a Finnish-built Ocean Explorer designed for world cruising. Wherever you were planning to go she will get you there quickly in her Scandinavian minimalist style.
The most intelligent way to find the right yacht for your budget, personality and style is to work with a charter broker. They will know the boats, captains, crews, level of care taken by the owner and a dozen other small but important facts. You can read more about all these boats and their charter brokers here.
So, if you don’t want to purchase one of these yachts, consider stepping into the carefree world of charter. Get someone else to pay the yard and repair bills, deal with crew mutinies and take on the significant depreciation of the asset.