YACHTS THE SIZE OF A FOOTBALL FIELD
Recently, I was catching up on my technical reading, as I studied the launch of the 96 meter Feadship yacht VERTIGO.
For many of our clients, the epitome of luxury is a Feadship yacht charter vacation. These fabled Dutch builders have placed a number of their award-winning vessels into the superyacht charter market. Vessels like yacht HURRICANE RUN, motor yacht JOY, and the the 81 meter yacht AIR, the second largest Feadship currently available for charter, hold a coveted ranking among the most popular luxury yachts for hire in the world.
As I reviewed photos of yacht VERTIGO, Feadship hull 1066, I was floored by her massive size. At 96 meters in length (about 315 feet), she is longer than an NFL football field, from bow to stern. Even her onboard amenities are grand – like the 9 meter x 4 meter swimming pool and the below-deck helicopter hangar.
I thought to myself, “Our charter clients will be amazed when they see this yacht.”
AMAZED…or WILL clients be????
Is it possible vessels like Feadship yacht VERTIGO and similar sized yachts are too big for a superyacht charter, no matter how impressive their onboard amenities might be. Too ostentatious? Too large to maneuver? Too expensive?
IS THERE A BEST SIZE FOR A CHARTERYACHT?
So just how big is too big – and is there an optimal size yacht for charter?
As a person might expect, there is no simple yes or no answer. More importantly, there IS a correct answer – and it comes from understanding not so much what the charterer wants, as what the charterer needs!
While the charter rate and yacht’s appearance and amenities are important, those details initially take a back seat to the primary factors used to determine the optimal size of the yachts we recommend to our clients.
Our charter consultants focus on two primary criteria when determining the right yacht:
DESTINATION DICTATES YACHT SIZE
“Where” the client wishes to charter is the first factor in determining how large a yacht they can enjoy. Simply stated, some yachts are too large, and draft too deeply in the water to safely navigate certain destinations. Jana Sheeder, our company’s President best explains the challenge:
“A client who enjoyed a 175ft Feadship yacht charter vessel in the Mediterranean in the summer, might ask for a similar yacht to explore the Bahamas in the winter. However, the Bahamas are a shallow destination and many of the best beachfront anchorages are too shallow to be enjoyed by a Feadship with a typical 12ft draft. Instead of quoting a Feadship, we would probably recommend a yacht like the 164ft Mangusta MOONRAKER. She’s just 10 feet shorter in length than a comparable Feadship, but drafts just 6ft – half the draft of a Feadship!”
USE DICTATES YACHT SIZE
“What” the charterer wishes to do during the rental period is the second factor in recommending a yacht based on size. If the yacht is to be used for a corporate event, like the Cannes Film Festival, accessible dockage is crucial to the success of the charter. Hansel Sneed, President of Sneed Tropical Yacht Charter, describes the importance of analyzing dockage requirements in relation to the yacht’s size: “For a static charter, the yacht is normally positioned stern-to (perpendicular to) the quay so VIP guests can come and go. If the yacht is too long, it will have trouble docking stern-to, and it’s bow will jut out, and possibly restrict the passage of yachts entering and exiting the marina. It is far better to provide the client with a yacht shorter in overall length, but greater in volume via multiple decks for entertainment and socializing.”
Once the destination and use issues have been addressed, we can present the largest yachts that won’t compromise the needs of the client. At this point, the focus shifts to cost and amenities, with many clients seeking the biggest yacht in line with their budget, as well as a vessel with unique watertoys.
THE SUPERYACHT OWNER’S PERSPECTIVE
As an interesting side note, the owner’s perspective on what is the ideal size for a superyacht for charter differs from that of the charterer and charter broker. With many owners, bigger is better. Driven in part by ego, yacht owners continue to build larger and larger yachts. In a recent interview with Superyacht Times, John Rosatti, the owner of 65m yacht DOUBLE DOWN, commented on the growing trend to build bigger yachts:
“Everyone’s going bigger now, just look around. In 1988, I had a 34m Thunderball and it was in the top 100 largest yachts. Now I have a 65m, which may have just slipped out of the top 250. These boats get bigger and the ports get smaller. Where do you put them? It’s tough. If you look around there’s virtually nothing under 150 feet now.”
Yet even when ego seems to dictate the size of yachts, there is still some semblance of reason for a few yacht owners. Paolo Casani, managing director of Camper & Nicholsons, believes new-build growth in charter yachts will be in the 45-65m sector. Casani told Superyacht Times:
“They’re (45-65m yachts) easier to manage and you have more berthing options. Yachts this size are the most appealing for charter. We had a 60m that did 96 days of charter in one season. The owner offset his running costs and actually made a profit. The pricing for charters becomes far less attractive for the market when you get above 65 meters.”
FINAL YACHT SIZE THOUGHT
While affluent owners will continue to push the bar and build yachts in the 100 meter range, and larger, for most charterers, the ideal charter vessel will be the yacht that is best suited for the client’s desired cruising destination and specific use. Whether that yacht is 50 meters or 100, should remain a secondary factor in selecting the right yacht for the ultimate superyacht experience.
Interested in a Superyacht Charter Vacation with family and friends? Text SUPERYACHT to 3057207245 for more information…
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