With the world gradually pulling itself from the grip of a global pandemic, many people have been dreaming of that once in a lifetime trip, exploring new parts of the world and finally shaking off a turbulent year. For most, travel in the current climate can be daunting, not knowing the regulations per country, vaccine status and the fear of illness, but there is one type of holiday that can bypass many of these concerns – charter. Photo: Julien HubertThere are few other industries that can offer absolute privacy, or the world class standard of luxury, which can be offered aboard a crewed charter yacht. However, picking the right broker, yacht and destination can be a mammoth task, so we asked some of the leading brokers in the industry for their top tips for first time charterers. Look into booking your charter well ahead of time:
Many brokers are predicting a boom in superyacht charters in the coming year, and with many people having suffered from holiday cancellations during 2020, demand will be at an all time high. Marie Molls, Partner, fleet manager and charter broker at Burgess Yachts said; “Look into planning your charter early. The popular yachts book up fast, especially in the high season weeks, so it’s best to book, sometimes as early as 12 months in advance”.
Peter Bennett, Founder of Bluewater Yachting shared the sentiment, noting, “Worldwide, the charter industry is going to really kick off, people have been pent up for so long and now they want to get away. You won't be able to book a holiday, all the yachts that want to charter will be booked, maybe not this year but definitely next year. I recommend that if you want to charter in 2022, book early to avoid disappointment!” Photo: Bluewater Choose your charter broker carefully:
Your charter broker is the person that you can rely on to find the perfect yacht for you, so finding the right broker is an all important step. Doing your research online is crucial, and it is also a good idea to find a broker that speaks your language and understands your perspective. Eleanor Bloodworth, Charter Specialist at Y.CO, noted, “Not only will your broker have access to a wider variety of yachts, but they are visiting the yachts and attending shows frequently, so they have a great knowledge of what the yachts are really like on board and who the captains are. This can give you much more insight to a yacht than a photo or video can ever do.”
Many brokerages have a selection of international firms, so spend some time searching for the company that matches your interests and your requirements. It is important not to just look for a yacht and go from there, because that can really limit your options! Lucinda Rosen, Charter Broker at Cecil Wright and Partnerscommented, “First time charterers can be overwhelmed with all the information and seemingly limitless choice of yachts from multiple brokerages.” Adding that the key to a successful charter is to have direct contact with the broker, over Zoom or in person, because “This allows a broker to be able to put together the absolute best options to suit them as well as guide first time charterers through the process, get them a good deal and be able to advise them on the best itinerary too.”
Frances Edgeworth of Fraser added, “Make sure you work with a qualified broker who has good credentials such as being a MYBA or IYBA member. A broker’s role goes far beyond securing a yacht: by working with a trusted broker, you will be fully supported by an experienced professional throughout the process.”Be Flexible:
If you’re chartering for the first time, it's a good idea to be open to a variety of options and locations, this will help your broker research the best options for you and your guests. Marie Molls of Burgess added, “if you are ever uncertain, ask your brokers advice and recommendations, they are there to help find you the best vessel in the right location, and they have the experience.” Photo: S/Y AthosDon’t be afraid to ask for final costs:
For first time charterers, defining the final costs can be confusing, but don't be afraid to ask your broker about the total costs of the charter. Almost all charters have an additional provisional allowance, be it for food, petrol, drinks or port tax, and these are often not calculated within the initial charter fee. It is important to speak to your broker about the Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) and this will ensure you aren’t caught out by unforeseen costs.
Alice Newnham, charter broker with IYC agreed adding, “When working with your consultant to find the perfect boat for your charter, it is really important that you are transparent about what you are looking to spend. There are other fees such as VAT/tax and crew gratuity that your charter consultant will also brief you on prior to you making your decision.”Utilise your crew:
Lastly, it's important to remember that the crew are really your best asset once you are aboard, they will know the vessel better than anyone, even your broker, and it is likely that they have cruised to many of the locations you are visiting before. The more information you give to them about your preferences, the easier it will be for them to cater to your desires and ensure that you have the best holiday experience possible. Nicola Breymaier of Fraser commented, “Pay particular attention to the crew. Ensure your broker is aware of the kind of service you are expecting and that the crew will fit with that; be it formal, energetic, gourmet chef, sport specialists, etc. The crew is just as important, if not more important than the yacht itself!”
Don’t shy away from asking their advice, or requesting the things you feel you need to truly enjoy your charter – that is what they are there for! William Molloy, the senior charter broker at Moravia Yachting agrees, adding, “A great charter crew will immediately realise if clients want to relax and enjoy the privacy offered by the yacht or be entertained during the cruise. They will have the local knowledge along the route to help you find ‘hidden gems’ along your bespoke itinerary. Whether it be the very best restaurants, an open-air opera, or the most beautiful anchorages for water-sports and idyllic lunches.” Alice Newnham of IYC reiterated also this point, “The captain, together with their crew explore the areas week in week out to seek out the best anchorages, restaurants, ports to give you a unique insight into the cruising grounds. They are knowledgeable - so use them! Captains love sharing their best kept secrets with their guests.”As Marie Molls of Burgess put it, “This is most likely going to be the most relaxing and exciting vacation you have ever had, so give yourself and your guests enough time in each destination, to fully enjoy the yacht, the features, the food during this unique and luxurious experience.”Photo: S/Y AthosThis article has been produced in collaboration with the Monaco Yacht Show 2021. For more information about this years show, and to see details of exhibitors, visit their website at www.monacoyachtshow.com.