25 Apr 2013
As clichéd as it sounds, never before has the statement ‘dreaming is not a strategy’ taken on greater significance than when it comes to our private lives. Organising that all-important quality time with family and friends is now the domain of PAs and confidantes, pushed aside by even the most good-intentioned of CEOs, as the will to spend yet more nights in hotels slowly wanes.
The ocean is the last place of real privacy anywhere in the world
Increasingly we are searching for something different. Something that will allow us to let off steam, something unique, something we and our, probably slightly less wired partners and friends, can enjoy together in comfort and privacy. And these days, overly in-demand, overly worked CEOs are veering away from the worn-out lure of staid land-based resorts, opting instead for the ultimate in bespoke luxury and adventure: a personalised stay onboard a private yacht.
“Being on a yacht is about getting complete and total relaxation,” one of Ireland’s most renowned businessmen, paper-packaging magnate Sir Michael Smurfit once told me. “The ocean is the last place of real privacy anywhere in the world,” he said. “And when you’ve got all your closest friends together and each night you are somewhere different…how can it be anything else but fun?” Annemarie Gathercole is a Senior Charter Manager with luxury yacht specialists Yachting Partners International (YPI), a company that has been chartering yachts between 24–70m (and above), across the world for over 40 years.
“The real draw of chartering, whether for families, friends or even corporate events, is being able to enjoy some of the world’s most spectacular coastlines, islands and nature as far away or as close to civilisation as you wish… and all from the comfortable bespoke luxury of some of the world’s most impressive yachts,” she explains. “The most popular charter locations are the Mediterranean and Adriatic in summer and the Caribbean in winter. But stunning locations in the South Pacific, South America, even the Antarctic are also popular.”
And therein lies the driving force behind charter’s growing demand, a demand that today extends well beyond the generations of aficionados who for years have been quietly enjoying luxury’s greatest guarded secret – it is the attraction of unspoilt choice.
Deep water experience
“This is luxury travel at its finest,” says Alex Berwin, entrepreneur and yacht charterer for over 30 years. “It’s not that we particularly love yachts or being at sea, it’s that my family and I enjoy the freedom the whole experience brings. We go where we wish, when we wish. Sometimes we’ll lie all day in the sun, sometimes we’ll be diving or water-skiing. Other times we’re ashore sightseeing or enjoying a special crew-prepared buffet on a white sandy beach in some undiscovered cove. Truthfully, there is no other time in our lives when we experience the peace such unmitigated freedom affords. It is priceless.”
As well as sampling the fare of Michelin-starred chefs who often form part of a yacht owner’s personal crew, today’s charter yachts come with their own gyms, multimedia lounges, swimming pools, jacuzzis, jet-skis, tenders, submarines and even a helicopter. So days onboard are as fully charged or as laid-back as you wish. To quote one regular charterer and well-known business leader: “Chartering is the one and only time being in deep water makes me happy.” Here’s to your own deep water experience.