Cover image : Darren Heath
It’s the experience de rigueur among the Formula 1 elite and one that the creme de la creme, whether we’re talking Eddie Jordan or Bernie Ecclestone, are loathe to miss out on.
As Eddie says himself: “The appeal of a boat for drivers and ex-drivers is that they offer sanctuary – they just give you the chance to get away completely.”
Because for such high-profile people, it’s about getting the most out of life while revelling in that most sought after of present day luxuries – 100 per cent privacy. You can let your hair down and enjoy quality downtime with family and friends without fear of intrusion. The only people on board are those you have personally invited.
And quality really is the name of the game here. With seven-star accommodation, a highly trained personal crew and Michelin-starred chefs at your disposal around the clock, the focus is on bespoke luxury service tailored to each individual’s specific needs – something not possible at even the most particular of hotels, cruise ships or private holiday resorts which, no matter how exclusive, are still shared with others.
But another appeal is simply the freedom afforded by the yachting lifestyle. You can wake up witnessing the sunrise over the charming town of St Tropez on the French Riviera and watch it set behind the natural cove of the Marina di Portofino Genova on the Italian Riviera. It is about getting away from it all while still being close to the action should you want it – a perfect blend.
For newcomers to this unique experience, Monaco during the summer months is undoubtedly “la capitale du yachting”. Set in the heart of the Mediterranean, it is full to bursting with first-class spas, wellbeing centres and restaurants – and, like Cannes further down the coast, it is also a shopping mecca for the world’s most prestigious brands.
And you are not tied to Monaco. The whole Mediterranean is open to you. So you can cruise around Spain, Italy, or islands such as Corsica or Sardinia, and profit from some of the world’s best diving, jet-skiing, sightseeing and golfing.
During those cold European winter months though, it is all about the Caribbean and revelling in the sun-soaked delights of Antigua, the Bahamas, the Leeward Islands and, these days, even Cuba.
Yachting Partners International provides expert guidance and support from the moment you decide to charter, or even buy, sell or build, your own yacht
But for the more experienced and adventurous among us, places like Antarctica, the Norwegian fjords and the Raja Ampat archipelago in Indonesia’s West Papua province are also starting to open up. Although somewhat off the beaten track, the joy of yachting is being able to get to places that would otherwise be unfeasible if you stuck to land, thus affording you experiences well beyond the ordinary.
So how to make the dream a reality? The first thing to know is that of the 5,500 luxury yachts – those over 24 metres in length – in the world today, it is possible to charter about 1,500. That means exclusivity in an already exclusive world.
Owners position their yachts in key destinations such as Monaco, Spain, Greece or Corsica during the summer months, and then make them available to like-minded people to rent and vacation on for the season.
This means that all you have to do is call a reputable broker, such as Yachting Partners International (YPI), and get them to do all the work for you. YPI is a long-established luxury yacht specialist set up more than 40 years ago. Owned by global shipping services giant BRS Group (http://www.brsbrokers.com), it provides expert guidance and support from the moment you decide to charter, or even buy, sell or build, your own yacht.
So to set the wheels in motion, just clarify your budget, where you would like to go and what your leisure or sporting requirements are, and your experienced YPI charter broker will come up with some choice options.
They will select four or five yachts to match your needs in terms of size, availability, crew and location. They will even put together a personal itinerary to ensure your holiday is a memorable one.
So if you love diving, for instance, an expert will be stationed on board and your route will be sure to include the finest diving spots in the region. If you need a nanny or a Russian-speaker to cater for non-English-speaking guests that will be perfectly feasible too.
Chartering a luxury yacht is the perfect way to watch the grand prix action, whether it’s in Monaco, Abu Dhabi, Singapore or even Sochi, Russia. But then again, why wait?
Alternatively, go to Apple’s iTunes site (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ypi-selection-your-guide-to/id698727537?mt=8) and download the YPI app for an easy, informative and fun introduction to the exclusive world of luxury yachting