&Beyond Yacht Charters

Sailing like Hollywood stars is becoming more accessible

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Published in La Nacion on May 29th

The rental of private yachts with crew and all services included registers an unusual growth in Latin America.

Sailing on a private yacht has long ceased to be the preserve of Hollywood stars and oil tycoons.

The options to go out with family and friends in small manned boats with all the services on board have multiplied in recent years and the demand has skyrocketed. The pandemic gave one more push: while the large cruise ships were stopped for a long time due to the risk of contagion on ships with thousands of passengers, the closed departures on ships for 8 or 10 passengers grew and continue to grow. Surely in the bravest moments of the pandemic it was for the security of staying inside a bubble, without contact with too many people, but now the success is undoubtedly due to the exclusivity and personalized treatment they offer.

Although with high costs, it became a more accessible alternative, even in some cases close to what would be paid for a cruise trip or a hotel stay.

The proposal is in most cases similar: the ships are rented, which can be yachts, catamarans, schooners or sailboats with a crew that are in charge of navigation, meals, cleaning and activities. Passengers do not need to have any knowledge of navigation. Itineraries are also usually designed at the request of travelers: they can choose the number of days and the scales that will be made. The most sought after destinations are the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

The reservation also became more flexible, with the emergence of platforms in different countries that bring together the offer and allow you to compare rates and services. They are contracted with a simple click, with the same ease as a hotel night. In many cases, the owners of the boats themselves live on board and receive passengers and in others they rent them out when they are not in use.

The French platform Click&Boat, one of the many that have proliferated in recent years, recorded an 87% increase in manned boat reservations globally in 2021 compared to 2019. The company currently offers more than 40,000 boats for rent, in the most varied regions of the world.

 

 

The San Limi, a luxury sailing yacht marketed by Dawe Yachts, makes itineraries along the coast of Croatia

 

New navigators

“Rentals are growing a lot and in Latin America very strongly. Departures from Latin Americans are expected to increase between 15 and 20% in the coming years”, says Ignacio Peluffo, partner of Dawe Yachts and My Yacht Company, companies specializing in yacht charter for the Latin American market, with close to than 20,000 boat options in more than 150 destinations. Peluffo explains that Latin America is a relatively new market, which in recent years has been discovering these proposals: “Many thought that renting a yacht was for soccer players or royalty, but it is one more type of accommodation, which can even be cheaper than a hotel, there are accessible proposals that are around 2,000 euros for a week for 4 people and also premium yachts of 500,000 euros for seven days”, he adds.

Among the most sought-after destinations, outings around the Mediterranean stand out, with itineraries along the Dalmatian coast in Croatia, Italy and the Greek islands. In the Caribbean, the favorites are the itineraries through the Virgin Islands.

 

The Leopard 51 power catamaran sailing through the British Virgin Islands.

 

Unlike the big cruise ships, on yachts much shorter distances are made, generally within the same area, they do not sail at night but they access places that the big ships have restricted.

&Beyond Yacht Charters is another of the companies that sees how the yachts for rent are taken out of their hands. Led by a South African couple, it was born two years ago, in the midst of a pandemic, and offers catamaran trips through the Caribbean, based on the US Virgin Islands.

“It is necessary to reserve six months in advance and there are boats that have even more time, explains Liza Kharoubi, Chief Charter Consultant of &Beyond Yacht Charters.

Kharoubi says that the proposals are all inclusive, the outings include meals, drinks and also the activities that are carried out, such as snorkeling or diving.

“All ships are different and passengers can choose which islands to go to; although we suggest itineraries, they decide. Also the number of days, although the minimum is three, ”she adds. She is in charge of doing a personalized job: “I take care of exhaustively finding out the tastes of each group and I recommend a suitable crew and boat. We also consult for special needs in meals and other requirements”.

A one-week outing for 4 people on one of the yachts offered by &Beyond costs from $15,000.

By Andrea Ventura

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