Green is Good

By Kim Kavin for Yacht World Charters

Capt. Andrea Aliverti is about to commit blasphemy. After all, when you’re born in the shadow of Vatican City and raised in Italy, uttering a single bad word about Pellegrino is nearly akin to mocking the pope.

But Aliverti can’t help himself. His beliefs about fizzy water have become so ingrained that they border on personal religion.

“I cannot see a point in buying Pellegrino,” says Aliverti, standing in the salon of his 47-foot Nautitech sailing catamaran Nemo in Antigua and throwing his hands into the air, almost as if he’s seeking absolution from a long-lost god of logic. “Why ship Pellegrino all the way from Italy? You are wasting all that transportation fuel when you can make it right here, and it is delicious, and there are no bottles...”

Aliverti’s voice trails off as he points to Exhibit A in his sermon: the Sodastream that he recently installed in Nemo’s galley. He paid about $200 for the coffee-pot-sized machine and its starter kit of supplies, which let charter guests enjoy all the fizzy water they want by transforming it on demand from the cool stuff that flows out of Nemo’s faucets. Which, by the way, are connected to a seven-filter reverse-osmosis separator that makes water from the boat’s tanks not only drinkable, but downright tasty—while eliminating the need for about two cases’ worth of plastic water bottles a day. And that filtration system? It runs not on electricity from a fuel-based generator, but instead on power supplied by Nemo’s solar panels.

“We have so much sun in the Caribbean,” Aliverti says, as if pointing out to disbelievers that the world is, in fact, round. “It is simple. Why not make use of the sun?”

As recently as five or 10 years ago, many charter brokers would have patted Aliverti gently on the back, smiled lovingly at his eco-enthusiasm, and walked away. “Going Green” may have already been a trend on land, but it was taking longer to migrate into the world of crewed yacht charter than a crumpled plastic bottle takes to decompose in a landfill (about 450 years, according to the U.S. National Park Service). Sure, brokers thought it was nice when yacht owners and captains made an effort to charter in a more conservation-friendly way, but clients rarely asked about such things when deciding which yacht to book, so eco-features were far less important than king-size beds and sundeck hot tubs.

That mentality is now changing—and fast. The idea of being earth-friendly has finally migrated en masse offshore, and the race is on to see which charter yachts will emerge as the new leaders in the global fleet. Aliverti is no longer seen as an outlier so much as a visionary, one among a growing number of charter yacht owners, captains, and brokers who are realizing that going green can be good not just for the planet, but also for business.

Aboard charter yachts of all sizes and styles, eco-friendly features are becoming as much of a marketing hook as Wave Runners and zero-speed stabilizers. Clients are starting not only to accept, but also to request and even demand things like filtered water and reusable bottles. They are asking about motoryacht fuel burn rates and how to reduce them, either by booking a more fuel-efficient yacht or by making a carbon-offset donation. Some owners are going so far as to promote the ways that their yachts are being built, telling potential clients that they minimized environmental impact in the shipyard as well as in the materials used to construct the boat, which they then outfit with organic bed sheets and biodegradable cleaning supplies and food that is not genetically modified and, well, whatever else they can think to put into their brochure copy.

In other words, the bulk of the charter industry, all the way up to the superyachts, is now trying to adopt the plainspoken mantra by which Aliverti lives on his 47-foot catamaran.

“We are trying to provide the same level of service and comfort that charter guests expect of boats our size,” he says, “but in a way that is good for the Earth.”

Selling the New Standard

The low-energy LED lightbulb first went off above Trish Cronan’s head a few years ago, while she was standing on the docks in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. Cronan, who owns Ocean Getaways, had just registered for the annual boat show where charter yachts line up to show brokers everything that’s new onboard. Along with the paperwork and badge that she was used to receiving, a show organizer handed her an empty, stainless-steel water bottle. She looked at it for a few moments, perplexed, and then asked why it was in the welcome packet.

“A lot of the boats had started producing their own filtered water,” she recalls, “and they were trying to show us that we didn’t always have to reach for a plastic water bottle.”

Today, Cronan is the president of the charter brokers’ association CYBA International, which has spent the past few years turning that moment into a movement. They did some back-of-the-recycled-envelope math and determined that during a single week’s charter, a catamaran with eight guests and three crew can easily go through 300 plastic water bottles. A superyacht with 10 guests and 10 crew can churn through 700, easy. “We started multiplying by the number of boats out there,” Cronan says, “and in the BVI alone, our best guess is that charter yachts are putting about two million plastic water bottles a year into the BVI landfill.”

CYBA International wanted to encourage more boats to adopt the reusable-bottle solution, and to reward the boats that did so by sending them more charter business. The group created an eco-questionnaire that lists about 30 different criteria, everything from having a filtration system to doing coral-reef education to creating digital, instead of printed, brochures. Any charter yacht could fill out the questionnaire, and every yacht that met at least eight criteria got a CYBA “Going Green to Save the Blue” ribbon. A space was created in the international booking database to show which boats had the ribbon, giving brokers an easy way to find them and suggest them to potential charter clients. But even that wasn't enough, based on the results that CYBA was seeing.

“What showed up on those questionnaires was amazing,” Cronan says. “There are some boats out there that met almost every criteria on the list. We wanted to really highlight the role models at boat shows, so at the St. Thomas, Tortola, and Antigua shows, we decided to give out awards for the most eco-friendly sailing and power yachts.”

Those first awards were handed out in late 2012, and they will continue to be handed out every year not only at those three Caribbean boat shows, but soon at additional shows throughout the Mediterranean and beyond—giving the boats, and the brokers, a new marketing tool for helping charter clients see which yachts truly are standouts in eco-chartering.

“The best way for anyone to find out if their yacht is eco-friendly is to ask a broker if the yacht has qualified for the CYBA Going Green to Save the Blue ribbon,” Cronan says. “This is something new that we never had before, and it should make it easy for clients to make sure they are booking boats that are trying to do the right things.”

The Carbon Conundrum

Mark Robinson plopped down into a chair at Marina Molo Vecchio in Genoa, Italy. Gray clouds moving in fast looked like they were about to burst, and he was seeking refuge beneath a MYBA Charter Show tent. It was the end of yet another day spent pounding the docks, going passerelle to passerelle, talking to captain after captain, pitching the message that even the most gas-guzzling superyacht can offer a more environmentally conscious charter experience.

“We’re getting them one by one,” says Robinson, who is managing director of London-based Yacht Carbon Offset, a service that lets charter yacht owners—or clients—buy into global projects that reduce carbon emissions, thus offsetting any emissions created by running a superyacht’s engines. “We are letting them know that they don’t have to do this, of course, but that if they offer it to their charter clients, the clients may want to do it, and more and more clients see it as a good thing that the yacht is offering.”

Fuel burn is built into the DNA of superyachting the way calories are packed into the richest of chocolate fudge; some of faster yachts, like the 120-footers that can push 20 knots, may burn more than 200 gallons of fuel every single hour to achieve those decadent cruising speeds. If a charter client cruises, say, four hours a day for a week on such a yacht, then the total carbon emissions work out to about 123,000 pounds.

To put that into perspective, the average car, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, produces less than 11,000 pounds of emissions per year. The math can make the stink from a belching diesel seem all the more rancid to eco-minded charter clients, which is why more and more yachts are offering the Yacht Carbon Offset solution and other services like it. The retail agency Boatbookings.com recently added a “carbon calculator” to its website, letting charter clients see not only how many pounds of emissions different charter yachts produce, but also what it would cost to offset those emissions as part of the total charter fee. (That 123,000 pounds can be offset for a donation of less than $500, according to Boatbookings.)

Fuel burn rates are coming up in other conversations about which yachts to charter, too. At Camper and Nicholsons International in Monaco, senior charter manager Carine Zanotti says charter clients are becoming educated about fuel efficiency out of pure economic self-interest.

“Fuel efficiency is definitely a selling point now for charter, especially because some bunkering places in Italy and France will not give duty-free fuel anymore to some boats,” Zanotti says. “Duty-paid fuel is almost twice the price of duty-free, so the lower fuel-burn yachts are very attractive.”

Zanotti says that within the Camper and Nicholsons charter fleet, the 142-foot Eurocraft Baron Trenck in particular has been pushing fuel efficiency as a charter benefit. Cruising at 10 knots, Baron Trenck burns just 26 gallons per hour.

“If a boat is in the South of France and the client wants her in Sicily, then she can do the delivery for the cost of the fuel, which in some cases is eight times less than other boats in the same size range,” Zanotti says. Other megayachts that Camper and Nicholsons has been marketing for charter based on fuel efficiency include the 138-foot Cizgi E&E, which burns fuel at about the same rate as Baron Trenck, and the 118-foot CBI Navi Metsuyan IV, which can burn just 53 gallons per hour at some cruising speeds.

At 53 gallons per hour, the cost to offset emissions for the same four hours of cruising per day during a week’s charter drops to about $125, according to the Boatbookings.com calculator. As Robinson puts it: “It’s a matter of educating people that the cost is not really all that high to make a difference.”

The Future of Eco-Charter

Capt. Walter Wetmore stands at the helm of the 129-foot expedition yacht Safira, a 2013 launch that, at full throttle and 12.8 knots, burns just 60 gallons of fuel per hour. He looks out over the bow into Newport Harbor and beyond, well past New England in his mind’s eye, thinking about all the places that the yacht’s biodiesel fuel mix will take charter guests in the coming years.

“The owners wanted to raise awareness that yachts could be more eco-friendly,” he says, explaining how they took four years to build Safira in the United States with everything from granite and wood remnants from other projects to recycled glass countertops. “The owners are very aware of climate change.”

Charter clients would never know Safira was built differently just by looking at her; she is every bit as luxurious as any other charter yacht in her size range. That’s the future of eco-friendly charter, and it’s being seen in more and more builds coming out of the shipyards—builds of all sizes and styles whose owners are proving that eco-friendly charter can be downright elegant.

At the top end of the scale, the renowned Dutch builder Royal Huisman launched the 190-foot Ethereal, a $60-million sailing yacht that has a sea-powered lithium battery system, hybrid diesel and electric engines, and even windows and hatches that turn opaque in the tropical sun, helping to minimize the heat being brought inside the yacht and requiring air conditioning.

More in the midrange of the global charter fleet is the 147-foot Aquos Big Fish, a motoryacht that launched from McMullen and Wing in New Zealand with outdoor decks made from machined granite so that no real stone or teak had to be harvested from any forests. All of that yacht’s lighting is low-energy LED, and hot water is created by recirculating the flow from the generator coil around the freshwater tank. A second hull of similar design, the 164-foot Big Star, is now under construction at the yard with an asking price of $30 million.

At the smaller end of the charter scale is that 47-foot Nautitech sailing catamaran, Nemo, with Capt. Aliverti still standing onboard, preaching conservation to anybody who will listen. He’s in a decidedly different price range—Ethereal and Big Fish charter at a weekly rates well above $200,000, while Nemo commands less than $20,000—but the message has permeated all levels of the industry just the same. A lot of Aliverti’s ideas are now being designed into new builds in all size ranges, along with the ideas of more and more similarly minded people around the world. And Aliverti is still trying to lead the charge, thinking of additional ways to make charter more eco-friendly. He recently updated Nemo’s website to let potential charter clients know that all yogurt is now being made onboard without plastic cups, and that all dish soap and shampoo is not only biodegradable, but also “cruelty-free.”

“These things are not hard to do,” he says, “and look at the difference it can make.”

Outfit for purpose: The new rules of crew uniform

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By Claire Wrathall for Boat International

The past few years have seen a casualisation of dress in almost all spheres. Even Goldman Sachs announced last summer that it would tolerate its technology staff wearing “totally casual” clothes in the hope that this would stop them jumping ship to hipper tech companies.

So where once quasi-military uniforms – brass buttons, epaulettes and lots of smart navy – held sway on the world’s superyachts, so most crews now dress in polo shirts and shorts, mostly in blue, white or shades of khaki, discreetly printed, or more classily embroidered, with the yacht’s name or sail number. So far, so practical. Such get-ups are comfortable, easy to launder and can be made from fabrics incorporating a high sun protection factor. Best of all, your guests will never feel upstaged.

But as former crew member Lauren Williams, whose previous role at sea incorporated seamstress duties, taking in and letting out uniforms to improve their fit, has blogged on onboardonline.com, polo shirts do not suit everyone, especially women. She has a point, although her solution – “a light and breezy chiffon top” – won’t have delighted every stewardess unless Williams has discovered a brand of opaque machine-washable SPF40 chiffon.

But there’s no disputing her opinion that a uniform of white shorts is “the world’s worst idea [because] sometimes crew need to deal with oil and grease and rust”. Indeed the truth in this perhaps explains the growing popularity of black for shorts and increasingly trousers as an option for crew who want to keep the sun off their legs and owners who feel a duty of care towards them.

Take the stewardesses on Maltese Falcon, the handsome 88 metre Perini Navi sailing yacht, who wear crisp white shirts and skinny black trousers cropped just above the ankle, outfits that call to mind a young Audrey Hepburn. Capri pants of a similar sort, paired with white T-shirts, were spotted on female staff on Fleur and Heurekaat last year’s Monaco Yacht Show too. On Elixir, long-sleeved black shirts with black trousers are in order for the officers and engineers.

In light of its elegant modern Studio Linse interiors, it’s no surprise that the owner of Icon has sought a different look for its stewardesses, namely smart but stretchy black and white striped dresses with boat necks and cut-outs to emphasise their svelte waists: flattering, fun and subtly evocative both of the boat’s striking Redman Whiteley Dixon-designed exterior and the monochrome tiles in its fabulous hammam.

The men, for the record, are dressed in black polo shirts and white shorts (let’s hope they’re not dry clean only). Striped dresses – in this instance in navy and white more in the style of a classic Breton jersey – are in order for the stewardesses on Casino Royale too.

Stripes will always have a nautical resonance but a process known as dye sublimation (effectively a kind of photo-printing popularised by swimwear designer Orlebar Brown) means that crew uniform can now incorporate images of the yacht itself or even the islands and marine life among which it sails. The beach staff at Eden Rock Hotel in St Barths, for example, sport bespoke Orlebar Brown shorts printed with a scene of the nearby shore.

As Ed Taylor, of Dorset-based crew uniform supplier Taylor Made Designs, explains, the “image actually becomes part of the garment itself, [resulting] in an incredibly high-quality photographic finish design with extraordinarily brilliant colours. The design can be printed all over the garment, all the way up to the seams and onto the sleeves.”

The images, he assures, will not crack or peel and will last numerous washes. The only downside is that, for the moment, it’s a technology that works only on polyester. Your crew may have something to say about that in a tropical climate. And a cool, comfortable, happy crew is always going to look and function better than a perspiring one.

Getting to the Bottom of the B1B2 Visa for Yacht Crew

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By Sarah Laty for OnboardOnline

There are many grey areas in the yachting industry, but perhaps none as perpetually frustrating as visas, particularly the B1B2 sought by non-US yacht crew voyaging Stateside. 

Where you are from, where your boat is flagged, where you join a vessel, where it is going… there are so many variables that every inherently simple question seems to have a thousand answers, and a thousand more blog threads addressing it.

As a crew agent for many years in Antibes, I spoke to concerned crew nearly every day. Around this time each year they would collapse in the chair in front of me and disclose their dreams of working on a boat in the Caribbean.

But how should they go about it? Did they need a B1B2? Was it possible to get one? Since there was no clear gospel on the topic, we were often seen as the experts – trying to counsel our adoptive crew children through the smartest course of action without sounding too definitive or giving too much false hope.

As an American myself I am all too aware of the complicated policies of the United States. When speaking to crew about their experiences in trying to obtain a B1B2 visa, there's a sense that the process is totally random, that there are no clear rules and your fate is ultimately determined by whether or not the US Embassy worker you chance upon has had her coffee that morning.

There's probably a grain of truth to that, but we all know there are hoops to jump through on every level of administration, especially when it comes to immigration. I am sympathetic to everyone’s frustration, but I have also jumped through all manner of French legislative hoops and can say without hesitation that it is not very different. The disheartening fact we must all accept is this: there are rules that must be followed, fees that must be paid, and documents that must be produced. No matter where you are tying to go.

The first hurdle is to understand that there is no US visa specifically created for the world of yachting. As we all know, yachting is a niche industry that lends itself to a very particular and transient lifestyle. The B1B2, though it is the most appropriate for crew working (or looking for work) on yachts, was in no way created for that purpose.

According to the US Department of State, the B1B2 is classified as a visitor visa. This means that it is a non-immigrant visa for people wishing to enter the United States temporarily. There is a B1 visa for those who wish to enter for business purposes and a B2 visa for those coming for pleasure or tourism. A B1B2 is, obviously, a combination of the two.

The B1B2 is not a work permit, nor is it equivalent in any way to a Green Card. It is also different from a C1/D visa.

Without confusing the issue too much, the C1/D is technically a “crew” visa, but it is primarily intended for airline personnel and commercial seafarers i.e. cruise ship, cargo, and ferry employees.

Though it might seem like this is your best bet, it is generally not sufficient. “Commercial” in this context is defined as a plane or vessel with a set itinerary.

Whether a yacht is registered commercially or for pleasure, there is no set itinerary, and so it is therefore considered a private means of transport. In the eyes of the US government, the entire yachting industry is a private industry (remember that!), thus a B1B2 is necessary. 

Let’s get back to the classic scenario. The Caribbean season is coming up. You have been working, or looking for work in the Med. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a job lined up on a yacht heading to the US. Perhaps you want to head that way and try your luck. Yes, you do need a B1B2.
 

So how do crew get a B1B2 visa?

  1. The first thing you need to do is fill out the application Form DS-160. You can find it here. You will be asked to upload your photo to the form. Be sure to print the confirmation page to take to your appointment.

  2. Now you must schedule an appointment/interview at a US Embassy or Consulate. Generally this is done in your city of residence, but in the case of yacht crew it could be anywhere. There are always rumours floating around about how one Embassy is more or less strict than another, but if you are prepared and polite, it really shouldn’t make a difference. The time you will have to wait to get an appointment, however, will vary depending on city and the time of year. You can find approximate waiting times for different locations here. 

  3. Next you must pay the non-refundable application fee of 160 Euros. As unfair as it might seem, there might be additional issuance fees depending on your nationality. Be sure to print the payment confirmation to take to your appointment.

  4. Get your documents ready. Check the website of the Consulate or Embassy where you have scheduled your interview to see what they specifically request. You cannot be too prepared, so if you think it might be useful, take it along! The obvious and obligatory items are your passport (which must be valid at least 6 months beyond the length of your stay in the US), confirmation of application and payment, and a photo if you didn’t manage to upload one.

Many will tell you that you need an employment letter from a yacht in order to obtain the B1B2. Though it will certainly help if you have one, it is not necessary. More than proof of employment, they will be interested in proof that you DO NOT intend on staying in the US. Your biggest chance of being refused is if you are not able to prove strong ties to your home, whether they are familial, social, or economic. This proof can come in the form of bank or mortgage statements, house bills, photos of your wife or children back home… anything that will make them believe you are not planning on abandoning your home and setting up shop in the USA.

In speaking with crew about their experiences, B1B2 interviews could last anywhere from five minutes to several hours. This is where the random bit comes in, and unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to plan for it.

The best advice is to be honest, prepared, and polite. If you have a job lined up, great. But regardless, be careful when describing your situation. If you are going to be working on a commercially registered vessel, don’t volunteer the name of the boat unless directly asked. Especially curious Embassy workers have been known to Google certain yachts to find out how they are registered. If you have employment papers, try to request them without the commercial or charter status mentioned.

Do not lie, but do avoid using these forbidden C words! You risk creating a misunderstanding that could lead to a refusal. Remember that as far as they are concerned the yachting industry is completely private. You are simply requesting a B1B2 visitor visa in order to join a private vessel in US waters.

The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) says that a B1 visa is available to any “crewmen of a private yacht who are able to establish that they have a residence abroad which they do not intend to abandon, regardless of the nationality of the private yacht. The yacht is to sail out of a foreign home port and cruising in US waters for more than 29 days.” The FAM is basically the guide book for all State Department and Foreign Service staff, so if you can prove that you fit this description, there is no reason to worry.

Let’s assume that all goes as planned and you walk away smiling with a visa in your pocket. Most crew think that they are in the clear at this point, but there are a few other important details to remember. First of all, which visa were you issued? The combined B1B2 is very common, but it is also possible to receive either a B1 (business), for example if you already have a job lined up, or a simple B2, for pleasure only. This is extremely important to be aware of!

When you pass through Customs and Border Control in the US, your passport will be stamped with your entry date but also with the date at which time you MUST leave US soil. Depending on your situation, this could be up to 6 months from when you arrive, but it is at the discretion of the officer on duty at the time so be nice! This information used to be recorded on a paper I-94 form but recently the process has been made electronic for air and sea travellers. If you would like to obtain a paper copy of your I-94 or check your arrival/departure record, you can do so at www.cbp.gov/I94

In addition, they will record the status of your entry, i.e. whether you entered for business (B1) or for pleasure (B2). If you are headed to the US without a job, it is imperative that you enter as a tourist, in other words, with B2 status. With this tourist status, crew are lawfully allowed to register with crew agencies and look for work. However, it is important to note they you are not legally allowed to accept daywork.

And the fine print doesn’t end there. Not only are you not technically allowed to daywork, if you are offered a job you are not legally allowed to accept it as a B2 tourist. This requires exiting the US and returning, with boat employment papers (from a non-US flagged boat of course), and being stamped in with B1 status.

Let’s say you have followed all the rules so far but you need more time. Your B1B2 is still valid, but the date on your I-94 is running out. It is possible to extend your stay, but you must file a request (Form I-539) with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. And you must do this before your time expires - at least 45 days before to be safe. Under no circumstances should you ever outstay the departure date on your electronic I-94. Even a day or two could mean that you are denied entry the next time around.

If you are one of the lucky ones who manages to land a job and sail away from all this mess, you should make sure that your departure from the US is recorded by the Customs and Border Patrol so that you are successfully checked out of the country. If you were previously issued a paper I-94, it should be returned to CBP. If your I-94 was electronically issued, check your status to make sure it is correct. I realize that this may seem like one slap in the face too many, but the risk of doing otherwise is really not worth it.

If you leave the country on a private vessel (which is usually the case), and your departure is never recorded, the next time you apply for admission into the US you may be accused of having overstayed your welcome the last time. If this happens, the shiny visa that you worked so hard for could be revoked, and you might be sent back to where you came from.

If you've stayed with me this far, you're probably feeling a bit sick, considering other professions, or simply cursing me and all my American-ness. It is easy to be overwhelmed and disheartened by this procedure which is far from streamlined, but don’t let it get you down. In my opinion, the problems that have surrounded this B1B2 issue for so long are due primarily to a lack of information and preparation. So consider yourself armed with the facts. You know what you need and you know what to say. Now get out there and make me proud. 

 

SPLASHING AROUND: THE BEST NEW SUPERYACHT TOYS FROM 2017

liftfoils.com

liftfoils.com

1 Lift eFoil 

There are some basics it is taken for granted every superyacht toy box will play host to: a great Jet Ski or two, a few surfboards and, of course, some water toys for the children. However, if you want your garage to be truly up-to-date heading into the New Year then there a few new launches from 2017 you shouldn't be without. Click through to tick off our list of the best new toys that came to our attention this year...

Lift eFoil

Electric surfboards are nothing new, but throw foiling technology into the mix and this futuristic water toy is suddenly taken to the next level. The Lift eFoil is sure to turn heads across the world when the first units are shipped out in September. Nine years in development, this all-carbon board is the brainchild of company co-founder, engineer and all-round watersports enthusiast Nick Leason.

The easily replaceable lithium battery can deliver up to 60 minutes of on-water fun at speeds of up to 21 knots. A choice of interchangeable foils allows for a wide range of flying sensations and when the battery starts to run low, the eFoil will switch to an economy mode to help you get safely back to shore. The hand-held throttle controller displays speed and battery levels and the unit is wirelessly linked to the silent electric motor via Bluetooth. What’s more, the eFoil will cut out automatically if the controller is more than three metres away from the board or submerged in water, thus eliminating the risk of a runaway surfboard causing havoc. Available in a choice of lengths (1.67 metres or 1.52 metres) and colours (black, blue, green or purple), the eFoil is priced at $12,000 and the first limited edition units can be secured for a refundable deposit of $6,000 – a small price to pay to see jaws dropping wherever you surf. 

Lift eFoil, $12,000liftfoils.com

facebook.com/hammocraft

facebook.com/hammocraft

2 Hammocraft 

They are usually strung between trees but hammocks could just be the perfect craft for laid-back parties in secluded coves or lagoons. Hammocraft has been perfecting its product – a lightweight aluminium frame that sits on an inflatable paddleboard or kayak – for decades, and it is now available to the public. The various frames hold differing numbers of hammocks, which are all easy to put together and collapse to fit in a single bag. In a welcome nod to safety, the hammocks are suspended by a “slot-and-knot” system that means they can be disconnected swiftly in the event of a flip. You can buy just a frame but we’d recommend splashing out on the paddleboard or kayak kits that include everything you need. The new $2,725 Kayak Kit, for example, comes with two Perception Tribe 3.5 metre sit-on-top kayaks and ENO Single Nest parachute nylon hammocks and is designed for rocky bottom, light chop, rocky shoreline and variable conditions. 

From $895, hammocraft.com

gemini-marine.co.uk

gemini-marine.co.uk

3 Gemini Zapcat FF-15 

When they’re off duty, some of the Land Rover BAR team hit the water on Zapcats. If you were a fan of the Z10 and the EVO-1 Zapcats, the brand has a new catamaran inflatable racing boat, the Gemini Zapcat FF-15. The secret to this super-fast inflatable is its light weight and shock-absorbing tunnel hull design. This means the Zapcat is an exceptionally stable inflatable, capable of dealing with extremely rough seas and large surf. 

The two-passenger FF-15 comes with a 50hp outboard engine and weighs less than 150kg including the motor. You can opt for a standard configuration but there are several modifications and extensions you can select. Choose between left-handed or right-handed control, spec your own colours for the tubes, or swap the floor panels from wood to a composite material, for example. However, it is unlikely observers will be able to view your bespoke choices for long as you scream by, skimming a foot or more above the water. As Giles Scott, Land Rover BAR’s tactician says: “They’re epic fun, fast and very cheerful.” 

Zapcat FF-15, £10,000, gemini-marine.co.uk

boatinternational.com

boatinternational.com

4 Seabreacher S 

The follow-up to the original Seabreacher - the custom toy that looks like a swordfish - Barcelona-based brand Charterdart has been working with crew to develop the new Seabreacher S. Specifically designed for yachts, the Seabreacher S is part of a growing trend for semi-submersible toys. Users sit inside the sealed cockpit of the whale, shark or dolphin shaped vehicle and use the easy-to-learn controls to flip, dive, jump and roll through the water. A bubble-style screen allows for panoramic viewing while a 300 horsepower engine gives a top speed of 60km/h, an in-built stereo system provides entertainment and an AIS tracking devices means you'll never get lost.

Seabreacher S, POA, charterdart.com

boatinternational.com

boatinternational.com

5 Platypus 

A French company has hit upon the novel idea of producing a craft that can travel both above and below the surface of the ocean. The Platypus semi-submersible has been designed with shallow underwater exploration in mind. It’s essentially a catamaran with the addition of a central water wing fixed by mechanical arms to the rest of the boat. Once activated, those arms swing down and submerge passengers up to 1.5 metres underwater. 

The six-metre Platypus can reach up to 14 knots on water but is limited to three knots when below the waves. It has space for an on-board Nardi breathing system, so there’s no need to bring individual tanks, and you can even communicate with fellow divers using the Ocean Reef masks. You can also choose between conventional fuel or electric power, and there’s a digital periscope to let you check the environment before any action. Interested? You can pre-order the Platypus now. Prices range from €60,000 for the basic model to €150,000 for a “pimped” version. 

Visit platypuscraft.fr

boatinternational.com

boatinternational.com

6 Pukas LED surfboard 

When Juan Mari Indo heard there was to be night surfing for a competition in Spain, he struck upon the idea of creating a special board that would light up and put on a show as the surfers did their tricks in the water. The end result was the limited-edition LED surfboards from Pukas, which let the rider program in the colour cycles and flashing patterns for a personal display in the waves. 

Indo inlays RGB LED light strips into the surfboard, then they are sealed in by glassing over the top of them. The light strips are then operated by remote control and the whole board is charged much like you would a mobile phone. Before you head into the breakers, choose your program: want to feel warm? Go red. Highlight your eco credentials? Switch to green. Or match the ocean with a corresponding blue light display. As each board is made bespoke, expect a waiting time. The price will depend on the level of illumination incorporated. 

Pukas LED surfboard, POA, danielsurf.com

5 Special Events to Celebrate on a Superyacht

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By Alexander Coles for A Luxury Travel Blog

Everyone’s looking for a way to make their special occasion that little bit more special. After all, while weddings in vineyards and honeymoons in a Maldives bungalow are undeniably gorgeous, they have been done rather a lot.

You want something different. We get it.

Whether you’re planning a wedding or a honeymoon, a loved one’s birthday party or a milestone anniversary, you’re looking for an experience that is entirely unlike any other special event you’ve been a part of—one that you’ll remember with a thrill for the rest of your life.

In order to create an extraordinary special event, there are seven golden rules to finding the perfect venue.

  1. An event venue that’s staggeringly gorgeous, and wildly out of the ordinary.
  2. Superb staff ensuring every last detail is perfect.
  3. Gourmet cuisine prepared by a private, highly-trained chef
  4. A location backdrop that inspires wonder…and exceptional event photography.
  5. Indoor and outdoor space.
  6. Luxurious accommodation onsite.

Above all, the greatest events offer privacy and exclusivity to the group—a sense that what you’re doing is somehow separate from the world, a day almost outside real life.

Which is why superyachts are the ultimate event venue for special occasions.

Here are five lifetime events that are perfect to host on a luxury yacht charter, with some practical information to assist in your decision-making.

1. White wedding, blue sea

‘I got married on a superyacht’. Now that’s something you don’t hear every day. And now it’s in your head, don’t you want to be the one to say it?

There are so many good reasons to marry on a yacht, beginning with the spectacular venue, with glamorous deck spaces for the ceremony, or an opulent interior if you’d prefer to say your vows surrounded by a décor of marble and gold. When it comes time to party, the reception can spill over the decks, with music playing, guests dancing in the moonlight, and (no doubt) a few guests jumping in the sundeck Jacuzzi as the night wears on!

The yacht’s luxurious staterooms provide for up to 12 people, meaning your bridal party and loved ones have stunning accommodations right onsite. As for the backdrop, you’re only limited by your imagination. Imagine getting married on the Amalfi Coast or the in tropical islands of the Caribbean, where the incredible views of yacht and sky and sea make for truly breathtaking wedding photography. The imagery of a white wedding dress against blue sea is a visual match made in heaven, and the yacht provides the perfect location shoot for unforgettable images—from the bridal party posing on the foredeck to the happy couple jumping on the bed in the master suite.

The yacht’s professional crew are another superb reason to get married onboard a yacht. Superyacht crew aren’t the typical hotel or venue staff, who are often transient or temp staff, and are sometimes uninterested or poorly trained. Instead, crew have spent their yachting careers looking after ultra-high net worth individuals, from celebrities and princes to oil magnates and Swiss bankers. They’re also accustomed to entertaining onboard, with event charters during high-profile events like the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. In short, it’s not their first rodeo, and yacht crew will handle your special day with consummate style and professionalism, and liaise carefully with any florists, celebrants, wedding planners etc.

As for the chef, they’ve been cooking for these same elite guests, and are accustomed to preparing fine dining cuisine across many cuisines and dietary requirements. You’ll have control over the menu, and if your wedding is large and requires outside catering, the chef is on hand to assist.

Even more blissful, when it’s time for the honeymoon, the guests just depart and you float away…

The logistics

Most (but by no means all) charter yachts have passenger licenses of 12 guests if the yacht leaves the dock and heads out to sea. This means you can either have an intimate wedding at anchor and return to port for the party, or alternatively you may wish to host your wedding ceremony in a glamorous marina, such as Monte Carlo so that more people can attend the ceremony. There are some yachts the are classified as passenger vessels and do not have the 12 guest limit, which are very in demand. Also look into the legal regulations in the country you’re marrying in: for instance, if you’d like to get married on a yacht in romantic Santorini, you’ll need to arrive in Greece a week before. A reputable yacht broker will have experience planning events, so rely on their expertise.

2. Enter honeymoon heaven

Can you imagine a better way to start married life than drifting through paradise on a superyacht?

Watch land fall out of sight and enter your own private bliss of swimming off the yacht and dining by candlelight, having luxury beach picnics on coral atolls and spending happy afternoons strolling through exotic ports. Each meal cooked by the yacht’s private chef, each morning waking to a perfect new view out the large windows of the master suite, each night relaxing in the Jacuzzi with a glass of champagne, looking up at the stars.

Your captain and crew will always be on hand to wait on your hand and foot, but also give you the privacy you want on your honeymoon- to laugh and play and plan your lives together.

Unlike spending your honeymoon in hotels or villas, you won’t have to spend time in traffic or changing hotels to move around from one gorgeous beach or island to another- the yacht takes you where you want to go.

The logistics

Logistics? There simply aren’t any. You just arrive, the crew unpack your luggage, and you don’t have to lift a finger for the entire time. But unlike a cruise ship, you have total control over what you do, and eat, and see. If you crave adventure, the captain will organise night dives and jungle trips and white water rafting. If you just want to relax, the captain will organise masseuses to the yacht and a succession of secluded anchorages, each more beautiful than the last. One useful tip though is to fill out the preference sheet from your broker, so that the crew have an idea ahead of time what you like to eat and drink and do, as well as little details like what kind of music you like so they can create the perfect yacht playlist.

3. Babymoon bliss

The babymoon concept has become wildly popular in recent years, and little wonder: this is the last time a couple gets to relax and be pampered as a couple without children. No matter how excited you are about the arrival of your new baby, a trip for the two of you on a yacht is a heavenly moment captured in time that you’ll look back on for many years to come. (Particularly when you’re up all night with a screaming baby and remember how soft the bed on the yacht was…)

Spend a week having long lie-ins, exploring exotic places, snorkelling crystal clear waters, and reading books on a deckchair, surrounded by the sparkling sea. And while you probably won’t want to leave, another great thing about having a babymoon onboard is that you’ll realise just how perfect luxury yacht charters are for family vacations, so you can return when you have children.

The logistics

Just like any babymoon planning, you’ll want to choose a destination where you’ll be doing your cruising close to land, ensure there’s a good hospital nearby, and get good insurance. Some tropical yachting destinations currently have the Zika virus, so talk to your yacht broker about popular alternative babymoon destinations such as the Seychelles, the Amalfi Coast, the French Riviera, Sardinia, or Croatia.

4. Milestone anniversary, making new memories

A yacht charter for a wedding anniversary is an idyllic way to reconnect and create new memories.

The two of you might want a relaxing holiday away from the cares of normal life, or perhaps you want to explore your shared interests, maybe with an art-lover’s yacht charter down the French Riviera or a gourmet food and wine charter along Italy’s Cinque Terre to Tuscany.

If you’re a lover of grand romantic gestures, the yacht can easily organise your stateroom to be filled with roses, a romantic picnic on a sandbank in the middle of the sea, or even a ceremony to renew your vows.

Whether you want it to be just the two of you or bring the children for a special family event, it’s hard to beat a yachting holiday as a way to mark your time together.

The logistics

Again, there really aren’t any. Just remember, the more information you give your broker, the more prepared the yacht’s crew will be to deliver an anniversary that the two of you will treasure forever.

5. A party to remember

Whether it’s your husband’s 50th birthday party in Monte Carlo or your 8 year old’s pirate-themed party in the BVIs, a luxury charter yacht makes an incredible venue for a celebration. It will certainly not be one they forget, as friends and family drink cocktails on the sundeck, or you watch your kids chase the crew around the yacht on a Caribbean treasure hunt and dive-bombing into the water.

Your yacht crew will have experience throwing glittering parties on the yacht, so just talk to your broker and to the crew about what you want, and they’ll co-ordinate with any organisers, decorators, or caterers to ensure the event exceeds your expectations.

The logistics

As we explained in the wedding section above, most superyachts have passenger restrictions of only 12 guests, but these only apply when the yacht has left the dock, so most big yacht parties tend to happen in famous marinas, such as Cannes or Saint Tropez. Having the party in port (as happens during the Cannes Film Festival for example) means that you can have a much bigger guest list, so speak to your broker about numbers and planning. Of course, if you’re hosting a child’s party or more intimate celebration, a 12 person limit for cruising offshore may be perfect for your needs.

How to Pack for The Yacht Week

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From Paper Planes Blog

Since I had never even been on a day sailing trip before, I certainly didn’t know how to pack for The Yacht Week and seven days on a boat (read more about the trip through the Thai islands here).

I asked for suggestions on my Facebook Page and was impressed by all the responses I got – people go sailing more than I thought – what have I been doing?? The best help came from Liz Gillooly of Moxie & Epoxy, which makes sense as she’s a sailboat captain (how cool is that?). Here’s what she had to say:

Bathing suit and a hat. You’re good to go. 

Seriously though, if I was doing it this would be my bag:

  • 2-3 bathing suits
  • 2 shorts (board shorts are great)
  • tons of underwear (nothing better than getting out of wet bathing suit bottoms)
  • 3 tank tops
  • sarong
  • hat
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • backup sunglasses
  • camera
  • beach dress
  • rain jacket
  • face wipes to wipe the salt off after a swim
  • Kindle loaded with good books
  • towel
  • good snorkeling gear
  • GoPro

You’ll probably spend your days in a bathing suit so you don’t need to worry about too much else.

Then she said, “Didn’t realize it was for The Yacht Week, the packing list is slightly different for an event like that!”

There’s a loose dress code when it comes to The Yacht Week. We were told to follow the “Three C’s of TYW Fashion: Cool, Casual, Classy” as well as bring a nicer evening outfit for a special Christmas dinner and white outfit for one evening’s white beach party. Along with those guidelines, it was pretty much bathing suits (Liz was totally right), cover ups and sandals all day, everyday.

If I were to do it again, this is what I would take.

How to Pack for the Yacht Week

Clothing (or lack thereof)

  • More bathing suits than you think you need
  • Swimsuit cover ups (2)
  • Long sleeved shirt, chambray button up or light jacket (if I were sailing somewhere else I would definitely take a couple more warmer things for breezy evenings, but in Thailand in December it is pretty much hot 24/7.)
  • Hat (make sure that it stays on your head well, several girls on my boat brought hats but never wore them since they were just flying off)
  • Two pairs of sandals or flip flops (don’t worry about tennis shoes or other shoes, you’ll either be wearing sandals or going barefoot, and take two pairs of sandals just in case one goes overboard…)
  • Shorts (2)
  • Loose pants (1)
  • Sundress (1-2)
  • Clothes to sleep in
  • Plenty of underwear and a couple comfy bras (I tend to travel only with sports bras or lace bralettes, especially when in hot destinations)

Toiletries

  • All the usual stuff: toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, conditioner, etc. (bring small containers – you don’t have much space in the cabins and want to keep your stuff as small and condensed as possible)
  • Any medications you need + Dramamine (just in case…I rarely get motion sickness but took some pills along with me just in case – you don’t want to get stuck in the water and starting to feel sick – and took one before working on my computer just as a precaution)
  • Face wipes
  • Baby powder (my travel go-to – helps your skin stay less sticky in the humidity and works as a dry shampoo)

Electronics

  • Camera and/or GoPro (You’re going to want to take lots of photos! Make sure you have waterproof cases!)
  • Battery chargers
  • External battery chargers (the power on our boat was hit or miss and having an external battery pack for my phone, etc. definitely came in handy)
  • (Don’t take a computer unless you absolutely have to)

Miscellaneous

  • A couple pairs of sunglasses
  • Waterproof bag and/or waterproof cases for your electronics
  • A beach towel (there were towels in the cabins to use, but good to bring an extra one for sunbathing or going to the beach)
  • Costumes (whatever floats your boat – there were plenty of Santa Clause getups the week I went just for the fun of it)
  • Face paint (cause when else can you paint your face as an adult…)
  • Floaties (serious flotation devices I saw: a watermelon, a swan, slices of pizza, and a pretzel…these are all necessary)
  • Cards or board games
  • Books, magazines or Kindles (you have a lot of time to simply chill on the boat between destinations and activities)

Don’t take anything you particularly love with you if you can help it. Between things easily going overboard, being misplaced or ruined it’s best to just stick with the basics.

Wine and Superyachts

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By Angela Audrestch for SuperYacht Life

Wine and yachting go hand in hand like sunsets and cocktails, or suits and Savile Row. One of the superyacht stars at this year's Monaco Yacht Show was an ode to this perfect pairing. Tankoa's 50m M/Y Vertige, designed by Francesco Paszkowski, is named after her French owners' favourite label and features a striking wine cellar.

"Vertige’s owner loves music, to spend quality time with family, friends and business contacts aboard his boat and, of course, good wine," says Paszkowski. "Therefore, he asked us to find a solution to store wine onboard." Built along the hallway that leads from the main salon to the owner's cabin, Paszkowski explains that this retro, illuminated, floor-to-ceiling wine cellar can hold 300 bottles and is prominently positioned to enable the owners to select the evening’s vintages on their way to the main salon to greet guests, bottles in hand.

When it comes to storing wine on board though, not all yachts are outfitted with dedicated cellars of this calibre. "In my experience, not many superyachts have proper wine storage facilities," says David Rabaud, a professional sommelier with World Wine Services. "Most of the wines are still held on shelves, in simple wine fridges or worse, in the galley." For Rabaud, the idea of a luxury yacht without a dedicated wine cellar is as absurd as a three-star Michelin restaurant without one, but it is all-too-often the norm. "We do still come across yachts where the excess wine is being stored under the beds," agrees Tom Bradshaw, managing director at Abercrombie Fine Wines. "But thankfully, the vast majority of larger yachts now tend to have one or more dedicated wine fridges on board, and some have customised wine cellars that are designed to showcase the owner’s collection. M/Y Ulysses, for example, has one of the most stylish wine cellars I've seen."

The science of wine storage and maturation means that superyachts are far from ideal hosts, making suitable storage key. When wine is subjected to fluctuations in temperature, light, vibration or movement, its molecules move and collide; some stick together, become heavier and sink as sediment, while others break apart, which is a fundamental part of the evolution of flavour in a maturing wine. On a yacht, the maturing process is accelerated and ultimately the flavour is affected.

According to Bradshaw, whites, rosés and Champagnes are the best wines to have on board as they tend not to have sediment and are consumed at a young age. However, delicate wines, such as drier rieslings, sauvignon blancs as well as almost all rosés in these varieties, will suffer very quickly from accelerated ageing and are best provisioned on a trip-by-trip basis rather than stored on board.

Thankfully, as one of the few white wines that benefits from bottle age, the perpetual superyacht favourite Champagne is fairly seaworthy and robust, the trademark thick, dark glass bottle also helping to protect it. Rabaud stresses that when it comes to this sought-after luxury tipple, it pays to look beyond the more high-profile labels. “Crew worry that if they pour an unknown label, customers will think they are trying to give them a cheap sparkling wine,” he says. “There are some excellent, less famous champagnes that the real connoisseur will appreciate.”

Bradshaw advises avoiding older vintages, like top-end reds. "Take a 20-year-old claret, for example," he says. "This will, by nature, be more fragile than the younger wines. The sediment will have been thrown, so to speak, so more susceptible to temperature fluctuations and movements within the yacht. Of course, this is over the longer term. Older wines that are kept in good storage conditions for up to 18 months there should be no problem." He observes that first growth Bordeaux and the 'Super Tuscans' (a variety of high quality reds from Tuscany) are always popular on yachts, and has also witnessed an increase in the amount of red Burgundy being ordered.

Ultimately, if you want to be less restricted in your wine repertoire on board, dedicated storage is not just nice to have; it is a necessity. "Finding an industry standard wine cooler that fits with the general arrangement of a yacht provides a major challenge and often results in the need to create a fully custom cooler from scratch," say the team at Winch Design, who have designed wine cellars for many projects, including one just off the main dining area on the recent 85m Lürssen, M/Y Areti. "Most aged wines need to be kept at a constant temperature and out of direct sunlight, so with Areti, we used glass that filters UV light alongside decorative blackout curtains. The owners enjoy entertaining guests and personally like to serve them so [the wine cellar] alongside the personalised wine bottles adds a real element of intimacy."

Central to both the wine cellars on Vertige and Areti was seamlessly combining function and form. "Constructing [Vertige's] cellar was a bit of an engineering feat because the different compartments contain wines that have to be kept a different temperatures," says Paszkowski. "The owner’s real passion is for whites, but he also stocks reds and wants them all stored correctly." According to Bradshaw, the ideal storage temperature should usually be around 10 to 15°C: "not in the engine room, where I found one large sailing yacht keeping their wine!" Over the years, he and his team have worked with some of the leading yacht designers to assist them in the technical elements of customised wine cellars, advising on such aspects as temperatures, bottle angle and movement. 

Whether you have a cellar or not, both Rabaud and Bradshaw agree that it is always advisable to order wine to be delivered by a reputable supplier to the yacht at the latest possible time. They are able to source the wines from the world's best cellars where temperature and humidity are kept constant and at the optimum level, and then efficiently transport the desired bottles to a yacht in the quickest time, in the best conditions and at exactly the right temperature, ready for guests to pop the cork at sea.

Amalfi Coast Food Tour

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From Super Yacht Life. Travel writer Anna Hart recalls the thrill of a foodie odyssey along Italy’s Amalfi coast.

If there ever was a time when food wasn’t a major element of travel, it’s hard to remember it. Today we’re all culinarily curious travellers, thoroughly clued-up on the cuisine of our chosen destination. The internet has made it the work of a few minutes to research what’s on the menu where we’re headed, and social media has turbo-charged every traveller’s tastebuds. Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, almost by osmosis we become creepily well-informed about the current streetfood scene in Lima, the morning markets of Dubrovnik, and precisely what the Michelin-starred restaurants of San Sebastian are making with zeitgeisty ingredients like charcoal and seaweed.

For slow travellers, by boat, rail or road, the delicious intermingling of food and travel is even more of a game changer; what was once a journey has evolved into a foodie odyssey. As an adventure/active travel writer who happens to be hopelessly loved-up with food and drink, it’s been a delight to experience my two twin passions hooking up like this. Food-oriented road trips will always have a place in my heart, and touring the winelands of New Zealand, California, France and Italy should be on any booze-lover’s bucket list. But when your mode of transport is a boat, fabulous things happen to your menu. Because there is no better way to taste a destination than by skimming around the edges. 

Port towns have always thrilled adventurous eaters. Ports are where new, exotic spices, fruits and other comestibles first hit a new country. Ports are where chefs find the freshest of ingredients. Ports are where sailors and merchants alike congregated from all over the world; port towns were doing fusion cuisine centuries ago. The money is there to nudge chefs into greater realms of inventiveness, and the stream of hungry diners is constant, curious and an inspiring mix of discerning regulars and intrigued newcomers. 

So perhaps it’s no surprise that my most memorable slow food odyssey is a sailing trip around one of the most notoriously beautiful stretches of one of the world’s most notoriously food-obsessed nations: Italy’s Amalfi coast.

Amalfi is hardly an “insider’s secret”, a “hidden gem”, a “hotspot” or “emerging destination” or any of those other travel journalism cliches. People have been banging on about how great Amalfi is for centuries. The coast was, however, once considered a rough diamond, and accordingly attracted writers, artists and associated bohemians and hangers-on. D.H. Lawrence worked on Lady Chatterley’s Lover in Ravello, and Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury set would visit most years, staying at Villa Cimbrone. John Steinbeck deemed it one of the “most beautiful and dramatic coastlines in the world” in 1953, although he made several thoroughly Californian observations about the coastal road, observing it had “1,000 bends” and was “carefully designed to be a little bit narrower than two cars side by side.” In Ravello’s main square there is a plaque commemorating starry Hollywood visitors including Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo, John Huston and Truman Capote.

And as soon as we moored up in Positano, I realised that all the modern-day tourists and all those dead writers and movie stars, well, they weren’t wrong.

The Amalfi Coast is about as dramatic and beautiful as Mediterranean landscapes get, with plunging mountains, soaring cliffs, topped off with picturesque pastel-hued towns and dinky harbours. And in Positano, Ravello, Amalfi, Capri, Sorrento and the other countless small towns along the way, sailing up to restaurants along the way is considered as normal as pulling up in a Vespa or a Fiat. There’s no better appetiser than the sea, and when we moored up in Ravello and scaled the cliffs to reach the beautiful family-run hotel and restaurant Palazzo Avino, we were ready to sip a Neptune, the resident mixologist’s inventive combination of kiwi, lemon, tequila and a splash of seawater. Comparatively low-key Minori holds an annual food festival in early September showcasing local ingredients and dishes; for any culinarily creative galley chef, this is a dream pitstop, although glossy sardines, fluffily fresh buffalo mozzarella and supernaturally delicious lemons, tomatoes, figs and other fresh produce are always on the table at the morning markets.

In Italy, rustic cuisine is often more memorable than self-conscious Michelin attempts, and after snagging a balcony table at Ristorante Pulalli in Capri, I taste a Caprese salad that that makes me finally understand Caprese salads; the penny drops as the grassy olive oil melts into an unthinkably light puff of buffalo mozzarella, dancing with the sweet acidity of fresh tomato. 

For centuries, sexually repressed, gastronomically unadventurous and emotionally stunted British and American artists and aristocrats have been travelling to Italy and returning transformed. And even today, hungrily skirting a stretch of the Italian coast by boat, as we did, proved a powerful tonic that restored our appetites and awakened the senses. When you put sea and sail, Italy and food together, you have a culinary cocktail like no other.