Amalfi Coast Food Tour

AdobeStock_64390469.jpeg

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.

7 Reasons to Charter a Luxury Yacht

BAYachts-luxury-charter.jpeg

By EAT LOVE SAVOR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to charter a superyacht? Imagine an immersive world, private, peaceful, where you are personally catered to and surrounded by beautiful vistas and blue waters. Here are 7 great reasons why you should embark on this adventure of a lifetime … and leave you wanting more!

1. Made-To-Measure

When you choose to spend your vacation aboard a superyacht rest assured that everything will be just the way you want it! Your yachting holiday will be created based on your desires as well as those joining you on this remarkable journey. Your charter agent will help you to find the best suitable yacht and, together with the Captain and his crew, organise a personalised itinerary to sail to destinations of your dreams.

There is a wide variety of superyachts available for charter in any given destination. Your superyacht may include such luxuries such as Jacuzzis, infinity swimming pool, a day-spa/beauty centre, private gymnasium, helicopter pad, large cinema or a deck that can be transformed into an on board discotheque. From a contemporary styled performance sailing yacht to an opulent super luxurious mega yacht, there is something for all tastes.

2. Freedom and Flexibility

Imagine waking surrounded by tranquil waters, morning summer breeze and a cup of your favourite coffee already waiting for you.  This liberating feeling will accompany you throughout your entire holiday, free of unwanted crowds. A whole range of water toys and equipment are at your disposal to use whenever you desire or you can simply relax in a private jacuzzi, or sunbathe on board with your favourite book in hand. Of course, flexibility also means, that you can take the tender and visit the local towns, cities, beaches, historical monuments and even enjoy the crowds if you should decide.

3. Luxury and Attention to Detail

Everything aboard a superyacht has been created with luxury, comfort and indulgence in mind. Yacht designers and builders create super yachts with fine attention to detail and highest quality of craftsmanship possible. Crewmembers prepare everything you need before your arrival, so when you step aboard, you feel right at home. The spacious on-board staterooms are beautifully styled and decorated, offering the latest in design, facilities and state-of-the-art entertainment systems creating a luxurious home away from home.

4. Secluded Corners Of The World

Explore secluded destinations such as Antarctica, Pacific Islands, Alaska, Scandinavia or Northern Europe aboard a luxury superyacht for a vacation of your lifetime, or simply charter a yacht to cruise the Mediterranean or the Caribbean coastline discovering hidden coves, islets and islands, that can only be approached by a boat. Nothing can compare to an adventurous holiday away from the usual everyday life, without loosing the warmth, comfort and luxury of your own home.

5. Privacy and Peace

Privacy is an important part of our lives, often very hard to achieve. Chartering a superyacht offers that much appreciated privacy and helps you to get away from all that hustle and bustle while you enjoy precious time with family and friends to the fullest. Dine on fabulous al-fresco meals cooked to perfection by your personal Chef aboard, enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings anchored away from the coastline, perhaps hidden behind a small abandoned island or in midst of breathtaking fiords. Most of the large superyachts have the crew quarters completely separated from guest areas, which allows for even more privacy without any compromise on the exceptional and professional service.

6. Professional and Highly Trained Crew

During your yacht rental holiday you will be looked after by a highly skilled and professional superyacht crew, making sure you have a fantastic experience and your holiday is truly something that you will never forget. The crew makes sure all your desires, needs and wishes are met, creating the best holiday you could ever imagine. Everything revolves around offering the best service and organising activities that are most suited to your personality as well as mood. You might want to relax aboard the entire time or you might want to embark on an activity-filled adventure of your lifetime. A personalised menu will be created by your Chef aboard, based on the fresh local produce, your favourite dishes and those of your guests.

7. New Horizons Every Day

Chartering a yacht you could wake-up to new horizons every day and enjoy the ever-changing view from a very different perspective, while having to unpack your luggage only once. Beautiful coastlines, romantic seaside villages, mountains, islands, beaches and horizons are even more spectacular when viewed from a distance out in the sea.

The reasons to venture into the world of yacht charter are endless as well as the choices of yachts available on the market today. There is something for everyone from fast and sporty motor yachts and performance sailing yachts, to more luxurious and opulent superyachts or traditional sailing yachts. Whatever destination around the world you might choose for your holiday there is a fantastic charter yacht waiting for you to take you on a private and unforgettable journey.

Rock the boat: The essential guide to throwing the ultimate on board bash

BAHS-Yachts-entertaining.jpeg

By Jordana Reuben Yechiel for Boat International

The best party I’ve been to on board a yacht was a summer party in Antibes port, hosted by a fabulous young couple on their super impressive yacht. Guests entered via a red carpet and were serenaded by Vanessa-Mae at the pre-dinner reception, where we enjoyed champagne cocktails before making our way down to their nightclub (a permanent fixture on board). Limited Edition Event Design produced the party and, among many highlights, filled the swimming pool with 250 goldfish.

One of my other all-time favourite superyacht parties was a Pirates of the Caribbean do. This small party was held on board a 75 metre last year in St Barths, and guests were all sent custom pirate outfits and the decks were covered with skulls, crossbones and pirate booty. Rum cocktails were served in handled mugs and chocolate volcano cake was presented in individual mini treasure chests.

Paul Allen throws a party on board Octopus, his 126 metre superyacht, during the Cannes Film Festival. It is always themed and stuffed with A-list guests – making it a Cannes favourite. Jake Gyllenhaal, Sienna Miller, Kristen Stewart, Kate Moss and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, have all partied away on board. Previous themes have included Bollywood and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with fairy light-covered trees and faux grass flooring.

The biggest yacht party fiesta is without doubt Saturday night at the Monaco Grand Prix. Yacht after yacht is lined up, full of bright lights and loud music, as the harbour becomes party central for the yachting jet set.

Superyacht Party Checklist

If superyacht soirées have you thinking of garish champagne and caviar parties, you are way out of date. These days they are all about understated elegance, with fewer guests and more high quality production.

Food

More and more hosts want to return to the era of fine dining and they incorporate this regardless of the party size. Celebrity chefs are the new party rock stars and the uber elite are flying them in to cater for them. Creating the tastiest and, more importantly, the healthiest menus is now the craze. Most superyacht chefs get sent to observe and assist in the owner’s favourite restaurant kitchens for a few weeks a year. Now they are being sent into spa kitchens too. 

What to offer? A steady stream of healthy bowl food passed around by staff all through the night. Sushi? Make sure it’s brown rice. The arancini? Black rice fried in coconut oil. Even the desserts are free of sugar, gluten and dairy.

Drinks

The key to a good party is booze – strong enough to get the job done and tasty enough so you don’t notice. Espresso martinis are out and teatini is in. Made with jasmine pearl tea, mixed with bourbon, apple juice and agave nectar, it is then shaken and strained into a martini glass. Sensational. For the older crowd a good vintage Bordeaux never goes out of fashion. 

Music

Music sets the tone for a party so you have to get it right. The big bands are so last season; now it’s DJ only, regardless of the age of the crowd. And star singers are being flown in only for a song or two. Banana Split events flew Tony Hadley on to a yacht in Monaco last summer to sing one song – Gold – because it was the hostess’s favourite.

Décor

It’s all in the details and the hosts with the most know how to do detail. Limited Edition Event Design put together a Japanese themed party on board a superyacht in Mexico, where the hostess wanted cherry blossom trees to line the helipad. So 3,000 fake cherry blossoms were sourced and it took staff three days to hand stitch them on to real branches. Special touches with tableware, glassware, uniforms and flowers go a long way. 

Individual shoe boxes or shoe bags embossed with the boat’s logo can safely hold all the guests’ shoes as they enter. Emboss and engrave everything. Stamp the boat’s logo on the cocktail napkin, colour matched to the design scheme. Have your own scented candles made to scatter round the party, with your vessel’s name and logo engraved on the label.

 

Yacht Etiquette for Beginners

BAHS-Yachts-Luxury-How-to.jpeg

By Geoff Moore for A Luxury Travel Blog

Chartering a yacht is one of the most exclusive holidays available. Offering facilities that would rival that of a five-star hotel, complete privacy for you and your guests and a dedicated crew who will ensure your every requirement is met, it’s easy to understand why so many people are now choosing yacht charter as their holiday of choice.

However, stepping on board can also be quite daunting for those who have never chartered a yacht before. People often don’t know what to expect and the etiquette at sea can be very different to that of a normal hotel or cruise liner.

Here’s our top ten yacht etiquette tips for beginners.

Treat the yacht as if it’s yours

The one benefit of a luxury yacht is that your five-star accommodation is also your transport, providing the ultimate opportunity for you to relax and enjoy your time on board. Your Captain and crew will always want you to feel at home and treat the yacht as if it’s yours, however do always remember that a luxury yacht will be decorated to an extremely high standard so care should also be taken when on board as you may be charged for any breakages or damage!

Provide as much information as possible on your preference sheet

Prior to your arrival you will receive a preference sheet. This is a document where you can provide the crew with as much information as possible about everything from your party’s dietary requirements to sleeping arrangements. Your Captain will always appreciate as much information as possible to allow them to fully to prepare for your trip, so don’t ever be afraid to share anything that you feel is important and will enhance your stay.

Treat the crew with respect

The crew are there to ensure the ultimate holiday experience for you and your guests, however it is important to treat them with respect and ensure that your requests are reasonable and achievable. Rest assured, they will always ensure that they accommodate these wherever possible, but making any requests in a fair and polite manner will always be greatly appreciated.

Factor a tip into your budget

It is customary to tip your crew between 10 – 15% of the charter fee in recognition of a high standard of service. Any gratuity should be presented to the Captain at the end of your trip to ensure that tips are divided equally amongst the crew, including those who are essential but not always client-facing.

Respect the crew’s personal space

Although you will have the full run of most of your yacht, your crew will also have their own designated area where they can sleep and undertake their day-to-day duties. It’s important you respect these areas and don’t enter unless specifically invited. This also includes the galley (or kitchen for those who are new to yachting terms), where your chef will spend a lot of time preparing meals and drinks.

Should you want any refreshments at any point of your charter, a quick call to one of your stewards will ensure you have everything you need.

Be prepared to go barefoot

Due to the bespoke nature of a yacht, and the fact that many vessels boast custom carpets or exotic floor coverings, many Captains will impose a barefoot rule meaning shoes cannot be worn in parts, or often all, of the yacht. This will be communicated upon your arrival and should be respected at all times.

There will always be a clean and secure place provided to put your shoes, however if you are really uncomfortable about walking around barefoot it is advisable to speak to your Captain prior to your trip to see if he will allow some clean slippers or soft sandals to be worn once you are on board.

Check your yacht’s watersports policy

Depending on your yacht and the waters you are sailing in, different regulations may apply to the water sports toys available on board. Although in most instances many will be fine for you to use under the supervision of your crew, more specialist equipment such as jet skis or fishing gear may require tuition or even a licence to use. Should this apply, your crew will be able to arrange for any relevant paperwork or training, however it’s best to bring this up with your charter broker prior to embarking to ensure the necessary arrangements can be made in advance.

Always report any issues to the Captain

In the unlikely event that you have any issues throughout your trip, raise these to your Captain instead of taking matters in to your own hands. Whilst on board, your captain is the only person with authority and they will ensure any matters are dealt with appropriately and promptly.

Do not break the law

Yachts operate a zero-tolerance policy for anything illegal or illicit and the Captain will pass any matters over to the relevant authorities if anything was to happen on board. In most countries, this will be treated very seriously and could involve jail time or hefty fines.

Ensure you’re aware of all of the costs

In most instances the cost of charter is solely to cover the use of the yacht, crew, insurances and use of any water toys (as specified). There is also often an APA (advanced provisioning allowance) applicable on top of your charter fee which covers any additional expenses, for example fuel, food, drinks, harbour and marina dues (other than those of the yacht’s home port). The APA is usually budgeted at around 25-30% of the charter cost, however you will only pay cost price for what you use. Any funds not required will be returned to you at the end of your trip. Likewise, should you go over this you will be asked to make a payment to cover your additional expenses.

Geoff Moore is Managing Director at West Nautical.

How a Staffing Agency Can Help

home_room_piano.jpg

British American Q and A in Goop.com
 

Anita Rogers, founder of household staffing agency British American, has more than a decade’s experience in pairing families with household staff, from nannies and butlers to personal assistants and estate managers. She’s earned a reputation for finding successful matches–and also for helping to handle any situation that may arise in the working household. Here, she shares her insights on why hiring for your childcare or home needs is profoundly personal, and how a staffing agency can help with the process. 


A Q&A with Anita Rogers

 

What are the upsides to using an agency?

An agency helps you determine what kind of help you really need, and devises the way in which you want your staff to fit your lifestyle. It also saves you time and keeps you safe during the interview process. Some families have limited experience interviewing and hiring childcare and household staff, which makes it easy to miss signs of danger, red flags, or dishonesty. We enforce strict standards as we interview thousands of candidates each year. This has allowed us—and other reputable agencies—to become experts at spotting dishonest references and to be able single out specific personality traits and potential challenges. A staffing agency has seen how similar traits have played out with other candidates, which lends to its ability to find the best fit for you, your family, and your household.

What are the biggest misconceptions about household staffing?

Both parties must be willing to give and take in order to find the best match. Often people think they can hire a candidate if they offer a competitive or high salary. Or if a nanny or butler has excellent experience, they might assume they can get a higher salary and an ideal schedule. But staffing is a matchmaking process, and both parties must be satisfied with the relationship and the circumstances in order for it to work.

How do you recognize good talent?

It’s a long process—and it’s so much more than just a great résumé and reference letters. We look for candidates that have a balance of experience, training, and education in their field and glowing references from past employers. Other indicators we look for include personality, attitude, flexibility, grammar, responsiveness, and confidence.

The résumé is always the first indicator of talent, where we look at formal level of experience, age appropriate childcare experience, the types of homes an individual has worked in, longevity in previous jobs, and demonstrated professionalism and willingness. We screen all résumés and references and do extensive state, federal, and international background checks, as well as a thorough screening of their social media.

What’s the secret to finding a good match between a family and nanny?

Everyone must be on the same page from the very beginning of the process. One family’s dream nanny could be another’s nightmare. It’s imperative that the candidate and the family have a similar approach to raising children, as well as complementary personalities. Someone who is really laid back isn’t going to work well in a formal home that thrives on structure. (The reverse is true as well.) The perfect nanny and family pairing has similar philosophies about discipline, education, and responsibilities. There has to be a mutual respect between the parents and the nanny regarding the decisions made concerning the child. As a parent, if you feel like you have to micromanage and instruct your nanny on how you’d like every situation handled, you will become frustrated and resentful of the situation.

One of the most important factors to consider during the process of finding a good match is assessing the needs and expectations of the family. There’s a huge difference between a parent looking for an extra set of hands to help with driving, activities, and meals and a working parent who needs someone to be the child’s primary caregiver. A take-charge, independent, problem-solving nanny with sole-charge experience isn’t going to thrive as a helper. In the same way, a nanny without the confidence to make decisions on his or her own and proactively foresee situations isn’t the best choice for a family where the parents are gone most of the day. 

Once the hiring process is done, what other support do clients typically need?

It depends upon the family. Clients will often come to us for help with communicating with their new employee, especially during the transition process while the employee settles in. We always encourage regular, open and honest communication between both parties. On occasion, we will go into the home as a “manager” and help iron out any small issues that may exist. A relationship between a family and their household employees needs to be nurtured and carefully built, as this is a private home, where discretion is of utmost importance. We encourage clear communication and a weekly sit-down between a family and staff.

If a match doesn’t work out, what is your advice for handling a potential change (or parting ways)?

We suggest that each party be gentle but honest about their feelings. The parting should be done with kindness and care so that everyone involved understands that it isn’t a personal attack, just a relationship that has outlived its potential. When hiring staff, you are creating a business in your home. I have seen people distraught if something isn’t working out because they don’t want to offend someone, they don’t want to hurt their feelings.

In certain situations, we’ll go into the residence and let the candidate go so that we can assure it’s done with delicacy. Every situation is very different. We’ve learned it’s best to never point fingers and to make everyone feel good. We directly address and try to resolve any problems, serious or minor, that are brought to our attention, and to support the client or candidate. The ending of a professional relationship can be emotional, particularly if it involves an intimate household setting, so we work to minimize any potential animosity a much as possible.

Is there a difference between a nanny and a career nanny?

Most definitely. A typical nanny is different from a career nanny in that they often have a lot of experience with families, but no background or education in child development. Other nanny candidates are great with children and may have teaching degrees or other formal education, but limited in-home experience (typically part-time babysitting work).

A career nanny is someone who has chosen childcare as his or her profession. Most often, these candidates have formal education in child development and/or psychology. This can include a college degree in education or or training from previous jobs. Career nannies also have an employment history of long-term placements in private homes, understand the dynmics of working in a home environment and are great with children. A career nanny knows how to anticipate needs, respect a family’s privacy and space, and handle the logistics of high-end homes. Being in a home is very different than working in a school or daycare; there is no way to prepare or train someone for it, it’s something you learn and understand only after having experienced it.

How have staffing agencies changed over the years?

Historically, many agencies have been run by only one or two people. Today, the amount of work it takes to verify backgrounds, interview candidates, and create and nurture relationships is impossible with such a small team. This is a time-intensive business, which is why a larger team with modernized and strict processes is essential.


Anita Rogers is the founder of British American Household Staffing (BAHS), the nation’s leading domestic staffing and childcare agency with branches in New York, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, and London. BAHS provides childcare and estate staff available in the USA and U.K. She is also the founder of Anita Rogers Gallery in SoHo, New York, and of British American Talent, based in Los Angeles, London and New York.

Feel free to contact us for any immediate permanent, temporary or seasonal staffing needs.

 

Five good reasons to cruise in the Canary Islands

BAHS-Yacht-Canary-Islands-luxury.jpeg

By Theo Stocker for Yachting Monthly

Ask any sailor why the Canary Islands are so important and you’ll get a good answer – the same one that Columbus, Cook or Humboldt would have given. Thanks to favourable winds and currents, and a strategic position on the classic transatlantic route, these Atlantic isles are a crucial stepping-stone for ocean voyagers. But they offer a whole lot more. For thousands of sailors, the Canary Islands are the cruising destination of choice, and here’s why.

1 Perfect sailing, all year round

The Canary Islands have the best climate in the world and it hardly changes with the seasons: an eternal spring of sunny days, blue skies and constant temperatures, which vary little throughout the year. Whenever you visit, you’ll sail in steady, reliable Trade Winds thanks to the Gulf Stream and the Azores High.

2 Amazing scenery and wildlife

Have you ever seen a mountain looming two miles high in the middle of the ocean? Magnificent volcanoes, deep ravines and towering cliffs make a spectacular backdrop for a Canary Islands cruise. There’s an amazing variety of landscapes: lush green slopes on the northern coasts and dramatic desert moonscapes in the south. With luck you’ll see humpback whales, dolphins or turtles. Night sailing here is a mind-blowing experience, with the cleanest, clearest skies in Europe and very low light pollution. Slip out of port after dark and you can cruise under a carpet of stars.

3 More to explore, afloat and ashore

With 36 ports on seven islands, each with its own distinct character, there’s a lot to explore on an island-hopping cruise. The navigation is simple, in deep blue water. You’ll discover charming, traditional ports and stylish marinas with five-star facilities in beautiful, wild surroundings. The prevailing winds give a broad reach going west along the archipelago and a close reach going east.

4 Snug berths, world-class services

A major marine service hub for 500 years, the Canary Islands are an ideal place to keep a boat, or to leave her for a while. She’ll be well looked after, with all boatyard services on hand. And with 8,500 berths to suit yachts of all sizes, you’re sure to find one that’s perfect – just pick your favourite island.

Lanzarote alone has 1,700 berths in its seven harbours, while the five ports of Fuerteventura hold 930 yachts. You’ll find 2,600 berths in seven harbours on Gran Canaria and 2,110 in Tenerife’s ten ports. There are 390 berths in La Gomera’s three harbours; and in the far west, 520 berths in two marinas on La Palma; and a further 140 in two harbours on tiny El Hierro.

5 The warmest welcome

The Canary Islands’ culture is steeped in centuries of nautical tradition, which means seafaring visitors are held in high esteem. And it’s an inspiring place for a sailor to be. Sit in the church where Columbus prayed before he sailed west to discover America and contemplate your next voyage of discovery.

How to Enjoy Chartering with the Seasick-Prone

BAHS-Yacht-Charter-Luxury.jpeg

By Zuzana Prochazka for Yacht World Charters

Are you thinking about chartering a boat with people who may have sensitive systems? No problem, as long as you choose your charter destination carefully. Here are some locales where you’ll find calmer waters, but still have plenty to do and enjoy.

Protected Coastal Regions
Saltwater boating is not off-limits to those prone to seasickness, especially if you're able to charter in an area with calm seas. One good area to consider is the Pacific Northwest, or more specifically, the San Juan Islands. Choose a power or sailboat and enjoy hopping short distances between many interesting islands in clear waters that team with sea life. This archipelago is nestled on the Salish Sea north of Seattle, WA, and is protected from the open Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. While you may find some wind chop, long swells or high seas are rarely a problem.

Another option is the vast Chesapeake Bay, with its 11,684 miles of shoreline. Yes, the Chesapeake can get boisterous when nor’easters or stiff fall winds kick up, but if you choose your weather carefully and stick to exploring a specific area, such as St. Michaels, MD, Annapolis, MD, or Solomons, MD, you are less likely to encounter uncomfortable seas. With clear weather, you can usually see land on one side or the other, so for those who get nervous on open waters, this may be a calming influence.

Inland Lakes
Whether it’s the stark desert beauty of Lake Powell in Utah or fishing on Michigan’s Lake St. Claire, there are a number of ways to enjoy boating without ever having to visit the left or right coasts of the United States. Houseboats and pontoon boats are especially popular on lakes, and provide a stable boating platform that is appropriate for families with small children or more senior crewmembers. Many smaller independent charter companies also offer fast center-console boats for fishing or tow boats for waterskiing and wakeboarding.

River Boating
For the very sensitive or ultra-nervous, opt for a powerboat on a canal or river. Very popular in Europe, river boating has grown significantly in recent years. Cruising rivers and canals is usually slow going—no more than five knots—so anyone who needs to get off the boat for a while can keep up with the charter by biking alongside on a footpath. The rivers experience some current, but just about no chop and certainly never a sea swell.

Cruising the River Shannon in Ireland or the Canal de Bourgogne in France combines history, amazing scenery, and a convenient moving hotel, not to mention access to wineries, restaurants, and quaint towns along the route. Very little experience is required to handle rental canal boats, and if you break down, you’re never far from help.

Don’t dismiss boating with family and friends because or potentially queasy stomachs. Broaden your definition of chartering and learn your location options, and you’ll soon be on a boating vacation that is bound to make everyone feel good.

Tired of the Caribbean? Go West

from Yacht World Charters

As the winter 2014/2015 yacht charter season approaches, it might be fair to say the Caribbean is becoming a bit passé. More and more owners are putting their boats in places such as the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, and it looks to me as if the new great horizon for winter yacht charters is the west coasts of Mexico and Central America.

To be clear, crewed charter yachts have long been available on a catch-as-catch-can basis from the Mexican Riviera to Costa Rica and Panama’s San Blas and Las Perlas islands. A few have come and gone every winter, usually en route from Alaska through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean. My first charter in the region was more than a decade ago aboard the 125-foot Delta Marine Centurion, which at the time was trying to open the megayacht charter market there full-season.

Our itinerary included scuba diving with moray eels whose heads were the size of a man’s thigh; pulling fruit off the trees at a banana plantation; river rafting through Class IV rapids and waterfalls; and hiking through tropical forests filled with screeching howler monkeys. (Costa Rica definitely has a different vibe than St. Barth’s.)

That yacht owner’s vision was way ahead of its time. Eco-tourism and a desire to visit new frontiers are both travel trends just now starting to affect the yacht charter industry, and Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica are at the forefront. Edmiston and CompanyFraser Yachts Worldwide, and Sunreef Yachts Charter together are offering more than a half-dozen crewed yachts—big megayachts and entry-level catamarans alike—for charter this winter in Mexico. B&B Yacht Charters just welcomed two yachts into its fleet for year-round itineraries in Panama, where Neo Yachting has been promoting a 68-foot Azimut in the San Blas Islands. Well-respected charter yachts that used to base in the Caribbean each winter, including the 161-foot Feadship Teleost, have started returning to Costa Rica annually; last winter was her third season there.

Now comes word from Yachting Partners International that we can add the 84-foot JFA sailing catamaran Rose of Jericho to the list. She’s another successful charter yacht (one of the largest cats available anywhere) that has spent recent winters in the Caribbean, and is branching out this season with itineraries in Panama and Costa Rica.

Rose of Jericho is a 2002 build that a previous charter client bought in 2010. He did some major refit work on systems and machinery, along with an interior upgrade, to make the yacht ready for cruising in far-off destinations such as Central America. Then he—smartly—spent the past few winter seasons developing a happy clientele of Caribbean charter clients, whispering in their ears that if they want a change of scenery, the yacht they know and love will be spending the next season in Panama and Costa Rica.

It’s a smart business plan, one that combines the current tourism desire for unique experiences with all of the outstanding options that exist in places like Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. Marina developments are catching up with yacht owners’ needs for provisioning and other services, and my guess is that during the next five years or so, we’re going to see many more charter yachts heading in this direction, as these early adopters establish the market.

That’s great news for charter clients who want to set the GPS toward a new heading. I’m happy to be in the passenger seat with market trends fully in control at the helm.