Superyachts for Sale
Superyachts are exclusive, privately owned yachts that are professionally crewed. These yachts, also known as super yachts, large yachts, or luxury yachts, can be either sailing or motor yachts.
At the turn of the 20th century, wealthy individuals began to construct large private yachts for personal pleasure. These luxurious vessels attracted the attention of the press, and in their reports the term 'superyacht' began to be used. Various magazines, such as Boat International, helped solidify the word's status as an everyday term in the industry. Examples of early superyachts are the Cox & King yachts, based in London, M/Y (motor yacht) Christina O, out of Canada, and M/Y Savarona, built in Germany. Early luxury sailing yachts include British S/Y (sailing yacht) Endeavour, renowned as the most beautiful J class classic yacht ever built, and Sir Thomas Lipton's S/Y Shamrock, another racing yacht.
The popularity, number, and size of these luxury yachts boomed between 1997 and 2008, especially in the 24 to 70 meter (78 to 230 ft) size range. There is typically no constant 'home port' for a superyacht, although it must be registered in a port of the country of flag state registration. Cayman Islands, Marshall Islands, Isle of Man, and the British Virgin Islands are all popular flag state registrars for superyachts, even though it is common for the yacht never to have been to these ports.
During the summer, it is common for superyachts to be found scattered throughout the Mediterranean. The warm Caribbean Sea is usually the cruising area of choice during the winter. Yachts that go back and forth between these two seas in the summer and winter are said to be doing the 'Milk Run'. Many luxury yachts can be chartered (rented) by individuals, parties, or businesses for a variety of prices. There are roughly 1500 large yachts available for charter during a season.
Not all of these superyachts can easily make it across the Atlantic Ocean, however. Large commercial ships that are specially equipped to transport multiple superyachts across this great expanse have played a major part in creating a much larger charter market. Professional crew will do maintenance work and prepare for the owners or guests to arrive while the yacht sits in a convenient port. Typical destinations that the vessel will then cruise to in Spain and the French and Italian Rivieras are Cannes, Antibes, St. Trope, Monte Carlo, Portofino, Porto Cervo, Puerto Banus, Puerto Portals and Palma Majorca, although increasingly more remote areas of the world are being explored. In the Windward Islands of the Caribbean, Antigua is a major port for yachts and also hosts a Charter Show at the beginning of every winter season.
Since 2009 and the fall of the economic market, the demand for new superyachts has slowed. 2011, however, has seen a small rebound with launches from various top shipyards. The shipyards that build these incredible vessels and the companies that charter them are largely based in the United States and Western Europe, but are growing in New Zealand, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Exclusivity of use of these superyachts varies by owner. Some are only used by their private owners, while others operate year-round as charter yachts. Many do both: they are privately owned but available for charter part-time. The weekly rates of charter yachts ranges from 20,000 Euros to nearly 1 million Euros. There is also a customary 15-20% gratuity given to the crew for good service. The charter industry is valuable to private yacht owners, as it helps alleviate their running costs through charter income, as well as keeping their vessels maintained and in perfect order. Conversely, exclusively chartering private yachts (as opposed to owning them) is frequently considered to be less expensive and less hassle.
Superyacht Design and layout
The design and layout of superyachts depends, of course, on the yacht builder and the owner's taste. Yachts from 24 meters (79 ft) and larger encompass the official size range of qualification for design awards, although many regard the minimum length for a superyacht to be considerably higher. The generally accepted minimum length of superyachts is 45-50 meters (148-160 ft), and these usually are three-deck vessels with cabins for 10-12 guests (although 14 is the most common number, found on yachts of many sizes). The typical accommodations of these types of yachts are as follows:
- Lower deck: exterior swimming platform at the stern; four (sometimes five) guest cabins with en-suite bath or shower rooms aft; engine room amidships; crew quarters forward.
- Main deck: sheltered exterior deck aft leading into the salon; dining room and galley; entrance amidships; owner's suite forward, usually includes either a study or a second twin stateroom.
- Upper deck: exterior deck aft, often used for outdoor dining; second salon (often called the sky lounge); staffed bar inside or outside or both; sixth stateroom will be amidships if it is not on the lower deck or part of the owner's suite; gym (may also be on the lower deck or part of the owner's suite); captain's cabin; bridge.
- Sun deck: on the roof of the upper deck, often features a Jacuzzi.
Many superyachts will have one or more luxury yacht tenders for easily reaching shore and other "toys," such as a speed or sailing boat, one or more Jet Skis, windsurfing and diving equipment, etc., on board. These, again, depend on the interests of the owners or guests.
Because the size and number of large yachts has significantly grown since the 1990s, usually only vessels above 65 meters (213 ft) truly stand out from other superyachts. These sorts of magnificent yachts are almost always built to individual order and cost tens of millions of dollars. They usually have four decks above the water line and one or two below, as well as a helicopter landing platform. Extra facilities frequently include multiple "VIP suites" (as well as other additional guest cabins), indoor Jacuzzis, sauna and steam rooms, a beauty salon, spa rooms, a medical center, a discotheque, a cinema, plunge pool, playroom, private sitting rooms and a library. Extra toys are likely to be included as well.
Any vessels over 100 meters (328 feet) are known as giga or megayachts to demarcate these elite from the multitude of "small" superyachts. As of 2012, while still very rare, these giants are slowly becoming more common, with an estimated 24 currently in service. M/Y Eclipse, built by Blohm + Voss for Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, claimed the title of the largest yacht in the world in 2009 at 163.5 m (536 ft). These typically have five decks above the water line and one below. The very largest incorporate such features as helicopter hangars, indoor swimming pools and miniature submarines.
The professional crew required to operate a large or super luxury yacht can vary from eight members on a 120 ft yacht to 70 for a megayacht the size of M/Y Eclipse. The basic makeup of crew includes a Captain, Chief Engineer, Engineer(s), First Officer, Bosun, Chef(s), Crew Chef, Chief Steward/ess(es), Steward/ess(es), and Deckhand(s). Every role is vital to the smooth operation of a yacht, which is maintained by these members year-round, although a skeleton crew is typically used during the times when there are no owners or guests on board. Most of these crew live on the yacht and are paid a monthly salary, with most living expenses included. All luxury yachts will have crew areas below deck, which include a crew mess, crew cabins, and laundry. Some Captains and Chief Engineers will have their personal cabins on larger yachts. The weekly hours for each crew member vary greatly, depending on whether the guests or owners are on board and how often.