Asia Superyacht Rendezvous Scores Points for Phuket

Aphrodite (above) may have won the first-ever Asia Superyacht Rendezvous Winner’s Cup. But, but several other yachts, along with their owners and guests, turned the 16th-annual get-together into a weekend’s worth of revelry. What’s more, the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous, organized by Asia Pacific Superyachts, shone a light on a region gaining more popularity with superyacht cruisers.

December 16 to 18 saw power and sailing yachts gather in Thailand for the largest event of this kind held in Asian waters. The Asia Superyacht Rendezvous is also the longest-running event of its type in the region. Motoryacht attendees included After 8, Azul A, and Vie San Soucis, with Azul A also serving as the committee boat. They marked the race course where the sailing yachts competed for bragging rights. Those competitors were Aphrodite, Bliss, Dallinghoo, and Tiara.

Day one of racing kicked off with calm seas and light wind—not terribly exciting, you might think. However, three of the yachts finished within a minute of each other. The second, and last, day of racing was promising, with stiff winds—and double points earned. Capt. Simon Blundell of Aphrodite cheerfully ribbed his fellow captains and competitors in accepting the trophy cup at the gala dinner that evening. They can get back at him, though, as he pledged Aphrodite will be back for 2017’s Asia Superyacht Rendezvous.

Other events over the weekend captured the attention and imagination of owners, guests, captains, and crew, too. These included a cocktail party aboard Dunia Baru, the sailing superyacht built as traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship. Another activity was the annual Benetti Challenge. Crews and sponsors’ representatives formed teams to build a model boat from a simple kit. “Simple” is the key word, as organizers described the contents as being “bits and pieces of wood, fabric, plastic.” Not only did they have to build a model boat, but they also had to sail it. That required blowing with all their might into the tiny sails as the boat floated along a three-foot trough.

All of the on-land activities took place at the SALA Resort Phuket, a resort on the famous Mai Khao beach. It’s the longest beach in Phuket and remains mostly undeveloped. The resort’s general manager, Jon Ashenden, says that sponsoring the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous “was the best thing we did. It’s brought exposure to the brand, and brought great recognition to the destination on Mai Khao.”

Mark Robba, owner of Dunia Baru, agrees with the regional recognition. “The cruising grounds around Southeast Asia are a superyacht owner’s dream,” he avers. “Phuket is a wonderful place for such a prestigious global gathering of superyachts, their owners, VIP guests, and crew.” He adds, “We have wanted to join the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous for a number of years, but our schedules have never before matched. However, last year we had such positive feedback from our clients in regards to chartering in the Mergui Archipelago, we decided to come to Thailand earlier this year, lending us the opportunity to also join this prestigious event.”

Where the Superyacht Set Spends New Year’s Eve

The Christmas and New Year’s holiday is as big in yachting as it is in other travel sectors. Private and charter yachts head in droves to perennial hot spots like St. Barths. Others among the superyacht set head to additional warm-weather destinations throughout the Caribbean. This year is no different, judging from real-time vessel positions being broadcast via satellite. But, there’s always an exception to the rule, right? We found at least one unusual location for a high-profile yacht.

Here’s where some of the most famous yachts in the world are ringing in 2017.

ANTIGUA

Laurel: this 240-footer (above), in the hands of just her second owner since delivery in 2006, is enjoying the island used as a winter base by much of the superyacht set. On a related note, one major media outlet is reporting Laurel in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s likely a misunderstanding, though, of data that comes up on the satellite map. The map shows “St. John’s,” but if you look close, you see the words mark the capital of Antigua.

Bystander: this striking 138-footer resembles a 1930s workboat. The owner commissioned her to accompany his other yacht, the famous J-Class yacht Velsheda. That’s the two of them together, from 2009, in the photo below. So, it will likely come as no surprise that the sailing superyacht is in Antigua now, too.

Inukshuk: pronounced “in-ook-shook,” Inukshuk charters regularly in the Caribbean in winter. The 107-footer gets her name from the Inuit, an indigenous Canadian culture. “Inukshuk” refers to a pile of stones made to resemble a human figure. They served multiple purposes, such as a waypoint or a message for family and friends.

Bystander Velsheda superyacht set

PHOTO: mhobl/Flickr

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Octopus: South Africa isn’t exactly a hot spot for the superyacht set. Nonetheless, Octopus arrived here within the past two days. Interestingly, she arrived from yet another unusual African country, Namibia. Octopus’ owner, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is renowned for supporting scientific and oceanographic research. So, perhaps the 414-foot Octopus is engaging in related activities in the region.

MUSTIQUE

Skat: this military-style 232-footer had been in Antigua during the week. She was still there at press time. However, satellite data shows Mustique as her destination by the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s the same small island where the 202-foot Mary Jean II has been for a few days.

ST. BARTHS

The list of yachts dotting the waters of this Caribbean island reads like a who’s who of the superyacht set. There’s Aquila, Aquarius, Aspen Alternative, Eclipse, Lazy Z, Limitless, Luna, Le Grand Bleu, Gene Machine, Silver Shalis, and Symphony. And that’s just for starters. The yachts go on… and on… and on. We counted nearly two dozen yachts in slips in Gustavia and about as many at anchor.

The 7 Largest Megayacht Deliveries Expected in 2017

There are seven seas, and seven continents. The number seven is considered lucky, too. In these spirits, with 2017 arriving this weekend, we’re looking ahead at the seven largest megayacht deliveries of the coming year. In order, from largest to smallest (if “smallest” makes any sense for 200- to 400-foot-plus yachts), they are:

1. Sailing Yacht A. This highly anticipated project is in build at Nobiskrug. At 468 feet LOA, with a beam of 81’6”, and standing eight decks high, Sailing Yacht A is nothing if not big. So, too, are her masts, the tallest freestanding ones in the world. Technically, though, she’s not a sailing yacht. She’s a sail-assisted motoryacht. This means that she can operate under sail, but will rely on engine propulsion (an MTU diesel-electric system) more often than not. Sailing Yacht A should therefore cruise at 16 knots. She gets her unusual styling from Philippe Starck, who also designed the unusual motoryacht known as Both belong to Andrey Melnichenko, a Russian industrialist. “A” signifies his first initial, plus his wife’s first initial.

2. Project Jupiter. This 403-footer touched the water a few days before Halloween at Lürssen. She gets her exterior looks from H2 Yacht Design. It’s characterized by prominent arches around amidships. The styling is similar to what the firm did for Maryah, built at a Greek yard a few years ago, plus a concept it created for Fincantieri. While Lürssen can’t reveal the owner’s identity, it does hint that Project Jupiter “will stun the Hollywood crowd.” The beam of 65’6” should stun them, too.

3. U116. U116 is a code name for a 381-footer. The numeral in her name is her length in meters. She’s also referred to as Kleven 370, since she’s in build at Kleven, a commercial shipyard in Norway. The expedition yacht arrived in Germany, as seen in the video above, in early December for final fit out. She’s the second such yacht from Kleven, following the 351-foot Ulysses that was delivered earlier this year. U116 is for the same owners as Ulysses, in fact, Graeme and Robyn Hart, New Zealanders who love cruising. Sixty-six people will be able to stay aboard U116 in a few short months.

4. Solar. The world got its first good glimpse at the code-named megayacht project Solar when she left her build shed at Oceanco this fall. The 348-foot sailing yacht features styling and interior design by Nuvolari-Lenard. Between her LOA and nearly 3,000 gross tonnage, she’s the world’s largest sailing yacht. Solar power reportedly plays a big role aboard, though details aren’t available.

5. Vertigo. Feadship launched Vertigo , coming in at 317 feet, in November. Redman Whiteley Dixon graced her with plentiful soft curves outside. A significant feature aboard Vertigo is a glass-bottomed and –sided pool that’s eight feet deep at one end. That same end is shaped like an S. Another big feature aboard: a two-sided fireplace, dividing the saloon and formal dining area.

6. Oceanco Y715. This 290-foot motoryacht has a rich blue hull and styling as well as interior design by Sam Sorgiovanni Designs. Details remain closely guarded secrets.

7. Here Comes the Sun. The first launch in the Amels 272 series (at top) conducted sea trials in September and October. She’s the builder’s biggest megayacht to date, and the owner’s second Amels. Here Comes the Sun was expected for delivery by the end of this year, but her AIS signal shows her still at the shipyard this week. The yacht’s name comes from a famous Beatles song.

The 6 Largest Megayacht Deliveries of 2016

Every megayacht delivery deserves attention, no matter how “big” or “small” she may be. But it’s human nature to gravitate toward the biggest of the big. Seeing several decks stacked atop each other is impressive. A number of impressive deliveries occurred this year, with some being high profile and owned by equally high-profile people. These, though, are the six largest megayacht deliveries, for the record books in several ways as you will see.

1. Fulk Al Salamah. Mariotti Yachts completed the largest megayacht of the year over the summer. Fulk Al Salamah measures 538 feet. Mariotti Yachts and other companies involved in the build kept a lid on details during construction. They continue to do so, too. But, it’s clear she’s the newest shadow vessel for Al Said, owned by Omani royalty. Al Said long had a shadow boat by the same name. Fulk Al Salamah has been in the Gulf of Oman since delivery. Her name translates to “Ship of Peace” from Arabic.

2. Dilbar. When shipyards are allowed to publicize significant-size projects, it’s exciting. Having Lürssen reveal details about Dilbar, then, was extra exciting. Measuring 512 feet LOA, she has more than 40,900 square feet of relaxation space. Those spaces include an indoor pool with more than 6,350 cubic feet of water. Lürssen claims it’s the largest enclosed pool aboard a yacht. The shipyard even shot video of Dilbar’s construction, editing 52 months of footage into a time-lapsed 40 seconds:

3. Ulysses. New Zealanders Graeme and Robyn Hart surprised yacht watchers by choosing a commercial shipyard, Kleven, to build their newest expedition yacht. But, they chose Kleven for its background with sturdy vessels. Ulysses, measuring 351 feet, can accommodate 60 guests, along with lots of traditional watertoys and offroading vehicles. The yacht is already for sale, due to an even bigger Ulysses coming next year, also from Kleven. The people in this video could be you, if you buy her.

4. Aquarius. Though Feadship hasn’t revealed the owner’s identity, it wasn’t too hard to figure out that Aquarius (below) belongs to casino mogul Steve Wynn. Wynn has openly discussed his enjoyment of yachting and yacht ownership, including previous boats named Aquarius. The new Aquarius measures 302 feet, and she carries some of Wynn’s renowned art collection. She’s spending her first cruising season in the Caribbean. The yacht’s name comes from the Zodiac sign.

5. Lionheart. At 295 feet, Lionheart is the biggest Benetti of the year. Sir Philip Green, a retail magnate from the UK and repeat customer, is the owner. Totaling four decks high, Lionheart became a target of the media and the public this summer. It’s due to an ongoing controversy involving pensions at BHS, a retailer he formerly owned. In September, a British comedian got close enough to the yacht in Monaco to hang a banner on her, reading “BHS Destroyer.”

Feadship Aquarius

6. Aquijo. At 279 feet, Aquijo (at top) is the year’s largest megayacht under sail. She’s also the world’s largest ketch. The owner commissioned her to travel on her own bottom around the world. She has some unusual features for a sailing yacht, including a big beach club. It additionally contains a hot tub. Aquijo is the result of cooperation between the builders Oceanco and Vitters. Vitters has the sailing expertise, and Oceanco has the super-size superyacht expertise for a project like this. Aquijo is available for charter for €400,000 per week, which is about $418,272 in today’s market.

So, what can we expect in 2017? Tune in tomorrow to find out. We’ll run down the seven largest megayacht deliveries set to happen.

Tom Collins, Longtime Charter Broker, Dies

Tom Collins, a longtime charter broker who earned as much respect from fellow industry members as he did his clients, died on December 26. He was 66 years old.

Raised in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Collins attended the University of Massachusetts, getting a degree in political science. But politics wasn’t his ultimate calling. He started his yachting career in the 1970s in Miami, at a Morgan Yachts dealership. (Morgan Yachts was a fiberglass sailboat builder. Designer Charley Morgan established it in the 1960s in Largo, Florida. Catalina Yachts acquired it in 1984. It then became the Morgan Division of Catalina, focused on cruising and charter boats.) Collins earned a promotion to manage Morgan Yachts’ charter division, which offered bareboat operations. Eventually, upwards of half a dozen boats were under his management.

The biggest impact on Collins’ career, however, came in late 1983. That’s when he attended his first charter show in Antigua. The event brought together crewed charter yachts, not bareboats, all available for holidays in the Caribbean for the winter season. Collins decided to focus on crewed charter from that point onward.

Tom Collins

PHOTO: Facebook

It was a move that paid off in spades. He took Tom Collins Yacht Charter Services, which he founded in 1979, and turned it into Tom Collins Yachts Worldwide. He went from booking Americans aboard yachts less than 100 feet to matching clients from multiple countries with yachts and megayachts upwards of 200 feet.

In 2006, Collins joined the Miami office of Burgess. His collective contributions to yacht charter earned him the 2015 Charter Professional of the Year award from the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA, now the International Yacht Brokers Association). Collins was a member of both FYBA and the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association. He remained an employee of Burgess until his passing, from “a courageously fought illness,” according to a statement from Burgess. “Professional, passionate, and charismatic to the last, Tom will be enormously missed by all those he touched,” it adds.

Tom is survived by his wife Barbara.