Even Roman Abramovich is sharing his toys these days. When he’s not using Eclipse – the largest private yacht in the world – she’s available for a cool £1.2 million a week through SuperYachtsMonaco. Sound a bit steep? Not everyone needs a 162.5 metre gigayacht for a two week sail around the Med, and there are plenty of options out there, if you know where to look. Fiona Klonarides explores the smart ways to share a superyacht.
When Eclipse was finally delivered to her Russian owner after long delays, her extra half metre in length knocked Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s megayacht Dubai into second place in the international megayacht league. Dubai – at 162-metres exactly – had until Christmas 2010 been the queen of the sea, but Eclipse eclipsed Dubai by a maritime whisker. To put things in perspective, both ships are over a tenth of a mile long.
Perhaps that’s just as well – some consolation for the fact that Eclipse languished in a German shipyard long after her original delivery date. After rigorous North Sea testings, flaking paint had been spotted on some decks, glitches with the French navigation system were reported, the turbo engines rattled crystalware, and an issue with the double heli-pads. Fortunately another, smaller yacht, on Abramovich’s shopping list was delivered in the meantime while Eclipse’s costly snags were smoothed out.
These are the sort of millionaire migraines fractional yacht clients don’t have to deal with, and for obvious reasons superyacht sharing is on the rise. Whether you own a sleek Sunseeker 66 or a vessel in the Saudi/ Forbes 50 league, leaving your yacht empty and unused for most of the year is a fast way to watch your money disappear. Specialist luxury yachtshare companies like SmartYacht, YachtPlus and Curvelle now cater for the growing number of yacht lovers who want the privacy, prestige and pleasure of owning a boat, without that sinking price tag. Verena Stattner, Head of Sales at SmartYacht says, “SmartYacht fractional ownership puts the expensive asset “motor yacht” within easier reach – we offer all the advantages of access to one’s own yacht but without the worries of management or upkeep.”
Yacht sharing gives clients access to a much larger (or newer) yacht than they could otherwise afford. And fair usage is important – everyone wants to be sailing the Med off the coast of Mallorca in summer, less so in winter. Verena adds, “Clients are attracted to our service because we provide them with a transparent and fair cost split and guaranteed flexible usage during each part of the season. And we are not limited to any specific brand, but can “screen the market” for best bargain offers as well as directly respond to our customers’ needs in terms of size and make of the requested yacht. Currently offered yacht shares start at about £130.000 for a quarter share.”
The best ad for a business is a happy client. One of Lichtenstein-based SmartYacht’s newest members is businessman Heinz Grabher who joined other yacht enthusiasts last year as the fractional owner of L’Aventure2, an Azimut 70 (22 metre) motor yacht berthed in Monaco.
“At first I had some concerns as to how use would be allocated,” he explains. “Who is entitled to use the yacht when? But SmartYacht has resolved this issue with a fair three-season system, whereby my use time is distributed in three equal parts over high, mid and low season. I am flexible within the season and the online reservation system always gives me an overview of my yacht as well as the option of making long or short term reservations conveniently from where I am.”