A Superyacht is essentially a very expensive, privately owned yacht which is professionally crewed. We need to know what is superyacht?
They are also known as luxury yachts or megayachts and now you get the giga yacht. They are found on every ocean and every sea all over the world but they are concentrated in some parts more than others.
A superyacht is the same thing as a mega-yacht or a luxury yacht but is NOT the same as a cruise liner. The largest Superyacht in the world is the Dubai at 160 meters but she is not privately owned. The largest privately owned yacht is the Eclipse at 147 meters (owned by, rumor has it, Roman Abramovich) but she may well soon be ‘eclipsed’ (!) by the mysterious Sunflower or even Crystal Ball.
With an increasing demand for bigger, better, smarter yachts, more and more superyachts have been built since the late 80’s but there is an ongoing crew shortage which is a major problem within the industry.
After 9/11 things cooled rapidly for a little while and then it seemed that caution was thrown to the wind by a lot of the very rich. An attitude of ‘if my days are numbered I am going to make them count’ seems to be the prevailing one at the moment. Cheque books are out and builders yards have full order books.
With the increased demand for superyachts, there have been an increase custom boat-building yards and there are some key players in boat building at the moment. Some of the top names are Blohm + Voss, Lurssen, Pershing, Wally, Feadship, Azimut-Bennetti, Abeking & Rasmussen, Codecasa, Baglietto, Royal Huisman Shipyard, C Van Lenten Zonen BV, to name but a few.
Some yachts are used exclusively by their private owners, many Arab owned yachts tend to be reserved exclusively for their owners private use but not all. Some yachts are operated all year round as charter businesses, others are used for both.
Charter fees vary from tens of thousands of dollars a week to getting on to a million dollars a week. This covers the wages of the crew, but no fuel, food and drink, or other expenses. It also doesn’t include tips which can be 10% to 15% of the charter fee.
Yachts from 23 meters (75 feet) and up qualify for design awards from the Superyacht Society, but at the bottom end of that scale yachts will not necessarily be crewed and many set the minimum length for a superyacht considerably higher. In fact, gone are the days when a yacht under 35 meters was considered super.
From around 30 meters and up yachts are almost always crewed with a full-time crew, dropping to skeleton crew over winters and quiet periods.
A 45 to 50-meter yacht will always have a full-time crew and usually has three decks with cabins for 12 guests and for a crew of around 12 to 14.
Superyachts cost anything from one or two million up to tens of millions of dollars and now you are getting to the stage where you are looking at a couple of 100 million… for a new build. Superyachts are not correct. It should be written as one word as in superyachts.
A superyacht can be a sailing yacht as well as motor yacht, classic or ultramodern, displacement or fast planning. There aren’t as many sailing superyachts as motor yachts. Although rare some motor yachts are called powerboats.
You can find these yachts all over the world but they have a tendency to travel in herds with their main cruising grounds being in just 10% of the world’s oceans. They also tend to follow similar migrational routes year in, year out. Autumns and springs will find them flocking to the favored cruising grounds.
The crew working on these yachts live onboard, in crew quarters which can be luxurious or pretty crummy. They travel with the yacht most of the time, on occasions like a crossing, sometimes the interior crew is allowed ‘off’ the boat and they can fly the crossing and have some well earned time off. Sometimes the boss will fly the chef and steward/ess to his home or villa where they will be asked to look after himself and his guests. The crew is usually extremely well paid and cared for.
Some of these mega yachts are available for charter (these fees are anything from around $40,000 a week to half a million. Yes, a week.) The crew may expect to get gratuities/tips which are about 10 to 15% of the charter fee. Tips are usually divided fairly between the crew.