This month we take our annual look at what’s new on the charter scene. This is always a popular feature, for who wouldn’t want to sail to sun-kissed islands, while an attentive crew panders to their every whim?
Over the years, charter brokers working with owners, captains and crew, have continued to push the envelope, offering more and more services, thrilling and exotic.
I recently came across a photo of the famous Maltese Falcon (now there’s innovation for you), and she was using one of her massive square sails as a movie screen. Intrigued, I ran a search and found that many of the superyachts available for charter have a movie theater onboard, and there’s actually a published list of the ten best superyacht cinemas on the water. Rumors that an Imax Private Theatre is to be installed on a new superyacht are probably more than rumors.
Reading about ongoing and exciting developments in the charter yacht industry, it’s often easy to lose sight of the crewed charter boats that don’t make headlines. I have friends who have been in the industry for years, quietly going about making a living by chartering their own boat to a wide range of clients. They do much of their own marketing and booking, and repeat charters are high. Of course, they can’t compete with what is on offer by the big boys, neither do they try to, and the toys they carry are limited. Still, theirs is an important role in the scheme of things. For one thing, their prices are designed to suit those on a more limited budget, perhaps older people without kids who don’t demand that the latest communications technology be on tap 24/7. People who simply want to cruise the islands preferring to leave the brouhaha of everyday life behind for the simple joys of a calm anchorage, blue skies, warm water, a good book and a cold beer or two.
When it comes to chartering, do your research. Today, there really is something for everyone.
The summer Olympics are over and the furor, stirred up and enjoyed by the media, over water quality at the sailing venues has passed into history. The Caribbean sent a cadre of young hopefuls to the Games and although none won a medal they all did their home islands proud. You would think that island governments would go out of their way to encourage and support their athletes, after all, an Olympic medal brings glory to any country. Unfortunately, it doesn’t often happen and most young sailors have to make their own way up the rankings, often with little more than their own stubborn determination to carry them forward. That is what makes our Caribbean youngsters so special. In interviews with Caribbean sailors who took part in the Games (see page 67), many mentioned the pride they felt in their countries, the joys of competing in Rio, how much they had learned, and how many new friends they had made. Funny, not one of them mentioned the quality of the water.
Elsewhere in the magazine you will find an article exploring the ins and outs of solar energy vs wind power. Most boats today need lots of battery power to keep things running and providing that power, while away from the convenience of a dock, can be challenging. I have had good and bad experiences with wind power and almost lost two fingers while trying to tame a two-bladed, rigging-hung Windbugger (remember them?) that ran amok in a squall. Just approaching the hideously roaring decapitator required as much courage as I could muster. On another occasion our lovely new wind generator, sitting quietly on its pole waiting for wind so it could do its thing, was struck by lighting and for one glorious moment in its short life put out enough voltage to power a small city. Perhaps it’s time to let the sun shine in.
See you on the water!
Gary E. Brown, Editor
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