The global boom in superyachts means that top-quality large, deep berths are at a premium – with exciting new marina developments taking shape from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.
The western Mediterranean hosts half of the world’s yacht fleet at any given time, so Med ports must increase the number of available moorings and facilities if they are to remain the destination of choice for owners of luxury yachts.
Yacht berths are even seen by some as a big investment opportunity, and two U.K. companies, Mediterranean Moorings and Camper & Nicholsons Marina Investments, focus exclusively on the acquisition and development of new and existing marinas and related property.
It’s easy to see why. It is not that long since the 15-year lease on a berth for a 70-metre yacht in Antibes sold for an amazing £4.4million.
In Spain, Barcelona’s Port Forum, which opened in 2005, reports that berth prices have rocketed in value by 20 per cent a year.
At Valencia, home to the America’s Cup last year, they are always aiming to stay ahead of the game – and now offer 176 new berths for yachts between 25 and 120 metres in what the operators claim is the Med’s only port catering exclusively for yachts longer than 24 metres.
In the Caribbean, Yacht Haven Grande, the new $200million marina on St Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, officially opened in late 2006, offers high-speed in-slip fuelling, wi-fi, 24-hour security and alongside berthing for yachts up to 200metres. A new yacht marina is also nearing completion at St Lucia’s Rodney Bay.
Africa, with its northern coastline in the Med, is becoming increasingly important, and in north Morocco, just 50 miles from the coast of Spain, Port Marina Smir has 450 permanent berths and can accommodate vessels up to 60metres long.
Further afield, there is enormous potential in the emerging market of China, according to Superports marina guide experts Frances and Michael Howarth.
Starbay Yacht Club has opened a new marina in Dalian, in the north east, which is owned by the Chinese government and offers 80 slips with a planned capacity of 270.
The whole world, it seems, is waking up the many attractions and advantages that accompany the sport of sailing. From the Royal Papua YC, in Papua New Guinea, to Kiriazi Marina, on Egypt’s Red Sea coast; from Port Adriano, on Mallorca, to the Montreal Yacht Club…exciting developments are taking place. And the astonishing growth of sailing is giving birth to a global berths boom.