Pascal Bredin is General Manager of Seal Superyachts Tahiti and a passionately biased promoter of the archipelago as a superyacht destination. The Tahitian native has lived and worked here his whole life, "the last places in the world where you can anchor by yourself for days on end with nobody else around."
During a discovery trip organized by Tahiti Tourism and Tahiti Private Expeditions, we sat down for lunch with Pascal at the idyllic Coco Beach and chatted about his role as a yacht agent and his love of the 118 islands he calls home.
When did you start out in the yachting industry?
I was born and raised in French Polynesia, then I went to Marseille in France to study the repair and maintenance of yachts and motor craft. Once back in Tahiti in 1998, I set up my own repair company, and became captain of a 72 foot sportfishing boat. Over the next seven years the pull towards yachting grew and grew, so in 2006 I decided to set up Tahiti Yacht Services which eventually became part of Seal Superyachts.
Did your business take off immediately?
It was not all smooth sailing! The yachting industry is exclusive and tight-knit, business grows by word of mouth, so to get anywhere I first needed to make myself known as a reputable and reliable agent. Luckily, I had the opportunity to meet someone who could steer me in the right direction.
French Polynesia is stunningly beautiful, is life here as idyllic as it seems?
Yes, even as natives of the islands we realise the luck we have to live in a beautiful setting and don't take it for granted, indeed our livelihoods depend upon the destination's beauty. Saying that, like anywhere else, we face social inequality and economic issues due to political problems as well as the challenges of being relatively isolated and remote.
Where do the majority of your visitors tend to come from?
In general there are more Americans, Australians and New Zealanders than Europeans.
Pascal in Tahiti
What would be the best itinerary to explore French Polynesia?
The most comfortable route is from East to West. The cruise would start in the Marquesas, journeying to the Leeward islands via the Tuamotu and Society islands. Then to explore the Great Pacific, yachts typically head from French Polynesia to Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and finish in New Zealand.
When do you recommend visiting ?
The best time to visit French Polynesia is between August and November because the days are longer and dryer and the southerly winds that prevail in July and August will have calmed down.
What do captains come to Seal Superyachts for?
We are a full service agency so we are asked to assist with clearance, the supply of provisions and fuel, and the organization of a range of activities for owners and charter guests.
With Tahiti Private Expeditions at Coco Beach
Which facilities and amenities are available for superyachts in French Polynesia?
Put simply, the infrastructure in Tahiti is very good, and we have all the amenities a yacht could need:
4 large berths for superyachts over 100m (Marina de Papeete - 'downtown')
Berthing for 20 yachts up to 60m at one time (Marina de Papeete and Marina Taina)
700 ton slipway
3000 ton drydock
300 and 80 ton travel lifts
There are also plans for a dedicated superyacht quay in Marina Taina but it’s difficult to predict the timeframe
What are the bunkering facilities like in Tahiti?
Bunkering is very easy in Tahiti. We have a dedicated berth in Papeete harbour which can deliver 20,000 liters per hour (via a 3 inch pipe). Fuel can also be delivered in Marina Papeete and Marina Taina. The quality of the fuel is excellent with just 0.005 % sulphur and duty free fuel is available to all visiting yachts at half the price.
Sailing yachts in Papeete
Is it difficult to obtain a charter licence in Tahiti and what are the associated costs?
No, we can deal with all the bureaucracy for you. Once I have handled all the necessary documents, it takes approximately five to six weeks to obtain the charter license.
Charter tax is 5% VAT on the charter fee and fuel tax is based on the yacht's consumption during the charter period so it's calculated at the end of the trip.
If you had five minutes to give a charter broker the hard sell on why they should recommend French Polynesia, what would you say?
French Polynesia is an excellent charter destination overall, this is undeniable. I'll give you six really good reasons why, in my mind, Tahiti and her islands are THE new charter destination:
The place: We have beautiful islands, the marine flora and fauna are still intact and remain in very good condition. The cruising area is perfect in terms of size, there are plenty of safe anchorage places and beautiful landscapes like nowhere else... Also, the isolation is magical, this is one of the last places in the world where you can anchor by yourself for days on end with nobody else around.
Dancers at the spectacular K Restaurant at Hotel Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort
The people: The adjectives I would use to describe the Polynesian people are friendly, authentic, hospitable and culture loving.
Security: In terms of security and personal safety, we have no violence, no terrorism and no paparazzi.
The weather: It’s summer all year, with temperatures not exceeding 30° C, and at least 300 sunny days per year.
Entertainment and activities: You'll find almost all the land and water activities you could wish for here, from water sports to spectacular diving with a huge diversity of marine life.
The low cost: The charter license costs nothing and the charter taxes are the lowest in the Pacific.
Swimming with rays with Christelle & Rodolphe Holler
Great for crew: All crew members love our destination. Yacht owners know that their crew will feel very comfortable being here and will do their best for guests during the trip and consequently their yacht will secure more charter bookings.
These are six good reasons why I believe charter brokers and charter managers (the link between yacht owner and yacht captain) should sell our destination more frequently!
As well as the magnificent diving and snorkeling on the reefs, what activities can guests anticipate on shore?
In the Society Islands you'll find most of the activities available in other tourist destinations around the world but our scenery's better! Guests can enjoy hiking, golf, safari tours, ATV tours, parasailing, skydiving, helicopter rides, aerial acrobatics tours, horse riding, karting, 4x4 safaris, canopy tours and a range of cultural discoveries.
Robert Wan Pearl Museum in Papeete
Before becoming an agent you were a captain for seven years, did that job take you far from Tahiti?
No... I've stayed near home all my life, that's why I know it like the back of my hand! I was mainly doing deliveries in the Pacific and my greatest experience on a yacht was a delivery to Panama.
Which qualities do you need to be a good yacht agent?
Hard work, which is gratifying, and patience are essential as well as being well organized. Patient I am!
Would you have done anything differently in your career?
I would have loved to spend more time working on yachts and to have become the captain of a megayacht.
Pampering at the beautiful Le Jardin Spa at Hotel Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort
Who do you admire in the world of yachting?
The people I admire the most are captains and the builders of megayachts.
Do you have a favourite island?
My favorite destination is Moorea because it's not too far from Tahiti and they have great facilities and things to do.
How do you spend your down time?
I love DIY activities and canoe sailing when I have time off.
Beach front at Hotel Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort
If stranded on one of the most remote islands, could you survive?
If I were stranded on a desert island (and I assure our clients there is no danger of this happening!), I would want my sailing canoe, my surfboard and my spearfishing gun so that I could sustain myself.
Do you have a motto?
"Dream of Polynesia and we'll make it a reality."