For many yacht owners, captains and crew members, the Balearic Islands is the number one location to sail thanks to its picturesque scenery, idyllic sailing conditions and the availability of top-class marine services. Throughout the Balearic Yacht Show, industry experts have offered their opinions and insight as to why the islands are one of the most popular destinations for sailing.
As part of the “Cruising in the Balearics” virtual conference, Xisco Notario, operations manager at Evolution Yacht Agents, summarised the opinion of many. “The Balearic Islands, in my opinion, is a must. Each island is different and offers different experiences”, he told the panel. This was echoed by the Chief Officer of MY Beol, Xisco Mulet, who described the islands as “the gem of the Mediterranean”.
But what is it that attracts so many yachts to the Balearics?
With approximately 300 days of sunshine per year, beautiful coves and a diverse cultural offering, the Balearic Islands have everything that guests, captains and owners require for the perfect cruising experience. The islands also boast exceptional port and marina facilities year-round for refit, repair and maintenance with an extensive range of marine services available to boats. For charter yachts, there are several companies on hand to assist with the licences and paperwork that is required to start the season and Alessia Manfredi, operations manager of SOS Yachting gave the panel some advice about how to cut through the red tape. “Start in time”, she said. “Get all of the documents ready so that when the season starts, you have everything you need”. Another aspect of sailing in the Balearics is where to anchor. Leon von Ondarza, director of LVOF Lawyers gave his advice on anchorage locations around the islands, specifically in regard to the Posidonia that lays beneath the waters. “We all know that it is forbidden to anchor on the Posidonia on a local level and an international level”, he says before explaining how to navigate around it with an interactive map that shows captains where to avoid.
In another conference, “The Balearics: A Top Yachting Destination” the panel looked at how the charter industry has changed in the last year and at how it looks for the future. The general consensus was that this season is looking to be stronger and longer than anticipated this year which is surprising considering the restrictions that are still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marta Iglesias, charter broker at Camper & Nicholsons said: “We had very realistic expectations in terms of enquiries and bookings and, I have to say, everything is going above our expectations”. The summer season seems to be in full swing earlier than anticipated with many owners deciding to stay longer or arrive earlier as the restrictions lift according to Victor Perez, commercial director of Astilleros Mallorca.
Rebecca Whitlocke, founder of Antibes Yachting, asked another panel about the trends in charter this year with some surprising feedback. Guests appear to be searching for bespoke and unique experiences off the beaten track rather than conventional cruising this year and the demographic of people enquiring about yacht charter is changing.
“I think, ultimately, it is a very personal experience and you are really invited into people’s lives when you book them a charter”, Claire Sinclair, yacht consultant, told the panel. Younger people have started to enquire about chartering than ever before which Advait Deodhar, yacht charter & sales broker at TJB Superyachts put down to people making more money through tech businesses and the like in the last year.
Martin Redmayne, chairman of The Superyacht Group also hosted a session, “The Future of the Mediterranean - Superyachts in 2030” in which he discussed market behaviour, migration patterns, refit infrastructure investment and fleet growth in the industry and how he sees the superyacht industry changing in the next nine years and how sustainability needs to be an important topic within the industry.
All of these conferences successfully highlighted why the Balearic Islands are one of the leading destinations in the Mediterranean, and indeed the world, and encouraged people to come and discover this must-visit location and discover all of its hidden gems.