Art onboard superyachts

Art onboard superyachts


Superyachts are a piece of artwork themselves, but sometimes the art collection onboard, is often worth more than the boat itself!

There is a high correlation on yacht owners and art lovers, you can tell just by looking at the at the number of yachts lined up alongside the Giardini gardens during the Venice Biennale art festival or that throng Biscayne Bay during Art Basel Miami Beach to know that superyacht owners are often art collectors too, and that the yachts themselves can be the work of many artists, sculptures, craftmen and artisans.

Recently a a Pablo Picasso painting worth £21 million has been recovered after nearly 20 years. It was stolen from a Yacht berthed in Antibes! This is why safety and security is of outmost importance when storing art onboard yachts.

In this blogpost I will share with you some tips for storing art onboard yachts, and finalize with an artist spotlight that gets her inspiration from the oceans.



Install a (working) alarm system. If you declare the value of the art onboard, your insurance will certainly demand you to have an alarm system as a condition to insure it.

Full circuit CCTV and Wireless Protection Systems, to a fully bespoke Close Protection agreement are needed to secure the worlds finest artefacts.

Physical Protection can provide far more than peace of mind, with the number of Superyachts travelling globally, the threat from Piracy has become a genuine concern for many of the worlds largest Yachts.


The art collection onboard must be included into the insurance, specially if the art outweights the value of the boat! In some cases yachts need additional specialist art insurance


Lighting is super important, an art curator will certainly analyse both directional and ambient to see how the light affects the artwork.

Fine Art and Historical Artefacts are particularly vulnerable to exposure from UV Rays, it is crucial to understand how to protect each and every piece of Artwork. The light causes chemical changes in many of the materials used in paintings, this can create ‘yellowing’ or ‘darkening’ of certain pigments. Regular exposure to  UV rays can be incredibly detrimental to the quality and appearance of the artwork.

There are special glass to be used on the frames that are highly protective anti-glare, anti-reflective glass and hang works away from direct light sources.

LED light systems are also good to create the perfect illuminaion of the colours in the artwork. Cold or warm LED lights can highlight certain pigments.


Hanging artwork onboard can be sometimes quite challenging. You cannot simply hang a painting on board; it needs to be screwed to the wall. Likewise for sculptures and objects (remember that a yacht is constantly moving) so you need to forecase the pitch and roll movement of the yachts.

Using special “museum glue” for example is great because is a clear product that prevents them from moving even through waves.

Climate control

Artworks are very sensitive to the air quality and the temperature of the rooms.Most superyachts have a powerful Air Conditioning system designed for humans and not for artwork.

Paintings are very delicate, the canvas has different materials with varying qualities which they all react differently to temperature and humidity.

The museum standard temperature for keeping paintings safe is 20ºC ± 1ºC.  Fluctuations in temperature and humidity essentially create ‘cycles’ of expansion and contraction in the canva, thus leading to the steady deterioration in quality of the artwork.

Specially onboard yachts humidity is an issue because it is very bad for art, as is salt air and direct sunlight. Even during transportation of art to a musuem they have to be transported in special climate boxes.

There are even specific climate alarm systems that alert you on any atmospheric changes.”

Make sure that there are no fresh air blowers directing cold air onto your artwork, neither there is warm air flood in whilst the Sundeck Doors are open, for example.

The finest art in the world requires a constantly stable, tailored to suit environment.


it is important to analyze where the artwork will be displayed. As it clearly should not be placed near any technical exhaust pipes, near a vent. Onboard yachts space is an issue, and everything onboard needs to comply to classification regulations and flag state rules. It is best adviced to seek for qualified advisor before bying so that you can plan where to put them.

Installing art and sculptures can be a technical challenge, but art consultants Like Artelier, have experience on installating and are able to develop custom fastening solutions for fixing heavy objects.

Further things to consider when deciding the location on board should include exposure to water (Spa’s, Bathrooms and Heads), exposure to Tobacco Smoke, or proximity to the galley, pantry or any food Preparation Areas.

A tip from an interior designer is to display them on panelled walls.


Vibration is an important subject onboard a yacht.

The engines, generators and other machinery onboard cause the vibrations that in the long term have negative consequences to the pigments in the canvas.

During the construction of a yacht, designers, shipyards, naval architecs and engineers all work hard in minimizing the vibrations onboard. Deciding on the location where to display the yachts need to take into consideration the optimal location onboard. That is why someone with knowledge in art is not enough, it must also have knowledge in yachting to consider everything from the pitch and roll, to vibration levels from auxiliary equipment.

The Frame

Choosing the frame is very delicate, the best tip is to let the artist find the best suitable one in collaboration with the curator. The best advice is to take the advice the artist, your dealer or the curator!

Extend and protect the life of your artwork by hiring specialists who have both art and yachting knowledge!

– Marcela de Kern Royer


Based in the South of France, Canadian-born Carol Bruton captures timeless subject matter, the ocean, in its simplest form in order to achieve the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the most precious of elements, water.

Launched in time for the Mediterranean yachting season, Raindrops is anew series of superyacht artworks crafted by Artist and Sculptor Carol Bruton. Based in the South of France, her work highlights her fascination with our most precious of elements, water.

Specially handcrafted to enhance superyacht interiors, the surface effects of Bruton’s artworks allow the flow of both natural and artificial light, complimenting the interior ambience. Her technique uses cold glass and raw pigments which results in an interplay of colour and an ethereal interpretation that exudes energy and fluidity, mirroring the reflections and ripples that water creates.

L’art de vivre onboard

A keen ocean swimmer, Bruton started painting in a tiny fishing village in Costa del Sol in Spain, drawing on inspiration from her surroundings.  She says her dream clients are “those yacht owners who get goosebumps when they see my work.”  Elements of the earth, sky and ocean interplay into her artwork, an artistic evolution that effortlessly induces organic patterns reminiscent of blue holes in the Caribbean or the reflective qualities of Mediterranean coastlines.

Her appeal in the superyacht sector is profound, owing to the aesthetic beauty of her artwork that makes visual statements that draw admiration.  She crafted The Superyacht Show’s Richard Earp Award named Ocean’s 9, a fluid sculpture made from steel and finished with a transparent coloured coating with a gleaming surface that resembles the morning light shining on the ocean.

Perfectly in line with refinement, superyacht interiors highlight artisanship, beauty and escapism; furniture inlaid with exotic wood, hand-blown glassware, porcelain tableware, soft furnishings and opulent antiques.  Regardless of the size of the superyacht, it is no longer enough to have artwork that’s solely aesthetically pleasing.  Aside from period styles and decorative trends, superyachts can house expansive collections that raise more eyebrows than famous art museums. A bespoke art collection is more than an asset; it showcases the owner’s personality, strengthens the corporate image and piques the attention of guests.

She was chosen as Saatchi’s revered ‘Artist of the Day’, profiled in the UK editions of Vogue and Tatler, and has exhibited at Art Basel Miami, Beijing Biennale and Accademia Fine Art in Monaco. Her work is found in private collections worldwide, including pieces housed in the Princely Collection of H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco, former racing driver David Coulthard, Chairman Susan Feaster from St Moritz U.S. Celebrity Golf Cup and Banque Havilland in Monaco.

Examples of her collection:

If you are looking for an artwork that goes far beyond the usual, Carol Bruton’s sculptures that are evocative of water are a fine addition to a collection for yachting aficionados who expect uncompromised quality.

The Superyacht Academy

The Superyacht Academy

This is the world’s first YACHTING MASTERCLASS available at the Yacht Club de Monaco.

Online virtual courses also available.

“Yachting knowledge is like sex, you only learn it by doing it” – This is the first time people can learn a holistic view on yachting

Most of us in yachting learned ‘yachting’ all by experience, as before there was no resources, no book, and no courses. Finally in 2021 the Yacht Club de Monaco launches the first-ever YACHTING MASTERCLASS where you can learn all about the superyacht Industry with 13 modules where you can learn from top experts and ICONs from the industry!

People in this industry like to “keep their cards closed to their chest’ meaning they dont usually like to share their knowledge and insights. If you want to be a yacht manager from scratch for example, it is very difficult to “learn the ropes”. This course will give you YEARS OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE, knowledge and insights that only the top experts in the industry know!

Holistic View

Most charter brokers dont really understand yacht design, likewise, yacht designers not necesarily know about operations or life on board, crew dont understand shipyards, and shipyards dont understand sales brokers. Everyone is good at doing the jobs but they tend to forget the bigger picture.

This is the first 360 holistic program where you can learn in depth about all professions that create a yacht. From yacht design to yacht building to sales and marketing, all the way to operations and ownership.

The Pink elefant in the room, must people feel stupid about asking questions, so they rather put on an arrogant mask to hide their ignorance than to try to learn it! But who is to blame, if there are no books and no courses and no references where you can learn from! Well nowadays yes there is The Superyacht Industry Book, The Superyacht Industry Forum and hereby the first Masterclass where no question is a stupid one! We are here to learn, ask questions in a friendly and pedagogical environment!


8 weeks

Lessons twice a week: Executive schedule so you can join after work!

Thursday 5pm- 7pm (2hours module)  theory + open floor

Saturday 9am-11am (3 hours module) theory + guest speaker

The Modules

We start with the BASICS, port side, starboard, bulwarks, etc..

Even if I was raised on boats, and I am a sailor, I must say that the Yachting termonology is very specific! In this module you will learn all parts on a yacht, and the lingo shipyards, crew and brokers use on a daily basis!

Then we move on THE MARKET how many yachts are they? what is really our fleet? we analyze the data and the number to truly understand our niche.

YACHT OWNERS, how many millions you need to be considered wealthy? who are they, where they made their money, why they own a yacht, etc…

YACHT DESIGN the principles of exterior yacht design, and then we go deeper into interior design. Something you can not learn anywhere else!

NAVAL ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING, what are the basics you should all know! (keeping it simple and straight!)

YACHT BUILDING, what is the process of selling a yacht (and pricing a yacht) what type of luxury marketing works, the yacht building process from keel laying superstructure erection, outfitting launching commissioning, sea trials, etc.

Everything you need to know about CLASSIFICATION, MARITIME LAW, and FLAG, what does it mean to have a Cayman Flag? how can you register a yacht and what is the trust cost of ownership?

YACHT CHARTER, everything you need to know to charter a yacht, the differnces between a charter manager and retail charter,

YACHT MANAGEMENT, yacht accounting, financial management, safety and security management, ISM, ISPS, crew management, techincal management, refit project management, new build proejct management, etc..

REFIT, MARINAS which ones are suitable to welcome superyachts, what are the top marins in the world, what is the future of marinas and more.

CREW what are the roles onbaord, what are the certificates needed, salary guidelines, life onboard as crew,etc..
who are YACHT AGENTS, what do they do? what is the BEST HELICOPTER TO GO ONBOARD, ALL ABOUT YACHT AVIATION and we finish with SUSTAINABILITY alternative propulsions, green trends and the future of yachting!

Phfew! and this is to keep it short in this article, but the amount of insights you will learn here you cannot learn anywhere else!

The Speakers

I am the program director meaning I coordinate the whole program, however the information and insights are provided by the top experts and icons of the superyacht Industry.

Module DATE Time Guest Speakers
Seamanship Terminology & Vocabulary 10th April Saturday 9am-11am Marcela de Kern Royer, Peter Thompson
The Superyacht Market Boat International,
Yacht owners – Yacht owners experience 15the April Thursday 5pm- 7pm  Wealth X
Exterior Design 17th April Saturday 9am-11am Espen Oeino
Interior Design Michelle Flandin from Sorgiovanni
Naval architecture Perry Van oossanen
Engineering 29 April Thursday 5pm- 7pm Matteo Magherini from Lateral
Propulsion Systems (engines) MTU
Shipyards & Yacht Building 02 May Saturday 9am-11am Paris Baloumis, Oceanco
Classification Engel de Boer from Lloyds
Maritime Law 6th May Thursday Alex Teji Hill Dickinson
Flag 5pm- 7pm Ed Henny form Cayman
Yacht Ownership Janet Xanthopoulos from Rosemont
Insurances 8th May Saturday 9am-11am Olivier de Roffignac from Pantaenius
Yacht Charter 13th of May Thursday 5pm- 7pm Ocean Independence
Yacht Sales 15th May Saturday 9am-11am Jan Jaap Minnema, Fraser
Luxury Marketing Farouk Nefzi Feadship
Yacht Refit 27th of May Thursday 5pm- 7pm Amico
Marinas Inwards Marine
Yacht Management 29th of May Saturday 9am-11am Fraser or Ocean Independence
 Family Offices 5pm- 7pm JTC
Yacht Crew 5th of June Saturday 9am-11am Josh Conquest, Superyacht captain
 Yacht agents  Pesto Seagroup
Yacht Aviation 10th of June Thursday 5pm- 7pm Airbus
Sustainability Seaindex, TBC

The fees

You can either participate live at the exclusive facilities of the Belle Classe Academy (a secretive section of the Yacht Club de Monaco) where you will also get a chance to netwrok and meet the guest speakers and other participants. If you enroll to the entire course you will get a diploma which will certainly help you in your career. The cost for the full program of 13 modules is 1,800 euros (which is cheaper than any other type of MBA, Master or education program and this one you will learn practical knowledge that will actually help you in your career!)


You can also just choose a few modules that you want to participate, each module costs 250 euros.


You can also choose to join virtually on zoom. The indivual course are 150euros, and the entire progvram is 1,000 instead of 1,800 euros.


Companies that enrol more than one student will get a corporate discount, please contact us with the number of participants.

If you bring a friend you get 20% OFF!


Many companies fully or partly sponsor their employees for our courses and actively encourage personal development in line with company priorities. You should start by discussing your training request with your line manager, training manager or human resources manager to enquire about support available. Make sure you have thought through your reasons for wanting to do the course and how it will benefit yourself, your job role and your company.  Employers can be very positive if you have thought through your reasons for undertaking the course and demonstrate the self-discipline and commitment required to gain maximum benefit from a training programme. We are always happy to directly talk to you and your manager to answer any questions about the course. We’re here to help you so please contact us without delay.


Because it is a very exclusive course we would like to keep it small in order to provide better quality. Therefore if you are interested make sure you reserve your seat fast! There are limited spaces available and we are almost sold out!


What is the future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property?

What is the future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property?

With COVID vaccination programmes progressing at varying rates around the world, a return to some semblance of normalcy may be tantalisingly close, at least for some.  As businesses attempt to forecast revenues and devise strategies in this challenging environment, what opportunities will the months and years ahead hold for luxury industries globally?  What will be the top future trends for superyachts, business jets and luxury property?

On 18th March 2021, The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property, the latest in Quaynote`s stable of online conferences, will examine the way ahead for the luxury asset industries.  In the short term, we are all hoping for the imminent return of the superyacht chartering business, while in the medium to longer term, Sustainability, the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the emergence of the Next Generation of Owners are issues that deservedly attract airtime.

Meanwhile, a question that advisors have heard more often from their clients during the pandemic has been, “How do I go about buying my own jet?” Many a would-be owner has seen a private jet as a legitimate way around COVID restrictions, without knowing the full extent of the costs and potential pitfalls this entails.  Daniel Hall, Senior Valuation Consultant at Ascend by Cirium comments:

“Business jets are depreciating assets – and values can be volatile through market upheaval, for example with the Covid-19 pandemic.  The year-on-year fleet-weighted average decline across the entire business jet fleet was over 11%, which is nearly double that of 6% in 2019.”

Daniel joins a panel of experts who will guide you in advising your client through the process of buying a corporate jet, be they Ultra High Net Worth Individuals or Heads of State. He concludes: “Working with independent advisors can go a long way to minimizing risk in structuring a deal. Appraisal (valuation) services which can make the difference between an unwelcome surprise on your investment versus a seamless experience.”

One of the most important considerations in buying a jet, yacht or property is, of course, how to finance the purchase.  In a separate discussion, we`ll look at the future of finance for luxury assets. “While all our clients could easily pay cash, they still prefer to optimize their liquidity reserves by getting financing for their luxury assets. Financing their luxury assets helped our clients to preserve liquidity for their business,” explains Michel Buffat, Head Aviation & Yacht Finance, at Credit Suisse who joins the finance panel on the 18th March.  He is positive about the future: “I see the future of superyacht and business jet finance quite optimistically: the pandemic has shown the advantage of ‘COVID-remote’ travel,” he says, adding, “This may motivate more people to buy their own jet or yacht.”

Another driver of future superyacht, private jet and high-end real estate ownership is the so-called Great Wealth Transfer, where the heirs to UHNWI fortunes come into their inheritance.  This is not forgetting, of course, the younger generation of self-made tech and other entrepreneurs who represent a burgeoning market for the luxury asset industries.

The opening discussion at The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property asks what the Next Gen Owner wants, what the superyacht and business jet of the future will look like, inside and out, and how these assets will be used going forward.  Will superyachts have more emphasis on research, exploration, retreat and sport?  And will yachts, jets and luxury property be designed more with recycling and disposal in mind?  By all accounts the next generation of Superyacht Owner is a different animal to the previous generation, with this fresh approach expected to impact every aspect of yacht design and function.

Yacht owners are looking for “instagrammable’ experiences, those champagne cocktails in St Tropez are so pasee, they don`t want to do what their grandparents did,” observes Marcela de Kern Royer, Principal at ONBOARD Group, Monaco & Genoa Superyacht hub. “They want to go explore new islands, go to remote destinations and combine philantrophic experiences with unforgettable family moments.”

We can`t talk about the design or function of anything without reference to technology and luxury assets are no exception.  Artificial intelligence is already with us and it will continue to become a bigger part of our lives. To quote Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman & CEO of Blackstone, “AI will reshape the world in ways we can’t imagine, much as the printing press and the Internet did at their inceptions.”

Vilas Dhar, President of the Patrick J McGovern Foundation, commented at Davos 2021, “AI holds the promise of making organisations 40 percent more efficient by 2035.”

With these wise words in mind, we have dedicated a portion of The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property to looking at how Artificial Intelligence is changing the luxury industry.  Furthermore, how are companies catering and adapting to AI versus operating in the traditional mode?

Joseph Adir, Founder and CEO of Wintech Marine Intelligence, who is moderating the discussion, points to how AI/ML will help the superyacht industry reduce emissions, improve safety, reduce operational costs, and improve the asset longevity.  Testing on “Digital Twins” will help to optimize the superyacht design performance parameters and improve the vessel`s overall reliability.

What`s more, using analytics to predict the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) could transform Shipyard warranty programs and lead to a reduction in the superyachts’ operational budgets. “Artificial intelligence and the Supervised and Unsupervised Machine Learning are taking analytics to the next level” observes Adir, “enabling smarter, faster decisions throughout the asset lifecycle.”

Others joining the AI panel acknowledge the potential of Artificial Intelligence, while striking a note of caution.  Explains Dominic Bulfin,Associate Director, at Bargate Murray,the Luxury Asset Law Firm: “The superyacht world has always pushed the boundaries of engineering and technological advance, and the introduction of AI is no different with pioneering owners taking advantage of the efficiencies AI driven systems can provide. But uptake across the fleet has been modest and the vast opportunities presented by this technology come with different challenges and a new type of risk which must be effectively managed in order to secure safe and enjoyable use of superyachts now and into the future.”

Joining our panel from the world of business aviation, Vinna Tsang, Founder and Director of The V Executive Search Company Limited is also keen to emphasize the efficiencies that AI can deliver.  “However, in the luxury world (especially in business aviation), bespoke services are expected,” she points out, “which I believe still requires significant human touch. How to maximize the use of AI to compliment traditional ways of operation is key.”

Finally, to speak of tradition, Quaynote has reinstated its popular roundtable feature at The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property.  The roundtables will focus on Sustainability issues and how the latest fiscal developments will impact the chartering season. “With networking the most lamented aspect of in-person conferences,” explains Alison Singhal, Quaynote Director, “Our aim is to offer attendees the opportunity to discuss topics of mutual interest in small groups and, as they would under normal circumstances, to meet with their industry friends and contacts.”

by Lorna Titley

You can register at for the online conference:

 The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property – 18th March 2021

Russians in yachting

Russians in yachting

Yachting and Yacht Owners overview:

OK now, lets talk about RUSSIA.

As you know, Russia is the largest country in the world,  yet it has only 2% of the shipbuilding market.Russia has delivered just 24 superyachts from 11 shipyards and the “latest” yacht delivery was in 2015. I actually visited Moscow yacht show in 2010 and ended up in jail (but that deserves a separate blog post!) in this post we will talk about yachting in Russia and Russian yacht owners.

Superyachts seldom visit Russia. In 2020 only 27 superyachts visited Russia (compared to yachts 1,288 visiting France) In normal years they have around 400 yachts visiting, however, the most popular places for yachting in that area are Helsinki and Tallinn. When not cruising in the baltics,  Russians love Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece (and those economies really heavily on russian tourism!)

Do you know where do the top yacht owners come from? For superyachts of over 60 meters, Russians are the second rank of ownership after Americans. The Top four wealthiest countries now are Germany, China, US and Russia.  Watch out for zie Germans guys, they are booming lately and love yachting!

In 2000 a fter the “Russian Boom” where an average russian citizen was 2x richer than before, and they all went ala-Kanye West on spending and investing; in 2020 they summed up to a total of 102 billionaires in Rusland!

The only downside in Russia is that there is (not yet but coming) the right infrastructure, marinas, lack of fueling stations, yacht agents, yacht clubs, technical services, facilities, etc. The good news is that investments are being made, for example the Yacht Club of St Petersburg has just completed its new marina in a developing business district which will also house the Gazprom headquarters (I cant wait to visit!)

To learn more about yacht owners check chapter 3 of the book: The Superyacht Industry :

Now tell me in the comments:

What do you think of the russian market? How many yachts can you name that are russian owned? Have they gone quiet in 2020?

If you like my content, you can buy me a virtual coffee so I keep writting blogs ?


Superyacht Investor with Marcela’s commentary.

Wine tasting in Barolo

Wine tasting in Barolo


The Italian Dolce vita is about enjoying the small things. Good food is about good ingredients and putting passion into cooking, enjoying good wine, appreciating the beauty in small things, and slowing down.

Here are my tips and recommendations on visiting Barolo in Piemonte, world-famous for its wine and culinary excellence.


The Langhe area has a long history of winegrowing and many of the wines made here use traditional, well established grape varieties such as Arneis and Favorita (Vermentino) for whites, and Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Freisa for reds. The DOC covers a much wider area than most others; within its boundaries can be found some of the most famous DOCG wines in Italy, including the great Nebbiolo centers of Barolo and Barbaresco, plus Asti and Dogliani.


The best months to visit are from September to November as it is the truffle season, especially white truffle, as black truffle is better in February.

We came in August; it’s hot but not too hot; but I do recommend finding a place to stay with a pool!

However, if you are visiting in winter many places have spas, which is excellent as well.


If you appreciate simplicity, I would recommend you stay at an Agriturismo over a hotel.

An agriturismo (loosely translate to Italian “farm-stays”) has been Italy’s best-kept accommodation secret. They are independently-owned farms that the owners have decided to use partially for accommodation. They are usually run by local families who grow their own wines and olive oil plus other crops, and usually, the food there is also more authentic than going to a hotel.

Most places in this region are family-run businesses. Some may be closed depending on their plans, so make sure you call and make reservations beforehand.

We rented a small house in Rostagni in Novello, which has two apartments and a pool plus very centrally located.

La Toricella in Robino is a lovely place in which we discovered by chance. We were driving by, and the terrace looked so romantic that we stopped and had an Aperitivo there. We saw that they also had rooms and a very nice pool and spa, so check this out.

If you are renting a place on Airbnb, you can enjoy going to the supermarket (it’s an experience on its own) to learn about local delicacies and bring some goodies back to prepare at your place while you are there.


You definitely need a car here as there are no other means of transportation. It’s a place you go from town to town, discovering picturesque villages and breath-taking views.

This area is famous for trekking paths, walking around the vineyards and mountains. There are also lots of cyclists biking around going from vineyard to vineyard. (it’s quite hilly, so you need to be trained) you can rent bikes in Itaway Langhe else; if you are not very sporty, you can also rent a Vespa Piaggio and have a lot of fun going vineyard hoping!

MARCE’S TIP: The gastronomy here is very famous, one of the best in Italy; therefore, you really need to make dinner reservations to make sure you get a table. Dinner starts around 7:30 pm.


One of the most popular things to do is go Truffle hunting with a Trifulau (truffle hunter) and his specialized dog to find your truffles. In La Morra, you can go with Marco Varaldo.

I want to go up in a hot air balloon above the vineyards, but unfortunately, we could not do so. It is a life-experience totally worth it.

Wine tasting – Usually, they will give you 3-4 different wines to try, and prices range between 10-15 euros per tasting. In some places, they will also give you some bread or light aperitif.

MARCE’S TIP: Tasting etiquette– Most wineries in other countries do “free testing” because they usually expect you to buy something from them. In this region, you need to pay for the tasting around 10-15 euros to be fair for the wine producers, and it’s also a good value for you. However, if you get a personalized tasting, and they open 6-8 bottles just for you to taste, then you should buy at least six bottles; it’s only fair.

Six bottles is one box, and you can save it and bring it back home, either age it and wait seven years until you drink them or buy younger wines that can be opened anytime you want to enjoy a nice drink at home.

We love going from winery to winery finding “the perfect wine” (I remind you we all have different taste buds, so ‘The perfect wine’ is the one you like the most! It doesn’t matter what any sommelier has to say).

My goal for this trip was to find the wine that was the closest taste to a Barolo but with a more affordable price tag. At the end of the trip, we had many bottles in our car’s trunk to bring back home; I think we have enough wine for the next six months to come. If you think about it, you will buy wine anyway. Sometimes the ones you buy at the supermarket are a disappointing surprise; so why not pre-buy the ones you have already tasted and you know that you like!




Visit the WIMU (Museum of wine) in Barolo, a splendid little museum that will tell you how wine was involved in our everyday life; it’s interactive and funny and great for kids and families.

Barolo is a small town, but it’s full of wineries; basically, every block has a winery open for wine tastings. You can literally go wine-hoping, tasting different wines (don’t forget to write down your favorites).

Right in the center, there is Borgogno winery. Ask to go up to the terrace; they have the most stunning views of Barolo. Personally, I was not too fond of their wines, but they have a good deal of 3 wines for 10 euros.

Enoteca Regionale- A great place if you don’t have a lot of time.


Park as close as possible to Piazza Michele Ferrero, to go for a walk at Via Vittorio Emanuele (also known as Via Maestra) and the surrounding streets to discover small cafes, gelaterias, cute shops, and well-stocked wine shops and all of the Gastronomic shops selling local delicacies like truffles.

Alba is also the town of the headquarters of Ferrero, the chocolate factory. The entire town smells like Nutella!

Truffle fair in Alba

La Morra

Go to Belvedere, one of the most excellent points of the Langhe for scenery. On the way up, stop at the Gallo Wine Gallery and do a wine tasting at Cantina Comunale.

If you are there for lunch, you can go to La Fontanazza. We had one of the best dinners in La Morra at Mora e Macine restaurant; locals highly recommended it as it was delicious with local specialties and fair value. We had THE best vitello tonnato and tiramisu ever!


Monforte is one of the loveliest villages in the area. Walk around and take photos at it is very characteristic. For a glass of wine, go to Moda, and if it’s open, don’t miss Le Case della Saracca!

The Osteria I rebbi is an informal place but really cozy and good Piemontese cuisine.


We rented a house near this town, so this was our point of reference for everything. It is a lovely small town that has a castle which is now a hotel.

I recommend you to have an aperitif at “Vineria Nas- Cetta” it has a lovely terrace, which made me feel like I was inside an old Italian movie. When you order drinks, they bring you also a table with local salami and cheese.

Castiglione Falleto

For my birthday, Alex took me to this town, and we had dinner at Le Torri, honestly one of the best experiences in my life. The food was excellent! It is family-run, and they put a lot of passion into their food. We asked to be seated outside on the terrace with the views of the vineyards. They often change the menu, but if you see this on the menu, you are definitely in for a treat – The raw sausage, meat ravioli, Battuta di fassona, the orange duck, and the fried egg (something very special!)


Osteria Boccondivino is the birthplace of Slow food.

Near Bra, you can visit Pollenzo, a village where you find the Agenzia de Pollenzo, the flagship of “Slow food.” Take a tour into the Banca del Vino and walk in the small square protected by UNESCO.

When we were there, Ferrari was launching their new model and doing the media pilot drive tests there, with a stunning cocktail setting.

When we were there, Ferrari was launching their new model and doing the media pilot drive tests there, with a stunning cocktail setting.

If you like cheese, don’t miss this experience and schedule a cheese tasting at Giolito and try the gelato at Converso, (especially the cream and chocolate one! Will leave you without words).


Cherasco is a super small town, but we drove there because they sell “Acqua di Cherasco” which is the best home fragrance; their home perfume lasts really long and makes your homes smell like a dream. They had it in our hotel room, and we fell in love with it! We found out they sell it here and went to the perfume store that makes it directly there.

Cherasco is also famous for an old Chocolate shop called Barbero, which has been open since 1881! When you go inside, you feel like you go back in time; it is very elegant and makes you dream! Make sure you try the “Baci de Cherasco” (Kisses from Cherasco); they are famous world-known chocolate cookies with nociolla.

It’s also a famous place for snails (or Lumache in Italian); they are a true institution around here.

P.S. The restaurants are mainly open for dinner. Da Francesco (Palas Cerequio) is an elegant place to go for dinner; the meal is about 50 euros per person; if you want something more casual, then Pane e Vino and La Torre for a more informal meal.

Other towns to visit but we didn’t have time include Mondovi, visit the Sanctuary of Vicoforte, the town of Asti, the city of Cuneo, Monforte and Serralunga.


Marrone- is a super nice winery, very modern and quite big; make sure you go to the terrace upstairs for a treat! They have affordable wines, so a great place to stock your cave at home!

Ceretto winery- I discovered this one about five years ago when it was brand new, and is a place I recommend everyone to go!

Ceretto winery

Cordero di Montezemolo – I loved their Barolo monfaletto 2015

Flavio Roddolo – I loved their Nebbiolo d’Alba 2011

La Vedetta winery- Is run by our new friends Swanti and Marco; it is a small winery run by a young couple; Marco is a local, and Swanti is german; they are lovely will make you feel at home. Make sure you come from our behalf, and they will treat you like family!

There are, of course, many wineries, so if there are any picturesque ones you like on the way that say “wine tasting”, stop and visit; it’s always a great surprise!


On top of all the restaurants recommended above, here is a list of top ones that we tried and/or recommended by locals.

Osteria da Gemma – It is run by Nonna Gemma (Grandma Gemma) and her other grandma friends. People worldwide (including Depardieu) come here every year to eat because it is a real experience. There is no menu; they just serve you what they cooked that day, and you get a total of 10 dishes! Antipasti, primi, secondi, and dessert, all at a fixed price of only 29euros! All the town grandmas get together in the afternoon to hand roll and prepare the different kinds of pasta. There are four grandmas in the kitchen preparing everything with so much love. Make sure you don’t have a big lunch, as it is a lot of food! Get ready to enjoy the best Italian food cooked by Nonna Gemma!

Massimo Camia – Is between La Morra and Barolo; it has 1 Michelin star but don’t let that scare you as the prices are fair at around 18-22 euros per dish.

La Viaud el Tornavento – Also has 1 Michelin star and has one of Italy’s best wine cellars.

Osteria Delle Aie – For a fixed price, you eat and drink as much as you like. They always open Magnum bottles and they go around from table to table (is a lot of fun!). Each course is accompanied by a magnum of a ridiculously beautiful wine pairing. Don’t come here if you are in a rush, as its definitely a slow food experience.

Osteria da Gemma

Other highly recommended restaurants:

· Ca Brusa, Novello

· Moda, Monforte

· Bovio,La morra

· D ano d alba

· Nelle Vigne

· Da Batista


If you are a food lover like us, here is a list of the “MUST TRY” local delicacies. Order these if you see them on a restaurant menu or else stop by a local supermarket to get your foody-souvenirs.

Tha Battuta di Fassano – Raw meat from a local bull that only exists in this region (like steak tartare in France, but with a different taste).

Nocciola (Hazelnuts) this place is famous for them, they are everywhere surrounding the vineyards, and many local recipes have hazelnuts in them.

La Salsiccia di Bra- Raw veal sausage

Tajarin- Fresh pasta made with eggs, usually eaten like a Bolognese.

La Fassona- Typical bull breed grown in Piemonte very tender meat, usually eaten raw but exists also as a steak.

I baci di Cherasco chocolates, and cunesi rhum chocolate.

Il Barolo Chinato- This is a drink of Barolo wine combined with Chinese herbs. It’s a small,  very delicious and refreshing aperitivo.

Cheese (or Formaggi in Italian) there are more than 40 DOP in Piemonte to try.

White truffle from Alba- From October to January.

Black truffle- From February to September.

Gianduiotti- Chocolate made out of hazelnut (my favorite!)

Grappa- In Piemonte, they have many grappas as wines; we tried the grappa with honey, and it was super good!

Bicerin- A special type of hot chocolate with whipped cream.


So that being said, I wish you a lovely visit in the Barolo region, “bonne appetitto” (enjoy nice food), and cheers with good wine!

If you enjoyed some of these tips, please be sure to let me know; I love receiving your messages and feedback!

Tag me also in your photos @onboardwithMarcela



Traditional vs. Explorer Yacht

Traditional vs. Explorer Yacht

The differences between a traditional yacht and an explorer yacht

Photo credit: @sheltondupreez @legendexplorer


Nowadays there is a growing interest in explorers, everyone is talking about them, and many yacht owners claim they want an explorer yacht, but what does “explorer” really mean?

After discussing this in detail with Patrick Coote, co-founder of the Explorer Yachts Summit and also  Head of Northrop and Johnson, Europe, I’m happy to share with you the top features of explorer yachts and to summarize what differentiates them from traditional superyachts.

Captain Jim Aladin from Cloudbreak 75m yacht and Sandra from @theyachtpurser agreed to share with us their experiences from an operational point of view.

What is an “explorer”?

On a technical level, there is no standard definition of an explorer yacht, however for the purposes of this discussion it is defined as any private or commercial vessel built or converted specifically for expedition or adventure for long distance cruising to remote areas of the world .

The main differentiating factor is the fact that an explorer needs to be autonomous. It needs to be able to spend long periods at sea without having facilities nearby to re-fuel, provision, or even to discharge waste. It must be highly seaworthy and safe in the roughest of sea conditions.

Charter clients are getting younger and there is an increase demand to charter the unknown.

The mission profile

The purpose (mission profile) or how the yacht will be used can vary.

Explorer yachts can be used for family exploration vacations, or for worldwide exotic fishing and remote diving expeditions, heli-skiing, nature-watching or adventure sports.

In some cases, explorer yachts are even used for scientific research, we have seen some yachts who have studied and found new species of whales for example, or other more philanthropic cases like deep sea ocean research and historic diving.

Photo credit: @sheltondupreez @legendexplorer

Weather factors

Traditional yachts tend to be built exclusively for warmer climates, usually to cruise around the Mediterranean or the Caribbean sea.

Conversely, explorer yachts are built for extreme weather conditions (both hot and cold) therefore they not only need AC onboard, but also needs heaters and systems for defrosting sea ice to prevent build up and to avoid malfunction of systems.

A selection of notable explorer yachts:

  • Ragnar, 68m ice breaker explorer, converted by ICON Yachts in The Netherlands.
  • Olivia O, 88m built by Ulstein in Norway
  • Legend, converted by ICON Yachts in the The Netherlands
  • Octopus 127m yacht built by Lurssen in Germany
  • Cloudbreak, 73m (now extended to 75m) by Abeking & Rasmussen in Germany
  • Sherakhan, 69m yacht, last refitted at ICON Yachts.
  • Seawolf, 58m built in 1957 by JK SMIT,  refit in 2020 at ICON Yachts.
  • Galileo G, 55m built by Perini Navi in Italy
  • Planet Nine, 73m ice class explorer built by Admiral yachts.
  • Latitude, 53m explorer built in Germany.
  • Polar Star, 65m Luerssen
  • Savannah, 84m Feadship
  • S/Y Aquijo, 84m Oceanco
  • Plan B, 50m HMA Naval Dockyard
  • M/V Alucia, 56m built in France
  • M/Y REV, 183m VARD (in build expected 2021)
  • Dragonfly, Firefly fleet
  • La Datcha (in build expected 2020)
  • M/Y Senses
  • M/Y SuRi

Yacht charter rates typically range from €200,000- 500,000 per week on board one of these yachts. However on bigger boats like Cloudbreak charter rates are around  €750,000.

For further details about yacht charter, please contact

To build or to convert?

If you want to know whether it’s better to build from scratch or undertake a yacht conversion, check this blog post here.

The ‘real’ explorer

There are some yachts that call themselves explorers but in reality they are not. It is like the Evoque Range rover claiming to be an ‘all terrain’ off-road vehicle. It is aimed for the city people who want that outdoor styling but do not really need to have 4-wheel drive on an everyday basis.

Explorer Yachts are regular yacht looking like explorers with a few extra features, like and ‘ice band’ which is just a little bit thicker steel around the water line.

Some people want to have the yacht explorer look but don’t really need to have all the features as mentioned below. Explorer yacht styling and explorer yacht capability are two very distinct things.


Design & Engineering

The design of ice capable ships includes reaching an adequate performance, adequate hull and machinery strength and proper functioning of the ship in ice and in cold weather.

Range is crucial – fuel capacity and economy are essential

Since explorer yachts are intended to cruise for long periods of time in remote destinations, it is important that they have enough fuel to cruise, without having the need to re-fuel regularly.

A typical yacht has about 3,000 miles range, an explorer yachts has minimum of 5,000 miles range. Usually on explorer yachts, speed is not essential hence the cruising speed is usually is around 10-12 knots.

 ‘We take fuel designed specifically for cold water and there is also an additive we put into the fuel’- Jim Aladin

To cross from Europe to America you need aprox 3,000 nautical miles.

For example the Damen SeaXplorer,  will keep everyone on board luxuriously comfortable for 40 days without the need to refuel or take on stores.

The Hull

The hull needs to be a displacement hull made out of steel, ideally an efficient design that is able to consume less fuel.  Ideally a high efficiency hull should be paired with a good fuel volume in order to obtain at least 5000nm range at 10 knots.

The hull of an explorer needs to have more watertight bulkheads, and heating arrangements for fuel tanks, ballast tanks, and other systems vital to the yachts operation may also be required depending on the class. You certainly don’t want your pipes to freeze in Antarctica!

Heaters in sea water inlets can be an advantage. Explorers tend to go to arctic and Antarctic waters when it is summer and not winter, therefore there is no need of serious preparations as other ships. – Jim Aladin

ICE class vs Ice breaker

Building a ship to an ice class means that the hull must be thicker, and more scantlings must be in place. Sea chests may need to be arranged differently depending on the class.

Ice class can simply mean that the yacht can cruise in sea that has small fragments of floating ice.

In the mission profile of the yacht, it can be stated that the yacht needs to be ice-class certified, or it must have ice-breaking capabilities.

Let’s break that down. Not all ice-classed vessels are ice-breakers (!)

Canadian Arctic Class

The Canadian Arctic class ranges from 1-10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest) for example an Arctic Class 3 means that it can maintain a speed of 3 knots and break up to 3 feet of thick ice.

Photo credit: @sheltondupreez @legendexplorer

Ice-breaking capabilities

In order to break ice, a yacht needs a strengthened hull, and ice-clearing shape, and the power to push hard through sea ice.

Ice-breakers clear paths by pushing straight into frozen-over water or pack ice. The bending strength of sea ice is low enough that the ice breaks usually without noticeable change in the vessel’s trim. In cases of very thick ice, an icebreaker can drive its bow onto the ice to break it under the weight of the ship. A build-up of broken ice in front of a ship can slow it down much more than the breaking of the ice itself, so ice-breakers have a specially designed hull to direct the broken ice around or under the vessel.

Good ice performance requires a hull shape that has a low ice resistance as well as allows different maneuvers required (you need a very good captain with ice cruising experience!)

Good ice performance includes also a good propulsion thrust which can be achieved with propeller design and also designing the hull lines so that propeller-ice interaction is minimized.

Polar class

Polar Classes (PC) ranging from PC 1 for year-round operation in all polar waters to PC 7 for summer and autumn operation in thin first-year ice.

Finnish- Swedish Ice class

In the Finnish-Swedish ice class rules, merchant ships operating in first-year ice in the Baltic Sea are divided into six ice classes based on requirements for hull structural design,

The ships of the highest ice class are coded as 1A Super (like Motor Yacht Ragnar has) they are designed to operate in difficult ice conditions

Ships of lower ice classes 1A, 1B and 1C are assumed to rely on icebreaker assistance.

The engine Room

Like on any yacht accessibility is key. We have heard cases of many stunning ‘white yachts’ which have amazing features but which are a labyrinth and a nightmare for the chief engineer to have access to certain areas which need repair or service.

If designed for world cruising, the choice of equipment and availability of service centers is a factor.

The Mud Room

Onboard Ragnar there is a ski room that can store up to 16 pairs of skis and snowboards. There are also designated cabins where guests can go there and change upon arrival from a ski day, where they can remove their snowy boots and take off their ski gears and jackets and get changed into their swimsuits to hit the heated jacuzzi and spa! Penguin poo can quickly ruin a white carpet!

Onboard Cloudbreak for example, there is a ski locker close to the Helipad, and the beach club gets converted into a mud room.


Most explorer yachts will have facilities to carry a helicopter on board. Because of their nature of traveling to remote areas, some areas cannot be reached by normal plane or cars, therefore helicopter is the only mean of transportation.

It is also very fashionable amongst skiing fanatics to go heli-skiing to virgin slopes with fresh powder which has never been tracked before.

In areas such as Antarctica, in order to use the helicopter for heli-skiing you need to have a minimum of two helicopters on board, which is why the new La Datcha has space for two helicopters. This is to ensure that if the first helicopter is inoperable or has a malfunction, that there is another way to get crew and guests back to the vessel safely.

If there is a helicopter on board, it will need to be commercially registered as well to be able to carry charter guests, however. Helicopter permits also need to be arranged which can involve a blanket approval for a destination, or approval for specific trips in certain countries.

Most platforms needs to be commercially rated with lights for night landing.

Explorers need to also have the re-fueling ability hence the need for a fuel tank onboard which also implies extra security and trainings for the crew.

MY Cloudbreak


Safety is a big subject and on top of the required SOLAS items and area specific (tracker in Antarctica) explorer yachts normally carry Iridium handheld Satellite phones, Satellite trackers like Find me spot Hand held VHF radios seems like it would be common on yachts, but lately most yachts carry UHF for onboard communications. VHF radios have better range when away from the ship, and many times helicopters can communicate on the VHF frequencies but not UHF.

A fridge for your garbage

Since the yacht will be cruising for long periods of time without being in port, it is important to think about the rubbish system. Most yachts over 50 meters will have specialized cold rooms to store the garbage for long periods of time without any smells.  Some crew who have worked on explorer yachts tells us that waste-disposal is one of the most challenging things to do ‘You have new guest charters coming but the old waste from the previous charter is still on board, the only way to dispose it is by helicopter which is very expensive but needed’

Garbage compactors – some vessels have a garbage compactor in addition to a fridge to compact the non-food waste for storage. Most yachts have a garbage separation system so that only the food waste is kept in the fridge, as it can get full very quickly.

The majority of yachts (explorer or not, do not utilize negative space adequately. A good designer will allow access to behind bulkheads so that the space behind the walls or in bilges can be used to store dry stores that the boat can stock up on.

‘Garbage is a big deal. You need to plan it on departure and separate the food from paper and other items that can be stored all over the ship, then using up valuable space in the garbage cold-room. Glass crushers, garbage compactors and incinerators (larger yachts) are very useful. When delivery of supplies are organized, you need to make sure they can take some garbage with them back.”- Captain Cloudbreak, 75m explorer.


Explorer yachts must be able to hold an adequate stock of required provisions, be capable of generating fresh water, provide appropriate waste management, hold all necessary spare parts as well as tools and provide repair and workshop capabilities.

Sandra the yacht purses suggests ‘yachts storage be able to access all the void spaces and bilges between the hull and the bulkheads’

Winter garden

Exterior spaces need to be heated, pools and jacuzzis need to have integrated heaters or use the heat from the engine room to be recycled.


On board Legend there are 2 snow-scooters on board used to go explore remote towns and a 3-person submarine

On board Ragnar there is even a RIPSAW supertank that can go on ice!

The 107.4 metre Ulysses excels in this regard, with six motorbikes, two ATVs, a landing craft, and an amphibious tender in its garage, not to mention a 21-metre, 50-knot catamaran support boat that can be hoisted off the foredeck by a pair of custom-designed cranes ‘ – Boat International

Photo credit: @sheltondupreez @legendexplorer

The crew

The crew onboard an explorer yacht is very different from a traditional yacht that only cruises the Med for example. Even if it is useful to have crew with a secondary skills, not all crew are ok with being away from civilization and it can be hard to “stuck” on a yacht for a very long time. Other crew love it, being in remote areas.

Secondary skills are very useful, like paramedic deckhand”- Jim Aladin

In order to use the submarine you need a qualified submarine pilot to be able to safely operate it.

You also need specialist crew members such as local guides, helicopter pilots, ski instructors, etc.. which are often not employed full-time, but will need a place to stay on board during the trip. Depending on the cruising area, crew might also need to undertake additional polar code training as per the STCW Manila Convention.

Don’t forget to film your experience! Hence you may need also a photographer and a video-man to capture all of the most unforgettable moments! Including drone pilot.

Crew may have a certain amount of capacity to do this onboard, but it does put the crew under pressure. Remember that the crew’s main responsibility is to ensure your safety, which is not something you want to sacrifice in remote areas. There are many highly experienced yacht expedition photographers (such as Shelton Du Preez from Luxury Yacht Films) who are able to accompany the savvy owner or guests on their trip and make sure all your special moments are recorded.

Explorer yachts may need extra cabins for guides, marine pilots, helicopter pilots (and engineer) security guards, photographers, doctors, nurses, scuba diver instructors, physiotherapists..

Captain and Purser needs also to be very proactive to plan itineraries and getting permissions (to Antarctica it can takes months to plan), coordinate fuel, provisions, spare part deliveries, flying in guides, Ice-pilots etc.

Weather forecasting

‘Weather forecasting is very important. It is important to have all the correct sources of local weather, perhaps pay for professional weather routing. Being in remote areas you need to be more aware of weather as you are far from help and a port of refuge can be quite far.’- Jim Aladin

Un- chartered waters

Much of the ocean has been scanned and therefore there are charts that can be used by captains to know the safe cruising areas. However not all of the ocean, or at least not all passages have proper data. Therefore, this makes it very challenging for the captain to safely plan itineraries and cruising plans.

Everyone talks about ‘cruising on un-chartered waters ‘as if it was a cool thing, but actually It can be extremely dangerous!

‘Yacht crew are some of the most resourceful people in the world. Captain’s and crew rely on their own networks to canvas information about cruising grounds and share information that would be pertinent to a location.” – Sandra @theyachtpurser

Some areas require you to make use of experienced marine pilots to navigate through these treacherous waters, which are an additional consideration when planning your voyage as they will need to be berthed somewhere. The regulations surrounding pilots is often very stringent and they are only able to navigate for a certain number of hours per day, thus if you require continuous cruising, it might be necessary to employ the services of two pilots, each who may need to have their own cabin and not share. This can take up a considerable amount of guest space if there are no dedicated cabins for guides and pilots.

“There are unofficial chart systems that uses previous ships soundings which is transferred to charts and the more ships that go an area, the more sounding you receive. There are not official charts, but any additional navigational aids that stops you from running aground is of course useful.’ – Jim Aladin

Photo credit: @theyachtpurser


Planning holidays to extreme locations sometimes requires the use of specialist expedition travel companies who will arrange everything from special permits for the vessel to cruise to certain locations (required in places like Antarctica), to the equipment that is needed on board as well as arranging the shore side excursions. Whilst the captain and crew can research an enormous amount of information, there is no substitute for actual on-the-ground knowledge and experience. The internet might say an activity or restaurant is excellent, but there is a vast difference between the average tourist and a luxury yacht guest.

Sandra from @theyachtpurser shares with us her tips:

Expedition companies

Cookson adventures, EYOS Expeditions,, Pangea Adventure (founded by ex-yacht crew) are all expert travel companies that can help plan your trips and ensure your safety at the same time.

That is why companies like Cookson adventures are the ideal partner to arrange expeditions and trips. They would send someone ahead of time to those locations to see what is there, what are the conditions, what places are open

The purser together with captain uses various tools like Google earth pro to do the pre-research on the best anchorage places, but it is up to mother nature to decide on the weather, tides and currents.

Sandra from @theyachtpurser tells us that ‘Security is a very big concern, there are some islands where are very poor and have never seen a yacht for example. In some cases we even had to hire bodyguards and extra security armed guards or have navy seals accompany us’

Pirate areas

There are some areas known  (or spontaneous) for piracy attacks.

Some yachts may even charter a support vessel to carry all of the security guards, navy seals, doctors, and support staff.

Low maintenance

Explorer yachts do thousands of miles a year, and in order to keep up the quality of materials and systems it is essential to simplify upkeep.

Unlike the ‘big white yachts’ which can have very fancy materials which require high maintenance; an explorer yacht must be very easy to maintain and operate.

Every feature, system and coating on the exterior and interior of the yacht should be analyzed, not only on how it looks but what is it required to maintain it.

For example on board Ragnar, there is green-teak instead of real teak, which makes it easier to maintain and it is also suitable for extreme weather conditions.

Regardless of how low maintenance the vessel is (or isn’t), there will still be logistics involved in getting parts to the vessel, which requires a lot of forward planning as items may get held up in customs and not arrive in time. Planned maintenance needs to happen at certain periods to ensure all equipment on board is functioning correctly and safely. Mechanical breakdowns can occur too, and both might require flying specialist contractors in to conduct the repairs, which could impact the cruising schedule.


Whilst a lot of new vessels boast 40 days of autonomous cruising, there is no fridge in the world that can keep fresh food for that long. Yacht owners and guests have very specific tastes and preferences, which often require the vessel to ship food from the US or Europe to the vessel. Vessels do try and provision as much as they can locally (both to keep food and shipping costs down, it is fresher and it is good to support the local economy), however, for most trips food is flown to the vessel additionally. This requires a lot of planning and preparation as the cold-chain needs to be maintained at all times. Phytosanitation certificates need to be produced and, in some cases, a veterinary certificates for meat.

Environmental considerations

Certain cruising areas are MARPOL special areas, and thus garbage is a consideration. In some areas, you are required to have a local guide on board to ensure that crew and guests respect the local environmental restrictions. This is often a pro too, as they are well-versed in the local fauna, flora and history too!

In Antarctica you are required to carry special products on board for decontamination of your shoes when going ashore to protect local fauna and flora.

Charter licenses

You can’t charter in certain locations (US and Galapagos and until recently Australia) without flying the flag of that country.


Always check that you have the correct visa for the destinations that you intend to visit.


In some remote areas, crew and guests might need to show evidence of having a yellow fever vaccination.


‘When cruising in remote locations, security could be a concern due to the disparity of wealth between the local population and guests. More often than not, people are very friendly and welcoming to visiting yachts, but that doesn’t mean that proper precautions are not taken. It is recommended that a security assessment is conducted to ensure that crew and guests understand the risks and mitigation strategies- – – Sandra @theyachtpurser

Real life exploring experience

Here is an amazing story from the owner of Ocean Dreamwalker III, San Lorenzo Explorer on his Alaskan Adventures

Boat International 

Photo credit: @sheltondupreez @legendexplorer


If you enjoyed this article, and would like to thank me, you can buy me a coffee for $3, to motivate me to keep posting yachting insights.

Gender Inequality in the Yachting Industry

Gender Inequality in the Yachting Industry

My 13-year-old cousin Alexia, who is in 8th grade, contacted me recently because at school they ask them to write a paper on gender inequality. The instructions for the essay were that they had to interview a women in business, and I am super honored that she contacted me and asked me the following questions:

  • Do you feel like there is an equality in your industry?

The yachting industry is definitely a male-dominated industry. Most women who work in this industry have a  very ‘female’ role like secretaries, hostess, marketing or yacht charter. Unfortunately, there are only very few women with top senior positions. I am very lucky to be one of the few women in power, I think out of 100 shipyards, there are only 3 other women with a role as Commercial Director.

  • What do you think is the ratio of women to men in the yachting industry?

Probably 70:30

I work for a shipyard, 98% of the time I am the only female in the board room. In about 90% of the sales meetings I am also the only woman.

In our shipyard there are some women but I would say that 3/10 women are female.

  • Do you think it has been harder for you to get where you are compared to a man?

Being a woman you have to work harder, and do the job twice. First, you need to prove yourself, gain respect, let them know that you are worthy, be credible that you know what you are talking about, and THEN… you can do the job.  Definitely the career ladder has been a lot harder for me as a woman than it would be for a man.

  • Has anyone ever not wanted to work with you or be your client because you are a woman? If so, please explain. 

Yes, many times. It also depends on the culture, for example, Chinese businessmen do not like working with women. Even if I am the commercial director they would prefer to talk to someone below my position just for the fact that they can talk to a man.

Once in a boat show a Chinese man wanted to buy a yacht, he came up to me and asked for the commercial director, I replied ‘How can I help you? You can talk to me, what yacht are you interested” he refused to answer and kept on asking to speak to another person. Clearly he just didn’t want to speak to a girl. Also, I found that being pretty is a weakness because men can’t take you seriously, they think pretty girls are only good for being hostesses or ‘eye-candy’ but not good to talk business.

There is the stereotype that Middle Easterns dont like (nor respect women) but that is not true. At least in the Industry I work, I deal mainly with HNWI who are well educated and most of them studied in USA or in London and are pretty open minded and well educated. They support their daughters and employ women in power. I have never had any issues doing business in the Middle East.

Russians do business mainly with men. They don’t think a woman ‘is worth their attention’ of course this is a generalization, there might be Russian men who are comfortable doing business with men, but in my experience I had a Russian owner telling me ‘the problem with you is that you are woman, and you are too emotional. My suggestion for you is to do your job and keep your opinions to yourself’ he didn’t listen to my advice and now he is paying the consequences.  I met with his ‘owners rep’ who did some due diligence in the company, and he reported to him exactly what I had told him, but because it came from a man, he listened. I can’t wait to meet him again and tell him ‘I told you’ and now he will realize that it is too late, he should have listened to me.

Other people (sales brokers for example) would go on my back, and think they can go straight to my boss for a ‘better’ answer. My boss would then decide with me on the answer and he will transmit the message (which was created by me)

  • Do you feel you are paid the same as a man in the same position?

Fortunately, I work for a company in the Netherlands which is very fair in gender equality.

.  I would say that I make the same as my male counterpart. However, I am sure that if I would work in a more ‘macho’ country like France, Italy, USA, or Latin America I would probably be making 30% less than my male counterpart.

  • Have you ever felt harassed by a man?

Too many times, unfortunately. When I started in the industry I was a global sales rep, I would have to meet purchase managers in a different shipyard to sell them my product. Many times they would say I have no time to meet you during the day because I am too busy, but I am happy to meet you for an after-work drink or to take you out for dinner. I was young and naive and I would accept the invitation because it was a ‘business meeting’ and I had to learn the hard way that many men tried to make unacceptable advancements, vulgar jokes, try to get touchy, comment about the way you look or even indirectly threaten ‘if you don’t go out for diner with me, I won’t buy your product’

  • What would you change about the industry to make it more equal and fair? 

For men to take women more seriously, respect them and admire them.

For men to understand that I am not just a pretty- face that I worked hard to get where I am, I invested in my education, knowledge, and professional network.

Women are not there only to serve you coffee

I would like to see more female naval architects, engineers, project managers, captains, deck hand, CEO’s, business development, Sales Directors and remove the ‘gender jobs’

My husband once told me ‘You are more intelligent than I am, you are truly capable and competent to do my job, I dont understand why would you ever doubt about making less money than me just because you are woman’ It was shocking to hear but he is right, as women we always think that our husbands should make more money or that males make more money but if we are competent, there is no reasons to be asking for less.

If you would like to add anything else, be free to write anything else. 

I would like women to be braver, don’t be afraid to ask for a pay-rise, get the confidence to gain respect from men, I want them to know that YES YOU CAN! I am glad I can be that role model of a woman achieving career goals. It is possible to be pretty and smart it is possible to be a mom and a professional.

Yachting fashion trends for 2020

Yachting fashion trends for 2020


In an interview I had with Milda Chellingsworth, from Styling for you, a renowned stylist from London, she works with top celebrities and HNWI in preparing the wardrobe and packing holiday outfits for yacht owners.

I asked her to share with us the latest fashion trends on board yachts for this summer.

Milda says ‘Resort wear has become one of the most successful collections for retailers and we are definitely are spoilt for choice!’


We always recommend to have few great cover ups, puff sleeve ones are particularly on trend this year, we love brands like Adriana Degreas and Zimmerman as you can use them off board too as your little summer dresses.

Wide leg trousers are classic look for day or evening, we love Casa Raki ones this year. Another thing to pay attention to are fabrics, choose natural and light weight linen or cotton and summer weight cashmere for your evenings.

Shorts over skirts can be a better option, as more practical, yet extremely stylish. Also pay attention to your dress length, midi is much easier to wear, as you choose flats or heels with out  a worry of damaging your hems!

We also love the idea of a swimsuit, that can be worn as tops, putting together with a pair of shorts or trousers, can look very stylish and practical, giving you an option for a spontaneous swim! We like Mary Mare brand at the moment.

Casa Raki

Mary Mare


In some ways men are easier, but that does not mean, that they don’t have to care! We always make sure that we have plenty of linen shirts and light weight blazers for our clients, as these can take them from day to night.

Also, smart and casual shorts are very important, as some still don’t know the difference! We want our clients to relax on their holidays, but at the same time to look appropriate if holding a business meeting on their yacht.

In Monaco the latest trend is the Beach blazer by 209mare.

Plenty or swimwear, we like Darek Rose for a bit shorter and fun colours or for more classic clients, can’t go wrong with Polo Ralph Lauren.

Eaton Linen shirts

209 Mare Beach Blazer


We also encourage yacht owners to get some sandals, especially for small city breaks, you don’t want to wear your trainers in the heat!

Birckenstock has had a massive come back this year, we also like Grenson as a brand as they have a good grip on soles, for more the brand conscious, Burberry always have a good selection.

Although the Hermes sandales are still one my favorite ones!



How to buy a yacht?

How to buy a yacht?

Together with Ian Sherwood, broker for over 9 years currently working at Burgess yachts, we bring you the top insight tips on HOW TO BUY A YACHT.

Burgess yachts is one of the biggest brokerage houses in the world. They sell between 30-40 vessels per year! Is not only the number of vessels per year, is also the fact that they sell the biggest and highest valued transactions which are completely unrivaled in the industry.

Whilst they may attract headlines for some high profile yacht sales, they are actually a full service yacht company (not only sales but also management and even insurance)

The initial brief

In order for the broker to really understand your needs, he almost needs to psychoanalyze you to truly understand what makes you tick and find ‘the perfect yacht FOR YOU’, it may not be the perfect yacht for someone else, or not even the perfect deal for the broker, but he will bend over backwards to find you ‘the one’.

Ian tells us that ‘Understanding the client is vital but it can be a difficult subject for some people to discuss.  The budget is probably the first topic that can be awkward, how much are they willing to spend and the broker has to understand if this is firm or whether there might be a little room to maneuver for the right opportunity.  Additionally, I want to know more about the dimensions.  If I am told a size, what is the reason for that?  Something practical like the dimensions of an existing berth or is it a personal preference or even to allow for a certain feature’.

Sometimes the background information gives you the best picture to move forward.  How does the client use their current yacht?  Where do they like to cruise and with whom?  Can you pick up on the interior style and taste from the current boat to help focus your yacht search.

There are sometimes cultural differences that may also be a factor about why a client is focused or guarded about what they are looking for.  But the key is to know what is the trigger point.  Some will be brand or region specific as a key factor, others will be driven by price or perceived value.

Buy pre-owned or build a new custom yacht?

After the broker has practically psycho-analyzed you, he will then be able to asses whether there is any yacht available in the market that matches your requests or if it is better to consider building a custom new yacht.

Production vs. full custom

Once you know what you want, it becomes a lot easier to find something that matches those goals. Another important thing you need to ask is whether you’re happy with a production yacht, or do you want to go for a custom yacht. The prices of both differ significantly, and so does their suitability for you.

Production yachts are mass-produced and assembled by factories like Sunseeker, and they start around $100,000 to $5 million. Semi-custom or fully custom yachts are considerably more expensive. A semi-custom yacht averages about $25 million, while a fully custom boat can reach $150 million.

What is more important for you? time or money? this will preclude new yachts from being part of the shortlist.

Traditionally many clients who choose to build a new custom project have previously owned yachts and with this experience they have a clearer list of requirements and can define what it is they want.  But a younger demographic of owners that have often accumulated wealth rapidly are bucking this trend and will often commence their yachting experiences by building a new yacht.

Whilst a brand new yacht is often seen as aspirational it is still a sector that is volatile to market pressures.  Lengthy waiting periods, rising costs and shipyard capacities are all factors that encourage clients to look at existing yachts in the brokerage market.


OK, you found your dream yacht, now what?!

Once we have a price agreed, we now need the legal teams to create the offer document and although it is based on a standard document, the US and Europe have slightly different templates, it will be tailored to the exact circumstances of this yacht.

A great piece of advice that was given to me early in my brokerage career is to learn where the boundaries are of my role.  There is no point in me trying to advise a client on ownership structures or VAT issues for example as there are people far better qualified to do so.  So a key aspect of yacht broking is building relationships with industry specialists that can support clients and solve potential obstacle during the sale process.

The Sea- Trial

The first major event will be the buyer’s sea trial.  The aim is for the buyer to confirm that they like the yacht and it meets their expectations before they progress any further.  It is essentially a snapshot of life onboard when they are the owner.  A recent sea trial for a client of mine spent more time at anchor and swimming/having lunch than actually moving, but that is what the client wanted and they subsequently purchased the yacht.  The most obvious gauge for me is whether the client is smiling or not during this stage.

The Survey

Assuming the “test drive” has been a successful then usually the survey will begin.  This is the most common example of where a broker can get it wrong.  It’s vital that the buyer has the chance for an independent team to assess the yacht condition and her systems and so my role at this point is to remain impartial.  I will often be asked to recommend a surveyor or even a lawyer at the beginning of the process and my answer is always to give 3 or 4 options of suitable candidates and then let the client choose, my input has to be to facilitate and not influence the process at this point.

There will be occasions when the yacht dictates who is suitable for the shortlist.  In 2019 I sold the most beautiful vintage motor yacht and then it is a very different survey to one which would be required for a modern day fast aluminium high performance yacht, so the survey team have to be fit for purpose.  For larger yachts the process may take a team of surveyors 4 or 5 days to complete the inspection and how much detail depends on the client’s instructions.  Everything from oil samples and a borescoping the engines all the way to testing the TV system is working in the guest cabins will be conducted and then a report is written for the buyer’s records.

The punching bag moment

If there is any dispute or point of interest raised in the survey, then this needs to be worked through with the owner’s team and then the way forward will be determined.  Occasionally this will involve extending the timeframe for the deal to allow for a repair to be undertaken or even amending the overall price of the sale if a significant issue has been discovered.  This is when the broker will demonstrate their worth to the client, working as an intermediary and finding a resolution.  One of my colleagues in Monaco describes us as needing to be the “punchbag” during this phase.  It requires a calm head to mediate and it can be quite a difficult period as emotions are often running high at this point.

The ‘key’ handover

Once the findings from the survey are accepted then it is just the administrative preparation ahead of the sale being concluded.  On the actual day there are likely to be two events running simultaneously, a closing meeting with the legal team for each side and then the activities on the yacht.  Onboard, documents will be checked for the final time and if the crew are being replaced then this changeover will also occur.  Whilst onshore the lawyers will have a protocol written so that we work down the list and tick off the items in sequence, culminating with the release of money from an escrow account and exchange of documents to reflect that the yacht ownership has now changed hands.


and voila!! That is how you buy a yacht! simple right? ?


If you want to buy a yacht, contact Ian Sherwood for professional advice, and I’ll guarantee you, he will not only find the best yacht for you but also you will certainly enjoy the process!

How to find the right yacht sales broker?

How to find the right yacht sales broker?

Finding the right broker is essential for your journey to assist you with your investment and experiencing yachting to the highest levels! A broker not only sells you the yacht, he is actually providing you with a bespoke experience, through the provision of products and his own network on specialist services, and all of the support that delivers it.

Over the years I have noticed that there are several factors that repeat the pattern from success-stories of happy yacht owners. Here are some of them:


Is a personal relationship choosing the horses for courses, often the broker and the clients have same age- range similar likes and hobbies like hunting or golfing, there has to be chemistry between them and they have to have things in common,. Because the client and the broker will spend a lot of time together, it is important that there is a strong compatibility factor. Neither does the broker nor the owner want to work closely for 2-5 years with someone you personally find objectionable.


Language is also an important factor. For example some Russian-speaking Owners prefer to deal mainly with Russian brokers. I think this is obvious as you naturally get along with people who share the same history and traditions. It is not about understanding what is being said, it is rather about understanding what is not being said aloud. The famous “read between the lines” is significantly simpler when you communicate in your mother-tongue.


If it is a boat that is appealing more to the American Market than the European market for example, then the owner might choose to go with a broker that has a strong presence and strong sales record in USA. If the owner lives in Monaco and likes to go cruising in the Med, he might have a yacht sales broker based in Monaco whom he can meet often at the yacht club and have nice chats and drinks and talk about fun things after work.

Track sales

For yacht owners selecting a yacht broker, it is important to also check which boats have been recently sold by the broker him/herself but also by brokerage house.  For new build, if a yacht owner wants advice on buying a 60 meter yacht, he is better informed and educated by a broker who has experience in that size range.For brokerage, If you are selling a 60meter yacht for example, you should check which brokerage house has recently sold yachts in that size range, most likely they will have the data base of potential buyers for your yacht

A  broker who has sold several similar yachts recently probably has a better idea of what your yacht is really worth in the current market. He is probably aware of similar vessels available in the market that could be the competition for prospective buyers.

Marketing Power

They have the right marketing tools to get yacht sold. A good broker will cover the costs of marketing the vessel, and will provide a marketing plan in regard to professional photography, magazine, digital marketing, advertising, brochures, boat show participation.

Yachting Knowledge

Brokers need to know every brand of yacht build there is out there, the pro’s and con’s, the shipyard management, the culture, the relationships with the yacht crew on board to have feedback on the performance of the yachts, the maintenance cost, etc.

‘Most client don’t really know what they want’ it is the expertise of the yacht broker who will be able to match client-to-yacht based on the broker’s experience.

The broker also should know the operational costs of the yachts he/she is proposing to his clients before they buy it. Usually operational costs are around 5% of the cost of the price of the yacht (depending on the brand and the age of the vessel) but for example a 58 million euros North European-built yacht of 900 GT the operational costs would be circa 2.200.000 – 2.500.000 Euros depending on a number of factors like one or two seasons operation, private or commercial use, and most importantly the number of crew. A broker should know the typical running costs for different types of vessel and of the importance of being open and transparent about these to a potential purchaser.

Yacht brokers need to constantly be visiting shipyards and speaking to key industry players to stay up to date with advancements so they can properly educate their clients ‘visiting shipyards on a regular basis is a vital part of understanding the philosophy and USPS behind every yard.

Expect professional expertise and extensive market knowledge, information from advanced databases, full specification sheets listing all of a yacht’s features and links with the global market. The more forward-thinking a company is and the more it gives you the impression of regular contact with clients, the more you can rest assured.

The Industry network

The relationship between brokers it is important. They know each other and they build reputation on previous selling cases. It is also a matter of personality and business ethics. Some brokers simply don’t want to work with others. Therefore a brokers reputation is very important.


A company’s reputation – apart from obvious tell-tale signs of untrustworthy, look out for things like how patient they are and good rapport – and process of payment are worth checking out. Having an idea of their spread in the international market can help you conclude whether a broker is the right one for you.


Ian Sherwood from Burgess Yachts tells us:

‘My relationships with clients are based purely on trust, if they do not have faith in what I say to them or if they do not want to deal with me, then they will replace me with another broker who they have formed a better connection with.  They are busy people and usually don’t have the time or inclination to fly and inspect 10 yachts, they want to see 3 that have been carefully shortlisted and fit their requirements’


Prior to joining Burgess I spent 5 years in Australia as a broker and found that over 60% of my sales were with returning clients or new faces who were directly referred to me, which I took to be a huge compliment.  My focus is just the same nowadays in the Superyacht industry and I regularly look how I am best serving the interests of my enquiries and yacht owners.

Yachting is chosen as an escape for many people, they want to own or charter a boat in order to relax and wind down away from their usual lives.  But for the industry, we have to remember that our collective professionalism is what enables the clients to enjoy their leisure time.

Brokers must maintain the highest standards in the same way that the crew will operate onboard as it will determine the overall client experience.

Professional knowledge is obviously important, but I also have to stand behind what I say and how I advise them.  The most successful brokers are those that operate with integrity as they retain the support of the client and then work together on multiple occasions.  The broker who is driven to get the deal the done at all costs, will enjoy the rewards in the short term but then often struggle to maintain the client’s trust and then find that they have missed out on the next occasion

Without knowledge or experience it is easy to find yourself led astray by the inspiring yacht concepts of boundary-pushing designers or talked into building a super-fast yacht with technical capabilities you’ll never use.

Can you buy a yacht without a broker?

It is definitely possible, but for a purchase of this magnitude there cannot be many examples in life where a client would allocate a budget of this size to a purchase without using the guidance of an industry specialist to assist them.    Typically, a sale will involve a number of people who are often spread out in several countries/time zones and the complexities of ownership and registry further complicate matters.  A professional yacht broker is a fantastic advantage for the client and will facilitate the sale so that their best interests are being looked after for what is hopefully a smooth and successful purchase.

A broker will also know much more than is in the public domain and information that you simply would not find out about as an individual client.  Off-market opportunities, the motivation of the seller, industry factors, market data and price comparisons are all common topics that I discuss with a potential buyer.  We can open doors and find situations that others can’t and in small industry like yachting, our reputation is vital, so there is no resting on our laurels, maintaining our relationship with the client is a never ending process.

There are also advantages in terms of privacy and credibility, there will be a degree of professional courtesy that is offered to me when dealing with other brokers and shipyards.  Until a direct negotiation is taking place there is no need for me to disclose the identity of the client nor their financial situation in order to maintain discretion.  As an individual you are much more likely to be challenged at every step, to demonstrate credentials and establish some background details.  With a fast moving scenario, this may preclude you from being part of the action.

Finding a yacht online

The internet has changed the process of how yacht buyers research yachts and find inspiration, the major websites have very comprehensive lists of available yachts and they are receiving a huge level of traffic every day.  The thirst for instant information and high-resolution images has led these sites to readily distribute content directly to phones and tablets.

For the industry they create increased exposure to potential clients and promote the brokerage companies to a wider audience.  They offer the yacht buyer an ability to target their interests in a tightly controlled way and filter comparable yachts for sale.

It however is a common misconception that the information displayed is a true reflection of the market conditions.  Don’t forget, all figures shown are asking prices and not the actual transacted prices, so when using the websites to benchmark against price for example, they lack real time accuracy.

You have to be careful, and don’t believe everything you read, some boats are already sold, poor images, wrong specs,

It can often be confusing about who the actual central agent is and there are occasions where the information is being misrepresented by a third party.  Errors occur because it has been taken out of context or is out of date, but the information is often left out there as a butterfly net to hopefully lure in potential clients.


They call me the Yachting Match-Maker for a reason! if you want me to help you find the perfect yacht sales broker to you, just drop me a line and I will make sure to introduce you (or provide you with a list of the top 3 brokers) suitable to either sell your existing yacht or find you ‘THE one’.