There aren’t many places in the Southern Hemisphere where crowds, enthusiasts and customers can get a glimpse of the world’s most stunning superyachts in one location. Over the final weekend of February in Sydney, pundits were given that very rare chance with the glistening Jones Bay Wharf acting as the backdrop for this year’s Superyacht Australia Soirée.
With government restrictions putting a limit on indoor functions, the festivities and displays of luxury vessels were moved outdoors where guests could experience their six-star hospitality by just traversing between yachts like their own floating playground.
This year’s event was once again backed by one of the world’s largest and most prestigious manufacturers of superyachts, Benetti Yachts. David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia, explained the true significance of such an event on the global yachting calendar.
"Chartering is the gateway to ownership. The Soirée is designed to introduce yacht chartering to new clients which in the long term will grow the industry.
"It’s all about introducing new clients into the industry and getting current clients excited about new vessels that are entering the market."
That goal is easier said than done this time around, as the pandemic wreaked havoc with international tourists who would have traditionally chartered Australian-based vessels this time of year – a service which Good said is worth A$290 million (US$226 million) annually.
"State border closures last winter also prevented interstate guests chartering in the usual cruising grounds of the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef.
"Fortunately, guests have still chartered and discovered cruising grounds closer to home in a safe environment and reignited their passion for cruising in their own backyard in total luxury. One of the greatest luxuries is to have an environment completely under your own control, something which you can achieve on a private superyacht."
Good emphasised that with a whole vessel charter, customers can determine their own itinerary that’s completely flexible around their own schedules, from the menu to meal timings, to guests.
"During the pandemic a lot of restrictions were put in place that removed choices and freedoms from individuals; this has emphasised how much of a luxury freedom of choice really is."
As a partner of this year's Superyacht Australia Soirée, The CEO Magazine was also able to demonstrate its own wealth of expertise in bringing together luxury Italian names Benetti Yachts and Maserati onto the same platform. The event's success showcases intangible client engagement opportunities and a synergy that the team prides itself on.
Finest floating estates
There’s nothing like experiencing the spectacle of a superyacht in person and with those closest around you. The Superyacht Australia Soirée provided a rare glimpse into that scene with some of the world’s formidable yacht makers and purveyors of nautical luxury.
As the headline partner of this year’s Superyacht Australia Soirée, Benetti Yachts continues to set the standard for exemplary craftsmanship on the seas for almost 150 years. After a challenging year for the industry as a whole, the Italian boat builder is looking to come back stronger than ever with a fresh new focus on a rapidly changing market.
"We are attracting younger buyers who have already experienced large yacht ownership and who are well informed," explained Peter Mahony, General Manager of Benetti Asia.
Mahony specifically highlighted the surge of new superyacht owners he’d seen due to the pandemic.
"We have all changed our perception of how we will spend our time in the future and the controlled exclusivity of enjoying a yacht has been recognised as the perfect solution in such difficult times."
To capitalise on this opportunity, Benetti will be introducing new systems and technology into its fleet. Fine appointments such as a refreshed central rack server entertainment system is now installed as standard. There’s also engineering and hybrid solutions that are continuing to be rolled out.
Helping to maintain its dominance in the industry within the next decade, Mahony said that Benetti would continue to uphold its core values of quality, class, innovation and style.
"We will continue to bring new designs and standards to the marketplace as we always have done.
"The evolution of luxury on board has developed in ways that are defined by the experience of owners and their guests. Aspects like how they spend their time aboard while the understanding of the tangible quality of equipment, furniture and finishes are more prevalent than ever.
"Of course, ultimate luxury is the opportunity of choice and personalisation, and our partner, Yachtique, has been developed to provide a genuine bespoke tailoring experience."
More importantly, Mahony saw the Superyacht Australia Soirée as a quality event away from the yachts.
"It allows its members to enjoy each other’s company in a neutral and enjoyable environment. It is a great opportunity for networking over all elements of the industry."
Fraser Yachts is a distinguished name in superyachting circles, with 17 locations worldwide and an expansive breadth of services spanning across 50 key areas of luxury yachting and ownership. Whether it’s yacht sales, yacht charter, yacht construction, yacht management or crew placement, Fraser Yachts has the expertise to tend to it.
Peter Redford, Managing Director of Fraser Yachts Australia, explained that the business is a natural fit for the Superyacht Australia Soirée.
"Fraser champions excellence in service, ethics and sustainability. With a strong focus on corporate social responsibility, it is respected by owners, crew, buyers, charterers, yacht builders and industry professionals.
"Superyacht Australia shares the same values and it featured some of the finest superyachts in Australia at the Soirée. Fraser was delighted to once again be a partner at this prestigious event."
Fraser Yachts intends to stay ahead of the competition by continuing to facilitate rare and memorable experiences through its fleet of immensely valuable vessels including superyachts, mega yachts and giga yachts.
"To achieve consistent excellence at this echelon takes a special kind of company with exceptional people. Fraser’s dedicated 170-strong team are chosen for their enthusiasm, empowered by deep knowledge and inspired to think innovatively," Redford said.
As a result, the company will be pursuing the latest in responsible innovation trends this year that look towards furthering ocean sustainability and environmental causes. Fraser’s CEO Raphael Sauleau has also become an official ambassador for the not-for-profit global pollution and maritime hazard mapping organisation Eyesea. Its investment in the evolution of the yachting industry and ethical luxury in general will encompass adventures into the Antarctic as well as a partnership with Plastic Oceans Foundation to fight the pollution of the marine environment.
An idyllic address shines on
Jones Bay Wharf Marina continued to be the perfect location for this year’s event, with ample space and ease of access for guests to attend. More than just providing a scenic backdrop, the venue’s General Manager, Nairn Johnston, said the facility also served as a demonstration of the capabilities of such a space for boat owners, captains, crews and event guests.
"Jones Bay Wharf Marina is a historic landmark in Sydney with a proud maritime heritage. We are the closest superyacht berthing facility to the Sydney CBD, offering a private and sheltered location with little size limitations on vessels we can take. Add to this amazing city and Harbour Bridge views, an easy walking distance to the CBD or the many Sydney or Pyrmont attractions, and it’s a package which works for owners, guests and crews alike."
After almost 20 years, Jones Bay Wharf continues to be owned and run by a small company with true boating DNA.
The pinnacle of high-seas hospitality
Hospitality plays an integral part of any superyacht experience and without the high attention to detail given to the services on board along with the onshore facilities to support them, the superyacht experience is only half complete. These are some of the names that graced this year’s Superyacht Australia Soirée from premium hospitality to leisure providers and marina operators.
Celebrating in style is never complete without celebratory drinks and this year premium Australian winemaker Tyrrell’s stepped up to that task with its signature range of wines selectively grown in vineyard regions spanning across the historic Hunter Valley in New South Wales to Heathcote in Victoria. The wine has been a household name for more than 160 years and continues to produce some of Australia’s most awarded wines. More importantly, Tyrrell’s was keen to let attendees know that its wines are available in most countries where superyachts congregate from France to Spain to the US and Caribbean.
Superyachts need a break as well and when it comes time to anchor up to enjoy the surrounding pristine waters and beaches, no-one does it better than iAqua Watersports. Sean Prosser is the Managing Director who is responsible for delivering some of today’s most innovative water toys destined for superyacht owners and their guests. In 2021 the company will launch the iAqua SeaDart, a sea scooter powered by lithium-ion batteries to make for a light, safe and versatile water toy that is easier to maintain than ever. Redesigned bumpers are also more robust for impact resistance, while revised control illumination ensures optimum underwater navigation.
Prestige berthing options
Returning to shore doesn’t need to be a fleeting affair with the spoils of superyachting. These are some of finest marinas on offer to superyacht owners today, which made their presence at the event.
Sanctuary Cove Marina
Owners can now dock in style at Sanctuary Cove Marina, a world-class 303-berth Platinum Gold Anchor marina located on Australia’s bustling and stylish Gold Coast. The expansive location is also home to a diverse selection of shopping and dining precincts. It even includes two championship golf courses along with the luxurious 251-room InterContintental Sanctuary Cove Resort and Sanctuary Cove Country Club.
More importantly, in 2020 Sanctuary Cove Marina underwent a A$10 million (US$7.8 million) refurbishment which saw the addition of four new piers, one of which is specially dedicated to superyachts. The expansions include the first ever undercover berths in the Southern Hemisphere, which will be installed in the first half of 2021.
"In 2021 the marina was awarded Platinum Gold Anchor status – one of eight in the world," said Sanctuary Cove Marina’s General Manager, Steve Sammes.
"This global accreditation is the highest accolade that the industry awards and is reserved for marinas which offer their customers a comprehensive, unique marina experience by providing tailored personalised service and an outstanding array of high-quality facilities and amenities."
Sydney Superyacht Marina
The east coast of Australia isn’t short of superyacht marinas, but for those looking for one in the country’s largest city, Sydney Superyacht Marina has both owners and charter guests covered. Marina Manager Clemens Overdijk explained that the facility is unique due to its close proximity to the CBD, immediate foreshore access, ample onsite parking and storage options. Besides its logistical advantages, the Sydney Superyacht Marina also offers casual berthing at the iconic Campbells Cove, right in the heart of The Rocks, with immediate views over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
"The Sydney Superyacht Marina is an accredited ‘First Point of Entry’ marina for visiting international vessels up to 75 metres," Overdijk said.
"The marina has been providing superyacht berthing options since 1999. Its layout was reconfigured in 2016 to better meet the needs of the ever-increasing demand for superyachts in Sydney Harbour."
Procuring the perfect superyacht, whether for ownership or chartering, requires knowledge, experience and expertise. These are a few of the names to keep in mind from this year’s Superyacht Australia Soirée.
As a part of the international Alexander Marine group, Alexander Marine Australia is the exclusive dealer for Ocean Alexander and Galeon Yachts in Australia and New Zealand. The firm specialises in the sale of new and used motor yachts.
Todd Holzapfel, Director of the local division, said its passionate and knowledgeable team can provide yacht buyers and sellers with the best outcomes possible.
"With the global backing of one of the largest yacht manufacturers in the world, and sales offices and affiliates in the US and Europe, we have true global reach. Closer to home, our commitment to the Australian yacht business is unmatched."
Its head office at the Boat Works Marina and Shipyard is in the heart of the Gold Coast’s marine precinct, which means Alexander Marine can offer first-class sales and after-sales services in conjunction with the country’s highest concentration of marine trades.
Having access to one marina is convenient, but having access to 10 separate locations across three states is a genuine luxury for superyacht customers. As Australia’s largest premium marina network, d’Albora Marine provides a service with a complete end-to-end marine lifestyle opportunity. Hospitality is catered for within its own venues, including San Martin and Martha Cove, which are occupied by a large list of marina tenants.
CEO Matt Walford said its premium marina network across these desired locations offers members the ability to travel for 30 nights annually across them.
"We also have the ability to service and berth superyachts up to 42 metres across our network, which covers boatyard marine services."
Those after their next vessel can also access new and pre-owned boat sales and services through d’Albora Marine. The company is also the exclusive Australian dealer of Azimut Yachts.
Ocean Alliance’s knowledge of charter destinations within Australia and the South Pacific is unmatched, as the firm represents the region’s largest fleet.
The company is a superyacht charter and brokerage agency that focuses on the 30-metre-plus category.
"We create experiences on yachts throughout Australia, the South Pacific and global destinations," explained Managing Director Joachim Howard.
Ocean Alliance has been in operation for 10 years and is a corporate member of The Worldwide Yachting Association MYBA. It also sits on the state and national committees of Superyacht Australia – credentials that put the company ahead of others.
Howard added that its presence at the Superyacht Australia Soirée provided the opportunity to showcase the strength of the Australian charter industry and introduce new clientele to the experience of private charters.
Much like other pioneering names from this year’s event, Ocean Alliance will be working towards ocean conservation initiatives including partnerships with the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Reef Census. These projects will combine research opportunities with charter itineraries.
"There is a growing appetite from charter clients to contribute to the environments they are enjoying, and superyachts can play an important role in research and conservation initiatives," said Howard.
Protection and maintenance made easy
Owning a superyacht is just the first piece of the puzzle in the journey towards pristine seas. From maintenance to insurance, these are the services ensuring your pride and joy of the ocean is well looked after.
Rivergate Marina and Shipyard
Refitting and maintenance is crucial to the longevity of every superyacht and one of the top three refit yards in the world today can be found in Brisbane's Rivergate Marina and Shipyard. The purpose-built refit and maintenance facility services the international superyacht fleet as well as commercial vessels and recreational crafts. The company is an official a member of Superyacht Australia while their Director of International Business, Steve Fisher, sits on the board of AIMEX-Superyacht Australia.
"Our management team has decades of experience among them. Rivergate is internationally recognised for our quality of service, the diverse range of tenants and trades on-site, our can-do attitude and commitment to outcomes on behalf of clients," says Fisher.
It's ideal location on the Brisbane River with deep water access and protection from the cyclone belt means that the facility is a safe haven for superyachts. More importantly it's within easy reach of the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef and the east coast and South Pacific. Clients meanwhile can rest assured they're in good hands with Rivergate being a certified Clean Marina and Customs and Quarantine Port that's equipped with 300 to 2,500-tonne shiplifts, a 105-berth marina that can accommodate vessels over 90 metres, on-site refuelling and 30 specialised marine trade businesses including comprehensive project management services.
"Rivergate is an authorised service facility for Benetti Yachts in Australia and we work closely with other superyacht manufacturers including Feadship, Lurssen, Gulf Craft and many more."
The Yard Brisbane
Superyacht maintenance is one of the most overlooked areas of ownership, but with firms like The Yard Brisbane, the logistics of superyachts can be made more seamless. The Brisbane-based shipyard is equipped with machinery with a lifting capacity of up to 600 tonnes and multiple vessels refit halls spanning up to 90 metres long. The business also offers refit coordination and marine services from onsite marine tenants and its own TYB Marine Services division. However, it is not a marina, said Nick McGuire from The Yard Brisbane.
"We are a specialist vessel refit facility with capability to undertake large-scale vessel modifications and repair. We are seven hectares in size and can accommodate multiple 50-metre-plus vessels out of the water at any time. This scale also enables us to facilitate emergency short-notice lifts, with storage options also available on short notice. We service more superyachts over 35 metres than any other shipyard in Australia."
Even a rigorous maintenance schedule can’t protect your superyacht during the entirety of its ownership. Pantaenius is considered the world’s most experienced pleasure craft insurer with more than 100,000 sail and motor yachts insured worldwide.
Finance Operations Manager Michaela Claes said the firm’s strong core values are what set it apart from the rest of the field, alongside its vast experience.
"Pantaenius prides itself in providing its clients with a genuine, charismatic service from the initial contact and throughout the time insured," Claes said.
"The claims department is also known within the industry for going above and beyond to alleviate any stresses of their clients and get their vessels back on the water as quickly as possible."
Part of this dedicated service is formed from the fact that the Pantaenius team are all boating aficionados themselves and therefore understand the intrinsic value boat owners place on their vessels.
"This sincere core identity has stayed consistent since the Baum family first began providing cover in 1963 in Hamburg, Germany. To this day, Pantaenius is still a family business with an ever-growing recognition and respect in the marine industry," Claes added.
Superyacht Australia’s Soirée provided the perfect platform for Pantaenius to showcase its diverse range of services in risk management to clients.
"We operate in an incredible niche market and it is important to the owners to know our excellent customer service and our bespoke insurance cover is as unique as their vessels are."