|The Next Horizon|
Part 2: “They’re wanting to go far away and do something different.”
By Kim Kavin - October 2003
True, the 184-foot Halter Marine Pangaea, part of The Sacks Group fleet, bears little resemblance to your typical Feadship, but after stepping onto her saloon’s cream-colored carpet, most guests will forget all about exterior design and melt into the comfortable seating surrounding her 42-inch, high-definition, plasma-screen TV. The entire forward portion of this deck is reserved for the master stateroom, whose head includes a Jacuzzi and steam room. The boat’s ten additional guests are accommodated below decks, near the gym, which houses an elliptical machine, stationary bicycle, step aerobics equipment, and weightlifting benches.
Then there are the toys that come with Pangaea’s $175,000 per week ($195,000 high season) base rate. Try finding a traditionally styled motoryacht in her price range with enough deck space to carry a 35-foot Predator Sportfish with tuna tower and fighting chair, 19- and 26-foot RIBs, four PWCs, four underwater scooters, scuba and snorkeling gear for 16 people along with a dive compressor/Nitrox system, and, oh yes, a basketball net that mounts on deck to create a half-court.
The 194-foot Schweers Senses, a member of the Fraser Yachts Worldwide fleet, also offers more toys than you’d find aboard the average charter boat in her $240,000 per week price range. This expedition yacht comes complete with a 42-foot Nelson tender, a 24-foot RIB, a 28-foot classic sailing sloop, a 14-foot Hobie Tiger catamaran, an Avon 320 jetboat, a pair of four-person Wave Runner PWCs, three kayaks, various snorkeling gear, and water skis.
Then there’s the 228-foot Oceanfast Aussie Rules, part of the Nigel Burgess fleet, with a $301,000 per week high-season base rate that includes a 42-foot Gamefisherman, a 29-foot SeaVee fishing/diving boat, a 25-foot Novurania, a 20-foot Hewes flats boat, four PWCs, kayaks, water skis, snorkeling gear—and a reported 400 fishing rods.
Other expedition yachts accepting selective charters (fewer weeks per year than most charter boats) include the 207-foot Royal Denship Big Roi, the 238-foot Dutch-built Giant, and the 195-foot Amels Intuition II—all with similar amenities that are attracting a new type of charter guest. “I think with the younger people who are coming into the market, all this so-called younger wealth, they seem to be more tuned toward this type of boat,” says Ben Snead of North Carolina-based Expedition Yachts International, which consults on, markets, and sells expedition vessels for private and charter use. “They’re diving, they’re offshore fishing. They’re wanting to go far away and do something different.”
The promise these yachts offer for new charter experiences is certainly unparalleled, but today it remains, at least in part, wishful thinking. The one disappointment guests will face—hopefully for only another few seasons—is that many of these boats are still in the same Caribbean and Mediterranean waters as their traditionally styled competitors. Owners want to keep the boats where brokers and possible clients can get to know them before cruising to all corners of the world. “As they get better known, they will become more attractive in faraway places,” Henry says. “Especially with the ease of communications nowadays.”
Snead says his phone is ringing more than it used to for charters aboard expedition yachts, and he sees the market remaining a niche, but growing, at least for the foreseeable future.
Henry agrees. “I think that five years from now, you’ll see a lot more of these boats in the market,” she says. “People won’t be afraid to get on these boats and do something different. When you see the advantages of these yachts that can go all over the world and have more toys than five other yachts put together, it’s pretty amazing.”
Yachts International Photo: (252) 638-5550. www.yachtworld.com/expeditionyachts.
This article originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.