Whilst I was working hard getting Mina2 ready for her Downstairs Skipper, I wasn’t short of distractions. When Mina2 was just a twinkle in my eye, I had always fondly imagined that my magnificent yacht would be at least one of the biggest yachts, if not THE biggest yacht in the anchorage. Not in Antigua she’s not. They wouldn’t even allow us in the dinghy park.
Apart from Monte Carlo during Grand Prix week, there is probably no place on earth where there is more money or an array of such tall masts floating around in such a small area. I was anchored just outside the buoys that marked the fairway for the entrance of yachts to the marina just in front of me in Falmouth Harbour, so every vessel that came in or out passed me quite close, and there was quite a variety. Here are some of Mina2’s new friends:
The cost of building many of these yachts would be in excess of $200m (the cost of Abramovich’s latest yacht, the largest private yacht in the world, is reputed to have been in excess of $1.25bn. But he can afford it. One of his previous yachts, Grand Bleu, then the third largest yacht in the world, he lost during a game of cards). The cost of owning and running most of these yachts would be in excess of $20m per year. And then there’s the helicopter (or room for two in extreme cases). Many will have a crew of 25 or more – and the more expensive members of the crew like Skipper (who can command a salary of $250,000 a year tax-free), Chief Engineer and Michelin star quality chef, you have to have two of each as they do two months on and two months off. It’s not quite how we do things on Mina2.
If you’re making enough money to own a boat like one of these, then you’ve got to spend some time in the office, so most of them are available for charter – at a price. A big (but by no means the biggest) motor yacht will cost you $600,000 to charter – a week. There is a near obligatory tip on top for the crew which is expected to be 25% of the charter cost. Then all the extras are on top like fuel, food, booze, flowers etc etc etc. The maximum number of guests that any yacht will have is 12 because, above this number, the regulations require you to have orange life boats like the cruise ships, and nobody would want their yacht defiled with those monstrosities.
But sometimes, and this may sound like sour grapes but really isn’t, I wonder how much fun they (owners or charterers) have compared to us. They share the same anchorages as us (as I type, we have the fabulous Talitha owned by the Getty family anchored a stone’s throw away); they drink the same rum punches as us whilst watching the same idyllic sunsets; they swim in the same crystal clear warm water goggling at the same fish. Granted, we don’t have any Michelin star quality chefs on board (although the DS comes close, and my chilli con carne is near legendary), and they don’t have to get the Marigolds on and sort the problem out themselves when the loo gets clogged. But we can (and have on many occasion) get into places that are inaccessible to Super Yachts. And very few venture into the high latitudes where most of our greatest adventures have taken place.
So, in conclusion, IMHO, Mina2 remains the best yacht in the world – bar none.