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January February 2019 Marina World

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  • Marinas
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  • Superyacht
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SUPERYACHT FACILITIES A boat that glitters is not gold by Oscar Siches The well known saying ‘all that glitters is not gold’ dates back, at least, to the 16 th century and William Shakespeare’s version ‘all that glisters is not gold’ is a memorable line in “The Merchant of Venice”. Coincidentally, Venice was home to the first superyacht, the ‘Bucintoro’ (Bucentaur in English). She was 35m (117ft) long, had 168 rowers and capacity for 90 seated guests, and was exclusively used by the Doge to greet ambassadors and high ranking personalities of the times. And every year, aboard ‘Bucintoro’, the Doge celebrated the union of Venice with the sea by throwing his previously blessed ring into the waters of the Adriatic. Back to present times. Superyachts (for the purpose of this article, longer than 40m/460ft) are associated with luxury and money, and often dreamed about and described as the perfect marina guest. This statement can be a double-edged sword. Big yachts pay big berthing money, consume large amounts of electricity and generate many parallel lines of income by bunkering, transportation and other concierge services, but how long does the marina benefit from such bonanza, and what are the minimum requirements for attracting big yachts? Does the result justify the efforts? Not always. Size To have a berth of 50m x 10m (164ft x 33ft) alongside is not the same as having 13 berths of 10m x 3.5m (33ft x 11ft). The surface area occupied is the same but the space needed for manoeuvring a big yacht is a lot larger. Just imagine those 10m boats berthed stern-to. They need a minimum of 1.5 and ideally 1.75 times their own length of free water in front of them to manoeuvre (fairway). For the row of 13 berths the total surface area needed will be 50m x 17.5m = 875 m² (9,500 ft²). If we have a 50m yacht, at some stage we must leave a circular area of 75m (246ft) diameter free for manoeuvring, which is 4,415m² (47,500ft²). Uups! Yes, the need for surface area increases exponentially when yachts become longer. Occupation If you manage to secure a superyacht on a full year contract, the use of space will be as planned, but if you do not achieve the forecasted occupation rate, that waste of space will be a heavy load on the marina financial results. Bear in mind that if the surface is occupied by multiple smaller boats, loosing a few of them will not generate a significant loss, and the possibilities of filling those berths up again are high. It does not matter how you look at it, the space needed to berth a superyacht is always a lot bigger than for berthing smaller yachts, even if the sum of the occupied water surface area is the same as the area of the large yacht. If the big yachts winterise in the marina, most of them will certainly go away to the boatyard for antifouling, hull inspection and general maintenance and that will last two months, between October and April. Will the captain/ manager ask for those months to be refunded? Probably. Hardly any big yacht arrives for winterising after the beginning of autumn so the chance of new occupation for winter works is zero. Ashore Wide piers and parking space next to the superyacht are mandatory elements for success. But providing parking for the captain, chef, steward and guests who need/want to park next to the boat gangway is the easy part. If yachts over 500GT request ISPS treatment, a series of measures (like enclosing the pier area around the yacht and providing access control) will have to be implemented. Traffic The presence of a superyacht will mean visits from the agent, victuals suppliers, pump-out trucks (pump-out installations in marinas can usually serve boats up to 40-45m [131-148ft] only, and commercial registered yachts need official discharge certificates from the designated pump-out companies), bunkering (large yachts do not fit in normal marina fuel stations, and fuel flow is slow) and used oil discharge (MARPOL rule). Piers should be wide Upgrading a marina to offer superyacht berthing can be a major undertaking. - January/February 2019 25

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