Tatler - The world's best superyacht charters
August 2014

Let's face it, you'll probably never own a superyacht - but that doesn't mean you can't pretend for a week or two. Michelle Jana Chan on the beautiful boats that are available for hire. Now get out of my way, Roman...

Best for... old-school glamour

Elena has big-time heritage, and she's a looker too, with eight billowing sails and a mainmast reaching up to 47m. Built using the original drawings of revolutionary naval architect Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, this 55m racing schooner is a replica of a 1911 boat that participated in the 1928 King's Cup transatlantic race.

The cabins: New England chic, with plenty of mahogany panelling. There's an owner's stateroom and four more cabins, each named after a Herreshoff schooner.
The toys: Two tenders, including a gorgeous Wally, plus kayaks, and kitesurf/waterski/fishing gear.
Ideal shipmate: George Clooney. In shorts.
Set sail for: Amalfi.

The most famous of old-school yachts (see page tkt), Christina O oozes Fifties Hollywood glamour. Former owner Aristotle Onassis wined and dined EVERYONE on her decks: Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Liz Taylor, Jackie Kennedy (who soon became Jackie O...). She's only improved with age, and along with vast staterooms has a Six Senses spa and a beautiful mosaic-tiled pool that transforms into a dancefloor for nighttime frolics. And the bar stools are said to be upholstered with sperm-whale foreskin - which is just the thing to drop into a conversational lull.

The cabins: More than most: 17 doubles in total. The Onassis Suite has a library, a fireplace and a Renoir, naturellement.
The toys: Two classic wooden launches, as well as Zodiacs, an inflatable swim platform and sea toys.
Ideal shipmate: Sophia Loren.
Set sail for: The Greek Islands.

Built in 1930, this is the oldest J-Class yacht racing today - which gives you automatic bragging rights among yachties. The exterior fittings glint with polished copper and below deck glows with bird's-eye maple. A ship to make you look like a pro (even if you're just hanging around, staring vacantly at the hullaballoo).

The cabins: Four, all super-traditional. The wood-panelled master suite has a writing desk for jotting down your seafaring memoirs.
The toys: A Novurania tender, Zodiac and waterski gear.
Ideal shipmate: Ben Ainslie.
Set sail for: Sardinia.

Best for... a proper party

One of the largest yachts on the market, with a split-level aft deck and an infinity pool, which converts at the flick of a switch into a helipad or dancefloor. Best gadget ever? Yes! And it gets better - the main salon has a retractable glass wall so you can split it into a sophisticated piano lounge on one side and party-hard nightclub on the other. Plus there's a pantry on each deck for late-night munchies. The captain was a Royal Marine, which is the kind of boasty detail we like.

The cabins: Six. The master suite spans the upper deck, and has a terrace and hot tub.
The toys: Four tenders and an array of sea toys.
Ideal shipmate: Kim Kardashian's bottom.
Set sail for: Ibiza.

The expansive decks on this 54m single-mast beauty are big enough to park a bus on. Or, indeed, host a chilled-out party under the stars - the aft can be converted into a Bedouin tent with a large retractable screen for alfresco movies. There are DJ decks to spin tunes, plus sexy art deco interiors crammed with mahogany and leather. But best of all is the captain - who's competed in the America's Cup. Swoon.

The cabins: Five in total. The owner's suite stretches over two decks and has a marble bathroom.
The toys: Jet-drive tender, Laser dinghy, kitesurf gear (and instructor on board) and sea toys galore.
Ideal shipmate: Kate Moss.
Set sail for: Formentera.

The perfect yacht to park in St Tropez while you shake a leg at Byblos. A classic 72m show-off with a jaw-dropping infinity pool and underwater viewing window (to watch the swimmers swimming). The lounge is vast and double-storeyed, with a wraparound terrace from which to overlook the goings-on below, and on the bridge deck there's a large hot tub with an actual swim-up bar - accessible by a glass elevator, of course. Other extras include a hammam, treatment rooms and gym (the glass can be retracted for open-air workouts).

The cabins: The best one has a study and private balcony; there are five additional doubles.
The toys: An Aquaglide pool, custom slide and sea toys.
Ideal shipmate: P. Diddy.
Set sail for: St Tropez.

Best for... getting noticed

Properly attention-seeking, with a fabulous sundeck perfect for waving at the paps. There's alfresco dining on three decks, plus four bars and a mosaic-tiled pool with resistance jets. Interiors are dark oak, mirrored surfaces, white onyx and oodles of Lalique crystal and silver-leaf sculptures.

The cabins: A master, four doubles and two twins.
The toys: Classic mahogany speedboat and divesupport RIB; a Tee It golf machine with balls made of fish food (sweet); plus an inflatable slide.
Ideal shipmate: Liz Hurley.
Set sail for: Turkbuku, Turkey.

Wally B is the one to choose if you want to be taken seriously. She's all about top-notch sailing performance, but that's not to say she's not pretty, too - in fact, she's a stunner, with sinuous lines, spacious sunken decks and a central cockpit where you can dine under the stars. And the new captain knows his stuff.

The cabins: Three snug doubles.
The toys: A Zodiac tender and waterski gear.
Ideal shipmate: Uma Thurman, in a yellow jumpsuit.
Set sail for: BVI.

The polished gold exterior - yes, it's GOLD - is just the thing for attracting long lenses. If you do decide that you want a bit of privacy, you can raise the surrounding side walls to block out prying eyes - but where would be the fun in that? This yacht has the ultimate party set-up: a huge lap pool, an infinity jacuzzi, a BBQ and an outdoor cinema. Inside are double-height ceilings and a baby grand to sprawl on like Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys.

The cabins: There's a a full-beam master suite, two additional doubles and two twins.
The toys: Jet-ski training facilities, plus dive gear and sea toys.
Ideal shipmate: Daniel Craig, in those shorts.
Set sail for: St Barth's.

Best for... not getting noticed

Oh, how we love Vertigo. Vast (67m), sleek, ultra-modern - all brushed oak and chrome and Bond-villain-cool interiors - this sailing yacht looks understated but HOT. There are three platforms for easy-peasy sea access and a Jacuzzi big enough to host a world-dominating board meeting, plus a wet bar and an outdoor cinema. And - the ultimate geek tool - a Google Earth interface displays the yacht's exact location on screens throughout.

The cabins: Five, including a master suite with private access to a swim platform.
The toys: There are sailing and kite-surf instructors on board. Plus a limousine tender, scuba equipment, mountain bikes and an inflatable pool and slide. Ideal shipmate Dr No.
Set sail for: Sicily.

Ignore the name - Charisma is discreet, hush-hush, quiet as a mouse (almost). She's 47m, but with BIG decks, so you can challenge the crew to a game of football, if you so wish. But you probably won't - you're more of a chess man. Between games, you may want to sneak off to the private study with satellite connections, or retreat to the gym before slipping into the jacuzzi. The captain, FYI, is a rescue diver, which is just the right side of SAS cool.

The cabins: Six, decked out Hamptons-style, with cream linen and acres of bright-white wood.
The toys: Two RIB tenders and sea toys.
Ideal shipmate: Bill Gates.
Set sail for: Corsica.

She's elegant, this one - classic, tasteful. And, since she's 60m, you've lots of space to loll around, which is exactly what you'll want to do after your first meal. Because, despite her stonking sundecks, pool, and a sky lounge that transforms into a full-on surround sound cinema, Slipstream is all about one thing: the food. The chef, Geoff Fisher, trained at Le Gavroche and loves nothing more than to make fresh chocolates or churn up a batch of ice cream.

The cabins: Seven. The full-width master cabin has a panoramic lounge and walk-in wardrobes, and there's a VIP suite with a private teak terrace.
The toys: An inflatable waterborne obstacle course and a Laser dinghy. There's also a sailing instructor on board.
Ideal shipmate: Nigella.
Set sail for: Montenegro.

Best for... taking the kids

This one will go anywhere. There's an outdoor cinema on the sundeck if you're in the balmy tropics and an ice-class hull for Arctic exploration (warm up in the among them are pilots, photographers, fishermen, beauty therapists and bartenders extraordinaire.

The cabins: Traditional and cosy, with pretty hand-painted murals. The main cabin occupies its own deck and there are two additional doubles and three twins.
The toys: A sailing-yacht training centre with two instructors. There's on-the-spot surfing behind the Malibu tender, plus a 36ft open chase boat, dive gear and towables.
Ideal shipmates: The McCartney tribe.
Set sail for: Anywhere, remember?

Holy moly, what a ship. A statement yacht with sci-fi design and swift cruising credentials, as well as all the gear for sprogs. Movies are projected onto one of the mast's lower sails, a waterslide drops into an inflatable pool and there are about a million toys, including Segways, Seabobs and a banana boat. The chef has worked for Gordon Ramsay and whizzes up a mean spag bol for fussy eaters.

The cabins: Five cabins, plus the vast master suite, which has its own gym.
The toys: Two RIBs, a Jet tender, two windsurfers dive gear and kid-friendly sea toys.
Ideal shipmates: The Incredibles.
Set sail for: Santorini.

Hit the high seas on this 50m adventurer, which blends Indonesian boat-building traditions with superyacht tweaks. Your kids will think they're on a pirate ship - there are billowing sails and ladders and vast teak decks and a plank. Not really - there's no plank. But there is an underwater lighting system that attracts marine life, and the boat manager, Courtney Robba, is a former sailing champion and can organise any sea or land adventure you might dream up. Trek through jungles, go treasure hunting on deserted beaches or learn the art of underwater photography. And spend a lot of time yelling, 'Ooh, arrr me hearties!' at the top of your lungs.

The cabins: The full-width master cabin has a private deck with a day bed. There are six additional cabins, all mellow teak and soothing Indonesian art.
The toys: Three RIBs, diving gear and sea toys.
Ideal shipmate: Captain Jack Sparrow.
Set sail for: Komodo.

Best for... a full-blown adventure

NAIA (ex Pegaso)
A former research vessel, this 74m yacht is all about round-the-world (and underwater) exploring - in very modern, very slick surroundings. It's the ultimate live-aboard, with an army of dive instructors and all the technical gear, from compressors to a Nitrox TriMix system. Not feeling the call of the deep? Then there's a helipad, an eight-person Jacuzzi, a panoramic gym and a cinema.

The cabins: Accessible by private elevator, the master suite spans the penthouse deck. There are five additional doubles, plus the former research lab has been converted into two more cabins.
The toys: A sailing-yacht training centre with five instructors, an array of tenders, a water trampoline and a waterslide.
Ideal shipmate: Jean-Michel Cousteau.
Set sail for: The Bahamas.

The clever captain of The Atmosphere - which is based in the seas around the southern Andes - knows the best spots for fly fishing and sea kayaking and is a brilliant heli-skier, too. Phew. We might need a dip in the hot tub after that. Which is lucky as there's a choice of three, as well as a huge spa with sauna and thalasso tub. Favourite feature: the whale-watching platform - with rugged lecturers to identify your humpback from your Southern right.

The cabins: 14 - Gaucho-style, with sheepskins and wool ponchos.
The toys: Two helicopters, a Zodiac RIB, 20 kayaks, 36 fishing skiffs, five Jet boats and all the heliskiing gear.
Ideal shipmate: Bear Grylls.
Set sail for: Chilean Patagonia.

This 45m expedition vessel is unique. Not for the HD video wall that is three decks tall. Not for the cutting-edge design that lets it explore just about any stretch of water in the world. Not even for the retractable stairway to the master cabin, which allows you to shut out the world - zip! - at the touch of a button. No, she's unique because of the wafer-thin yet indestructible granite decks. Yes - you can actually wear shoes on deck! Spend the morning kayaking, then slip on your Manolos for lunch.

The cabins: Five, all modern, neutral and hi-tech.
The toys: A custom-built tender with a staggering 200 nautical mile range (it's incredibly stable, so you can fish, dive, snorkel, surf, ski - whatever you like) an Explorer RIB, dive gear and all the sea toys.
Ideal shipmates: The Branson clan.
Set sail for: The South Pacific.

Michelle Jana Chan travelled with DialAFlight (www.dialaflight.com).