Tatler - The world's best yacht charters
February 2015

Big or small (ish), party perfect or built for business, discreet, romantic, fast or just plain gorgeous -- Michelle Jana Chan lines up one fantastic voyage.


The lowdown This 43m gentlemen’s cruiser manages to pull off a stately feel that’s also ever so French. Following a complete overhaul of the navigational system, she manoeuvres easy as pie into the smallest harbours. The yacht has two rotating captains; both are keen fishermen and are on hand to help you haul in a catch.
USP One of the owners has a vineyard, so there’s a vast cellar on board and the chief steward will happily conduct wine tastings for guests.
Where to anchor St Barths (almost more French than France), and then down to Los Roques, Venezuela, for some of the world’s best bonefishing.

The lowdown At just over 45m, this statement yacht has a shallow hull, so she can fit perfectly into the Med’s petit ports and snug anchorages, including stern-to in St Tropez (the holy grail, if that’s your thing). Her clever deck layout alllows for maximum privacy as the hordes trudge past, yet guests can get a birds-eye view of all the quayside action from the sundeck’s jacuzzi. The suave chef hails from south-west France, and brings aboard wine and cognac from his own vineyard. There’s also a 12m Van Dutch chase boat with a dedicated captain -- for nipping over to Pampelonne to swim.
USP The multitalented chef can cook Kosher food.
Where to anchor St Tropez -- because she fits, and outshines all other yachts there.


The lowdown Clever Ethereal is able to sneak out of port -- turning off her motors and working silently on electric battery -- to leave the snooping crowds behind. But there’s more: the photochromatic windows can be be set to darken automatically in bright light or at the flick of a switch. In the self-contained master suite there is an office, a lounge, a walk-in wardrobe, a sauna and private access to a separate exterior cockpit -- so you can avoid all other guests and crew. And then come sundown, there are the sunken decks of the Bedouin tent to hide away in.
USP The hydraulically operated crow’s nest for shooting up to spot the paps before they spot you. The hunter becomes the hunted...
Where to anchor Micronesia, because it doesn’t get more remote than that.

Red Dragon
The lowdown Designed to be supremely self-sufficient, this 51.7m sloop can travel for long periods at sea without having to refuel or fill up her water tanks -- making her the ideal avoid-land charter. She’ll suit those keen on diving and fishing; the chef can turn even the tiniest tiddler into sushi. The 63m mast enables speeds of more than 15 knots -- which guests can witness from the elevated flybridge fitted with sunbeds; there’s also a large swim platform and sunken cockpit fitted with a massive movie screen.
USP The crew can instruct guests in saltwater fly-fishing (reel in yellowfin tuna, wahoo and sailfish for that sushi) and know their routes so well that, apparently, whales appear on cue.
Where to anchor One of the most beautiful anchorages in the world, Africa Banks, about 100 miles west of the Seychelles. The captain knows it better than anyone, so you’d be a fool not to take full advantage.
Good to know The crew are adept at navigating the toughest seas to reach the remotest spots, and have all sorts of tales of facing off pirates and cyclones.


Cheeky Tiger
The lowdown She ain’t enormous -- 34m -- but that’s what helps her fly at a top speed of 34 knots. Based in Antibes, she can whizz over to Sardinia in the time it takes you to eat a leisurely lunch and have a sun-soaked, sea-spritzed afternoon nap (four hours), which means the western Med is open season. And if the weather turns, you can hide away in your cabin with its leather, linen, mink and chinchilla interiors, Vivienne Westwood accessories and original artwork by Jean Paul van Lith.
USP The 8.6m chase boat travels at a whiplashing 50 knots.
Where to anchor Portofino -- because the Italians do fast best.
Good to know The captain played with the Commitments and if you ask nicely, he’ll whip out his electric piano (not a euphemism).

The lowdown Aurelia is the closest you’ll get to an F1 speed demon on water: a 37m Heesen with Gulf racing colours (sounds a bit much, looks COOL) that reaches 30 knots thanks to a super-slick hull and aluminium superstructure. And those stripes, probably. Named after the first Gran Turismo -- the Lancia Aurelia GT -- she’s sports-car fabulous throughout: Linley Aston Martin chairs and Bentley-inspired diamond-leather ceiling in the main saloon; cabins with a tyre tread-patterned carpet; and the full-width master suite has a headboard echoing Jaguar sports-car seats. Grrrr. Toys include a water slide and a zippy 10m tender in matching racing colours, which can get up to 48 knots.
USP The 87 square-metre sun deck is nearly half the yacht’s length and gyro-stabilisers mean you won’t roll off your lounger, even when zipping along at speed.
Where to anchor Dubai is a pretty good fit for this sporty/flashy number.

Apache II
The lowdown This ultra-light 44m yacht, which can reach speeds of 30 knots, evolved from the original twice-world champ Apache offshore powerboats. The interior, with balconies in the main saloon and a dining area that has extendable decks, is pared-back futuristic. The master suite has sly skylights that can switch instantly from clear to smoky -- great for illicit trysts -- and in all the cabins there are TVs that turn into mirrors when not in use. Boutique-cool touches include a cosy home cinema and there’s a whacking great 18m sun deck to sprawl on. Hold on to your hats though, won’t you?
USP A floating staircase leads from the sun deck to the swimming platform.
Where to anchor Monaco -- at this speed, the best of the Cote d’Azur is a skip away.


The lowdown You might just get lost on TV. At 78m, she has give -- FIVE -- decks, all of them walkaround, and a 14m beam (which means width, so now you know). Actually could even get lost in the master suite, which stretches over an entire deck (full-BEAM, see?). There are another eight cabins and space for 25 crew. Alberto Pinto’s design includes a circular, glass-ceilinged dining conservatory, a wellness centre and a saloon that transforms into a cinema. There are two tenders: a Venetian limousine with leather interior and air-con, and a 10m 70-knot Cougar for swift transfers (and there’s a helipad, too).
USP The sun deck has a whopping 16-person jacuzzi, a swimming jet-pool and a double-sided swim-up bar.
Where to anchor Pampelonne, St Tropez, for wave-at-the-crowds showing off.

Moonlight II
The lowdown She’s got stamina, this one. With a range of 7,000-plus nautical miles, she can cross the Atlantic, navigate the Panama Canal and reach the Pacific, all in one go. At 85m, Moonlight II is something of a megalopolis -- there’s room for 36 pals and 34 crew -- and promises to seat guests for dinner all together, either inside or out. The master suite has a private deck, a study, a double-sized jacuzzi (essential, obvs) and a cabin for personal staff. All cabins have handmade carpets, silk curtains, walk-in wardrobes and marble bathrooms. The lower-deck spa (with separate areas for men and women) is kitted out with a sauna, steam room, plunge pool and jacuzzi, plus two fully-trained therapists. And there’s a 500-strong cellar of vintage wine.
USP A creche with a climbing frame for your small fry and a nurse on call 24 hours a day.
Where to anchor Baja, California -- just because you can go there from the Med in one go.
Good to know Beauty therapist Tetyana Kokotovych is the ‘queen of the scrub’, a pro at extreme exfoliation.

The lowdown We’re not saying size is everything, but when we hear 90m, we sit up a bit straighter. Athena is one of the largest privately owned sailing yachts out there: vast deck spaces; 2,500 square-metres of sail; a huge choice of toys, including two 9m RIBs, dinghies, kayaks and four remote-controlled sailboats for a post-lunch mini-regatta. And the crew! Rory, the senior deckhand, will happily belt out a ballad (he auditioned for Westlife); second engineer Cliff croons Disney tunes; deckhand Daniel says he’s hot on power tools. WOOF.
USP An inflatable water slide -- not a common sight on a sailing yacht.
Where to anchor Alaska, for whale-watching up the hydraulically-operated crow’s nest.


The lowdown Time to live out your 007 fantasies. This 56m gulet has superstar status after its role in Skyfall. Recline alluringly on vast sunbeds on the foredeck, or sprawl suggestively on the superking lounger on the aft, beneath billowing sails. Interiors are all lustrous mahogany with large windows and sultry lighting.
USP There’s a white grand piano, which we strongly suggest you lie on in a cocktail dress, looking mysterious.
Where to anchor Bodrum, where the crew know all the secret spots.Good to know Crushingly, the steamy Skyfall shower scene was actually filmed in the Four Seasons at Canary Wharf.

The lowdown If you’re in that sickening stage of a relationship where you can’t keep your hands to yourself, choose Oasis. She’s got bags of space at nearly 60m, but you need never leave the master suite, which has dressing rooms (plural), its own lounge and a private office (probably best if you switch off your phone, though) and is decked out in linen, cashmere and silk. If you’re desperate to escape a deux, there’s a two-person kayak with underwater blades as well as paddles to zip you to the most remote shores. Evenings are romance a go-go on the sun deck, when it’s transformed into an open-air cinema.
USP The crew can conjure up a private Italian trattoria on the top deck complete with lawn, trellis, local market, Sicilian dining and opera singing.
Where to anchor Venice: romance on a stick.
Good to know Talented deckhand Kyle can strum romantic tunes on his guitar and can also edit together a video of your (above-deck) antics.

Perla del Mare
The lowdown At a glance, this 43m Turkish gulet may look like any other, but dig a little deeper (actually, just step below deck) and you’ll see she’s a master of seduction, with sexy contemporary interiors, mood lighting and starlight constellation built above the beds of the six cabins. Take the whole boat for you and your other half, and, um, ‘sleep’ in a different one each night. She’s ever so discreet too: with many sailing yachts, crew all too easily turn on the engines, but these guys know the waters and winds along the Turkish coast so well that they can sail into remote bays on barely a whisper.
USP A unique combo of traditional seafaring and slick contemporary design.
Where to anchor Istanbul, because it’s Turkish but oh-so-cosmopolitan too.


Salperton IV
The lowdown If you’re going for gold, charter this baby. She’s a high-performance 45m alloy ketch with an aluminium hull and has won classes at the world’s top regattas (including the Porto Cervo Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, St Barth’s Bucket and Palma Superyacht Cup). On board are four cabins with contemporary interiors (oak, granite, bronze and leather), but get up and get out: this one is all about feeling the wind in your hair.
USP One of the finest competitive sailing yachts of this size, Salperton IV also manages to squeeze a Jacuzzi on deck -- the perfect spot to celebrate a win.
Where to anchor Porto Cervo, Sardinia, where everyone knows her, since she’s won three firsts in the Loro Piana Regatta.

The lowdown A 52m show-off with cool racing lines, a sleek flybridge, 2,500 square-metres of sail and buckets of racing pedigree. And, luckily for us, the current owner has opted for ‘performance sailing’, which means it’s as much about parties as trophies. Fun stuff includes Lasers, kayaks, paddleboards, Seabobs and kite-surfing and scuba gear. There’s also Ciclotte gym equipment to work off all that food -- the chef (who has just cooked for demanding divas such as Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey) is Italian-American, so obviously he makes a mean marinara, but he can also do fusion, French, nouvelle cuisine…
USP Prana strikes the right balance: she’s good enough to win but doesn’t take herself too seriously.
Where to anchor Porto Montenegro, to kick up your heels.

State of Grace
The lowdown Yachties are getting terribly excited about this 39m number. She is the first in a series of new high-performance yachts series designed by Perini Navi naval architects and New Zealand designer Ron Holland. Things to get all hot and bothered about include a 50m mast, a carbon-fibre furling boom, and sails that come in at just under 1,200 square-metres. If you’re the competitive type, the crew know how to push her to win. Or you can just relax a little and bring the offspring -- the captain welcomes sprogs who are keen to learn how to sail.
USP The highly skilled crew can, very impressively, serve cocktails and canapes in a 20-degree lean.
Where to anchor Antigua, for the Round the Island Race that takes place in April.


Belle Aimee
The lowdown A 52m yacht with five cabins and a family-friendly crew who can rustle up themed events, treasure hunts, water-pistol fights, beach rugby and piggyback races. There’s an armada of sea toys with kit for every size/age, as well as a Fifties jukebox and table football. After dark, a projector screen is whipped up on the sun deck for movies or a round of karaoke. And if you’re keen on the children learning while you lounge, the crew can offer talks on the flora, fauna and anthropology of the region; there’s even a marine lab on board. While they’re swotting up, you can slope off to the aromatherapist or the skincare therapist.
USP The crew will magic up a movie of the family’s time onboard.
Where to anchor The South Pacific. Get the captain to switch off the wi-fi.

Lady Britt
The lowdown This 63m Feadship can comfortably take 12 guests (no excuse to leave behind the in-laws). The kids will adore everything about her: the new giant waterside; the 40-flavour ice-cream selection from the Michelin-starred chef who trained with Raymond Blanc; the 1,000-strong film library that goes with both indoor and outdoor cinemas. While they’re racing about having a grand old time, you can snooze on the double-aspect sun deck divided by an air-conditioned gym -- for those more energetic moments -- or slink away to the Finnish sauna and spa with its qualified Elemis beautician.
USP The Aquaglide toys, including a floating jungle gym.
Where to anchor Sicily, because the Italians love bambini.


Force Blue
The lowdown Adore an adventure but don’t want to mess up your hair too much? Opt for this rufty-tufty Danish-built explorer, originally a fishing boat. Her iron construction is solid as a rock (no need for a stabiliser tank), and her range more than 11,000 nautical miles at 10 knots allows for long passages. So she’s serious as anything, but also has a fun side: one deck is a cinema; another can be converted into a disco. There’s also a Technogym, a spa with hammam, sauna, hydro-massage and a proper therapist and toys galore. Most fun of all? The food, courtesy of the Cipriani-trained chef.
USP The on-board masseuse offers full-on and very impressive Henri Chenot treatments.
Where to anchor Svalbard -- her spiritual home.

The lowdown She’s a looker, this one: all 50m of polished aluminium. But the top sell is that she has a very shallow draught, so she can travel far and wide without having to pull into port. The extras are slightly insane, including a hovercraft and an amphibious ‘jeep’ -- yes, a car that turns into a boat. There’s also a spa with 55 water jets, in case the usual mere dozen just don’t cut it. While the toys are bling, the interiors are blessedly understated, grey-stained, brushed-oak panelling and teak floors.
USP Jaw-droppingly badass -- but with excellent range and stability and even a bit of green cred.
Where to anchor French Polynesia, just the place to use the amphibious jeep to zip between -- and across -- islands.
Good to know The Indonesian chef’s speciality is Japanese cuisine. Landed a tuna? Hand it straight over, chop-chop.


Ocean Paradise
The lowdown A 55m classic motor yacht, with leather-panelled walls, silk rugs, marble bathrooms and oversized portholes. The party begins at the nifty transom door, which opens to reveal a 35 square-metre swimming platform where guests can play music directly from their iPod, wirelessly. Everyone can then cha-cha their way up to the sun deck with its dancefloor, DJ console, lights, laser, sound system and jacuzzi -- and the crew’s second engineer is said to be a mean house-music mixer. End the night chilling out in the Sky Lounge with its backlit onyx bar.
USP We love the retro arcade-games table in the Sky Lounge; you don’t even need a 20p piece to play Space Invaders.
Where to anchor Ibiza -- so you can continue the good times onshore.Good to know If the party cranks up, the captain says he knows how to find a remote bay where you can drop anchor away from pesky neighbouring yachts.

The lowdown With 5m vaulted ceilings in the atrium of the main saloon and a gallery at the upper-deck level, this 75m yacht is the perfect place to throw a party for 75 of your nearest and dearest. Ferry them in on the Vikal Limousine covered tender, the Vikal Explorer glass-bottom tender, or by helicopter. Expansive deck spaces are home to a a big pool, a double-storey open ‘beach club’, a spa and a cinema -- and if things get a bit out of hand, there is also a doctor’s cabin and a medical room.
USP The tropical garden on the upper deck comes complete with a real grass lawn dotted wiht palm trees.
Where to anchor Mykonos, to live it up on Greece’s party isle.

Sea Force One
The lowdown You want to party, but not all the time. This shiny black and grey 53m vessel has all you need, including accommodation for 10 but room for 80 to pop in for an in-port shindig. The wild interiors include way-out artworks like a marine-themed papier-mâché headrest created by maestros of the Viareggio Carnival, and Sacha, a Seventies steel parrot sculpture by Paul Smith. There are chillout areas across three decks, from the beach club to the sky lounge, plus a DJ console, a teppanyaki grill and a jacuzzi with a waterfall.
USP Crazy-cool light and sound installations by artist Fabrizo Plessi.
Where to anchor Forte dei Marmi, for a Tuscan carnival extravaganza.


The lowdown For proper business pedigree, you can do no better than the 50m Highlander, built for Malcolm Forbes (he of Forbes magazine) nearly 30 years ago. Take it from the man himself: “On a yacht like this you can establish the kind of rapport you don’t achieve talking across a desk.” So there you go. She has seven staterooms -- sleek and modern, with pop art on the walls -- and her 4,000-mile range means she can travel to remote waters for the most hush-hush deals.
USP Her well-known Feadship-built profile gets instant cred from Wall Street types.
Where to anchor Newport, Rhode Island, the place to summer in New England but close enough to Manhattan to chopper in the bigwigs.
Good to know The previous visitors is high-octagne: Liz Taylor, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Lady Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and the Prince of Wales.

The lowdown What we love about this 56m sailing yacht is that, unusually, she has near-equal cabin sizes, which avoids the tricky willy-waving your-cabin-is-bigger-than-mine politics. Very handy if you’re about to close a deal. The dining salon can become a boardroom with a sliding glass door for privacy, and there are video-conferencing facilities and an onboard IT engineer who can tackle any technical hitch quick as a flash. If the gathering is more Google than Goldman, the foredeck can be transformed with Bedouin tent full of cushions, pouffes and sunloungers, and the sweeping sofa in the saloon turns into a bar.
USP An impressive Foster + Partners design.
Where to anchor Cannes: she’s well known here and provides a superb place to pitch your next film.


The lowdown Oh, how we love Silolona! She’s utterly romantic, but also a super-trooper diving pro. First the romance: a traditional, tropical hardwood 50m phinisi (the ships that used to plough the Spice Route), vast dark sails billowing above, sultry cabins bedecked with tribal art. And the rest: room for 10 guests and a crew of 16 who can organise beach picnics or nature walks to spot Komodo dragons, plus local dive guides who know just where to go.
USP In between dives, guests can enjoy bespoke Balinese spa treatments.
Where to anchor Raja Ampat, for the best manta-ray diving in the world.Good to know If you board first, stash your bag in the Bali Suite.

Ocean Adventurer II
The lowdown One of East Africa’s few liveaboards, this French-built 25m power expedition catamaran can take up to 12 guests. Travelling at 21 knots, she’s a dab hand at covering plenty of ground, which means it’s no problem zipping over to remote dive sites off the coasts of Tanzania and Mozambique (sites which are basically inaccessible without a yacht -- you won’t see another soul).
USP She’s a pioneer in this patch of the planet.
Where to anchor Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique -- because nobody else does.
Good to know Don’t miss diving Neptune’s Arm, a coral garden spilling over a 3,000ft cliff. Wooo-eeee!

Soneva in Aqua
The lowdown This just-launched 23m marvel is anchored at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, and doesn the whole green-at-sea thing better than most: fuel-efficient engines and generators and sustainable materials for the interiors (leather, maple wood, organic cottons). There are just two suites but a whole lot of loveliness: an elevated sun/dining deck and a lower-level bar with daybeds, lounge seating and a jacuzzi. There’s a Six Senses Spa therapist; the chef rustles up Maldivian specialties; the butler can arrange all manner of watersports, as well as the diving; and the captain and first mate are diving pros who know exactly where to find that cruising hammerhead. Go for night dives, or sleep out on the top deck under the stars.
USP In the master suite, the sunken glass bathtub allows you to stare down at the fishes while you gently soak.
Where to anchor Its home, Baa Atoll in the Maldives.