Secret Sardinia and Quiet Corsica – Sardinia is, of course, best known for the glamorous Costa Smeralda. But there is another side to Sardinia which, when combined with nearby Corsica, can make for a perfect Italian-French charter. Head for the less-traveled areas to the south of Porto Cervo on the eastern coast, or north to sample the Maddalena Islands. Off Corsica, anchor near Girolata, a tiny village inaccessible by road, and you may find yourself surrounded by dolphins. Don’t miss a visit to Ajaccio, birthplace of Napoleon, or a swim off the lovely Iles Sanguinaires.
The Other Riviera – The Costa Brava, Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol stretch along Spain’s Mediterranean, with new superyacht marinas already appearing in Barcelona and Tarragona. This attractive coastline remains relatively untouched. Granted, you can’t disco every night, but there are quiet anchorages, small friendly villages and spectacular scenery: pink villas, fields of flowers and fragrant herbs, cliffs worn into bizarre shapes and caves. Warm water and balmy weather are just the frosting.
The Undiscovered Greek Isles – Less popular than the islands nearer Athens, the Sporades are known as “the green islands. On Skiathos, an island of craftsmen, farmers and fishermen, pine forests meet the crystal clear waters and lively restaurants line the narrow streets. Skopelos is famous for plum trees, flowery courtyards and a Minoan history, while Peristera has white houses perched on hilltops and ruins of a castle.
Skyros is the largest of the Sporades, with natural harbors and an old Venetian castle. In Stene Vala on Alonissos (site of the Cave of the Cyclops), walk the winding streets and don’t miss the National Marine Park, home to seals, dolphins, whales and loggerhead turtles.
Italy’s Heel – Puglia (Apulia in English) is Italy’s bootheel and a well-kept secret. This 200-mile stretch of the Adriatic is a land of Greek and Roman ruins, fishing villages and some of the cleanest water in the Med. Apulia produces a tenth of all the wine consumed in Europe, its olive oil is superb and the seafood, ah… mama mia! Visit an enoteca (a local wine bar) to sample Primitivo ( a relative of zinfandel) or Negroamaro (a spicy red). In the ancient port of Otranto, you can browse shops along cobbled streets, and medieval Bari is a good base for northern explorations. Throughout, you’ll see the trulli, cone-shaped, whitewashed circular buildings that serve as homes. You’ll also find sanctuaries, since Puglia was the departure point for the Crusaders.
Turquoise Coast – Over the last few years, many large yachts steered away from the far eastern Mediterranean. Now, they are rediscovering Turkey’s coast with its surprising blend of ancient civilization, modern marinas, noisy nightlife and quiet villages. Here you’ll find pine forests, picturesque bays and Lycian ruins. Bodrum, Marmaris, Datca and Gocek are starting points to visit traditional eastern bazaars, to indulge yourself with a Turkish bath or simply relax and swim in the glorious turquoise sea.
A Modern Classic – The 104-footer Cassiopeia is a modern classic that charms and delights guests with her traditional looks and latest technology. Recently launched by Holland Jachtbouw and designed by American Bill Langan, Cassiopeia looks like an elegant and conservative lady, but she’s fast: Her powerful MTU diesels push her to 27 knots.The owner’s suite includes an office, a lounge area, a dressing room and bathroom, while the other two guest cabins are identical with twin beds. The main deck has a forward dining space with galley and lounge, and a full beam deckhouse saloon with large windows and a covered after deck. $42,000 to $56,000 a week.
A Yacht From the Golden Age – If you’ve ever wished you’d lived during the Golden Age of yachting, then the 254-foot Delphine is for you-and two dozen friends. She was built in 1921 for the Dodge family, owners of the largest American automaker. Rebuilt over the past five years, Delphine is totally unlike any other charter yacht and remains steam powered so there are no vibrations or fumes. Up to 28 guests can enjoy her swimming pool, massage bath, Turkish sauna, fitness room and onboard hairdresser. Joggers love the 10,000-square-foot sundeck, and everyone else can lounge in the wicker chairs on the promenade deck. The yacht has been upgraded with everything from satellite TV to wireless Internet. There’s even a Steinway and, on request, a pianist can be added to the crew of 24 to 30. $60,000 a day.
The Super Sailer – A powerful 177-foot ketch launched in 2004, Parisfal III may be the fastest Perini Navi built yet. But what’s the hurry to get anywhere when you can stay aboard and enjoy her plunge pool, sunning and entertainment areas, a Japanese Teppinyaki-style barbecue or take a plunge off the hydraulically lowered swimming platform? The Remi Tessier interior is striking with dark ebony, light sycamore, stainless steel and fine leather. The owner’s suite has its own saloon, which can be divided into a pair of double cabins, if needed, and all staterooms have en suite facilities. Wi-fi connections throughout include e-mail, GSM and Satcom. High-definition TV is available in all the cabins, backed by a massive 10,000-film DVD library. $215,000 to $239,000 a week.
Only Four Wishes? – Built by Palmer Johnson in 2004, Four Wishes and her crew of eight have received rave reviews from charterers, and Capt. Aaron Clark was chosen Charter Captain of the Year. This 144-foot yacht features five cabins with king-size berths, including a main deck master suite with private office, his/hers vanities and shower. Two of the cabins convert to twins, if needed, and all have independent satellite TV/DVD/CD. Well equipped for watersports, Four Wishes carries two WaveRunners, a parasail, four underwater scooters, water skis and bikes. For guests who miss the golf course, the yacht is equipped with golf clubs and a driving mat with floating golf balls (which the crew will kindly retrieve). There are also two Novurania tenders, a stern-drive 23-footer and a 14-foot outboard. $130,000 a week.
Fast As A Bond Boat – Launched in 1992, Moonraker had one purpose in life (aside from being a luxurious 116-footer): to be the fastest megayacht in the world. And that she was for owner John Staluppi with a speed record of 66.7 knots that was eventually broken by the King of Spain. Today, Moonraker remains luxurious, but not quite so fast. With the huge turbine engine removed (the space is now a tender garage), she still hits 35 knots and has four cabins, including an oversize master suite with office. Now she’s popular in the Mediterranean for sprinting between the many harbors and islands. $49,500 per week.