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Luxury Yacht Charters in St. Barts

St. Barts is an island of $20,000-a-night villas and head-turning megayachts.

August 26, 2015
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Four Wishes
She takes 10 to 12 guests at a weekly base rate of $170,000, with Ocean Independence. Four Wishes, a 144-foot Palmer Johnson, has earned top marks from charter clients for quite a few years. She now offers an all-new interior, installed by her new owner, who kept many of the same, popular charter crew.
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Seven Sins
Her weekly base rate is $125,000 for 10 guests, through Yachting Partners International. When Heesen built Seven Sins in 2005, she was 135 feet length overall. She is now 143 feet after an extension of her bow — versus the more common stern extension. The redesign includes updated crew quarters.
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Alaska of Georgetown
Part of the Fraser Yachts Worldwide charter fleet, her weekly base rate is about $120,000. The 144-foot Alaska of Georgetown, built in 2004 by Shipworks Brisbane, entered the charter fleet in late July following an interior and technical refit. She accommodates nine guests.
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Malahne
Edmiston and Co. markets her for nine guests at a weekly base rate of about $148,000. Camper & Nicholsons built the 165-foot Malahne in 1937, and Pendennis just completed her 30-month restoration. She has quite a history, once being used by a producer of Lawrence of Arabia.
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Unbridled
She accommodates eight guests at a weekly base rate of $60,000, through Northrop & Johnson. The owner of the 116-foot Crescent Unbridled invested more than $6 million in her refit, including a theater-quality entertainment system. For extra fun, she tows a 26-foot Chris-Craft.
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From the top deck of the 228-foot Verkerk Projects Sherakhan, I am once again reminded of how utterly and completely wrong Leonardo DiCaprio got the whole thing. The bow of a yacht or a ship is not the “King of the World” perch. Not even close. As we approach Gustavia Harbour at St. Barts, I am far better positioned, high above the bow, up on the top deck, my chin tilted toward the sun, my lungs breathing the rarest and purest of air. I can see it all, as if it’s mine alone.

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On St. Barts, 130,000 visitors arrive by water annually. By comparison, the island’s inns and villas host only 70,000 people. Publicity photo

All eyes ashore turn to me — actually, they turn to Sherakhan‘s massive hull, maneuvering for a place to drop the hook. Yacht-spotters watch, knowing the biggest boats often anchor out here. Skippers of custom-built Italian tenders keep a respectable distance while ­staring up in awe. I offer a casual wave to say hello, and they smile back because they feel … noticed. That, right there, is the kind of moment a Caribbean yacht charter makes possible for anyone — even me.

Inside Tip: “The success or failure of a charter is determined before you show up at the boat. It’s about communicating ahead of time about food, experiences, water toys — telling us everything that turns you on.” — Capt. Frank Ficken, 108-foot Alloy Marae

My 15 years of covering the global charter industry have included amazing winter moments in the Caribbean. There was the day I inched my bare toes to the forwardmost spot on the 114-foot ­Sunreef Che and then leaped into the cool waters off St. Barts’ Shell Beach.

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Or the night I danced along with a private steel-drum band on the aft deck of the 120-foot Benetti Kai at historic ­Nelson’s Dockyard on Antigua.

There was also a sunrise moment on the opposite side of Antigua, just nature and me, on the stand-up paddle board from the 142-foot Palmer Johnson Lady J in a calm harbor. Solitude at its finest.

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Visitors recognize Gustavia Harbour for its 17th-century forts and red roofs. The island is welcoming to megayachts, but there are no mega resorts. Publicity photo

One of the best sunsets was on the beach at Petit Bateau Island in the Tobago Cays. At a picnic table on the sand, I drenched my fire-broiled lobster in butter, listening to the rigging of the 75-foot Privilege Matau like wind chimes as she swung gently at anchor just offshore.

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It is the king of Caribbean destinations (Leo would fit in just fine). It’s where we charter guests can step off a superyacht, walk across the street and treat ourselves to Cartier and Hermès. Where we are met with Burgundy wines and Camembert cheeses of the finest heritage from the French homeland.

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The deep French influence on St. Barts carries over to meals ashore, where bakeries serve up baguettes and cafes offer selections of Brie and Camembert. Publicity photo

Me? I simply admire some of the world’s largest yachts in the harbor, which has become so well known for its New Year’s Eve parties that multimillionaires and billionaires send their yachts weeks ahead of Dec. 31 to squat in prime locations.

Inside Tip: “Everything you’ll need on a charter should fit in a carry-on bag. Leave the rest at home.” — Chris Patrick, Charter Broker, CKIM Group

“I’m nobody!” I shout, waving down to one of the tenders. A man on board grabs a zoom lens while his friends wave back.

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They can’t hear me, and it doesn’t matter. This is my moment in the sun.

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The joys of yachting. Publicity photo

Big-Time Party

The island of St. Barts is the high-end place for ringing in the new year. For this past New Year’s Eve on St. Barts, it was widely reported that Sean “P Diddy” Combs and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich held rival New Year’s Eve parties. Just some of the superyachts spotted in Gustavia Harbour on New Year’s Eve: the 533-foot Blohm+Voss Eclipse, the 266-foot Oceanco Alfa Nero and the 241-foot Nobiskrug Siren.

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