Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
Several centuries have gone by since Drake and the Sea Dogs sailed off to rule the seven seas but the emotion of a sea voyage, the playful waves and the smell of salt and freedom will remain forever.
It was at the turn of 19th century that steamboats started to paddle the water, revolutionizing sea transportation. England ruled a worldwide empire back then and spending several weeks aboard to see the jewels of the crown become a fashion among the elite. One hundred years later, when the crazy 20’s were wearing the Great War mourn out, mooring your boat in a lavish Mediterranean marina was essential to be someone –Daphne de Maurier catches perfectly this mood in The Progress of Julius.
Today, rum, is out of place. Pick up that $500 bottle of champagne that is cooling in the freezer! Marinas and yacht clubs are still a hobbie for the upper-class, who else could spend several millions in a high-tech boat?
But even at the top of big spenders and lavish refinement there are different levels. Today we’ll dig into the most expensive and exclusive luxury marinas and harbours to drop your anchor.
The Mediterranean is still the place to be. What keeps up its marinas is none of the classic attractions of Southern Europe, but to see and be seen. The billonaires -and contenders- of the world sail away every year to Cannes or San Rocco just to be there, to show off and be shown off. But, as you know, high demand rises prices.
The biblical Great Sea boasts some of the most expensive marinas worldwide. Mooring ranges from $1000 to $3000 a day -based on the fees for a 55 meters yatch during high season. To match your champagne with fine caviar, Puerto Banús -Marbella, Spain- is the ideal spot. The real money meets every summer among its modern piers and high masts.
If you are looking for old money -or some widow countesses- go to The Balearics. Several royal houses from Europe -also top-models and film directors- choose Ibiza Magna as the proper place to lay their eyes on. Situated in front of Ibiza’s capital, amazing views of the old town and roasting lobsters are waiting for you.
Italy. Is there anything in the world of refinment that Italians don’t excel at? Italy holds the three most sumptuous and splendid docks on our planet. The ever green island of Capri -just the name makes your mind go posh and your wallet cry- is the number one on the podium. Fees are the highest but so are the waiting lists. If you’re thinking about mooring there in July or August, book in advance. Portofino -close to Genoa- and the Sardinian Porto Cervo make numbers two and three.
Montecarlo, though considered by many the home of luxury, is losing ground against new arrivals. Still many yachts from celebrities and oil-sheiks can be seen each season, but mainly during the Grand Prix -berthing in the Monegasque Port Hercules is cheaper than in Croatian harbour of Split, during the rest of the season. It seems the Grimaldis are no longer the kings of opulent sea comfort -in French coast, St-Tropez is the most outstanding yatchclub.
Virgin Islands can proud themselves for having the most costly marina in America. A recent manufacture, Yatcht Haven Garden in St. Thomas depicts the most stylish side of the Caribbean. Forget jammin’ and rum, here everything goes smoothly in a perfect timing. The best? When the season is about to finish in Europe, this one begins, so you’ll never have to let your boat dry.
Concerning luxury, United Emirates are managing quite well -just a look at Dubai proves it widely. The ultimate sensation comes from Abu Dhabi. And, as they like it, really magnificent and mind-blowing. Yas Marina offers a unique experience: sail the Persian Gulf as much as you like but be back in time to see the F1 Grand Prix from your poop deck. Hey, I’m still waiting for my cold champagne!