Make like the A-listers
Where to berth your yacht – at a lower price
It’s not surprising that we island dwellers love sailing – around 600,000 Britons enjoy messing around in boats. What better way to escape the strains and stresses of everyday life than by jumping aboard and heading for the sun-dappled cruising waters of southern Europe? As the Mediterranean yachting season warms up, competitive types can now find regattas taking place nearly every day. Boats are also great places from which to join the party at events from the Monaco Grand Prix to the Cannes Film Festival, both coming to an end this weekend.
Many boat owners want to keep their craft close to their holiday home to allow for easy escapes throughout the season. But with the Med offering such a diversity of sailing areas, how do you choose?
Unless you are among the ranks of the super-rich, then steer clear of the most prestigious marinas, suggests Robert Green, managing director of Sphere Estates. “Owning a yacht can be an expensive hobby. A great deal of the expense comes down to where it’s moored,” he says. “Established and glitzy marinas such as Monaco, St Tropez and Marbella command premium prices, so some buyers will look for more affordable alternatives. There is, however, a shortage of marinas throughout Europe and quite often owners will moor their yacht half an hour away from their home.”
Peter Murray Kerr of the berthfinding portal mooringspot.com agrees. “There’s overwhelming demand for berths in the south of France and Monaco, and some people are starting to look at other areas – Spain, where taxation for yachts is lower, or the Adriatic coast, where you won’t face such long waiting lists.”
So where does Green suggest? “Porto Cervo in Sardinia (Marina dell’Orso Poltu Quatu) and Théoulesur-Mer to the west of Cannes in the south of France (Port La Galère) are worth considering,” he says. Both are small marinas (the latter takes 170 boats up to 52ft in length). Tim Swannie of buying agency Home Hunts also picks out Théoule: “You can get an apartment on a gated estate for €350,000 (£302,570), or a fourbedroom villa with a sea view in need of renovation for €1.3million.”
‘A great deal of expense is due to where the yacht’s moored’
In fashionable St Tropez it’s near impossible to get a mooring, says Emma Horsley of French agency Leggett. “An owner of a Port de St Tropez property recently sold his berth before his house,” she says.
Boat owners look instead to nearby Port Grimaud (a Venetian-style canal village offering 1,100 moorings) or Marines de Cogolin (a residential marina with 1,600 berths) where you can get a space for a 82ft-long boat for €45,000 until the end of 2017 through mooringspot.com. There’s also a two-bedroom apartment nearby, in the pretty Provençal-style Port Cogolin village for €490,000 with Leggett.
Yachties who like the reassurance of seeing their boat from their home are being targeted by new residential marinas. In Portopiccolo, north of Trieste in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia, owners of the 434 private residences on the five-star hotel development will get priority on leasing one of the 121 moorings. They cost from €3,500 per year (plus 22 per cent VAT), rising to €22,000 for a 79ft berth.
Twenty of the current owners, who are mainly Italians, already have a boat immediately outside their home, and 50 more can glimpse their craft from their hillside terrace or borgo townhouse. Properties start at €440,000 for a one-bedroom flat, and reach €4million for the penthouse (portopiccolo sistiana.it).
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is yachting heaven – with distances perfect for island hopping. To the south, Porto Montenegro in Boka Bay has been a success with wealthy yacht owners, with 450 berths available on long-term leases and 200 private properties sold since its launch in 2009. New onebedroom properties are for sale from €409,000 (portomontenegro. com). Other locations in the eastern Med offer relative bargains to the old stalwarts further west. Cyprus is one, with its banking crisis behind it and a resurgent property market drawing yachting types who might have previously headed to Turkey and Lebanon, according to Stavros Caramondanis, the boss of Ayia Napa’s new marina development. The lively resort in the south-west of the island is attempting to become more upmarket with this €220million project. “Around a third of property purchasers so far are boat owners attracted by the yearround sunshine that extends the boating season, plus the lower cost of keeping a boat in Cyprus than in countries like France or Italy,” he says. “The dry stack [vertical storage system] will be the first in the eastern Mediterranean,” he adds. Properties in two twisting towers currently start from €740,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, although more one-bedroom units will be released next year, with completion in 2021. The 600-berth marina will open in 2019.
Also on the south coast at Limassol Marina, with its 1,000 berths, is a 66ft yacht mooring, which costs €22,500 per annum. Properties on this mixed-use development have been sold to 27 nationalities and there’s a 50/50 split between locals and foreigners leasing berths. The marina has just released its final phase of properties, 61 one- to four-bedroom Castle Residences on a private island, with prices from €1.45million (limassolmarina.com). There are also plans for two new large marinas in Cyprus, at Lanarca and Paphos.
Tourism in the Balearic Islands has also gained from instability elsewhere. In Mallorca’s 47 ports and marinas there was a 50 per cent increase in superyachts in the summer of 2016, according to the Balearic Nautical Association. Last month’s Palma Boat Show saw 10 per cent more visitors; plenty of people went shopping for a new superyacht, but what about a turnkey apartment nearby? Agency Engel & Völkers has a three-bedroom townhouse with spectacular roof terrace overlooking Palma’s port for €1.49million, but if that’s out of your price range, a two-bedroom apartment with harbour views in nearby Santa Ponsa is €395,000 (engelvoelkers.com).
If you save on the property and mooring, you could spend more on the boat itself. “We have a handful of clients who have asked us to design their property interiors to match their yacht, or vice versa,” says Simon Tomlinson of Winch Design. “One couple asked us to match the dining and living areas of their six-bedroom villa in Sardinia with their [190ft] yacht. Obviously with the boat we reduced the weight [with veneers of marble not solid stone], reduced sharp edges, and we remodelled house rooms to replicate the cabin sizes.” At a cost of up to €5million, this really is pushing the boat out.
Cannes spotlight: actress and model Olga Kurylenko on the Lady Jersey Yacht, above; Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman at the film festival, inset
All at sea: a two-bedroom flat in Limassol Marina, main, from €2.15m; Villa Cassedda in Sardinia, left, is €7.4m with Sphere Estates
Waterfront: a house in Spain’s Empuriabrava Marina is €2.995m with Lucas Fox