Some ma­jor mega-yachts are char­ter­ing this sum­mer in Greece.

Yachting - - CONTENTS - By Kim Kavin

Sev­eral new mega-yachts are en­ter­ing the char­ter scene this sum­mer in Greece, where sandy beaches and his­tory await.

When peo­ple talk about su­pery­achts for char­ter, the con­ver­sa­tion in­evitably turns to the western Mediter­ranean — to ports such as An­tibes, in the South of France, where so many large yachts dock that there’s a ma­rina quay known as Bil­lion­aire’s Row. ¶ Greece, by con­trast, has had a dif­fer­ent rep­u­ta­tion. Even a decade ago, it was known for smaller and older yachts ply­ing its is­lands, from San­torini to Rhodes. ¶ In re­cent years, that has changed, and some new en­tries into the Greek char­ter mar­ket are poised to at­tract at­ten­tion this sum­mer. ¶ One of the big­gest is O’pta­sia (shown at top right), a 278-foot Golden Yachts build that was sched­uled to be de­liv­ered in May. She’ll take 12 guests in a lay­out built to ac­com­mo­date 24 on pri­vate owner’s cruises, with 11 state­rooms in­clud­ing a 1,000-square-foot owner’s suite. The VIP state­room is more than 900 square feet with an ad­join­ing cinema — the kind of su­pery­acht space that char­ter clients would be more ac­cus­tomed to find­ing along the French Riviera. ¶ And while the Greek char­ter mar­ket con­tin­ues to add new and larger yachts, the is­lands them­selves re­main filled with an­cient ru­ins and his­tor­i­cal sites. On Rhodes, in the Dode­canese ar­chi­pel­ago, the me­dieval old town is a UNESCO World Her­itage Site, with stone walls built in the mid1300s and an acrop­o­lis ex­ca­vated start­ing in the early 1900s. ¶ Such sites to ex­plore, along with sandy beaches and warm wa­ters, are what have made the Greek is­lands so pop­u­lar for char­ter. And this year, after tour­ing ashore, guests can re­turn to ves­sels that yacht-spot­ters think of as new won­ders of the world.

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