Event Charter: special events for a yacht charter to remember
A well-run yacht charter can be as personal and bespoke as you like. It can involve everything from private anchorages, diving trips, guided hikes, helicopter rides and private beach parties to family-friendly watersports, wildlife watching trips, spa treatments and gastronomic tours. The nature of your charter experience is entirely yours to define, but if you want a central event around which to build your charter itinerary, the yachting calendar is certainly blessed with plenty of options.
There are international boat shows, music festivals, regattas, fashion events and automotive meetings throughout the world’s most renowned charter regions. And if you would prefer to time your charter to coincide with something smaller and more intimate, a seasonal celebration of local produce can be every bit as memorable. Places like Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, the French Rivera, the Balearic Islands and the Swiss lakes, where food and drink lie at the very heart of cultural identity, offer some superb festivals in the spring and autumn that can make a yacht charter feel just that bit more special. But whether you want to go big or small, the following events should give you a few ideas to help kickstart your plans…
St Barts Music Festival: 04–20 January 2020
The Caribbean does events with an easy festival swagger it’s tough to replicate elsewhere – and the Music Festival in St Barts is a case in point. Timed to coincide with the famous Barts Bucket Regatta, it features ballet, chamber music, opera and jazz music, as well as literature, film and sculpture in venues spread across the island against a classical Caribbean backdrop. Other top events in the immediate cruising region include the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta in Virgin Gorda toward the start of March and the British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival at the end of the same month. And with its glorious resorts, its extraordinary Georgian harbour and its elegant capital, Antigua is also a major charter hub for yachting events. In particular, the Superyacht Challenge in March and the Classic Yacht Regatta at the start of April are world-class celebrations of the yachting lifestyle.
Classic Car Rally, Mallorca: 12–14 March 2020
Mallorca’s Classic Car Rally (Rally Clásico Puerto Portals) has been around for 15 years now, bringing together seasoned owners and drivers with enthusiastic locals and curious yachtsmen. And happily for charter guests, ultra-glamorous Puerto Portals, a prestigious marina and leisure complex in the Bay of Palma, now operates as the headquarters for the rally’s fleet of exotic cars. While that always adds a little extra magic to the perennial buzz of this famous superyacht hub, the Balearics calendar is by no means short on alternative events. In addition to lots of small-scale spring and autumn food festivals like the charming Pollença Wine Fair in May, Mallorca’s annual calendar also offers the King’s Cup Regatta and the Mallorca Open WTA Tennis Championship, as well as the Palma Superyacht Show at the end of April.
Festival de Cannes: 12–23 May 2020
Now in its 73rd year, the Cannes Film Festival is a major beacon for the world’s glitterati, bon vivants and lifestyle worshippers. Held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, directly next to the town’s excellent marina at Le Vieux Port, it is the perfect opportunity for Cannes to welcome the stars who have helped make the French Riviera such a renowned A-list hotspot. But again, if you would prefer a different kind of event for your Cote d’Azur charter, there are plenty to choose from. How about the Cannes Boat Show from 08 to 13 September or the Regates Royales de Cannes the following week? How about Les Voiles d’Antibes and Jazz a Juan, Antibes (in June and July respectively)? Or how about the annual mid-summer jazz festival in the gloriously salty seaside town of Nice?
Cowes Week: 08-20 August 2020
In spite of its changeable climate, Britain is a magnificent place to go boating. It offers a range of regional, cultural and topographical profiles that marks it out as one of Europe’s finest cruising regions – and with its heritage, its variety and its energy, Cowes Week embodies much of what makes the UK yachting scene so special. Established in 1826, it is the largest regatta of its kind in the world, offering up to 40 races a day for around a thousand boats and bringing together elite Olympic athletes with recreational sailors for a week-long festival of wall-to-wall sailing and wall-to-wall parties, attended by more than 100,000 spectators. If you’ve never been on the Solent amongst the Cowes Week throng, a charter experience is the perfect opportunity to put that right.
Alternative event ideas
Created by jazz musician, Paolo Fresu, the Time in Jazz Festival in Sardinia from 05 to 13 August is spread across several towns in the north of the island. The ancient port town of Olbia is one of them and, given that its large marina, its historic centre and its chic café culture make it a natural starting point for a Sardinian charter, it makes good sense to visit during jazz week.
The Monaco F1 Grand Prix in May is of course another very memorable charter event, with its famous street circuit running just metres from the yachts in the marina. But there are other events to look at here too – not least the Monaco Yacht Show in late September, the Monte Carlo Rally in late January and the Monaco Historic Grand Prix in May.
And if you fancy going transatlantic, how about the vast, sprawling riot of nautical equipment that is the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (28 October to 01 November); or the Miami Yacht Show (13 to 17 February); or the Palm Beach International Boat Show (26 to 29 March)? You might even want to take in that most elite and esoteric of beach events, the Beach Polo World Cup in Miami (23 to 26 April).
And finally, while it might sound odd, how about a charter exhibition like the MYBA Charter Show in Barcelona from 27 to 30 April? Held at One Ocean’s magnificent marina in late spring at the heart of one of Europe’s most spectacular cities, it enables you to browse some of the world’s finest yachts and hatch a plan for next year’s charter.