Classic yachts have an evergreen allure, and demand is being met by a growing fleet of traditional vessels transformed to cater for the modern-day charterer.
There are around a dozen superyachts available for charter today which, built in the 1960s and 70s, are considered as classics. Yet, all have been substantially rebuilt, restored or refitted in a way that is enticing charterers on board, leading to a classic yacht revival.
We take a look at the finest classic yachts for charter today and discover what is required to turn a vintage platform into a viable charter offering that can compete with the newest yachts hitting the water.
Although her styling is traditional, sailing yacht Tiziana offers a thoroughly modern charter experience
Originally built in 1963 by Abeking & Rasmussen, the 36m/118ft sailing yacht TIZIANA was entirely rebuilt by Vitters in 2006 and is continually being updated with a mini-refit every winter. Therefore, although her styling is traditional, she offers a thoroughly modern charter experience.
Much of her original charm was preserved during the rebuild while state-of-the-art technology and systems were introduced. For example, steering upgrades, a new engine, new fuel tanks and new generators ensure she has the performance and comfort to match that of a new build.
Other major changes included a brand new galley, a totally rebuilt cockpit and the replacement of the 54-year-old portholes with much larger windows – a popular feature among today’s charter fleet.
An office was also transformed into a guest stateroom so TIZIANA is now able to accommodate a party of 10 guests in five staterooms. This is rare among classic yachts as most can only sleep around four or six guests on a private yacht charter.
The 53m/174ft motor yacht MIRAGE was originally launched by Feadship in 1979 as DARIA and more recently chartered as Elisabeth F. In 2007, she underwent an extensive 10-month refit at the Pendennis shipyard, which included a five-metre extension of her transom.
Five years later she arrived at STP Shipyard in Palma, Mallorca, and began the first of three refit phases carried out over three winters. When the work was completed, her transformation was met with much acclaim within the industry and she picked up a 2016 World Superyacht Award in the refit category.
All aspects and areas of the yacht were redecorated or restored, with a state-of-the-art bridge, sundeck Jacuzzi, gymnasium and new look interior among the key changes.
Overall, the quality and scope of the work exceeded the owner’s expectations and she is now proving to be an extremely well sought-after charter yacht.
Dutch shipyard Botje Ensing & Co first launched the 49m/159ft classic yacht MENORCA in 1961. But thanks to a two-year refit, which was completed in 2017, she is equipped with amenities and features seen on much younger charter yachts, despite being more than 50 years old.
Modern amenities now seen on board include satellite television, Wi-Fi, a Jacuzzi, an outdoor cinema with a projector screen and a selection of the latest water toys.
Plus, similarly to TIZIANA, three-quarter-length windows have been fitted in the main salon. The glazing has added to the contemporary ambience created by the new beach house-style interior, which is a fashionable look among newer charter yachts.
The overall styling is in response to the owner’s wishes to create a yacht where guests immediately feel like they’re on holiday. Again, this corresponds to the trend of superyachts moving away from dark woods and fussy extravagance in favour of cleaner, lighter spaces which are easier to live in.
The flexible accommodation is advantageous to a charter yacht as it means it can cater to a wider variety of charter parties
Another classic Feadship on today’s charter scene is the 32m/105ft superyacht ‘Heavenly Daze’. Launched in 1972, she underwent a six-month refit in 2011 at the Pendennis shipyard, had at-anchor stabilisers added in 2015.
Significant changes included renewing plating on the hull and tanktops and removing two twin cabins amidships and redesigning them as double cabins, which can convert to twins. The flexible accommodation is advantageous to a charter yacht as it means it can cater to a wider variety of charter parties.
In terms of style, the owners researched the furnishings and accessories designed in 1972. So, although the light fabrics and simple décor are contemporary, there are nods to the yacht’s heritage in curving mid-century chairs and in some of the original fittings, which have been restored.
As far as classic yachts are concerned, the key to charter success appears to be being able to provide modern features in a traditional package. While the look and feel of a vintage yacht are highly alluring, the creature comforts and facilities need to match those on board newer builds.
This is exactly what the above yachts offer, and it’s been achieved by replicating trends such as fitting larger windows and modern interior styles, boosting the accommodation line-up, adding modern facilities – think spa pools, water toys and entertainment systems – and updating systems and electronics.
The trend for updated classic styling can be seen reflected in the world at large, as interiors in hotels, bars and restaurants look to the past for inspiration. People seem to be hankering for the ‘good old days’ and, with this revived nostalgia, charter demand for classic yachts will only be on the up.
For more details on chartering a classic yacht, speak to your preferred charter broker.
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