The world’s finest yachts are floating palaces, decked out with bowling alleys, gyms, Jacuzzis, swimming pools and sumptuous guest suites. They’re the ultimate status symbol: the scene of legendary parties, massive personalities and, of course, scandal.
The waters off the coast of Sussex are some of the best in the country, whether for sailing or racing. But if you’re new to this swashbuckling world, where do you start? We spoke to the British Marine Federation (BMF), the trade association for the boating industry, who gave us the essential questions that you should be asking a broker when purchasing a new or second-hand yacht.
Before buying your Yacht
• Is the broker/dealer a member of an association which operates a Code of Practice/Conduct that its members must adhere to: the British Marine Federation (BMF), Boat Retailers and Brokers Association (BRBA) – (a group association within the BMF), or the Association of Brokers and Yacht Agents (ABYA)?
• If you are buying a second hand boat, does your broker operate a properly administered designated client account, and will your purchase monies be kept in this account during the brokerage transaction?
• If you are buying a new boat either through a dealer or from stock, what are the payment arrangements, what stage payments, if any, are required and when does title in the boat pass to you?
• Is there marine finance on the boat and if so what are the detailed arrangements for payment and discharge of it prior to completion?
• Will the contract contain a specification/inventory?
• At what stage does the boat become yours and when do you become responsible for insuring the boat, paying mooring fees etc?
After buying your Yacht
• If the boat is registered, will your broker/dealer arrange for transfer of the registration to your name?
• If the boat is not registered, will your broker/dealer take care of registration on your behalf?
• Consider specific training courses to help you get the most out of your boat. Visit www.rya.org.uk or www.marineleisure.co.uk to find RYA registered training providers.
Look for a British Marine Federation member
When looking where to buy look for a BMF member to buy with the assurance of high quality and reputability. The BMF also has a member association called BMF Boat Retailers and Brokers. This contains over 200 marine businesses operating boat brokers and retailers.
Visit a Boat Show
A Boat Show is the only place where you can see and get on-board a range of boats and speak to a variety of experts in one place. The BMF run the two biggest Boat Show’s in the UK – London Boat Show (January) and Southampton Boat Show (September). These Shows are the easiest way to really get an understanding of what is out there – the London Show exhibits around 400 boats, whereas the Southampton Boat Show exhibits over 600. Also, the businesses will make sure their top experts are on hand to help you with making your mind up and offer you the opportunity to book a future demo.
“It’s very big and pretty, but where am I going to put it…?”
The big boy of Marinas! This is the UK’s largest marina, offering unrivalled access to the open water and the perfect starting point for your exploration of the south coast or a leisurely voyage to France. It offers a variety of berthing and boatyard services, ideal for large yachts or motorboats. The site boasts an intoxicating array of restaurants and sumptuous cocktail bars.
Soak up the stunning natural beauty of the harbour before you head out to the Solent. Nestled in the picturesque countryside of Chichester, this marina is the recipient of the Yacht Harbour Association’s Five Gold Anchors Awards. Discover the wildlife along The Salterns Way, choose one of the many quiet anchorages or take a trek along the canal path to elegant Chichester. A thoroughly tranquil experience awaits you.
Yes, it’s just across the border in Portsmouth, Hampshire, but no round-up of top local marinas would be complete without the stunning Port Solent Marina and Boatyard. A winner of The Yacht Harbour Associations’ Five Gold Anchors Award, this marina offers 24-hour access to the Solent and new luxury Berth Holder facilities. Sip a cocktail in one of the many restaurants before you take to the high seas.
This small, family owned marina really is a lesser known gem. It’s situated on the West bank of the River Arun in the middle of the West Sussex coast and is just a few minutes walk from the railway station. There are a range of mooring options available, and while this marina can’t offer some of the major services provided by its bigger neighbours, it’s exceptionally welcoming and friendly. And there’s the bonus that it’s very close to Arundel and Amberley for that scenic family day out.
Shenanigans on the Solent
The Solent – 20 miles long and one to four miles wide – is the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland Europe.
With its many creeks and harbours, the Solent has been a beautiful cruising ground area, enjoyed by yachting enthusiasts, for generations.
It’s particularly busy on fine weekends in the summer and great sailing can be enjoyed in the week, even out of season. You’ll find yacht owners who have sailed to Brittany and Holland and, of course, all those who keep their boats in the Mediterranean.
The annual Cowes week is the highlight on the Solent calendar. It’s the longest-running regular regatta in the world, with 40 daily races, up to 1000 boats and 8000 competitors. It started in 1826 and is run by Cowes Week Limited, in the small town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
What a motley crew
Sussex is full of intriguing characters. Imagine what would happen if they all got together on a yacht. Calm or carnage? You decide…
The geriatric millionaire
Bernard of Chichester is 84 and has had a tough year. Everything changed when his nagging wife of 30 years, Margaret, mysteriously carked it. His friends were deeply worried about him: how on earth was he going to cope? But the life insurance policy seems to have provided a modicum of solace – and who would have thought it would be worth MILLIONS? Bernard’s been getting out and about like nobody’s business. And what better way to celebrate his new life – and libido – than hopping on a yacht? And who better to take along than that lovely young thing he bumped into down that Brighton casino?
The 22 year old floozy
Laycee-Mae-Pinot simply had to get off that Moulsecoomb estate. It really was not her. It’s been a tumultuous journey from pre-fab council house to reality TV star, feted for boobs bigger than the Downs. With husband number four binned (he didn’t measure up in any respect), all lovely Laycee really cares about is that the yacht has a pool, plenty of Sambuca and some very hot Latino waiters to cater to her every need…
The Russian oligarch
Mikhail is worth more than anyone can possibly imagine. In fact, even he’s not sure he can imagine how much he could be worth – particularly since the mysterious disappearance of his business partner – you know, that intensely secretive bloke, rumoured to be ex-KGB, who was last seen sipping a cup of Green tea on the balcony of that top Brighton hotel…Anyway, this voyage is going to be a nice break from him and he needs to let off steam since that very costly divorce from that former Miss Vladivostok 1986. Bring on rampant champagne fuelled parties, with lots of pretty girls with very big assets!
The Trust fund girl
Prudence Chasity-Chambers, former head girl at Roedean Independent School, was always going to end up on a yacht. It was only a matter of time. Luxury, you see, is in her genes. Father, who now runs the family estate just outside Arundel, has arranged it all. And it’s going to be the perfect break after the tiresome rigours of that Swiss finishing school. All she needs now is to find herself an obscenely rich man who can keep her in the style to which she has become accustomed…