It was a busy, action-packed 2019 for TJB Super Yachts and our hard-working charter brokers. They dedicate time and passion to getting to know the very best charter yachts on the market inside and out so that they can match their clients with the perfect vessel. From beautifully choreographed itineraries in some of the most alluring destinations on the planet, to the yachts, their crew, the amenities and décor, every single details counts when it comes to creating a flawless and personalised superyacht charter. We sat down with charter brokers Josh Francis and Angus Cook to ask them about their favourite yachts and what goes into making the perfect charter.
What has been your favourite charter yacht of 2019?
The yacht far exceeded my high expectations. The interior is homely yet modern, with plenty of space to socialise with family and friends. I worked closely with Captain Kostas and Chief Mate Sean to develop the perfect charter itinerary and they were both incredibly accommodating, going above and beyond to ensure my clients had the time of their lives. All of the crew were expert communicators, and the perfect mix of fun and professional. The yacht also has a huge list of water toys which keeps everyone busy – I couldn’t recommend her enough to future clients.
Angus: CASINO ROYALE, 32.90 METER SUNSEEKER.
With a very successful and busy summer, Casino Royale was able to accommodate a party for my client’s birthday which was planned days before commencing. The charterer’s assistant was granted access to the yacht prior to the charter starting, allowing a quick inspection to take place before the booking was finalised. The crew were excellent and the captain knew the best places to take the guests to. The yacht itself also gained much praise from those onboard and she looks forward to inviting them for another trip next summer.
Which charter yacht would you most recommend for 2020?
I loved the yacht when she was CLOUD 9 so was really happy to see her re-enter the charter market as ODYSSEY under new ownership. The yacht is 74m with an interior designed by the famous Winch Design (EXCELLENCE, TIS, ARETI) so she has a remarkable feeling of indoor / outdoor space throughout, with plenty of light coming from huge windows and balconies. She is over 2200 gross tonnes, which equates to an enormous amount of space spread over four decks including a beach club, swimming pool, gym and elevator.
The interior finish is modern yet accommodating and you have 22 exceptionally trained crew members for the maximum 12 guests on board, meaning everyone is well looked after. The toy selection is one of the most extensive on the market including a jungle gym, anti-jellyfish pool and a 14m waterslide from the sun deck. She is due to be cruising the Western Mediterranean in summer 2020, embarking from the South of France, Monaco or Corsica. She is one of the most elite yachts on the market.
Angus: ENDLESS SUMMER
Endless Summer is just great. She is a well maintained, well priced, fun yacht with a vast array of toys making her perfect for family charters. Run by an extremely enthusiastic captain who manages to get all those involved very excited for the trip. She also has a negotiable owner, who takes great pride in his yacht ownership and aims to please.
What is your favourite charter destination?
For me Croatia is the perfect destination as it seems to have a little bit of everything, including the right mix of historic sites and cosmopolitan bars and restaurants. There are over 1,000 islands to explore and they are all stunning with crystal clear waters and plenty of greenery.
Croatia also has many beautiful national parks you can explore, such as Plitvice and Krka where you can cruise on your charter yacht up the estuary through Sibenik to see the magnificent waterfalls. If you’re looking for a party then you can stop off at Hvar and take in Carpe Diem, a nightclub on its own island a short water taxi ride away. Alternatively if you’re looking for a little culture stop off in Dubrovnik and have lunch at Panorama, taking in the city walls where much of Game of Thrones was filmed.
The local people are really friendly, the food is great and if you have time you can take in Montenegro in the same trip or even pop across the Adriatic and disembark the yacht in Venice. Croatia has it all.
Angus: SARDINIA & CORSICA
Sardinia and Corsica provide some of the most beautiful itineraries available to our charterers. And with a huge choice of yachts I am guaranteed to find the perfect option for my client and their guests. It is a fantastic area to explore and there are plenty of ports and hidden coves for the charterers to enjoy. If you’re looking for the ultimate yachting experience of hopping to and from completely different locations with their own colourful identity, this is the place to choose.
Another very strong contender for favourite charter destination would be Croatia for the exploration aspect. There are thousands of islands to see with endless possibilities.
Who is your favourite yacht builder?
It’s easy to explain why Feadship is my favourite builder; quite simply they design and engineer the most striking yachts with the best possible build quality. Their yachts are fully custom, meaning each project is started with a blank page.
I love that they are continuously pushing the boundaries of design – this is easy to recognise when looking at MADAME GU, a yacht they launched in 2013 that still trumps the majority of yachts she sits next to in a marina.
The launches from the Dutch yard this year were incredible including LADY S which is now available for charter at €1,470,000 p/w, and SYZYGY 818 which was shown to the world at the Monaco Yacht Show (and was my personal highlight). These yachts fit neatly into the Feadship fleet which includes stand out products such as ANNA, FAITH, AQUARIUS, JOY, SYMPHONY, SAVANNAH and ROCK.IT.
Obviously if you’re looking to charter a Feadship yacht then the price reflects the superior design and build features. But to the discerning client who can afford the luxury of spending time on the best yachts in the industry, they can rest assured that their time on one of these phenomenal yachts will be a remarkable one.
Every yacht builder has a specific purpose and size in which they specialise and I value them all for their specific design. But I have chosen Sunseeker mainly because they consistently produce high quality, welcoming and fairly priced yachts for my clients to enjoy a charter on. From a design point of view, they have really changed their style in the last couple of years and are still becoming more creative on how they plan to go into the next generation of yachting design. It also builds confidence in the client’s choice, especially first time charterers, when they see a well-known yacht builder which they recognise.
Which 3 things do you feel make a perfect superyacht charter?
- I am a firm believer that having the perfectly matched crew to the charterer is the most important factor in creating a remarkable experience. We always take extra due diligence gathering crew referrals and inspecting yachts to complete captain / crew reports. This way we ensure we pair our clients to the right yacht where the atmosphere on board creates the desired experience.
- A major component of the yacht charter is the itinerary. We complete hundreds of charters every year and work diligently on every itinerary with the client and crew to ensure a memorable trip. This can be anything from which ports to spend which evening in, down to food recommendations in restaurants all over the world.
- Understanding why the clients are chartering a yacht. It may seem obvious that a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary may not mind how many jetski’s are on board, but they may prefer interior space to exterior. Really taking the time to understand the clients’ requirements is paramount to providing the most suitable shortlist of yachts.
- Finding out WHY the client wants to go on a superyacht charter, so I can fulfil all their needs, know what they love, know what they dislike and plan the charter as best as possible.
- That the crew has excellent testimonials from past bookings. The yacht can be the crème de la crème, but if the crew is not right, the guests won’t be having the best experience possible.
- Planning the right itinerary. Knowing exactly what the guests wish to do both on and off the yacht is very important, and booking those ports are a big part of things going smoothly. A yacht is the best way to see somewhere you have never been before and planning the travel for a first timer puts all their worries at ease, especially if I can help with getting them to and from the yachts before and after their charter too.
What are your personal specialities as a charter broker?
Josh: I believe it is my willingness to go above and beyond to ensure my clients have the time of their lives. Whether that’s numerous face to face meetings before the trip, being responsive in the hours most are not, or flying to the yacht for embarkation. I always have a completely unbiased attitude towards the whole charter market, only recommending yachts I know my clients will love. By having a consultative approach to any requirements and pairing my first-hand experience of yachts from my time onboard as crew I am confident I can consistently create fantastic charters for my clients.
Angus: I am responsive in the hours that most are not and always happy to discuss creative ideas over the phone, via WhatsApp or by email. Getting to know my clients is another speciality of mine, the better I know you, the more perfect your yacht charter will be. Caring about your happiness on board is also of big importance for me, and I like to know how the trip is going and what I can do to make it more enjoyable or solve any issues experienced by the guests. On top of all that, I try to make the stressful process of finding the perfect yacht as enjoyable and easy as possible.
Many of my planned charters this year were for first-time charterers, who were not familiar with how charter fees, VAT and APA work. I am always very clear and transparent when explaining the important details to my clients. Most of all, I have fun pleasing those who choose to charter with me and know that they do too. Strong, trusting relationships are key to both the broker and client.