by Kim Kavin
Most luxury yachts spend their summers in the Mediterranean. They then spend winters in the Caribbean, if they move at all. The reason that more yachts don’t go to beautiful winter locations such as the Indian Ocean and the Middle East is because transiting there from the Mediterranean can be perilous. The locations themselves are often safe, but the passageway through the Suez Canal and down the east coast of Africa is littered with pirates. Most yacht owners don’t want to risk the transit, so the yachts forgo Middle East and Indian Ocean destinations altogether.
The good news for anyone wanting to charter in the Middle East is that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is creating some new options that didn’t previously exist. The event’s inaugural year was 2009, and having now had a few years of practice, organizers are in full gear for the November 2-4 running of the race.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was modeled after the long-running Monaco Grand Prix, which is held right on the waterfront so that yachts can be part of the party atmosphere. One yacht owner has taken the lead in making his motoryacht available for the Abu Dhabi event, bringing charter to this destination where it previously was hard to find.
The motoryacht is Sheleila. She’s a 121-foot Couach that was offered last year for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and that is being offered again for the 2012 event through Edmiston and Company. Sheleila is a 2002 build that can accommodate eight overnight guests plus as many as 35 guests for race-day parties at the dock.
Sheleila is being offered for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in U.S. dollars, in the hopes of attracting international clients. Her weekly base rate for the event is $110,000, plus a berthing fee of $39,342.
This is high-end yacht charter, to be sure, and it’s nice to see it becoming a regular part of the scene in a destination like Abu Dhabi. Hopefully Sheleila will enjoy some charter business both during the Grand Prix and throughout the winter season, setting an example for even more charter-yacht owners who are trying to decide whether it is worth the risk to move their yachts into the location.