By Kim Kavin
Spain has long been the “other” Mediterranean when it comes to crewed yacht charter. While boats abound along the Côte d’Azur, Monaco, and Italy, far fewer owners send their yachts to Spain for charter each summer. The reason? A legal barrier known as the matriculation tax, which forced owners to pay 12 percent of the hull’s value to the government before they could offer most yachts for charter in Spanish waters. The upshot? An awful lot of owners saying, To heck with Spain. We’ll take our business next door. Vive la France!
That’s all changing for summer 2014. Spain has just repealed its matriculation tax, and expectations are that more yachts than ever will be available for charter thanks to the financial reprieve. A superyacht marina under construction in Barcelona is indicating that inquiries are up, while captains aboard yachts of all sizes are ordering charts of the popular Balearic Isles.
One megayacht that is hoping to corner a good share of the newly competitive charter action is Apache II, a 144-foot Baglietto that not only will be chartering in Spain, but that also just acquired a cruising permit that will allow her to book clients aboard without charging VAT on the charter rate or the yacht’s fuel. That’s a significant savings, as her weekly base rate is €130,000 and Spanish VAT remains high at 21 percent (making a week’s charter taxable to the tune of €27,300), and because she can burn through plenty of diesel with a top speed of 29 knots.
Her speed is unusual for a megayacht her size, but that’s because Apache II was launched in 2009 following the owner’s success in offshore powerboat racing. He wanted a yacht that would be comfortable for overnight guests as well as for large parties at the dock, and Apache II’s design has made her a popular choice for charter during events such as the Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival. She can accommodate as many as 100 guests at the dock, and she makes a memorable impression thanks to a contemporary décor along with design features such as fold-out balconies in her main dining room. There’s even a transparent tent that covers the whole sundeck should the weather fail to cooperate at party time.
For traditional charters, Apache II accommodates 10 to 12 guests in five staterooms, two of which include Pullman berths that are ideal for children. They are on the bottom deck along with a pair of double-bed staterooms, while the master is forward on the main deck. All of the guest staterooms have televisions that look like mirrors when they are not in use, along with satellite signals, Bose stereos, and CD/DVD/radio players. In other words, anybody who wants to escape from the party on deck will have a well-outfitted space to relax in comfort and privacy.
Be sure to retire with a snack, though; chef Franck Sanna, who is French, comes from a background of working in several Michelin-star restaurants as well as being the private chef to presidents of France and Russia along with affluent families from the Middle East and Europe. While his party foods are no doubt splendid, I’d also recommend a private dinner on the sundeck, which seats 12 comfortably. In fact, go for the tasting menu. If you’re trying out a new cruising locale in Spain, then you might as well also indulge in some tasty new dishes.