Renowned for its storied coastlines as well as quaint seaside towns, New England evokes a certain charm throughout four distinct seasons, with summer holding a certain allure for those who like exploring by sail or motor yacht. That was the message ringing loud and clear this year at the Newport Charter Yacht Show, running from June 17-20. In its 31st year and second under management by Newport Exhibition Group, the intimate four-day event represents the only one of its kind in North America and caters to charter yacht managers showcasing the area’s summer charter yachts and brokers who are present to inspect the yachts as well as crews.
The show’s 22 attending yachts covered the spectrum in terms of size, shape and mission, proving that there is a charter for everyone, from education-at-sea trips aboard the 72 foot sailboat Sea Dragon and day cruising on the 75 foot motor vessel Impossible Dream to week-long luxury charters on the 151 foot superyachts Golden Compass and charter yacht Katya.
“New England is always solid, the meat and potatoes for U.S. and Caribbean based boats, so we’ve decided to fit into the niche,” said Captain Jeffrey Palmer of the 138 foot motor yacht Syrenka, which is based in Hingham, Mass. He added that the yacht spends the summer months cruising up and down the Northeast coast and the winter months in Florida and the Bahamas. “I like this show and have done it on other boats in the past. This year I think we landed a couple of charters for the summer.”
Also based in New England this summer is the 58 foot motor vessel Somerset, a Trumpy Yacht originally built in 1973 and recently restored in Maine, and the 82 foot charter yacht Excellence, designed by Setzer Design Group and built by Lyman Morse Boat Company.
“This was the chartering debut for this boat and we received great responses from everyone” said Excellence Captain Jon Snow, adding that the yacht is based in Kennebunkport, Maine for the summer. “We’ve enjoyed the show a lot. It was a learning experience for sure, but I think we’ll do well. This is a classic Maine boat for the stately client who wants to enjoy beautiful scenery and, most of all, great food.” Snow said that the only other crewmember onboard during charters is renowned chef David Shima. “He worked 25 years with the U.S. Embassy and cooked for economic summits that spanned the years from President Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. Aside from that he has opened restaurants in Paris, London, Tokyo and the U.S.
Yacht co-owners Sandy Yawn and Claudia Powamkin are taking the dive into chartering with their Italian built and styled Mangusta 72 charter yacht Defiance. “We closed on the Defiance last September and spent our first season in Miami, the Bahamas and the Keys and then got word that people would really appreciate this gem of a boat up here this summer,” said Powamkin, adding that Yawn has been a licensed captain of megayachts for 23 years, and she also serves as captain of Defiance. “We’re excited about the Northeast. It is beautiful boating.”
To inform guests about local resources and industry updates, educational seminars were held the first three days of the show and included a presentation by Scott Martinez of Bluewater Technologies about information technology onboard yachts, and an American Yacht Charter Association seminar that featured Hay House Author and Executive Dream Producer Jennifer Grace as the keynote speaker.
A breakfast for show attendees at nearby Newport Shipyard on Thursday morning was a brilliant complement to a seminar that featured several New England shipyards–Newport Shipyard, Fairhaven Shipyard, Front Street Shipyard, New England Boatworks, The Hinckley Company – Yachts Service Center and Boothbay Harbor Shipyard–and their services. The Newport Shipyard just recently acquired a 500-ton travelift, the largest in New England, so it was a chance to educate captains, brokers and others about its capacity and how it effects the hauling of superyachts for refits and repairs.
Adding perfect garnish to the show were spirited culinary and tablescaping competitions and entertaining “yacht hops,” where crew in costumes, representing their yacht’s chosen theme, dazzled guests with gourmet drinks and hors d’oeuvres.