- I spent a night on a superyacht in Croatia that can accommodate up to 30 people.
- The super-rich love them and the yachting industry is booming – I now know why.
- The 160-foot Ohana, based in Split, will be refurbished now the summer season is over.
Owning a yacht has become the ultimate status symbol for celebrities, business figures, and Russian oligarchs.
To get a better understanding of why some people are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on their own vessel, I went to Croatia, one of Europe’s hotspots for superyachts.
I spent a night aboard a 160-feet cruising yacht that can accommodate up to 30 guests that can be chartered for between $60,000 and $90,000 a week depending on the season.
Miha Menegalija of charter broker Goolets says owning a superyacht is one way to showcase your wealth. Simply buying one is not the only expense, however. An owner must also factor in the cost of the crew, as well as maintenance costs that can equal a tenth of the purchase price every year.
None of this appears to deter the superrich. But just why do they love superyachts so much?
Before boarding the Ohana, I had never been on a boat, let alone on a superyacht. I was taken to my cabin with twin beds, which had a surprisingly spacious en-suite bathroom and a wardrobe big enough to hold clothing for two people for a week.
Ohana was completed in 2020 just as the pandemic struck. Despite being so new, its owner – who is also the captain – said the yacht will be completely refurbished ready for next summer to cater for a more demanding clientele.
I feared I would get seasick, but it turns out the boat rocking was more soothing than I expected.
A breakfast buffet offered anything you could possibly desire – fruit, sausages, eggs, cheese and ham toasties, smoothies – and you could make specific requests as well.
Two courses were served for lunch, while dinner comprised a starter, main and dessert.
A broccoli potage was the highlight for me – I had three servings and also asked the chef for the recipe so I could make it myself.
The dining area had two dedicated crew, Valentina and Tea, who ensured my glass was always full and kept me supplied with Diet Coke throughout the day.
Talking to the captain’s right-hand man, Zoran Vidović, 39, I realized I couldn’t find the right word to express how I was feeling while having my morning coffee on the deck. Suddenly, it came: freedom.
This was something I hadn’t experienced before — waking up in the Adriatic Sea (part of the Mediterranean) every morning would offer a peace not available onshore.
The other crew members I spoke to said they wouldn’t trade their job for anything else. Personally, I’m not sure I’d want to be at the beck and call of clients all day as well as maintaining the yacht before going to sleep in a cramped cabin, before doing it all again the next day.
Fine dining, jet skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking … the list goes on.
Owning a yacht is the ultimate display of wealth because they are a bottomless money pit. Unless an owner also lets others charter their vessel they cannot expect any sort of return on their investment. That, of course, doesn’t make them any less appealing to the wealthy.
My time on the Ohana made me feel special – the bar tender even made me my own secret drink.
It may not come as a great surprise, but I certainly could get used to spending plenty of time on a superyacht. Catch me sipping a cocktail in the hot tub.