In June, Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko’s 148 metre Sailing Yacht A was spotted cruising the waters off Ibiza. Although it may bask in the prestige of being the largest private sailing yacht in the world, the Philippe Starck-designed head turner shares the same tribulation as every other megayacht above 100 metres (around 40 of them at last count) – no bloomin’ place to park it.
While some marinas have made space for the world’s largest (OneOcean Port Vell, Porto Montenegro, Port Tarraco, Limassol Marina and Malta’s Grand Harbour Marina are a handful that spring to mind), berths get snapped up quickly in high season leaving the mega rich with no option but to anchor at sea and tender guests, crew and supplies ashore. #firstworldproblems
Ibiza, one of the most desirable see-and-be-seen destinations on the planet, packed to the rafters with the rich and famous every summer, has been woefully ill-equipped on the gigantic berth front. Mr Melnichenko would be out of luck in Ibiza Magna (berths up to 60 metres), San Antonio (up to 50 metres) and Marina Botafoch (up to 30 metres), leaving him to try his luck in chichi Marina Ibiza which has berths up to 60 metres with some provision for visiting megayachts of larger dimensions. Given Marina Ibiza’s popularity, right at the heart of the capital city, that ‘some provision’ gets snapped up in a heartbeat.
In total there are around 2,760 moorings in the Pitiusas (the collective name for Ibiza, Formentera, S’Espalmador plus a couple of other islets) and considering there are well over 22,000 in the Balearics as a whole, it’s easy to envisage just how deficient Ibiza becomes in high season. Megayachts are quite simply made to ‘queue up’ offshore until they find a place to ‘sleep’. But there’s just one more problem to add to the equation, and that’s Ibiza’s marked seasonality. While they’re literally queuing up in high season, a large chunk of megayachts depart for the Caribbean and the Far East in the ‘off season’. It’s a difficult conundrum to solve.
An enormous step in the right direction has been the recent opening of Sovren Ibiza. Set at the foot of Ibiza’s UNESCO-protected Dalt Vila (‘High Town’), this brand new marina facility accommodates 16 boats ranging from 60 to 185 metres in length (yes Mr Melnichenko – that includes you) and immediately plugs that desperate gap in the market.
According to a report by The Superyacht Intelligence Agency, there were only 42 berths available for 80 metre plus yachts in the Western Mediterranean. The opening of Sovren Ibiza immediately increases this capacity by 38% – not an insignificant achievement. The same Agency found that 47% of superyachts who took part in its study spent their summers in the Western Mediterranean, with 39% choosing to remain in the region for winter. Sovren Ibiza is committed to keeping its marina functioning throughout the year in a bid to extend the island’s entire season. Certainly the weather is beautiful deep into the autumn months – and, while Ibiza’s certainly not the Caribbean, Christmas can often be enjoyed in shirtsleeves.
Stephen White, CEO and Founder of Sovren House Group based in Barcelona but also present in Monaco, Andorra, Palma, The Hague, London and Fort Lauderdale, said of the project, “Ibiza itself has moved itself up in the ranks of places to go to, the days of the 60s and 70s of hippy chic have now started to disappear and Ibiza is becoming a premier destination. Therefore, the local authorities are keen to see the superyacht market expand.”
Opening on 1 June, Sovren Ibiza has already seen some wonderful yachts gracing her waters including Spanish-built 74 metre Naia, elegant 70 metre Sherakhan, 60 metre Feadship ROCK.IT and vast 110 metre Radiant.
The new megayacht ‘car park’ has gone down very well with local traders, hoteliers and holidaymakers as they get to ogle one of the biggest floating palace catwalks in the Med from right at the heart of the city. Of course (human nature) there has been some criticism for handing prime Ibiza waterfront over to the super elite displaying crude wealth, but the revenue received from fuel, taxation, provisioning, dining, entertainment and repairs (from people with none-too-shallow pockets) should help assuage any ‘them and us’ disquietude.
These Dalt Vila docks were previously occupied by the Port of Ibiza and the Duques de Alba quayside used as the main car ferry route to mainland. This led to congestion and pollution in a World Heritage site, so it was relocated to the newly-constructed cruise terminal near the outer port wall. This paved the way for the Sovren House Group-funded renovation which comprises those 16 berths alongside a new 600m² Es Martell reception building set to be inaugurated in 2018. This building will be free of bars and restaurants so as not to take away business from the local vicinity and instead host Sovren Ibiza’s HQ and dedicated exhibition space. A panoramic viewing terrace is already open to the public.
ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) compliant, Sovren Ibiza has state-of-the-art CCTV surveillance and 24-hour patrolled security, wi-fi, mooring assistance by specially-trained dock crew, fresh water and shore power supply, refuse collection, on-call tenders and divers, a private transport service, private jet and helicopter service on demand and nearby parking.
The in-house concierge service will be able to advise exactly what’s ‘hot’ and what’s ‘not’ – vital on an ever-changing island such as Ibiza. World-famous beach clubs (Blue Marlin, Cotton Beach, Amante, Cala Bassa), legendary nightclubs (Pacha, Km5, Ushuaïa), breathtaking cabaret clubs (Lío, Heart) and high-end restaurants (Cipriani, Nobu, Bambudda, Sa Punta) are scattered across the island, while neighbouring Formentera has a different set of laidback feet-in-sand venues on offer. The international airport is just 15 minutes away with direct flights to major European cities – the short one-hour flight to Barcelona opens up global connections. Mallorca and Menorca are within easy cruising distance.
Berths are available to buy on a seven-year lease or to rent as a ‘base’ or as a ‘visitor’. Base mooring fees (six or more consecutive months) start from 2.80 euros per square metre and visitor from 3.50 euros per square metre in high season – plus VAT. Sovren Ibiza has also announced a very interesting collaboration with OneOcean Port Vell in Barcelona whereby 12 month, nine month and three month berth packages are available to include summer mooring in Sovren Ibiza and winter mooring in OneOcean Port Vell. Given the acknowledged shortage of berths for larger yachts in the Mediterranean (OneOcean Port Vell accommodates up to 190 metres) the packages guarantee yachts a berth at one of the top summer destinations and the perfect winter home port as many yachts choose to stay in Barcelona for repair and refit.
As an aside, Sovren Ibiza isn’t the only shiny new marina project to hit Ibiza’s shores, Club Náutico Ibiza has also been earmarked for a 7.5 million euro facelift. Founded way back in 1925, the marina will increase from 298 to 311 moorings and boast a new sailing school, changing rooms and extensive improvements to the club building. Works will start at the latest, in 2018. Sovren Ibiza need not however be worried as the maximum allowed length, 15 metres, will remain exactly the same. Mr Melnichenko’s tender probably wouldn’t even squeeze in…
Marina Spotlight – Sovren Ibiza
Sarah Forge, email@example.com