TOYS PLAY A BIG PART OF THE CHARTER EXPERIENCE. MORE AND MORE CHARTER BROKERS ARE SEEING CLIENTS MAKE THEIR YACHT SELECTION BASED ON WHAT PLAY THINGS ARE CARRIED ON BOARD THEIR YACHT FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Ask any charter guest or prospective guest about their voyage aboard a superyacht and it is a fair bet that the word ‘toys’ will be used in the first sentence or two. Water toys, it seems, are increasingly important when it comes to differentiating one charter yacht from another. With great advancements in luxury water toys over the past few years, yacht owners and
charter guests alike have come to expect a vast array of exciting watercraft and adrenaline-pumping toys to accompany and enhance their stay on board. With ever changing technologies, knowing what to purchase and how to operate and maintain these additions is certainly becoming a full time job for many crews and those tasked with stocking the yacht with the latest additions.
If ever superyacht toys got good coverage recently it was at the hands of BBC television. Viewers of the UK’s best-watched TV series of 2017 will have seen the Triton submarine carried aboard Alucia where it was used for over 500 hours of documentary filming by the Blue Planet production team. The yacht undoubtedly benefited from just that one mission, but the fact that our oceans benefited from the millions of people around the world who were educated, inspired and connected with the sea via a superyacht water toy is something the industry can be proud to be a part of.
Nicola Breymaier a Charter Broker with Fraser who is based in Monaco knows from experience the importance of yacht toys when it comes to toys is important, even more so is the ability for the crew to show how to use the toys correctly and make the most fun out of each experience.
This knowledge is backed up by the team at Ocean Premium who are specialists in Toys rental throughout the Mediterranean, “Most successful charter yachts will have an excellent selection of toys onboard. They are seen by the crew as crucial to meeting and surpassing the guests’ high expectations for enjoyment.”
Tamsin Priestley the Director Yacht Charter at Y.CO is in no doubt that toys are important and cites the 66.4 metre Okto from ISA as a perfect example to illustrate her point. “She was built to the unique specification of an experienced yachtsman,” says Tamsin. “A four tender garage was specifically included to house an extensive array of toys to keep the guests and the Owner’s family active. Water toys are an integral part of the Okto experience.”
Benoit Tréguilly of BIC Sport says, “For the last five years, Stand Up Paddles have been the best sellers in our product ranges. Guests can use these boards, to go cruising around the boat, discover the coastline and surf the waves close by the beach. We have guests who like to use them to keep fit and practice yoga while using them and almost every child we know loves to dive into the water from a nice stable platform such is the solidity of our board. With our products the superyacht becomes the platform from where guests practice many different activities, have fun and get fit. Guests share activities and have fun with their friends, their children, their family without engine noise or pollution.”
Gabriella Richardson is a Retail Charter Broker with Camper & Nicholsons working out of their Mayfair Office. She believes that a good selection of toys on board is absolutely essential for family charters. She expounds the virtues of the crew on board RoMa who, she says, “will ensure that all activities are carried out to the highest of safety standards, ensuring parents can relax on board in the knowledge that their children are having the time of their lives.” She adds,“In a world where people are becoming increasingly active, adventurous and experience-focussed, a selection of toys such as that on board RoMa truly offers a unique opportunity. Learning a new skill such as diving and being able to take this with you throughout your life leaves a lasting impression and creates an unforgettable experience for those who charter RoMa.”
However, even if at first the guests are not initially so crazy about toys Ocean Premium says, “A morning with our instructor testing our toys will turn him or her into an instant enthusiast.”
Nicola Breymaier at Fraser likes to promote the 83 metre Here Comes The Sun as a successful charter yacht carrying a multitudinous choice of water toys. She says,“If a yacht has a wake boat, then it’s the wake boat. Not only for towing, skiing and wakeboarding, these boats are designed to create a large clean wake to enable easy wake surfing with no need for a tow line. The boat doesn’t have to go fast to make the wave (around 10 knots), so there are no high speed wipeouts to worry about; a learner can surf very close to the boat in perfect safety and even interact with people sitting in the boat as they surf. Offering a real sense of achievement, guests aged 7 to 70 have learned and loved this activity time and time again.”
“The latest, hottest toy right now is the yacht Blob Bounce.” So says Jacqui Lockhart, a Retail Charter Broker with Camper & Nicholsons in Monaco. “It is,” she says, “new to the market right now but will surely be the next hottest toy. The Jetpack and flyboard are a big attraction but many guests still like the freedom to use waverunners and we are lucky that many of our yachts are RYA Centres for training guests to use the yacht’s personal watercraft. Nicola Breymaier with Fraser believes, “It’s all about the Flyboard. This is the setup that uses the jet from a PWC to allow the user to hover in the air. Using a Flyboard requires quite a high skill level and guests need to be trained by a crewmember, but it offers a fantastic photo op when they get it right (and when they don’t)!”
When it comes to these, Mako Boardsports it seems, have got the answer. Combining the power of a traditional watercraft with elements taken from the surf and wakeboarding world. Alexander Chittock from Mako Board Sports tells us,“The Mako Slingshot is the next generation jetboard – a quick and agile carbon fibre surfboard, complete with the right combination of sophisticated technology and sleek design aesthetic. Built from an insatiable thirst for the ultimate of experiences to escape the everyday, the Mako Slingshot is the must have toy for those that love being out on the water. Easy to ride, easy to stow, and with excellent customer service and support, it’s easy to own.”
For guests who want to stay in the water rather than ride over the top, there is the SeaBob, a small machine that tows you through the water, underwater and gives a great new dimension to snorkelling. The latest version of these is much lighter and more manageable than the original, allowing guests to use them without assistance and even take them to the beach. For Gabriella Richardson with Camper & Nicholsons, it is the jetsurf that is the new innovative product that is currently proving very popular, and RoMa has one on board for guests to use. She says, “Half jet-ski, half wakeboard, the jetsurf is perfect for adrenaline seekers and was developed by a team of automotive Formula 1 engineers. Capable of reaching a top speed of 55 km/ hour, the jetsurf has gained an incredible amount of momentum worldwide, and international competitions have developed.”
Charter Broker Nicola Breymaier with Fraser thinks the trend is moving away from the motorised toys, and is probably moving more towards bigger and better inflatable creations such as towers, or the Jungle Joe 2. She comments, “Relatively simple for crew to set up and contrary to the original inflatable slide that needed to be attached to the upper deck of a yacht, these simply float off the back of the swim platform neatly out of the way. There is the ‘Blob’ the inflatable catapult toy and inflatable climbing walls, as well as long inflatable splash mats that offer hours of fun to energised kids; big and small. For guests less inclined to get into the water or who might be a little daunted in the face of the open ocean at the stern of a yacht, these inflatable kingdoms can act as a soft stepping stone to the big blue. Some guests even prefer to wait until the kids are done so they can go and sit in the shady spot under the slide and enjoy a cocktail or two!”
Stacy Moss with Camper & Nicholsons, Fort Lauderdale states that while the core toys such as SeaBobs, paddleboards, towable inflatables and snorkeling equipment will always be popular and will always need to be readily available the demands on storage on board is becoming a determining factor. As the demand for larger toys increases, storage is becoming more and more important.
The team at Ocean Premium says, “The entire Seabob range will always be popular but recently we’ve seen a demand for the Radinn G2X electric powerboard which is perfect for the thrill seekers on board and we’re looking forward to introducing the Zapata Flyride this season as well.”
Jacqui Lockhart in Monaco agrees,“Storage space is often a problem and the choice of toys is decided according to the owner’s preferences. Only the largest yachts can accommodate the largest selection of toys so we are lucky to be able to rent all the latest toys via some great suppliers located in strategic charter locations.”
Gabriella Richardson believes that, larger toys can often be difficult to carry due to space limitations, but can be rented on a daily basis during a charter. These can include aviation equipment, helicopters, sea ray planes, multiple tenders, bicycles, fitness equipment and even Triton submarines.
Deramar is a growing company specialising in the sale and rental of luxury toys and yacht tenders in Greece and the Mediterranean. They are flexible, adaptable and insist on delivering on time without compromise when it comes to quality and safety. Agis Raptis says, “By renting toys from Deramar superyacht Captains pick their toys before every charter depending on the client’s wants and needs. There are so many toys available in our range that no
single yacht could actually fit them all on board.” He adds, “Seabobs have been the all time best sellers, however, Jetsurf a surfboard with a small 17hp engine inside it is becoming more and more popular the last couple of years. And without doubt this is now overtaking toys for yachts. With vast the Seabob to become one of our best sellers when it comes to toys for superyachts.”
“Our innovative, high-performance and powerful fleet consists of several of the world’s leading brands in water toys and equipment. We are cooperating with leading shipyards, building completely new yacht tenders, tailor made for the customers’ needs. As for designs and concepts, we can closely cooperate with your shipyard, engineers and surveyors in order to achieve the best result for you. Our years of experience allow us to use materials such as Carbon, Titanium and Kevlar in order to achieve the highest standards of security combined with high speed and low weight.” The 37 metre Dragon built by Guy Couach has been a highly successful charter yacht in the Mediterranean over the last decade and she is packed with almost all of the toys available from Deramar. The captain and crew are sports enthusiasts and have no fear or hesitation in trying out new stuff.”
Allowing Captains to bring different toys on board for the various charter guests is a vital element of successful chatering. Ocean Premium’s ‘Toys On Demand’ service allows yachts to rent the requested toys and equipment per charter without the worry of storage and larger financial commitments. “At the same time,” they say, “it provides an invaluable trial period for them to see the potential fit for the owner and yacht, and also to learn how to operate the toy.”
“The trend is,” Y.CO’s Tamsin Priestley says, “towards more smaller toys rather than larger more expensive ones. Top of the list is perhaps the Hoverboard of which Okto carries one ZR from Zapata.” She adds, “SUPs remain hugely popular and a must-have for all charter guests, floating assault courses are top of the list for our younger charterers.”
Other ways to use paddles include kayaks and canoes. Gero Priebe from Hobie Kayak Europe explains, “Hobie´s MirageDrive is a hands-free, pedal propulsion system which is similar to the technique of ‘sculling’ as in dinghies for example, it makes pedalling a kayak as easy as you like, but can deliver amazing speed with little effort due to its twisting fins. Any kayak equipped with this propulsion system can be used for a variety of different reasons. Not just for the fun of it or combined with our Tandem Island Sailing Kayak to go for a sail and explore the shoreline but also to use it as a tender to land on a nearby beach or to use it as a platform for diving and fishing.”
If you speak Danish or Dutch you will know the word for a canoe is an Onak. What you might not know is that when spelled backwards Onak is the barnd name of an innovative and foldable origami canoe. Nele Braux at Onak tells us, “Because of its innovative new composite material, the boat is extremely durable, very sturdy, fast and lightweight. This combined with its sleek design makes it the perfect additional toy on bigger boats.” The toy is catching on fast mostly because of the ease of storing it on board. It’s easy to set-up taking just 15 minutes and once afloat it is very swift when paddling across the surface. Weighing just 17 kg, it can carry 250kg meaning that about 3 people or 2 people with luggage can be safely transported.
As to which toy gets used each and every charter, Tamsin Priestley suggests, “For family charters, it is always the trampoline, Aquaguide jungle gym, floating island and runway that provide huge fun and copious amounts of exercise for everyone. Tired children and happy parents go a long way towards making one charter a success and bringing back the guests for a second round.”
Stacy promotes Illusion V as her favourite telling us, “Snuba equipment which allows you to explore the underwater world at greater depths than snorkeling. Breathing through a simple regulator while your air supply floats on the surface allows you to stay submerged for longer and explore with greater detail. Somewhere in between Scuba diving and snorkeling, Snuba requires no license or qualification to use.
Gabriella Richardson says RoMa is the yacht for those who love underwater experiences. She says the yacht is unique in the sense that she is the first PADI Superyacht Scuba Centre ever to be featured on a charter yacht. The on board PADI dive school offers dive courses and supervised recreational dive activities with the highest of safety standards. Her on board PADI school makes her the perfect charter yacht for families with children looking to become a qualified diver whilst enjoying the holiday of a lifetime. RoMa has a PADI Superyacht dive boat, 9 full dive sets, a Bauer dive compressor, and emergency oxygen generator on board.”
Captain Janusz Walkinski of RoMa, is a PADI Master Scuba Diving Trainer, and four other crew members are also qualified PADI dive masters. The yacht’s crew really are full of adventure, and this coupled with her extensive selection of toys on board, makes her perfect for families seeking fun and an experience they will never forget. The toy list includes the ever more popular jetsurf, flyboard, 2 3-person jet-skis, a Yamaha stand up waverunner, 3 seabobs and a 27m water slide which can be attached to the side of the yacht when at anchor. To top it off, RoMa is a RYA PWC Certified Training Centre which means a jet-ski licence can be issued for full use and enjoyment of the toys.”
More underwater fun can be had using a device invented by José Escaño Roepstorff. Blurring the boundary between snorkelling and scuba diving the Peter Diving unit devised by José Escaño Roepstorff is an ideal underwater fun solution for yachts. Think of it as a system for multi¬user diving that supplies air from the surface for a safe, easy and comfortable diving experience without the need for divers to carry tanks on their backs or wear cumbersome buoyancy jackets or BCDs. A carbon fibre air filled tank is towed behind the swimmers which makes it much more lightweight and increases the amount of air available to the divers by 50%. This means the crew has an easier time manouvering the kit while the guests are entertained for longer in the safest and easiest way of diving.
José Escaño Roepstorff says “It makes the divemaster’s life much easier; they have much less equipment to maintain and to keep on board. Beginners can try diving for the first time without having to have lengthy briefings regarding BCDs and carrying heavy tanks on their backs. Also the crew can easily use the PETER Diving System for regular prop or hull maintenance or emergencies such as fouled props or stuck anchors. The float and tank can even stay on board so that the diver is still tethered to the boat while they work.
WingsAndMore make and sell underwater scooters to the military and have recently started selling their Twin-Scooter that is they say Safe, user-optimised and easy to maintain. Tobias Schmidt at WingsAndMore tells us, “Details make the difference. This is exactly what the Carbon Scooter MONO, DUO and TWIN series scooters provide for both recreational and technical diving. All of the scooter surfaces have been optimised using hydrodynamic flow simulations to optimise performance. Also, the new downsized and optimised electronics use fail-proof components that ensure peace of mind for the user.”
For other yachts, small underwater toys are not enough and for them, only the best-selling model in the current Triton Submarines range will do. The record-breaking TS¬3300/3, is a remarkable submersible capable of conveying three-persons in total comfort and safety to a depth of 1,000m. No other submersible company has produced a leisure craft certified to operate at that depth, but Triton is proud to have just delivered its eighth unit of this model and the ninth 1,000m Triton certified by DNV¬GL or ABS. No other submersible company has come close to delivering eight units in a single model series.
Triton has a rigorous and extensive development programme with several projects currently under development and in build. Of these it will deliver this year, Project Neptune, the result of a close collaboration with the prestigious Aston Martin Design team. Achingly beautiful, with increased performance and a luxury interior this Special Edition scheduled to debut at the Monaco Yacht Show in September will set new standards in the luxury submersible sector.
As with any asset, the individual owner’s intended use of a yacht, car, aircraft or property determines the additional equipment it is outfitted with. While some yachts are designed as a retreat and for the relaxation of the owner, their family and guests, others are dedicated platforms for exploration, adventure and active participation in a variety of activities. This alone demonstrates the wonderful versatility of yachts, and the toys they carry which are as diverse as the individuals that own them. The quest to own bigger and better toys continues.
Ashore the retail chain selling toys to children, might be in financial trouble but at sea the opposite seems to be very true and when it comes to superyachts it is very much a case of Toys R Us.