x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Capital ready to lure super-yacht crowd

The capital is expected to become a magnet for big-spending super-yacht owners when its luxury marinas begin to open in November.

ABU DHABI // The capital is expected to become a magnet for big-spending super-yacht owners when its luxury marinas begin to open in November. More than 16 marinas are being planned in Abu Dhabi in the next decade, according to Paul Lane, the project director for Aldar's marine division. The facilities will cater to the growing demand for luxury-yacht berthing, Mr Lane said yesterday as the Abu Dhabi Yacht Show opened at the National Exhibition Centre, with 20 boats on display worth a total of about Dh1.84 billion (US$500 million).

"Owners of high-end vessels are very used to a high-end level of service," he said. "These are the people who are used to staying in seven-star hotels." Super-yachts need more space and have bigger electricity requirements than regular yachts and few marinas are capable of handling them. "These boats are being made faster than there are marinas being developed," said Robert Bell, the president of Alliance Marine of Florida, which makes yachts in the Dh100m-plus range. "A lot of really big boats have no place to moor," he added. "They stay on anchor the whole time."

Mr Lane said the limited super-yacht facilities in the Mediterranean quickly become over-booked, and the people who own the yachts are looking for new locations. He expects dozens of super yachts to be at the opening of the Yas Marina, which will coincide with the Formula One Grand Prix in November. The marina will be able to accommodate 143 vessels, and Aldar is already accepting applications. "There is a huge interest," said Mr Lane.

jgerson@thenational.ae