Superyachts in pole position

By Rebecca Whitlocke | The 76th edition of the Monaco Grand Prix will exploit breath-taking motorsport, technical excellence, glamour and entertainment to provide spectators with an outstanding experience during the weekend in May. Alexander Coles, a Senior Charter Broker for superyachts at Bespoke Yacht Charter, helps us get a grip on this unique event.

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Located on a city circuit that fringes Port Hercule and weaves through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, the Monaco Grand Prix has always had an important role in the global presence of this tiny principality.

The Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) have been in charge of the organisation of the event since 1929 and today the Monaco race is a Grand Prix certainly not to miss as it balances the heritage of great victories with world-class exclusivity that takes its place on the cruising landscape for luxury yachts and the jet-set crowd.

From glittering invitations at the Foster + Partners-designed Yacht Club de Monaco to watching the action from grandstands opposite the legendary Casino de Monte-Carlo, the Monaco Grand Prix is an assault on the senses and a visual and aural journey into one of motorsport’s iconic trump cards.

The ultimate starting grid

The behind-the-scenes preparation for the Monaco race is, to put it simply, staggering. The infrastructure for the circuit is constructed each year by over 50 engineers, showcasing the challenge of street racing in the midst of a densely-populated urban zone in the heart of Monte Carlo.

The future may see the possibility of a small track extension working into the €2 billion land development project that is happening near the famous Fairmont Tunnel. For now, the narrow, winding circuit is unforgiving to errors, demanding pinpoint driver precision and unique setups for car aerodynamics, suspension and steering.

As the original superyachts destination, many of the world’s top charter yachts are based in Monaco over the summer. You can be on your yacht in Port Hercule 20 minutes after stepping off your jet at Nice.

This year, barriers are in place earlier than normal due to the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique that takes place a couple of weeks before the Formula 1 event, adding to a high-profile month for the French Riviera that also includes the Cannes Film Festival.

Alexander Coles, Senior Charter Broker at Bespoke Yacht Charter shares his insight into why yacht charters for Monaco Grand Prix are a huge success: “As the original superyacht destination, many of the world’s top charter superyachts are based in Monaco over summer. You can be on your yacht in Port Hercule 20 minutes after stepping off your jet at Nice. Monaco is a short cruise to Cap Ferrat, a real summer superyachts playground, and it’s also a great place to begin charters into Italy, to Corsica and Sardinia. Monaco features heavily on almost any charter itinerary in the west Med. Sitting in a hot tub on the sundeck of a trackside superyacht, with your favourite drink in hand, as the cars fly by, has to be the ultimate way to enjoy the pinnacle event of the Formula 1 season”.

Luxury yacht charter for the Monaco Grand Prix 2019

Race enthusiasts can charter their own private yachts for the Monaco race either in port or at anchor, however for spectators without the required budget, there are viewing packages with shared hospitality on luxury yachts or private terraces, which are a viable option to experience the excitement of this prestigious event.

Superyachts berthed trackside at Port Hercule are in high demand – however, there are alternative options such as berths at Port Fontvieille, Port of Cap d’Ail and berths outside Stars’N’Bars. Monaco has good transport links and is in close proximity to the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport; it’s worth noting that helicopter transfers are popular during the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix and best reserved far in advance with Heli Air Monaco.

The behind-the-scenes preparation for the Monaco race is, to put it simply, staggering.

It’s necessary to plan well ahead as there is a strict application process to get a yacht into Port Hercule for the weekend. Not all charter yachts are available for event charters, so it’s highly advisable to speak to an expert charter broker who can discuss your needs and ensure your yacht preference is secured for the Monaco Grand Prix. A sample selection of luxury yachts for charter for the Monaco Grand Prix 2019 include:

ANTISAN – a great option for the Monaco Grand Prix as you can host 70 guests for the race. Sleeps 10 guests in five cabins. Priced from €50k for five days plus berth, APA and VAT.

DUKE TOWN – superb for entertaining up to 80 guests for the race. Sleeps 10 guests in five cabins. Priced from €100k for five days plus berth, APA and VAT.

SIROCCO – ideal for private and corporate clients, Sirocco’s crew are exceptional with events. Ability to host 100 guests for the race. Sirocco sleeps 12 guests in six cabins so it’s great for an extended French Riviera yacht charter. Priced from €162,5k for five days plus berth, APA and VAT.

The WOW factor

Spectator expectations evolve all the time and it’s a perennial challenge for the promoters to pursue new ideas and keep the fan experience fresh and exciting. In Monaco, race fans can relax at pop-up bars along the streets in La Condamine or wander by Place d’Armes where the mood is interactive with live music, big screens and bars sustaining the lively atmosphere.

Fans can buy VIP access to parties with driver and celebrity appearances, invited guests revel in unforgettable entertainment at the Red Bull Energy Station, or they can simply soak up the ambience at private soirées on multi-deck yachts where conversations about Champagne and chicanes extend well after dusk.

Alexander continues: “We have a lot of returning and referral clients who appreciate being up close to the event from privileged berths alongside the circuit, to pit lane walks and after-parties on superyachts. You can feel the pulse and excitement everywhere in Monaco.  Clients on yachts understand the benefits of having their brand displayed to a global audience, however, the Monaco Grand Prix goes beyond that – there is huge respect for this circuit and the traditions of racing”.

Rebecca Whitlocke is a freelance writer based on the French Riviera, specialising in bringing destinations to life with a luxury twist. She has contributed to yachting publications and luxury media in ten countries around the world.

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