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Megayachts: How big is too big?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by curiouspeter, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. rhinotub

    rhinotub Member

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    Security detail traveling separate from the Principal kinda defeats the purpose.
  2. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    curiouspeter, Sir, you just made my day!

    What is the perfect relation (in size and range) of your business aircraft and your "boat". Not for prestige and the ability to show off, just from the practical point of view, because with the size of your boat, the radius of action and the amount of people / guests to be transported, increases. I would concider a private business jet as a mandatory tender to your (larger) yacht.

    Taking a few examples from Mallorca, where my boat is "parked" most of the season and the jets I see at the general aviation terminal of the Palma Int Airport.

    The typical owner (not the pax of charter a/c like NetJet) of the smaller Citation Jet 2s, quite a lot of them owner operated, I see or meet again on boats between 100 to 150 ft, both sail and power. The owner of yachts between 150 and 200 ft, max. 250 ft come in on mid size jets like Cessna Sovereign or Falcon 2000. The size of their aircraft corresponds to their radius of action, The Citation 2 with its 1600 NM range or the Sovereign with her 2800 NM range are mostly restricted to European destinations.

    The larger yachts from 200 ft to the 2999 GT size are mostly served by more than one type of jet. I agree on your opinion, the BBJ is the optimum business jet for serving those sized boats. With its high range of 6000 NM and its high payload it is a very flexible tool, both for European routes and crossing the Pond. But most of those owners have a second smaller sized but very fast jet like a Cessna Citation X or Gulfstream 550 / 650, Falcon 50 (0.9 Mach), when they come in with smaller entourage or just for the weekend.

    The bigger yachts (300 ft+) are mostly supported by wide body jets like Boeing 767, 777 or Airbus 330, 340. When the big boys arrive, they are normally awaited by mid size helicopters like Sikorski S76, Bell 430 or similar and fly off to their boats. These owners are mostly from Russia or the Middle East. But those owners do not fraternize with us ordinary mortal people :).

    We have one American owner, which regulary arrives in his Boeing 757. When the bigger yachts are on charter, those business jets also transport the charter guests.

    So, how big is to big? When I owned a sailboat in the 100 ft range, I had the choice of about 10 harbours on the island of Mallorca plus some more on Ibiza and Menorca. Now with a boat close to 160 ft (including bowsprit :)), I am down to 2 harbours on Mallorca (Palma and Port Adriano) and one each on Ibiza and Menorca. Just as an example.

    I have figured, the maximum size of a sailboat for me is / would be 163 ft (49.9 Meters) 499 GT. The same size would apply for a planning vessel. For a powered displacement vessel it would be 200 ft and about 1200 to 1400 GT. Above this length and size, I personally found the limitations, restrictions and rules apllied, caused by their sheer size, ridiculous.

    But if you are restricting yourself to that size and you still want to make use of some toys and tenders, a shadow vessel of at least equal size is a must.

    The maximum reasonable size for an owner operated yacht without crew, I place at around 60 to 65 ft, for a yacht operated by husband and wife crew only, retired or not, 55 ft to absolut max. 60 ft. You can go up to 80 ft with your owner operated boat, if you have two able crew members permanently working on the boat and the owner is just playing the skipper.
  3. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    Your first post: "Is there a point beyond which docking at a marina becomes impossible? ...Just curious. :)"

    After more than a dozen posts trying to help you, you now ask the question in its proper context. Your last post should have been your first.

    Glad your specialty is fiction.

    Judy
  4. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    HTM is quite right.

    Once you go over the 250'/75m range, thing really start to get limited with berths and the draught. I mentioned on the 'Eclipse' thread, when she was launched, that I doubted she would be able to go along side in many places other than Cruise Ship or dusty Commercial docks.

    I have been mostly proved right.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Yes I have. I'm not talking from a perspective of how big a house is comfortable with all the household staff. I'm talking from the perspective of when it becomes more like a home than a boat. Also when it becomes more of a hassle finding places to go suitable for the boats or more work than is fun. Above 140' you've pretty well left cruising places like the ICW behind, along with many of the smaller ports. You've also left many docks behind putting yourself in the situation of anchoring out and deploying the launch. There's no social engineering here. What I wrote is from the perspective of a boater, i.e. someone that wants the boating experience, not a mega-yacht owner. The numbers I gave are based on my experiences. The fact is that the larger boats get, the less they get used, and at a certain point the owner stops being a boater and is simply a passenger on a private cruise ship. I remember hearing a 60 minutes interview with a woman who bought a 200' + yacht. She hates boats, gets sea sick, has no time for boats, and has no intention of ever setting foot on her yacht. She got it simply to show the world that she could afford it. Sorry, but as someone who loves boats and boating, I find that ridiculous.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    In that context I would say aprox. 170' to 240' would fit the bill.
  7. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    When becomes the owner a passenger on his yacht?

    NYCAP, I do agree on all of your points. But an Owner with no skills as a seaman / boater becomes a pax even on a dinghy, regardless of its size.

    Even me as a fully qualified commercial master, sometimes become a guest on my own boats. If the boat requires a fully qualified permanent skipper, you as the owner should not infring on your skippers business. When out at sea, I ask my skipper from time to time very friendly for permission to take the helm but I never take command. I act as a crewmember, because I like to sail. You probably know better than me, we captains have an ego like a mammoth :D. If I would frequently take over my skippers job, he would leave me in the next harbour. He is the best skipper I ever had, one of my best friends and sails much better than me. I do not want to loose him. During races he is the skipper and chief tactical officer and I play the helm and obey orders. Thats the reason why we win our races one or the other time.

    On a powered boat regardless of size, if you are enjoying your life on the aft deck, you are a guest. And I must say, I enjoy that very much. When you get older, its nice to be pampered once in a while :p. Life is short enough.
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Very well put. I come from the perspective though of valuing the independence boating gives, the hands-on approach and experience. That's why I broke it down to what to expect at different lengths. As they get bigger you become more dependent on others, and physical or logistical constraints. However, with the OP's subsequent clarification it merited a different answer.
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Using your wife or girlfriend to handle lines and carry fenders is not very gentlemanly, is it? :)

    When using your boat and going out for a quick tide, evening cruise etc you are leaving from your home slip, you re not carrying lines, they stay at the slip. Bigger boats have cable masters, shore power cables are a non issue and again I never expect my girlfriend to do the dirty work. Yeah I also open doors for her. :)
  10. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Lunch spot? True but some of us prefer lunch on the hook, again depends where you go.

    When you re in your own slip, your springs are set so no chance of getting th platform close, no need for a spotter and a stern cam is dirt cheap. Many larger boats have stern controls when needed anyway

    Too much fuel? An hour out an hour back in, that's 20 to 40 gal... Less than a lunch tab. A drop in the bucket in the big picture of boat ownership

    Fuel time? Do you refuel every time? Of course not...
  11. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    I've worked on some large yachts were the owner didn't even know where the engineroom was (while showing Prince Charles around the boat and was interested in seeing it) to another who could berth it without really trying. He, however, had always been very hands-on on all his yachts, also the odd Warship.

    All owners are different.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I have a good owner who likes to take the boat out without a Captain and go for a little cruise and stop for lunch. He has a 100' that is fully crewed, but had a 55' express. If him and his wife go to lunch here in South Florida, yeah the wife is going to have to get fenders and lines. He and several other owners all found out that about 60' is the biggest that their wives could help out with. Some couples like their privacy. A lot of them also realised that after 60' you just can't pull up to Houston's or Duffy's or wherever and expect that they can make a spot for you. Once you get past 5/8" lines, things start getting real heavy real fast. 3/4 is still somewhat managable, but try picking up 1" yacht braid that's 50' long and carry it down the side deck. A lot of times also they might run the boat somewhere with just their wife and then all of their buddies will get on and then they go further.
  13. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I agree that 60 to 70 is probably as big as you can get without a crew.

    But if you re just going to stop for lunch somewhere, you don't need to use 1" lines... Thinner will do just fine so again it comes down to how the boat is set up. I hate the concept of a lunch hook but lunch lines, sure...

    FTL is different, there aren't many places to anchor out so yes, you end up going to restaurants for lunch and obviously the smaller the better. Here in Miami, there are few restaurants you can go by boat so you spend more time on the hook.

    I spend more time sailing these days but before that, for years, I d often take the boat out for a spin with no purpose, just to be out on the water. Sometimes, I d just leave the dock and anchor out on the bay for an hour or two in the evening. That is what boating is about. I could do it because my boats have always been rigged to be easily taken out while I see neighbors who need to spend 30 minutes just to leave the slip or coming back in. It comes down to simple thing like how the lines are rigged, how the shore power cord is routed. My old hatt doesn't have a cable master, the 50 amp cable is routed along the side deck to the stern or bow. When I leave, all I do is unplug, roll the last 20' and store that either on the aft deck, hanging from the rail, or at the bow behind one of the deck box. Zero effort, takes 30"

    Here in so fl, 95% of the docks have wooden pilings making fenders rarely needed. Unless you bought a boat with no rub rail :)

    And again there is no reason for men to stop being gentlemen because they are at the helm (talking private boat, not running someone's) When it s just the two of us, I often get off my but and help with the lines and stuff.

    There is a big difference in running someone's boat or your own, I do both which is probably why my perspective is a little different.
  14. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    We hop in and go for spins often. May be two hours, four hours, or just a trip to the restaurant. May go ICW or out or may just be canal cruising. That's part of the beauty of being on the water. We have check lists, but we can still run through the checks on a 63, warm the engines up, and be off in 15 minutes. Returning it's less than five minutes time. Part of that is having everything set up well. We're like Captain J's owner, larger boat for cruises, smaller ones for local. But some of the best times are when you just get the urge to get out on the water. If we've been having bad seas and gale warnings and then suddenly have a day of moderate chop or 2-4' then you can bet we're hitting the water. We get "land fever."

    While with skill and planning, one person can handle 100' or more as proven on deliveries all the time. Under normal circumstances and what I'm comfortable with however, I look at the sizes in terms of how many persons needed. Up to 30' or so, one person can do it all. The reach is short. Nothing hard. Then I think two are fine up to 60' and on some boats larger. When it comes to the larger boats though, 80-100 or more, three persons are just preferred in my mind. One at the wheel, one bow, one stern. Yes, with controls on the sides or sterns you can eliminate one and even do it single handed. But for general every day comfort I like three. We take our 44 and 63 out by ourselves often locally, just the two of us. But larger, I personally wouldn't do without a captain aboard. Now we don't take trips even on the 63 without a captain because of our limited experience and because of our lack of mechanical ability and inclination. But that doesn't mean for many it wouldn't be fine. Just us.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    So right on the differences. FTL we dock at the restaurants. Miami, we dock at marinas and go to the restaurant from there.
  16. curiouspeter

    curiouspeter Member

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    Yes, this character also owns a couple of Falcon jets. A few locations (e.g. Sedona, Tortola) in the book are not quite accessible by a BBJ. :)

    In fact, his flight department will be prominently featured because the protagonist works as a corporate FA for the better part of the book.

    HTM, thanks a lot for your help!
  17. curiouspeter

    curiouspeter Member

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    Fair enough. I should have done that. Sorry. :)

    Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for.
  18. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Mid size business jets

    One reason, the Cessna Sovereign is the most wanted mid size business jet in Europe (and the US), is her very low runway reqirement. She only needs about 4000 ft balanced field length (runway length according to commercial calculation rules). She can be used on airfields normally only accessible with King Air or STOL type aircraft.
  19. curiouspeter

    curiouspeter Member

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    Yes, the Sovereign is an incredible little aircraft, especially in hot-and-high situations.
  20. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    htm09
    this is why I like my spx is the range and speed

    john