A dedicated sail yacht area was an initiative that began in 2021 at the Monaco Yacht Show. Last year, eight sail yachts exhibited. This year, the figure more or less doubled, a signal that the sustainability song sheet has wafted in and around the superyacht society and its message is sinking in. A bit.
A taste for skimming the sea’s surface in sublime and simple silence is on the up, suggests sales and charter broker Splinter Fangman, of broker firm Edmiston, based in Monaco.
He explains, “Generally speaking there is more interest in sailing yachts than previously. That’s either from people who are interested in it for the sportive element, with being more integrated with the operation of the boat, with nature, with the sea.”
Or, he suggests, there are those who are interested in the PR effect of owning a sail yacht. “They are people who are very aware of the message they are sending. Say, for example, you are anchored off St. Tropez, and people know that’s your yacht, what’s the message? If you are on a sailing yacht you are sending a more environmentally friendly message. So, we are seeing more clients who are aware of that and aware of the climatic importance.”
He adds, “We have some clients at the moment who have a foundation focused on the environment but they also want a yacht. So, they feel that the best way forward is to have a sailing yacht and have the right messaging.”
Sales of super yachts powered by the wind at Edmiston have risen during each consecutive year since Covid and now make up 12%. The company has a particular flair for sales of the Italian luxury yacht builder Perini Navi boats, with the likes of S/Y Zenji, S/Y Melek, and S/Y Rosehearty passing through its books in 2021.
Edmiston presented 11 yachts at the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS) this year, three of which were sail yachts. They were S/Y Silencio, a 49.8m Perini Navi, the 56.4m S/Y Salvaje (built 2014, refit 2019) from Alloy Yachts, and 53.9m S/Y Pink Gin VI (2017, refit 2022) built by Baltic Yachts.
S/Y Silencio is priced at €14,500,00, the other two are each priced at €29,500,000. All are sumptuously luxurious and really rather different.
The original owners of two-masted ketch S/Y Salvaje didn’t ‘do’ corners, and below deck the walls ripple curvaceously in an interior that blends classic sailing styles with painterly blotches of the brightest colours. Built for extended world sailing, she can accommodate up to 11 guests across five cabins all with marble ensuite. She has a range of 6,500nm at 10 knots.
S/Y Pink Gin VI is a sloop and so has only a single mast. Explains Fangman, “For this length of yacht, the typical format is a ketch, like S/Y Salvaje, but the owner of Pink Gin just wanted a cleaner look.” SY Pink Gin VI is, says Fangman, spectacular for a number of reasons. She is the largest carbon fibre sailing sloop in the world, so she’s super light and super fast. And the carbon hull is also extremely tough. “No expense was spared on this entirely custom-built boat,” says Fangman.
Her interiors are a mix of fun and formal with blue painted wooden floorboards hosting plush velvet sofas, and a pink baby grand piano.
Says Fangman, who is Dutch but grew up at international schools across the world, “The Pink Gin interior is quite special actually. I recently received a charter enquiry from someone who was on the boat but she is not for charter. To me at least she is very much like a New York apartment. She’s not very nautical, which sets her apart from a lot of other yachts. So, for this charter client I really wanted to suggest they rent a New York apartment instead. Especially the bathroom with the tiles in the master cabin. It’s a very old school New York style.”
S/Y Silencio, built in steel and aluminium by Italian yard Perini Navi, was delivered in 2001 as the third yacht in the yard’s 50 metres series. She sleeps 12 guests in five cabins and is finely appointed with sleek, cherry wood interiors designed by Christian Liaigre. More outdoor spaces and al fresco dining spots were added during a refit in 2012. She won both the 2013 Perini Cup and the 2015 Millennium Cup.
Fangman believes there are multiple factors influencing the increased interest in sail. One of them is competitive sailing, “such as the America’s Cup”, he suggests, “which is extremely exciting, high speed, and very captivating for traditional but also new audiences. I think that has re-ignited and re-excited people about sailing; just knowing you can go 70 or 90km/h on pure sail power. I think sailing is sexy again.”
Jeff Bezos will soon rank number one as the world’s sexiest sailor when he takes delivery of his 127m sail yacht later this year. The three-masted schooner Y721, built by Oceanco, will be the largest sail yacht in the world.
Other important influencers include tennis champion Rafael Nadal and former Formula One racing driver Nico Rosberg, who both own yachts built by eco-focused yacht builders Sunreef, explains Fangman. “These public figures decided to go yachting and realised they can do it in a sustainably correct way and that rubs off on other people. It’s a bit like owning a classic car where you are really involved in its being and that’s a very different experience from a motor yacht. You’re involved in how much energy it is using, how much energy it needs: When the sails are up, engines are off, and all you have is natural energy and silence, it is quite spectacular and very majestic.”
Photo above: Jeff Brown design, courtesy Edmiston