As summer draws to a close, Spain’s yachting industry is able to draw breath and reflect on a bumper season. The country ditched its infamous 12% matriculation tax in 2013 and in 2014 it allowed non-EU-flagged charter yachts to operate in Balearic waters. These two pieces of legislation combined have resulted in dozens of the world’s flashiest superyachts adding these stunning Spanish islands to their cruising itineraries.
Lorenzo Vila, Director of easyboats, has been in the business for 25 years and witnessed many changes, “Born and bred in Mallorca, and from a seafaring family, I have first-hand experience of how the Islands are growing in stature on the superyacht scene. When we set up easyboats in 1989, we were literally the first motoryacht charter business in Mallorca and had to persuade an insurance company to devise a policy that would cover motor as well as sail. With this first mover advantage we returned all our investment in year one. The success story continued until a combination of illegal charter yachts, global recession and restrictive nautical legislation sent the industry as a whole into a downward spiral. The field was left open for locations such as Montenegro to attract superyachts with sweeteners of tax- and duty-free fuel and zero percent VAT on charters.”
“Thankfully, this year Spain is now firmly back on the map,” continues Lorenzo. “The relaxed legislation has provided the kick-start the Balearic Islands needed and most marinas have been fully-booked throughout the summer – particularly across the water in Ibiza. Regarding the world’s flashiest superyachts, we’ve seen ‘Mr Mariah Carey’ James Packer’s 87.5 metre Arctic P, 90 metre Lürssen Phoenix 2, brand new 89 metre OceAnco Infinity and New Yorker David Geffen’s 128 metre Rising Sun in waters off Mallorca – to name but a few. And now the marinas are responding by upgrading their facilities.”
Mallorca has a number of superyacht-friendly ports, from capital Palma to neighbouring Puerto Portals and newcomer Starck-designed Port Adriano. Now it’s the turn of Port Andratx to welcome the jetset.
While the fishing industry still thrives today, with trawlers unloading their daily catch for seafront trade, Port Andratx has transformed from humble fishing village to a playground for millionaires and billionaires. A who’s who of royalty, gentry and entrepreneurs are snapping up multimillion price tag villas, dining in the many high-end restaurants that line the Port and taking to the sea on luxury yachts. To cater to this demand, the Marina is currently adding seven superyacht berths between 26 and 30 metres as well as a muelle de espera – waiting quay – which will accommodate visiting yachts up to 80 metres. The project, approved by the Government Port Authority in December 2014, also creates 34 extra parking spaces and has a total budget of almost two million euros.
easyboats Lorenzo finishes, “This year specialist property valuation consultancy, Tinsa, placed Andratx in third place for property hotspots in Spain, beaten only by Sitges and Calvia for price per square metre. It really is a thriving neighbourhood and a magnet for high net worth individuals who appear to be prepared to pay anything it takes to secure a prime waterside property in the sunshine. In 2014 a home sold for a record 27,000 euros per square metre and I see no reason why this won’t be beaten in the future. Now, with the marina makeover, Port Andratx will certainly be one to watch for summer 2016.”