Berths & Marinas in the Balearics
“Palma is one of the most attractive places to base a yacht over the winter and for refitting. In fact, it is allegedly the world’s top location for the repair and refit of large sailing yachts.”
There are a number of reasons that have made this possible including the fact that whether a yacht is in a marina or a shipyard in Palma, the crew can be just as productive and yet enjoy the same facilities, bars and restaurants ashore. It has a mature service industry that is well known for its professionalism, reliability and value for money plus conveniently located accommodation ashore have great appeal to senior crew. There are also a number of international schools, a very well-connected airport less than 15 minutes from Palma, fabulous gastronomy, great shops and a beautiful city and island to visit all year round.
There are a few very attractive and successful marinas around the island that have become destination marinas in themselves in that they are able to provide a wider experience to yacht owners and crew and have attracted visitors from the surrounding areas who may not be connected to yachting at all. Good restaurants, bars and shops are the main reason for their popularity with outsiders, plus they are providing added value with events, concerts and activities throughout the year. Mallorca and the Balearics already have a proven track record in marina operation, yacht refitting and being a highly desirable cruising destination, and this has created a sizable industry which decreases the reliance on the wider tourist industry for many families and business.
If you stand back and look at the mix of marinas and yacht clubs on the islands, most of which are almost full year-round, it is interesting to see the very different type of yachts and owners they attract. There are yacht clubs which are restricted for the general public where smaller sailing yachts are the dominant type of boat, and then larger yacht marinas where there are many more motor than sailing yachts, and these marinas are divided between those where the yachts are accessible to the public and those where they are not. You can choose between having your yacht on permanent exhibition or more discreetly guarded from public scrutiny. That is, if you can find a berth in the first place.
Given the volume of repair and refit work of larger yachts which is done in Mallorca, and the greater amount which is expected will happen in the future, including more on the very large yachts which are currently not really catered for, suitable berthing is going to become a big problem unless more space can be made available by re-distributing existing infrastructure, creating more large berths or a building a new superyacht marina. Many members of the local yachting industry, a number of large yacht owners and crew are hoping that Palma will have a new superyacht marina and that it may be built within the next few years, borne from a wide consensus between the private sector and public institutions. The local yachting industry has learned that when the private and the public sector work together towards a common goal, it is possible to make little miracles happen like the much-improved Palma Superyacht Show or the exemption of the matriculation tax for charter yachts over 15 metres.
Jonathan worked in the Club de Mar-Mallorca, one of the largest superyacht berth marinas in the Mediterranean for 33 years, where he has kept a number of yachts. He also participated as a partner in the Valencia Superyacht Marina during the Americas Cup in 2007 and has been actively involved in a couple of superyacht marina projects.