Want to experience a luxurious yachting retreat without breaking your bank? We might have the answer for you! Joining Catherine Kontos is Alastair Callender, aka The Yacht Tailor, a yacht charter and sales broker at Moravia Yachting, among many others. Alastair has been recognized for his skills in yacht design with a knack for melding together sustainability and luxury. He focuses on tailor-made bespoke yacht experiences, whether that’s through the charter and vacation side of things. Today he shares how yachting may be more attainable than you might think. He talks about their extensive and customizable yacht offerings worldwide, ready to cater to guests on a wide range of budgets. Listen in to see if yachting could be the next agenda for your retreat!
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Discovering The World Of Yachting For Retreats With Alastair Callender – The Yacht Tailor
We have with us on the show Alastair Callender. He is a yacht charter vacation and sales expert that has won international awards for sustainability, innovation and yacht design. Alastair draws upon a career of globally distinguished success. He has been featured by the New York Times, The Financial Times, CNN, The Sunday Times and all major yachting media. Welcome to the show, Alistair. How are you?
Thank you very much for the invitation, Catherine. I’m very well and I’m looking forward to our conversation.
You have a very interesting job and career. There are not too many of you. I don’t think it’s the first time I’ve come across someone like you. You call yourself the Yacht Tailor, am I correct?
That’s right. That’s my social media handle @The_Yacht_Tailor on Instagram and elsewhere. It’s a good metaphor to explain what I do. I do tailor-made bespoke yacht experiences, whether that’s through the charter and vacation side of things. Once people fall in love with the lifestyle of yachting, I then help them with yacht purchase, advice on ownership, and also sale at the other end of things.
What got you into this business? What was your path?
My background is in yacht design. I’ve won international awards in sustainability, innovation and yacht design. That was after a degree in Boat Design, BA Honours in the UK. It was a four-year degree course. I then set up my own business in 2008. That went on to promote some of my design work. One of the designs I did was called Soliloquy, The Super-Green Superyacht. It’s to try and prove a point to the world that eco-luxury no longer has to be an oxymoron.
You can have the most luxurious item on the planet but be very sustainable and minimize any detrimental environmental impact as well. That was my foray and movement into a professional career in the yacht industry. I also worked at various shipyards for design for marketing. I then moved into the sales and charter vacation sector of the market in 2014. Since then, I’ve been directly involved in over 40 superyacht sales and numerous charter vacations all over the world. That’s a very quick summary of what I’ve done and where we are now.
I can see why you won the award because it’s all about the environment and how we can improve what is happening.
A yacht is probably one of the safest ways to travel and enjoy your time.
Perhaps I was ten years ahead of the curve. That was back in 2008, 2009. The International Superyacht Society, the Conde Nast Traveller Design & Innovation Awards, and various other categories recognized it was quite innovative in its day. It’s still cited now in various courses and sustainability within the yacht industry. It’s been great to have that as a foundation for my work.
When people think of yachts and possibly reserving a yacht for a retreat or a vacation with their family, not too many people think that it can be affordable. We had this discussion prior to this show and when you told me the price for someone where it can be affordable, I was like, “That is affordable. I would never think.” Can you discuss with us what the range of prices would be for a yacht for a week?
It’s far more attainable than many people might realize. It’s comparable to a ski trip or a safari. I have access to every yacht on the planet that is available for charter. They range anywhere from about $8,000 a head for a week vacation up to the largest yachts on the planet that are available for charter. I inspected that on behalf of a client in Monaco. That’s 446 feet or 136 meters and she is $4 million a week.
We have a huge price point difference and a very large spread. As a result, I can typically find a fabulous yacht. I inspected the best yachts on the planet, tasted the food, met the crew, saw the service and understood all the amenities. Therefore, we can find the perfect yacht for each client and each guest. To answer your question, at the lower end of the market, it is very much attainable for lots of people.
They know that when they’re renting a yacht, it’s been certified by you to be in perfect condition as far as physical and as service is concerned as well.
Every yacht in the presentations that I propose is professionally managed. They may be managed by our company or another company, but they will have to be up to the right standards to be able to propose a vacation and that includes safety and manning requirements. It includes the condition of the yacht and its seaworthiness.
The yachts that I propose far exceed all of the regulations. They’re there to provide the highest level of service and luxury on the planet. Some of my clients have previously rented villas and had other experiences at various resorts. They’ve all said without exception that onboard a yacht is simply unprecedented when it comes to the level of luxury and incredible vacation experiences that they can enjoy.
We have the issue of COVID-19. How does it work every time you go to a different country? Do people have to do tests to get off? What’s the protocol?
Firstly, it’s important to mention that a yacht is probably one of the safest ways to travel and enjoy your time. Time is the most precious commodity we all have. To be on a yacht, you’re in your safety, seclusion and your bubble with the people that you want to specifically spend your time with. Not only is it a good way of enjoying your vacation, but it’s also in a relatively small bubble of people.
Sometimes from your front door, when you leave to perhaps your yacht charter to being on board the yacht and back again, you’ll only ever be around those that you choose to be with. It is quite carefully controlled, probably better than any other form of vacation. When you’re on board, there are protocols. Each yacht will have its own standards and requirements to make sure that the guests are looked after and the professional crew of the yacht. Typically, the requirements would be to have your COVID testing to prove you’ve not got COVID. Some owners will require vaccination and some won’t.
It’s case by case between the country you’re flying into or traveling into to adhere to the changing requirements. We’re here to advise. We also have professionals in the insurance world who can advise when it comes to protecting yourself if there’s a change of government policy or travel restrictions. Your trip can also be covered in that respect. Without exception, I think yachting is probably the highest level of standard of privacy, seclusion and cleanliness that one can enjoy a vacation.
That sounds great because a lot of times people don’t know what they’re getting into, especially when they’re going into a yacht when they’re getting off into different countries. Can you tailor their vacation as to their destination? As to, “If we go to this country, this is happening.” Do you advise people on where to go?
A hundred percent. Firstly, every single charter that I ever designed is completely curated and tailor-made, which is partly why one of my social media handles is @The_Yacht_Tailor. We do tailor-made vacations and retreats onboard yachts. We can therefore gear every single moment of every single day around the client and their guests. That might be a client wanting to sit in Monaco watching the Monaco Grand Prix and stay stationary within a harbor somewhere in the world.
It could be the most extraordinary trip on an Explorer yacht for months on end, and seeing the ends of the Earth and some of these places that have pretty much been untouched by human beings before. We can do every level of detail down to the nth degree of planning for every vacation and experience. That will also entail our advice when it comes to the best parts of the world, the best time of year and the typical climate for the time people might like to visit.
Do you have yachts everywhere in the world or is it specific to the Americas or Europe? Are there specific locations? How does that work? I’m in Canada, for example. Where would I get my next yacht where I’ll be doing my next retreat?
Yachting is probably the highest standard, privacy, seclusion, and cleanliness to enjoy a vacation.
We have yachts all over the world from the Galapagos to the Med to the Caribbean, Southeast Asia or even off the beaten path like Antarctica or the Norwegian fields. The processes I will discuss with my client or a travel agent or a retreat leader as to where in the world might they like to visit. If they don’t know, they can provide a list of sample itineraries and examples. Once we narrow down a region, we can then provide the best and finest yachts on the planet that are available in that region.
Sometimes they visit every season. Sometimes they’re permanently based in the Galapagos, for example. Sometimes they visit once every blue moon but I know that in the future, an incredible yacht will be in Southeast Asia. We’d then be able to propose it for specific dates on which that yacht will be there. To answer your question, there are yachts all over the world and typically, we can find a yacht that is going to be extraordinary in each situation. There are some regions that are better at certain times of years than others. That’s where we come in and advise clients and those who want to enjoy the yachting experience.
How would a retreat work? If somebody wants to use a yacht for a transformational retreat, what would that look like and what would that feel like? How much more transformative can it be on a yacht versus on land?
For me, onboard a yacht, you can take it to another level. Whatever you’re used to enjoying or experiencing on the shore, you can experience a heightened level of privacy, seclusion and luxury. Also importantly, it’s completely private from anyone else. You can make it incredibly personal. For example, if you’re bringing your board of directors from a corporation or a family office is looking to do their annual retreat onboard a yacht, everything by its very nature is going to be private because you’re away from anyone else.
Perhaps in a hotel, you’re wondering about privacy and what can and can’t be talked about confidentially. Onboard a yacht, you’ve got no worries about it. You are on a private floating island. You can be miles away from anyone else. More importantly, it’s that time you spend with those during the retreat. That is probably the best way to enjoy your time. The endless number of amenities onboard. Some of our yachts have special wellness areas. The whole area of the yacht can be dedicated to a spa, sauna, hammam or masseuses on board, etc.
We also have extraordinary facilities. That includes endless water sports and toys to enjoy the ocean. It includes swimming pools onboard. It might even include a helicopter to be able to go heli-skiing at the top of a mountain one day, and come down for a seven-course dinner with wine pairings in the evening under the Northern Lights. The options are endless and whatever you want to achieve on a very bespoke tailor-made retreat can only be heightened and provide exceptional experiences to those attending.
I assume there would even be space, depending on the yacht, to even have yoga sessions where people are spread out. Imagine that in the middle of the ocean. That would be amazing.
It’s very special. I can find yachts with specific crew members that are either yoga instructors, fitness trainers. Sometimes they’ve had experienced themselves at the top of their sport. You can get the very best attention when it comes to all these different sports or yoga. When you’ve got the opportunity to use a gym that’s been designed by an Olympic gold medalist, the options are endless. You cannot just focus on your wellness, health and fitness, but perhaps you want to have a very specific cuisine cooked by your Michelin Star chef.
It’s very detailed. If every member of the guest list has a different culinary requirement or preference, that will be catered for. Very rarely can you find that level of chef available at a moment’s notice 24/7 throughout your experience. Hands down, it does provide the most extraordinary level of treat or experience available.
What I love about retreats, whether you’re doing it on land or on a boat is that one of the most important things is to be isolated from the rest of the world, so you can focus on what you’re there for. I find yachts do that perfectly because you are there and you’re concentrated on each other, on what’s happening and on your transformation. What’s good also is that you can go to a country that probably enhances what you want to transform in the people.
Whether it’s their cuisine or an activity, you’re not only limited to what that country has to offer in that destination. You can maybe go 2 to 3 days to one destination and another 2 to 3 days somewhere else, and you’ll get very different experiences from each. It makes things more enjoyable. You have more options and you’re doing it in style.
It’s important to highlight that you could wake up in a different secluded bay every day. The itinerary is completely geared around what the guests want to achieve on their trip. If they’ve got a two-week retreat or vacation, they might enjoy going around the Galapagos and have an expert on board to teach them about the flora and the fauna, the animals above and below the waterline.
Perhaps you’re a marine biologist and want to do world-class diving and that evening have a photographer on board to show you everything you saw during the day. It’s absolutely going to the nth degree of detail when planning the trip around each client. I’ve never done two yacht charter bookings the same. You might start in Monaco and end up in Santa Fe. Every time I’ve done that trip, each client wants to achieve different things during the trip.
If children are on board, you can bring the textbook to life. Perhaps you want to go to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rather than just reading about it in a book or online or in a video, you can personally be there, and the next day wake up in a different location in the Greek islands. Every day, you go around and see different regions. It’s very special and unique. Every charter client has chartered time and time again after their first foray and experience of a yacht charter.
It sounds like a truly exciting experience that anybody from any age would love to do. I don’t think you need to be a child to go to the UNESCO sites. You could be any age and learn. It’s different to read it in books or look it up on the internet than to be there and see the majestic beauty of everything that the world has to offer. Tell me, where can people reach you if they want to connect with you?
You’re welcome to reach out to me directly. I’m quite easy to find on LinkedIn. I’ve also got a landing page. If you go to www.ContactTheYachtTailor.com or a quick Google search, I’m sure you’ll be able to find me that way. Do feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear from you and answer any specific questions. I’m always happy to help where I can.
There are yachts all over the world. Typically, we can find a yacht that is going to be extraordinary in each situation.
Is there anything you’d like to offer our readers before we let you go?
Yachting is the most extraordinary experience that is on offer. However, if someone is very land-based and chooses not to go to sea, one of my clients owns a private island in the Caribbean. That’s also a marvelous way to enjoy a retreat and that’s available for rent. It’s below the radar. You can’t just Google it, but I’m very happy to make introductions. That is very much more attainable. It’s about $11,000 per head for a week retreat. That is an all-inclusive trip. If anyone wants to learn more about my world of yachts, whether it’s in the form of yacht vacations or ownership, do reach out. I’ve got various materials that I’d love to share with you. I’ve got a charter guide to yachting and I’m very happy to share that with anyone that would be interested to learn more.
Do they need to reach out to you personally to get that guide?
Yes. I can tailor it to them and their requirements.
I will be reaching out to you concerning that island as well. That sounds interesting. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate the time you took to inform my readers of all the offerings for yachts. Some people probably haven’t even thought of that and that it also can be obtainable. I appreciate all the information that you did give me and our readers. I hope to send you a lot of my clients over because I have a lot of interest in that. I’ve been talking about you to many people. I’ve picked up a few people that are interested. I’m looking forward to doing business with you. Alastair, thanks again for being here.
Thank you very much for the opportunity. I have enjoyed our conversation, Catherine. Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can ever help in any way.
- International Superyacht Society
About Alastair Callender
Alastair designs priceless memories on the world’s finest yachts: curating tailor-made luxury Vacation Experiences and Retreats.
Alastair has access to every superyacht on the global charter market. These yachts are located across every region of the world.
Having been directly involved in over 40 superyacht sales during his career to date, Alastair also advises clients on superyacht purchase, ownership & sales.
He launched the Americas region for a boutique Yacht Charter Vacations & Sales Brokerage firm.
As the only Yacht Charter Vacations & Sales expert that has won International Awards for Sustainability, Innovation & Yacht Design, Alastair draws upon a career of globally distinguished success. He has been featured by The New York Times, The Financial Times, CNN, The Sunday Times & all major yachting media.