You know people are finally taking luxury boating seriously when you’re invited to the launch of a yacht timeshare. Club Privada—by the same folks who introduced us to the abs perfect world of Gold’s Gym—is the country’s first club membership plan on yachts. The club, which launches today, has begun operations with five shiny new boats—an Azimut 50 and four Larson Cabrio 350s. “You don’t have to worry about buying the boat, insurance or service and maintenance,” says Mumbai-based Club Privada director Jagdish Valecha, one of the investors in this venture. Plus you avoid the coordination hassles of fractal or part ownership of a boat, he adds. I staged a getaway from the office and hopped on to the plusher Azimut, a boat that would cost you a cool Rs7.5 crore if you were to buy it.
The good stuff
The Italian beauty can easily take a family of six to Goa and back. What’s more, everyone gets his/her own room. There’s the owner’s cabin with a high bed, lots of storage, an LCD/DVD, two portholes and a gorgeous round skylight directly above the bed—my ride ended before dark or I would have tried to count the stars for you, dear reader. And yes, the room has an attached head, that’s sailorese for a good-looking washroom. Then there’s the smaller VIP cabin, with one porthole and an LCD/DVD. There’s also a cupboard-sized children’s room with bunk beds.
Aboard the air-conditioned Azimut you get white leather and a skylight above the master bed
My personal favourite spot was the all-white flybridge with its leather upholstered lounge area, a barbecue, a chiller and a bin (because we don’t want you throwing all that plastic in the sea, right?). From here, you can see the sundeck at the bow (the most clichéd romantic spot ever after Titanic). If you want to walk the plank, look back and you’ll spot the electronic telescopic gangway. There are two steering wheels—one below and one on the flybridge.
What about food, did you say? Carry your own or just pay for the extras. The club has tied up with Mumbai caterer The Bombay Kitchen for meals on board. So, for breakfast there’s Spanish omelette, smoked cheese, sausages, bagels, et cetera. Dinner could be sushi and smoked salmon. “There’s lots of variety but no rice or gravies,” says Sameer Uttamsingh, who runs the catering service. White carpets, waves...what were you thinking?
If you’re into shiny toys, the wind in your hair, and think it’s worth spending a lakh a day (you could even host a party for a dozen friends from 7am to 2.30am), I can’t think of too much that’s wrong with this membership plan. Except that the children’s room has one porthole, located near the upper berth—the kids are bound to squabble about who gets to sleep where. But that’s just nit-picking.
It’s not a cheap business—the partners plan to invest around Rs100 crore in the coming years— and it will only work if consumers like you decide this is a cool way to spend your weekends. For the Azimut 50, you pay Rs31 lakh for 30 days over three years. For the Larson Cabrio 350, you pay Rs16 lakh for 13 days every year for three years. Meals on board (all prices are per head) cost Rs300 (breakfast); Rs450 (lunch and dinner) and Rs250 (tea).