Superyachts will start making more appearances along the coast of Cork if the combined work of CIT and the Royal Cork Yacht Club pays off.
CIT have been working on the EU-funded Cool Route Project since June 2015. The aim of the project is to build a route covering all of the cruising grounds between Cork and Tromsø in Norway into a world-recognised cruising area.
There was a significant increase in the number of superyachts seen along the route in the summer of 2016. CIT and The Royal Cork Yacht Club decided to investigate this trend and interviewed a focus group of 25 superyacht skippers to find out what would draw them to the route more often.
New experiences was seen as the main factor, and the Cool Route promoters believe they have an ideal package. The coastline they follow stretches around southern and western Ireland, across northern Ireland and up the coast of western Scotland, to the Faroe Islands and Norway.
Historians can trace documents of voyages along these coastlines since the sixth century, with the movements by sea of monks between Ireland and Scotland. By the eighth century, Vikings were sailing the length of the route, in search of Celtic riches.
These coastlines are among the richest, globally, in terms of history, culture, heritage and scenery - plus great food and drink. Yachts can trace a route all the way from Cork to Tromsø, a beauty spot known for midnight sun and as a viewing point for the Northern Lights.
So what type of boats are the planners hoping to attract? The name superyacht is generally given to luxury yachts which are professionally crewed and have a loadline length of 24 metres and above.
Some familiar names own high-profile examples, so we could see some big names pulling in for a pint of Murphys. According to Boat International, U2's The Edge tours the high seas in the 48.71 metre motor yacht Cyan, known for its luxurious outdoor cinema.
Given his high-profile recent money issues, it is no surprise to hear that Johnny Depp sold his classic superyacht Vajoliroja. Harry Potter creator JK Rowling reportedly took it off his hands and renamed it Amphitrite - an easy name to keep an eye out for while strolling along the coast. Other names to keep in mind are Venus, owned by Steve Jobs' family, Giorgio Armani’s Main and Seven Seas,owned by Steven Spielberg.
CIT’s Dr Breda Kenny, project manager for the Cool Route, said there is huge untapped potential. “The project has identified a very extensive market for all types of cruising and marine tourism and our research has shown that less than 2% of the overall market potential is currently being realised.” A key point is these superyachts and small liners do not have the same geographic needs as large cruise ships, no specialised facilities are required. Even the smallest coastal village can attract these visitors.
The Royal Cork Yacht Club has produced a brochure containing both information on the overall route and national inserts on each of the participating coastal areas. The brochure is available in hard copy for circulation to superyacht and small liner operators and can be viewed online at www.sailcoolroute.eu/superyachts.
If anyone fancies a try at yachting life, vessels such as the 28.74m Quantum are available for charter. Yours for just €40,000 per week.