The boat business is booming. A yacht is one of the ultimate symbols of wealth and the rich are certainly buying. The world's fleet of superyachts, those over 100 feet, has increased by 25 per cent in the past five years to a total of 4,600, says UK-based consultancy Marina Projects, with an additional 200 delivered each year.
With a global shortage of berths of all sizes, a number of new marinas are being built — so whether you own a 10-footer or something larger, there are interesting new options out there.
One-bedroom properties start from £200,300 at Marina Port Vell, Barceloneta
Barcelona's on board
Spain's coolest city, with its Gaudi heritage and urban beach life, is home to Marina Port Vell, a new superyacht marina being developed in the former fishing village of Barceloneta, beside the Old Town. The marina was built for the 1992 Olympics, opening the city to the sea, but three years ago was bought by Salamanca Capital which is splashing out £25 million on a 162-berth superyacht marina in the inner deep harbour. "To have a marina in the heart of a world-class city is unique," says Anella Alcott, Marina Port Vell's commercial director. "The city's excellent infrastructure will provide year-round life for crews. Barceloneta has changed enormously and become desirable with good beach clubs and small chiringuitos [beach bars]."
Marina Port Vell has no residential property but the surrounding area is slowly being improved. Most apartments are small, few are more than 500sq ft, and often don't have lifts, says Alex Vaughan of Lucas Fox. But the area appeals to many overseas buyers. "Parking can be an issue and schools are some distance so this appeals less to families and more to younger people and older overseas buyers," comments Vaughan. "Barceloneta is close to the beach and the Gothic Old Town. It's perfect for part-time living."
Prices range from £125,200 for a small studio to £834,570 for a large, unrenovated 2,300sq ft flat. New one- and two-bedroom flats - with underground parking available from £16,700 - start from £200,300, all available through Lucas Fox.
Flats in Barbados' newest port, Port Ferdinand, start at £1,296,500
The Caribbean islands seem heaven-sent for messing about in boats with 113 marinas providing 13,500 berths. A further eight significant marinas from the British Virgin Islands to the Grenadines are under development according to marina specialists Camper & Nicholsons.
One issue to bear in mind is the Caribbean's hurricane season from June to October. "Anywhere north of 12 degrees is considered to be in the hurricane zone which often precludes large-scale development because of the high cost of insurance," comments Jeff Houlgrave of Marina Projects.
The past three years has seen an increase in the number of superyachts visiting the Caribbean, says James Burdess of Savills. "There is a clear link with people buying property in order to acquire a berth for smaller yachts, too. Barbados, for example, had no boat traffic until the first marina, Port St Charles, was built 15 years ago."
Port Ferdinand, Barbados's newest marina, opened last month near Holetown on the west coast with plans for 83 apartments in a wide sweep overlooking 120 berths up to 60 feet. The top-end two- to four-bedroom apartments are in a gated development with excellent facilities including a gym, kids' club, spa and restaurant, and start from £1,296,500 including a berth.
Marina di Scarlino is 90 minutes from Pisa airport. Modern waterfront flats start from £258,700
Set sail from Tuscany
Along with pale stone borgos and vineyards of plump Sangiovese grapes, Tuscany has many small marinas along its pine-clad Mediterranean coastline, including Punta Ala, from where you can sail to Corsica and Sardinia to the north, head west to the South of France or Portofino, or tour the seven islands in the Tuscan archipelago including Montecristo and Elba.
Marina di Scarlino 90 minutes from Pisa airport is newly rebranded as a modern hi-tech operation since being bought in 2011 by hotelier and keen sailor Leonardo Ferragamo. It has 960 berths up to 118 feet, shops, bars, restaurants and 39 completed modern waterfront flats, from £258,700. These are available on short leases of 85 years, an issue for many buyers although there are plans for freehold villas in the development's second phase.
Port Ferdinand: 00 1 246 272 2002
Marina di Scarlino: marinadiscarlino.com