Superyachts have been around for a while. The term has been in use since the last century but the concept could be traced back to El Mahrousa, which means “the protected” in Arabic. She has been sailing since 1865 and is today Egypt’s presidential yacht. Built by the Samuda Brothers on the River Thames in London, El Mahrousa may have sailed long and away but apart from being the oldest active superyacht in the world, at 146 meters she is also the eight largest.
But what is a superyacht? Although there is no official definition, 24 meters in length as a minimum is the accepted standard, as some countries require vessels larger than that to have a permanent crew although today most new builds are typically over 40 meters in length. Boat International’s list of the largest 200 yachts is topped by the impressive 180-meter Azzam, built in 2013.
The global elite spent $2.68bn on their floating homes in 2015. Of the more than 4,000 superyachts in service across the world, about 11 percent are registered to British-based millionaires, with the yachts sailing throughout the Mediterranean and beyond.
The clock ticks faster
The world has changed since the christening of El Mahrousa. Nowadays the most sophisticated of tastes must be satisfied with the utmost efficiency and discretion.
Panalpina supports Superyacht Supplies to delivery globally the rarest, most refined and most desirable food and drinks from every corner of the world. “Whether that be Parma ham from Italy, wild salmon from Scotland, or Kobe beef from Japan we work with the finest, freshest and most prestigious foods and that takes us to every corner of the globe because that’s where our clients go, and Panalpina handles our superyacht logistics with rigor and precision under the strictest confidentiality,” says Ian Jarvis, Managing Director at Superyacht Supplies.
Primarily, Panalpina moves perishables, including meat, fish, caviar, dairy, fruits and vegetables, etc. but also dry food, wine and spirits and in fact anything else the yachts request, even bottled water, suntan lotion and cleaning products. The produce is packed in accordance with temperature requirements, and insulated cases and ice gel packs are used in many instances.
This is all bespoke ordering managed by Superyacht Supplies, and as crews and chefs often have one or two days to get the job done, everything must be arranged to perfection in very narrow windows of time. “We receive the various products at our facilities in London Heathrow Airport for consolidation. It is truly unique in as much as they could place an order on day one and expect it delivered to them by day two wherever the yacht is moored,” says Colin Wells, global head of Perishables at Panalpina.
On-board events and meals are prepared using seasonal and fresh ingredients that are often related to the area where the customers are cruising. “Superyacht Supplies serve vessels depending on the season around the globe – during the summer months these are generally cruising around the Mediterranean; now that the winter months are upon us we are shipping to the Caribbean islands and Indian Ocean, but it can be anywhere,” adds Colin.
To ensure smooth sailing and uninterrupted operations, crews do the utmost to plan and have everything prepared by the time the boat leaves its berth. But superyacht owners and their guests are a completely different type of clientele, there are no boundaries to their demanding requirements.
Whether it be because of bad weather interrupting holiday activities and forcing emphasis on the amenities on board, or the occasional craving for exotic dishes, the clock ticks faster when it comes to perishables for superyachts.
Of course, depending on where the superyachts stop, they stock up on provisions, however these are generally ordered through Superyacht Supplies and subsequently shipped by Panalpina.
It takes a very special and dedicated operation for the world’s finest foods to be delivered in perfect condition to the most luxurious private yachts. It all happens behind the scenes, without even being noticed. For us that’s the hallmark of successful logistics in the superyacht industry, where confidentiality is included in the menu.