The number of tourists booking a week's yacht hire to explore Majorca has shot up this season by 20 percent in comparison with last year.
Palma.—The enthusiasm for yachting this summer, said Cristina Sastre, President of the Spanish Yacht Chartering Federation and Managing Director of the Majorcan company, has outstripped the increase in reservations for hotels, apartments and even cruises.

Although there are still some boats which are available for hire, there are specific dates when the industry is completely “chock-a-block” she warned, explaining that the typical image of the “summer yachtie” is changing. “People are no longer considering a week's sailing into the marinas and ports of the Balearics as something beyond their reach,” Sastre claimed. “Whereas this holiday market was previously dominated by Germans aged between 35 and 55, we are now seeing a surge of interest from Russians, the French and the British,” she added, suggesting it was the lure of being able to anchor along unspoiled coastline without adhering to a hotel timetable which was attracting many families.

Sastre said that there is an increasing number of Majorcans, particularly young people who have just taken out their “skipper's” licence. Although the boom years of people buying their own boats is a thing of the past, the yacht hire companies are flourishing anew for those who want to sail for a week or even just a few days, Sastre said.

To suit all pockets
The Majorcan yacht hire fleet is currently 1'200 boats, less than in 2008 when it numbered 1'440 and when it went to make up 57 percent of the national fleet. The economic crisis and increase in yacht tax has eaten into the success of the industry.

Sastre was confident however, that visitors' holiday costs can now be planned economically. A yacht with three double berths - room for 6 people - works out at 2'000 euros a week, or put another way, 330 euros per head to sail at leisure and anchor overnight in the most delightful hidden bays of the island, she said, adding “And of course there are spectacular views that are rarely available from hotel rooms.” The costs for mooring, fuel and food are certainly separate, Sastre pointed out, acknowledging that holidaymakers could individually spend very little or a great deal on these aspects of yachting.

The average stay for yacht hire tourists currently stands at 11.8 days, higher than that of visitors who come to stay in hotels (9.9 days). Nearly two thirds of hirers opt for a vessel of between 12 and 15 metres.