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The Newport Charter Yacht Show, a charter industry event presented by Helly Hansen Newport, is evolving into an impressive showing of fully crewed luxury charter vessels, both power and sail. Thus far, the Show’s 17 participating yachts range in length from 66 feet (the sailing vessel Gaia, presented by Nicholson Yachts) to 164 feet (the motor vessel TCB, presented by Northrop & Johnson). All will gather for four days of activities scheduled Monday through Thursday, June 20-23, at Newport’s Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, which owns and produces the show.

“Each vessel has its own character and a professional captain and crew willing to take the charter yacht vacation experience to the next level,” said Safe Harbor’s Show Manager Veronica Brown. “For over 35 years, the Newport Charter Yacht Show has been the only one of its kind in New England, so our focus has been not only on facilitating the connections between yacht brokers (who represent charter vacation “clients”) and managers (who represent the yacht owners) but also on presenting them with a valuable tool kit for pitching Newport and New England as preferred charter destinations during the summer months here in the U.S.”

A Handle on Bespoke Offerings  

Toward that end, the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA), which is to hold its annual meeting and various seminars during the Show, has teamed with Rhode Island Commerce to present “Broker’s Experience Newport!” starting on Monday, June 20. An all-day tour will unveil luxury bespoke tours and singular experiences that can be arranged for charterers. Think America’s Cup yacht charters; private walking/driving tours with a “Gilded Age” touch; a private tour of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Gilded Age Mansion, The Breakers; an “auto lend” from the Audrain Automobile Museum; and more. Lunch will be served on the grass lawn of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which offers its own luxury experiences, such as private tennis lessons with a pro on the famous Grass Courts.

Clockwise from top left: The Sailing Museum, International Tennis Hall of Fame, and Rosecliff Mansion will be featured as bespoke experiences for brokers at Newport Charter Yacht Show presented by Helly Hansen Newport. (Credit: Cate Brown, Discover Newport, Preservation Society of Newport County

According to Karen Kelly Shea of Nicholson Yachts, who is a Newport-based broker and will represent Gaia at the Show: “If my client or a broker I know is going to be in Newport, they always want to know what there is to do, either for couples or families with children. The more information we can give them to sell charters, the better.”

On Tuesday, charter brokers are invited to enjoy an evening event at Rosecliff Mansion, sponsored by Discover Newport, while Wednesday evening is reserved for a reception at the newly opened The Sailing Museum, sponsored by South County Tourism.

Sailing Well Represented

As for Gaia, Shea explains that Gunboat catamarans are very desirable on the charter market. “They are fast-sailing and yet comfortable and good for all ages of guests, whether children or mature adults,” she said, adding that many of her company’s long-time clients are passionate sailors. “New England – and especially Newport – offers great conditions for sailing as well as a rich maritime history and world class sailing regattas.”

Like Gaia, the 75’ sailboat Rebecca of Vineyard Haven, with a more classic look, is brand new to the show. Only 20 years old, she is a rare example of a 20th Century boat built using traditional tools and techniques. As a world cruising yacht, she has crossed the Atlantic twice and won numerous regattas.

“She has been beautifully maintained as a private yacht and is now available for charter for the first time,” said Rebecca of Vineyard Haven’s Captain Andrea Kelly. “We think the Newport Charter Show is a great opportunity to get her name out there.”

Clockwise from top: TCBRebecca of Vineyard Haven, QTR, Gaia, and Bella Tu are participating for their first time in the Newport Charter Yacht Show presented by Helly Hansen Newport. (supplied photos)

Kelly added: “Having grown up here, I am still always enchanted by the New England summer. Exploring New England on a boat like Rebecca of Vineyard Haven will transport you back in time. Whether you’re waking up at anchor on a quiet, foggy morning in Maine, listening to the distant fog horns, or battling on the start line with 20 other classic sailboats, you feel like you’re in another era. The towns in New England offer endless exploration and history, and there’s no better way to see it than on a boat!” 

Other sailboats at the Newport Charter Show are the 76-foot Wild Horses, and the 92’ August Maverick (Charter Yacht Solutions).

Circling Back to Motor Vessels

The largest yacht in the show, TCB, also is coming to the Newport Charter Yacht Show for the first time. Charter brokers might remember the prior 138’ TCB and its excellent crew; however, this 164’ motor vessel is a new acquisition for the same owner. “She still has many of her same great crew,” said TCB’s Captain Scott Gaffga, “so we want to show that. We also want to show that she has had a refit, which represents a huge change. This is the debut of her new interior and her new paint job on the exterior.”

The 116’ QTR, an acronym for “Quality Time Remaining,” is also new to the show. Formerly known as Money for Nothing, she has the same captain (Robert Crocker) but a new owner who had her refit in 2021. “All new linens and artwork are part of that,” said Jenny Mullen, charter manager for Worth Avenue Yachts, which represents her. “She has tons of toys, including Sea-Doos, Seabobs, Stand Up Paddleboards, kayaks, and E-Foils, and a fantastic crew, including an amazing chef. We want to highlight all this before the season and get it all in front of the brokers.”

A second motor yacht presented by Worth Avenue Yachts, Bella Tu, is smaller but nevertheless packs impressive value into its 91 feet. “Each yacht has its own thing,” said Mullen. “Bella Tu sleeps 10 guests in five state rooms, and its chef (Jessica Fillkins) is also a yoga teacher, so there is a wellness package that can be included.”

Mullen appreciated that the Show’s many special events, including Wednesday evening’s Yacht Hop, with a “Gilded Age” theme, and Tuesday afternoon’s Charter Yacht Chef Competition sponsored by Shoreside Support, are perfect for highlighting the talent and personalities of the crews. “Some of the yachts here go to the Caribbean for the winter, and this is a good chance for Newport brokers, who don’t always get to the Ft. Lauderdale Open Houses, to see them.”

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