Whatever floats your boat: Superyacht concierge helps super rich feel at home
As another superyacht berthed in Port Nelson this week, one local company is making sure the region is high on the re-provisions list.
The 56-metre super ketch Fidelis arrived in Nelson for an expected two-week stopover, before departing on a sailing tour around the South Island.
Built by Italian shipyard Perini Navi in 2011, the 496-ton vessel is registered to the United Kingdom with its home port listed as Douglas in the Isle of Man.
Accommodating up to 12 guests and serviced by 10 crew, it features an owner's quarters with office and couch ports areas, a generous bathtub, private shower area and a central dressing room.
Four guest cabins are furnished with queen-size beds and two Pullmans, en-suite with a large shower, couch and desk area.
Although privately-owned, Fidelis has been listed online for a summer charter price of US$225,000 (NZ$319,556.94) a week, plus expenses.
The superyacht's visit has been facilitated by Yacht Services New Zealand who, after being contacted directly by the ship's captain, helped arrange the visit as part of its superyacht management service.
"[The captain] said "I've got one of your brochures, we're coming south for a tour of the South Island, can you help us out?" said director John Baudier.
"That's literally how it works - I gave them routing information about coming from Auckland to Nelson and also coming here, I arranged their berthage with the port."
Until this year, Baudier described their service as being similar to a hotel concierge where, for a fee, goods and services were arranged on behalf of the client.
These days, Baudier said the business model has changed slightly in that they now proactively offered local fare and contact details for services and products - from physiotherapists to mountainbike hire companies - ahead of the visit.
An example of this during Fidelis' stopover was one of its chefs meeting with a local cheesemaker while in port to see first-hand how the product was made.
"It's just highlighting Nelson – instead of coming through us, let's introduce you to our community."
"We want to make money, of course - we're a business - but we want them to say nice things about Nelson as well."
While YSNZ's involvement did not require 24-hour care, Baudier and his team remained on stand-by for anything the crew or guests may need.
"Like today, we just had to go and organise a plane for the owner – it's that kind of stuff."
"It would be good for business if we could have five boats here all the time, from a monetary perspective, but you couldn't give all the boats that one-on-one service that we're able to provide," he said.
Given that client anonymity was critical in their business dealings, Baudier was reluctant to identify either the owner or skipper of the Fidelis.
"These are captains of industry who have done some wonderful things in the world and made lots of money and they want a vacation where they don't want to be in the spotlight," he said.
"For you and I, we could go and buy camping or fishing gear to take a vacation – the percentage of our annual income that we would spend on that trip would actually be more than the percentage that some of the owners of these boats would spend on their boats and their vacation."
"As far as our interaction goes, it's an honour-based system in a way."
He was, however, willing to confirm the luxurious state of the boat's interior, which largely consisted of fine marble, walnut wood, steel and leather.
"I tell you what, the boat is gorgeous on the inside – it is just amazing."
Baudier said his company had about eight superyacht clients on their books at any one time.
He was grateful to Port Nelson for their assistance in arranging superyacht visits, which included berthing vessels at a prominent berthage at Wakefield Quay.