Rishi Majumder floats into a new zone of acquirable affluence. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Club Privada, a yacht membership scheme that has set anchor in Mumbai recently…
Photographer: Rana Chakraborty
The Club Privada, India’s first luxury motor yacht membership plan, launches at the Taj Mahal Hotel today. This marks an important tryst with destiny for shining India’s lifestyle yuppies. Once upon a time, the art of living it up was simple. You bought a luxury motor yacht if you wanted and could afford it. Then came the yacht charters and share-buying schemes. Still share buyers had to deal with immense maintenance expenses, and charterers with the cost of rentals imposed on them – to recover such expense, some yacht owners attempt to charter their yachts when not using them. This explains why most yachts chartering centres operate from places like Goa, the Lakshwadeep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, instead of Mumbai, which doesn’t afford enough getaway areas to compensate for the cost.
Club Privada’s membership scheme operates on a time share basis that allows you to book a yacht for a certain number of days (around 10) per year, if you really ardently wish to add that extra zing to your upper-crest-ish lifestyle. The target membership comprises those who cannot buy a yacht, but would like to buy the experience, and those who can, but care only for the experience anyway. At membership schemes that stretch to Rs 15 lakhs for two years, this club may seem a little exclusive. But figure this – buying the Azimut 50 (Club Privada’s best yet), for instance, could cost you up to seven crore rupees, and maintaining it up to rupees 40 lakhs a year. “The Larsen Cabrio is more my kind of boat,” says Karan Valecha, director of Club Privada. This translates into the fact that he’s in his twenties and feels more in touch with this hardtop mid-cabin cruiser of American make than the Italian Azimut 50, which just about fits into the super-yacht segment. The Cabrio comes with a cabin, which comes with DVD, 15-inch flat-screen TV and stereo system which plays on the sundeck above as well. It’s ideally suited to one-day cruises with a party of six to eight people. The Azimut, on the other hand, takes in its ambit eight to nine couples, replete with a salon area and a master bedroom (very plush), guest bedroom (plush) and additional guest bedroom (with a bunk bed – for the kids). It lasts far longer too, enabling a trip to Goa (eight hours if you cruise non-stop) and back.
“I think it’ll be a while before Mumbai finds the market for luxury motor yachts – for charter or sale,” says Shakeel Kudroli Director of Aquasail, dealing primarily in sailing yachts, though Aquasail did sell a Benetaeu Monte Carlo (French) some time back. “Unlike sailing yachts which evince interest from those who are into yachting as a sport, luxury yachts, considering their cost, don’t have as many ardent followers in Mumbai.” Yet Privada, with four Larsens and one Azimut, claims to be flooded with applications for its scheme accommodating only 60 members yet, and is looking to increase their fleet soon. But will the quintessential status symbol lend itself to a new standard of uber-chic in maximum city or will it meet the fate that the Mercedes met here? Only the sands of time will tell.
This article originally appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/7uh7