Burgess has recently added the 49.1m PLAN B to its explorer yacht fleet, expanding still further its considerable charter offering to those who want to escape civilisation and feel the thrill of existence.
To find out how Burgess can make this happen, we spoke to charter broker Seonaid Thomas, who has worked with some of the finest expedition yachts to mastermind unique experiences in remote locations.
Burgess charter broker Seonaid Thomas recently joined the 77.4m expedition yacht LEGEND in Antarctica and shot this short video to capture just a flavour of the reality of being in one of the world's last wildernesses.
Creating a unique experience
An expedition charter is incredibly exciting to organise. As experienced brokers we know all our yachts and crews well but visiting a destination where there is little or no infrastructure – no ports, shops, restaurants, hotels or even any type of building on land – makes the choice of yacht, crew and equipment critical. Today, we can push the boundaries to access remote areas relatively easily, with very comfortable vessels that become the platform for the all-important activities.
Our clients want to experience as much as possible and often have different areas of interest. Some are keen the see the wildlife so close they could touch it, others want to go up in the helicopter to appreciate the sheer scale of the wilderness, or dive in a submersible to get closer to the marine life. Many want to go somewhere that is completely untouched and be the first person ever to set foot there. This year we have a group of skiers going to Greenland to heli-ski down a mountainside that no-one has yet descended. It’s always about the thrills.
What kind of experiences do clients want?
First and foremost, the activities and scenic beauty of these areas attract the interest, then there are questions of safety and how well adapted the activities are to everyone in the group. Clients need to know that they’ll have the best guides, seamless logistics and people with the right expertise looking after them, so we have developed an excellent network of people we can trust to make that all happen.
Having been on yachts in Antarctica and most recently in the Galapagos, I know first-hand what the practicalities are, which is often very reassuring when discussing details with clients. We then fine-tune the emphasis that the client would like to have for the trip, which might be photography, geology, local culture, scenery, the physical activities or a mix of all! It’s wonderful to be able to convey the emotions that you feel when metres away from an exquisite iceberg, or a pod of orcas, or looking down into the caldera of a volcano that is hundreds of thousands of years old. It’s very much about sharing the excitement and making sure that our clients are as awe-inspired with the adventure as we were ourselves.
How has demand evolved in recent years?
Demand has soared. Expedition yachts weren’t necessarily the prettiest or most comfortably designed vessels in the past and few were keen to venture so far if the clients weren’t going to follow. That has changed a lot in recent years, along with the development of better designed ‘toys’ like submersibles.
Antarctica attracts the most interest as it embodies the very essence of expedition yachting. The North West Passage, Greenland, Patagonia, Papua New Guinea and islands in the Pacific are catching on as well. It’s not only about seeing these places though. Increasingly clients want to inform themselves and get involved in environmental and cultural preservation. The experience takes on a whole extra dimension that is longer lasting and more impactful than any other holiday they have ever been on.
What is the future for expedition charters?
There are no limits to what the future will bring! That’s the very spirit of expedition yachting – to reach further, delve deeper and stay longer in places that have been largely inaccessible. New toys are appearing every year, allowing guests to enjoy a range of activities in the same day – go kayaking with whales in the morning, pop back to the yacht for lunch and a chat with a scientist, before flying off to explore the sights in the afternoon and enjoying a massage in the spa before dinner.
Delivering captivating, thought-provoking and stimulating experiences that are simply not possible by any other means, that’s the future of expedition yachting.
Recently booked by Burgess
Burgess has designed charters in the most remote corners of the earth. In 2018 alone we took clients to Antarctica, Raja Ampat and Greenland. Vilena Pavlova, Burgess charter broker for Moscow, recently booked a Greenland charter on board the 77.4m LEGEND and explained what was on the itinerary.
The main attraction is the incredible heli-skiing. The sport has become so popular, from Kamchatka in the East to Alaska in the West, that now more and more clients are looking for new challenges, more exclusivity. They are looking for absolutely pristine pistes without another soul around.
Clients can also go dog sledding and snowmobiling, deep sea fishing, whale watching, kayaking, hiking on glaciers, spending the night in a polar lodge as well as heli-touring and sightseeing ashore.
Talk to a Burgess charter broker about arranging an incredible experience