The Circuit de Monaco skirts the port, giving strategically berthed yachts the best views of the racing | Getty Photos
?In the last weekend of May, Monaco hosts one of the biggest events on the social calendar – Formula 1’s Grand Prix. More than any other race in this worldwide tournament, Monaco still holds a certain cachet, harking back to the days when racing car drivers were playboy adventurers who risked their lives for high-speed thrills. Without doubt, the best view of the action is from an aft deck just yards from the track, and the scrummage to obtain such a golden mooring is not for the fainthearted.
The Ports de Monaco website makes it clear. ‘With the number of berth requests being much higher than the number of berths available, priority is given to all demand directly in connection with the Formula 1 Grand Prix and their sponsors.’
In fact, such connections are a real necessity. ‘The most crucial element is the sponsorship letter, as priority is given to F1 drivers and their sponsors,’ warns Fiona Maureso, head of charter at YPI. ‘Any dockage application without the support of a driver or bona-fide sponsor is unlikely to be successful.’
The procedure is strict and complex, and the best advice seems to be to contact a brokerage with experience of securing a berth. Gaye Joyeau-Bourgeois from Burgess’ Monaco office is confident of navigating this tricky area. ‘We have over 35 years’ first-hand experience of organising private and corporate charters for this world-class event. For us, the procedure holds no mysteries and, assuming lead time is sufficient, we are nearly always able to get a berth for our clients.’
The harsh fact of the matter is that if you desire to be trackside in Zone 1, there are only a few dozen berths. With charter packages filling the yachts with guests (and filling them with champagne), money is not a limiting factor – instead this is a case of not what but who you know.
And if you are not one of the lucky few wearing earplugs and watching the blurs which are the F1 cars as they roar past, all is not lost. ‘If a berth is not available, it is always possible for the yacht to anchor off the port of Monaco,’ says Joyeau-Bourgeois. ‘Guests can be tendered into the port and we would recommend they enjoy all the excitement of the race from a private balcony overlooking the circuit.’
The Monaco Grand Prix is a unique occasion when superyachts are in pole position to view one of the world’s foremost sporting events. Surely it’s worth negotiating the tricky application process to be a part of it.
The process of securing a berth for the Monaco Grand Prix
|March to April||The Attribution Committee considers the applications and decides which yachts will be the lucky ones|
|Late April||Successful applicants are contacted and asked to pay for berthing at a flat rate up front. A 25 metre yacht in Zone 4 (furthest from the quay) is the cheapest option at €6,400. At the top end, a 125 metre in Zone 1 would be charged €101,000. For 45 metre vessels, the best view will set you back €36,400|
|Monday before the race||Your berth becomes available|
|8pm Wednesday before the race||The latest a yacht can arrive|
|7pm last Sunday in May (race day)||The soonest one can leave|
|Monday after race day||Leave by midnight or incur extra charges|