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Captain Q&A: What it's like to charter explorer yacht Latitude

24 June 2021• Written by Miranda Blazeby

Captain Samuel Alquilos of 54.7m Latitude walk us through the explorer yacht’s recent refit and how the summer charter season is shaping up...

How long have you been captain for Latitude?

"I’ve been working on Latitude as captain for 12 years. The new owners have invigorated and revived Latitude with so much passion and care.

All images courtesy of Burgess.

What’s your favourite memory so far?

I get a bit emotional looking back over the last two years of refurbishment, watching my second home transform into the beauty she was always meant to be. Most owners, crew and captains can appreciate that refits can be arduous, require long hours and hard work. But I think that being so ingrained from start to finish from project managing, overseeing every detail, redesign and even drawing concepts myself, as well as getting my hands dirty with most aspects of the refit, has made the last two years an unforgettable journey.

What work did the refit include?

The refit was a top to bottom overhaul from the engine room to the exterior decks and everything in between. Work included new Rasawa teak decking, wooden capped stainless-steel handrails, a new anchor and refurbished windows, as well as modern amenities such as electronic doors, outdoor light and sound systems. We also added a steam room, outdoor shower, huge yoga deck and a new plant room, which completely changed the exterior look.

What are Latitude’s standout features?

Features that make Latitude a standout boat are the deck spaces connected by custom staircases through the middle of the boat, which can comfortably accommodate a party of 75 guests. The large deck space makes it perfect for families, groups and even couples as there is room enough to entertain and relax simultaneously. We added a swimming platform at the back of the boat to make using the jet skis, paddleboards, kite surfs and other water toys as easy as possible.

The interior refit brings back luxury from a bygone era by taking inspiration from The Great Gatsby. Unlike a lot of the boats of her size, Latitude's furnishings and interior flow invites guests to relax, and not worry about sitting on the furniture after a day of activities or lounging by the pool.

What’s the first thing guests notice when they step on board?

The first thing guests will notice is a sense of timelessness and relaxation. Having found a harmonious balance between bygone elegance and contemporary sophisticated modishness, Latitude exudes a welcoming warmth, and her crew have been handpicked to complement this ambience.

What do Latitude’s guests want a typical charter to involve?

Latitude offers diving, fishing, surfing for the more adventurous, romance for those who wish to have a picturesque barbeque on a private island, and relaxation for those wanting to enjoy the privacy and seclusion these safe and exclusive South Pacific destinations offer. Overall I think we aim to provide an unforgettable tailored experience for each guest, exploring special and unique destinations.

Where are your favourite places that you’ve visited on board Latitude?

My favourite places I visited so far are the Tuamotu and Society islands because they have a unique and unspoiled beauty that is breath-taking. With no rubbish, crystal blue waters, and incredible landscapes, these secluded sanctuaries are a special part of paradise that make Tahiti an unforgettable destination for our guests.

What is Latitude’s typical charter itinerary?

The typical charter itinerary for Latitude in French Polynesia would include options to board directly from Papeete, or transfer by boat or helicopter to Latitude which will be in one of the five major island groups. Society Islands, the closest group to Papeete, includes islands such as Bora Bora, Morea, Raiatea are popular destinations for the Hollywood famous and often seen in exotic travel shows. The Tuamotu archipelago, the largest chain of atolls in the world spanning 850 square kilometres, as well as the Marquesas, Gambier and Tubuai islands are all unique island groups further from Papeete but offering a more exclusive experience with seclusion.

What’s Latitude’s 2021 summer season looking like?

We have many confirmed characters for this season, however, the restrictions implemented to stop the virus have negatively affected some charters. We are saddened by the impact the pandemic has had on the cruise ship and charter yacht industry and local economy of tourist destinations, but we are aiming to be part of the restart of the industry. Due to the flight and travel restrictions, Tahiti is closed for now but is indicating opening borders in July so we are preparing to head back once we have the green light."

Latitude is listed for charter with Burgess with a weekly charter rate starting from $161,000.

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