Charter in the Balearics with motor yacht Kathleen Anne
by Captain Ben Taylor
Lying approximately 140 miles east of Valencia on the Spanish mainland, Mallorca is the biggest of the Balearic islands. Although some parts of the island are overrun with concrete hotels and package-holiday tourists, much of Mallorca retains its original, unspoiled charm.
In the evenings you just feel that you’re out there all on your own – on a yacht in a deserted bay. Perfection.
You only have to travel in a few miles inland to escape the hustle and bustle and discover an island of fruit trees, vineyards, and olive groves. We caught up with captain Ben Taylor, skipper of Kathleen Anne, a 39m Feadship delivered in 2009, for an insider’s guide to Mallorca.
Why did you choose the North-West Coast of Mallorca?
It’s just incredibly beautiful, and that’s the type of cruising I like to do… It’s so remote – you’ve got these massive, giant cliffs going straight up from the water; the scenery’s just breathtaking. And also, there are fewer boats up there, not a lot of people do that stretch; everyone stays around Palma and the main ports but if you get away from them all up there it’s fantastic. You can just tuck into the coves or you can go into the bay and anchor off places like Port Soller and you’re fairly protected.
But you do have to be a bit careful with the weather up there; it can turn nasty quite quickly which is why a lot of the boats don’t go and you can be a bit exposed if the wind comes in… The upside is you often find bays to yourself – a few small boats might come in on day trips, then shoot off again at 40knots and return to Palma. So in the evenings you just feel that you’re out there all on your own – on a yacht in a deserted bay and for me, that’s why I got into yachting – to go to places you can only get to on a boat. That’s the reason you have a yacht – to go to places like these, to get into the beauty of the scenery and nature. It’s one of my most favourite places in the Med just because of that remoteness – but in reality you’re still so close to big towns.
What can guests do ashore there?
There are a few spots where you can get ashore but you really need to know where they are; it’s only in certain bays. There are some good walks if the guests are energetic – you do have the big jagged cliffs so it’s a bit of a hike but the views are spectacular.
What else can you do there?
There’s some beautiful water around there – it’s very good for watersports. We have everything you need on the boat, so for a couple of days you can just stay out on that coast and move from bay to bay.
What’s the best time of year to go?
You can go either side of high season – but you have to be careful of the weather. It is best during peak season – but the good thing is even then it’s not too busy. Most boats just don’t go there – especially the bigger boats. They tend to stay around the main ports or just head to Ibiza and all moor off Formentera.
Any advice for a first time charterer?
Communication with captain on board is key – and start it as soon as possible so that you understand the capabilities of the boat and what you can expect from your time on board. Sometimes when that communication doesn’t happen people over-estimate what they can fit into a week and they end up not enjoying the trip because they spend their whole time at sea.
You want to see some different places but you need to spend some time in each one – and when you find somewhere you really like you’ll want to stay there for a couple of days… Occasionally there is a tendency to fit too much into a week and then you end up at sea all the time and can only stop for two hours at any one place which isn’t as much fun as taking your time and really exploring a smaller area – go and see somewhere else next year…
What should guests bring on their charter?
They just need to bring themselves! We aim to have most things on board and if there is good communication between the guests and us prior to the charter then we can do an even better job of providing everything they need on board.
Tell us about the crew…
We’ve got a good crew together, all a similar age – around 30, so I think we’ve hit a kind of sweet spot: we’re old enough to have the experience and the knowledge, but young enough to have lots of energy and enthusiasm.
Why charter Kathleen Anne?
This is a very family-orientated boat; the owner is very safety conscious and doesn’t have Jet Skis on board. Instead we have things like Laser sailing dinghies so we can hold mini regattas for the kids – many of the crew have a sailing background. We do have waterskis and wakeboards, and inside there’s the fantastic games cube. We like to create a family atmosphere – it’s a close crew, and my partner also works on board.