With the London 2012 Olympics only a few weeks away, interest in London as a destination for superyachts has never been higher, according to Mark Upton, director of MGMT, the company co-ordinating the berthing of superyachts across the Thames this summer.
“There’s so much happening. We’re expecting 20 superyachts over 35 metres,” says Upton. “I talk a lot to brokers and they have a number of clients who are just finalising their plans, so there will be some last-minute bookings.”
The berthing area in the Royal Docks on the Thames in London’s East End, close to the Olympic Park, with most yachts in the Royal Victoria Docks (shown in the photograph above a few weeks ago). Work is beginning on sprucing up the area, with the creation of a reception centre and the addition of a walkway from the existing mole to the land. The berths are opposite the ExCeL Centre, which is home to seven Olympic events, including the boxing, table tennis and judo.
“There will be stern-to berths for up to 12 yachts in this location, and the Royal Albert Dock alongside can take some of the bigger yachts. There are also berths on the river available with fore and aft buoys. There are plenty of options,” says Upton.
The Royal Victoria Dock has benefited from the development of the London Pleasure Gardens and the opening of the new cable-car link across the Thames. “There is so much happening that guests on board a yacht will feel the atmosphere of the Olympic Games, but the yachts are secure on a concrete dolphin connected to the land by walkway and with 24-hour security,” says Upton.
Perhaps one surprising aspect is that only a small number of charter yachts will be coming. “Most of the owners want to keep their yachts working in the Med and can’t afford to lose the time it takes to get here. But private yachts are grasping the opportunity to come and MGMT has seen a lot of interest in its concierge services. “We can offer a full concierge package – the berth, pilotage up the river, Olympic tickets, a table in a restaurant, and membership at an exclusive members-only pop-up club,” Upton says.