Brazil’s prospects of pulling in superyachts for the Olympics received a blow when Rio’s principal marina, Marina Gloria, was announced as the exclusive host for competitor sailing yachts prior to the event. While Brazil Yacht Services was able to find alternative berthing possibilities for around 8 to 10 yachts, the turnout was slightly less than expected.
With only two superyachts arriving in the region for the event – MY Deniki and MY Tatoosh – the long distance from the Med and the unfavourable weather at this time of year were perhaps factors that contributed to the small superyacht gathering.
“Deniki attended the Olympics while they were in London, so we were looking into organising a berth in Rio for a long time,” explains Captain Richard Callaghan. “In the end Brazil Yacht Services organised a berth for us at the end of a cruise ship dock.”
In terms of facilities, Captain Callaghan explains that they were satisfactory and that Brazil Yacht Services were particularly helpful in accommodating the yachts. When Deniki arrived, for example, there was not a very good bollard position, so the team arranged for new rings to be drilled in.
“The position was right next to a live site where there was a big screen showing the sporting events, meaning a great atmosphere with the safety and security that any yacht would want,” Captain Callaghan describes. The only slight downside of the trip alluded to was the transport situation getting to and from events, which is notoriously bad in Rio.
Deniki now has a few months cruising the north of Brazil, before heading to the Caribbean for the winter season. With regards to its future potential as a superyacht destination, Captain Callaghan believes that this could be limited due to the government’s attitude towards large yachts. “They want to treat us like cruise ships, particularly when it comes to pilotage, which can work out being very expensive,” he adds.
The pilotage aspect for superyachts is something that Brazil Yacht Services are trying to lobby against. While private yachts can enter the region for 90 days, other deterrents include that charter is not economically viable considering at present a tax of 1 per cent of the hull value per month will be applied, plus the administration fee to arrange this.
“It’s a lovely country with beautiful cruising and anchorages, but the infrastructure isn’t there,” concludes Captain Callaghan. “It is perfect for remote cruising but you have to plan ahead.”