Following her participation in this year’s Pendennis Cup in Falmouth, 46m sailing yacht Christopher has been exploring northern Europe this summer. Following visits to Ireland and Scandinavia, the yacht was pictured last month in front of Tower Bridge, as one the final destinations on her itinerary was London. TCR caught up with Captain Marko James, one of the two rotational captains on board during the trip, to find out about his experience.

Christopher in front of Tower Bridge - image courtesy of Pendennis

You were on board for the trip to Scandinavia, how did you find cruising in such a unique superyacht destination?

We had an amazing time in Norway in particular. It is stunning scenery, good facilities and it is a really refreshing place to be when you compare is to the Med. We pitched up at the beginning of August and we were quite lucky with the weather. We were certainly on the down slope of the weather, as ideally you want to be up there in the middle of June because then you have almost 24-hour sunlight.

It’s incredible but we found the three weeks there is probably your lot because everywhere is quite similar and because it is such a rich country everything is fairly pricey. You also have to be prepared to do some big miles – we did 2800nm in three or four days. There was also a lot of moving at night but it is all very well lit, the navigation is easy and the electronic charts are all spot on.

"Because there are so few yachts up there, all the guys that are doing the superyacht thing are in cahoots, so it means that the whole coastline is covered."

How did you find the logistical aspect of the trip?

There are some really good people there; we used Sam at Yachting Scandinavia who is an ex-yachtie. He was our agent and has got a couple of guys that work with him for example, Maritime Tours in Bergen. They do more of the cruise ships but they were fantastic at organising fuel and provisions and making it happen on the dot. They are really cottoning on to superyachts up there and, because there are so few yachts up there, all the guys that are doing the superyacht thing are in cahoots, so it means that the whole coastline is covered.

Would you have struggled without help from the agents?

Definitely, and there are also quite a lot of coastguard, immigration and procedural things like that I took straight to the agent and they dealt with it. The procedures, however, are pretty relaxed. You do have to report into the coastguard everyday when you want to move the boat but that is just the case of picking the phone up and letting him know where we are off to and arrival time and that’s it. There were no problems.

Image courtesy of Pendennis

And then you took Christopher to London?

Yes, we finished off by going to Canary Wharf. There was a lot of red tape and it was quite expensive because you need to hire people to help you with that. We needed pilots, permission to go under the city airport glide path, permission to go under the emirates cable car – they had to take the gondolas off the cable car to get us underneath – and we had to take all the kit off the top of the rig because otherwise we weren’t going to get under the QE2 bridge. We were tucked into Canary Wharf for a couple of days, right beneath the city buildings so there were huge high rises above us.

So yes, it has been an amazing summer. It wasn’t cheap, and London certainly wasn’t cheap, but you have got memories that will last forever.

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