Playing host to many a photo shoot and film scene owing to its beautiful scenery and clear-blue waters, with its famous heritage, notoriously welcoming people and well-placed superyacht marina, there is little in the way of Malta becoming a key superyacht destination in the Mediterranean. The Superyacht Owner talks to Captain Bob Corcoran of M/Y Samar about what makes this small but mighty region and Grand Harbour Marina so special.
With a climate characteristic to the Mediterranean – very dry hot summers, mild winters and low average rainfall – Malta is the perfect all year round destination for the sun-worshipping voyager. And nestled within Vittoriosa right below Fort Angelo is Grand Harbour Marina, a spot that can play host to up to 240 yachts up to 135m.
Captain Bob Corcoran of 77m M/Y Samar spent this winter docked at the marina, his ninth season in the region. “The marina itself is well maintained and very accommodating,” he says, adding that the officials are very friendly, something which is not always encountered in other Mediterranean destinations. He advises that the marina is a great place for yachts that want to do the winter season, where he was able to take power on for the whole season, which is not common for yachts of Samar’s size.
Grand Harbour Marina
All marinas value the importance of security, but Corcoran stresses that the island is “Much safer than anywhere else” meaning that crew and guests can be confident touring or exploring away from the yacht. Additionally, Corcoran says Grand Harbour is developing more programmes for the crew. “There were at least two things a month for the crew to do,” he says, something that he believes is vital to keeping crew active and productive, instead of bored and spending their money on alcohol.
He identifies that the Maltese culture is a significant aspect of what makes visiting Malta so enjoyable. “Some people say it has to do with Malta being the most conquered country in the world,” he says. He explains that the Maltese mentality and the Maltese culture is all still very family orientated, and it’s this way of thinking that means that people go out of their way to make foreigners feel welcome.
Boasting three UNESCO World Heritage sites, Malta’s legacy spans 7,000 years, and the islands are immersed with culture. There are plethora of museums, galleries and archaeological sites to see including Valetta’s Manoel Theatre, two opera houses in Victoria and a variety of open-air venues. A notable part of Maltese history is the symbolic Maltese cross; the legacy of the knights of Malta, the Order ruled for 250 years. Remnants of military engineering in forts, bastions, watch towers, aqueducts, churches and cathedrals are all must-sees when exploring the island.
Malta’s position means that it is the perfect jumping off point for Med itineraries. “There are some stunning areas around here, it’s definitely worth the trip down,” says Corcoran. He adds that Malta can be incorporated into a charter from Sicily, while the sister isles of Gozo and Comino hold their own attractions, with quiet, protected bays to anchor in and around.
Make a visit to the Luna restaurant for some traditional delicacies, set in the grounds of a 19th Century home, Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar and the award-winning de Mondion restaurant for more culinary delights. The events calendar comprises the Trophee Bailli de Suffren yacht race, which will reach its 14th edition this year. Add to this the fact that Valetta was declared European Capital Culture (ECoC) in 2012 and will be hosting the title of ECoC in 2018 and you’ll find that Malta hosts multiple year round events to quench the thirst of the wander lusting traveller.
Corcoran believes the area deserves more recognition. “At Grand Harbour marina, they are eager for boats to come down,” he says. “They want to do a good job, they want to build up a repeat business, and they know the only way to do that is word of mouth, so the service reflects this.”
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