Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Million Pound Mega Yachts

Got £185 million to spare? How about this little something from the Monaco Yacht Show? It has its own pool, sauna and beach club, and a dance floor (pole optional) that can double as a heli-pad. A spiral staircase encloses a 200-kilo chandelier made of Murano glass that probably isn't to your taste. The bathrooms are all made of marble, as are the £20,000 vases which can get chipped on rough seas. (A bit like your head against the rectangular sinks.) The catch? Well, the lounge is very purple. So purple that the estate agent feels he should show the room last on his tours. Oh, and the hull's probably about 30 feet too long to be allowed to park anywhere other than the marina in Monaco, so you might not be able to get very far.

Got £1.85 to spare? How about this charity shop Grandpa Pig boat, complete with retractable cabin, ship's bell and annoying tune? I'll even chuck in Grandpa for free. (He's purple too.) "Welcome aboard, me hearties!"

Sometimes you just gotta accept there is a life out there that you will never have. No sign of Grandpa Pig on a mega yacht. (But then they don't have retractable cabins either.) There is just an army of silver service waitresses keeping the champagne on ice and the bedsheets ironed.

I have no idea how much time these yacht owners actually spend on their boats. Since they must have at least a dozen mansions and villas to visit as well, perhaps while attending the matches of all the Premier League football teams that they own. And some of them have television appearances to make (Afternoon, Lord Sugar!). And surely they occasionally have to go out and earn some more money, most of which (on this programme) seems to stem from car bumpers? No, the yacht is just a thing on a wish list when you have run out of diamonds to buy. It sits there, waiting for a decadent party or global circumnavigation that may never come.

What is clear is that none of these yacht owners have any sense of style. Or of environmental responsibility. It can cost £2,000 just to start up the engine. But I guess if you've made your fortune selling cars, fuel is as an expendable a commodity as everything else. Sod marine diversity and all that.

But nothing will look glamorous if your guests don't have their sea legs. (Maybe that's why they never leave port.) I hope someone remembered to fit the sick bags. One yacht has a carpet that has suffered visible "dog damage". Said dog has either puked or pissed all over it - I don't want to know. But if it smells as bad as it looks, it might start devaluing the yacht into Grandpa Pig's price range.

I've written about Monaco before. Somewhere that I didn't even begin to fit in. I got it so wrong. I was wearing a Per Una skirt for starters. I spent most of the day walking through underpasses and tunnels and finding the pavement in front of me removed for roadworks. Pneumatic drills rattled all around. I ate spaghetti bolognese outside a Portakabin shared with the ferryman, and travelled there by bus from Nice for a Euro. I didn't dare seek out any real restaurants or shops in case they didn't let me in. Besuited heavies appeared on deck the instant I approached a yacht on the harbour boardwalk to take a photo. But hey, at least I justified that day's security bill.

I wouldn't want one of your stupid boats anyway. Until you perfect the retractable cabin, even if I got lucky at the Casino, I'll stick to P&O Ferries.

Casino at Monte Carlo

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