Monaco Yacht Club: aiming at making the Principality the world capital of yachtingWebsite
When it comes to exclusivity in its purest form, the Yacht Club of Monaco (YCM) serves as the perfect example. This place has long been the arena for major international yachting competitions, such as the Primo Cup Trophee Suisse, the Palermo-Monte-Carlo, Monaco Classic Week, and, of course, the most anticipated and iconic Monaco Yacht Show, which proves the club worked hard and passionately to establish its credibility worldwide.
Founded in 1953 by HSH Prince Rainier III and presided by HSH Prince Albert II since 1984. Today the Yacht Club of Monaco unites more than 2,500 members of 79 nationalities. However, to get the valuable membership in YCM is not that easy. This is the case when the two concepts of "gentlemen" and "yachtsmen" must merge into one becoming the ideal formula for this VIP club.
Bernard D'Alessandri, Director of the Monaco Yacht Club, shared to iPremium Lifestyle about the challenges they had to face in the framework of the COVID crisis; what events everyone will look forward to in the new season and explained what to pay attention to when being a “new coming” yacht owner in Monaco in his exclusive interview.
iPremium Lifestyle: How can you become an exclusive member of the YCM? What are the main privileges for its members?
Bernard D'Alessandri: First of all, it is not just about the privileges of belonging to an exclusive club like the Yacht Club de Monaco, but also about being with yachtsmen and women who share the same passion for the sea and all other values such as: solidarity, respect for etiquette and the marine environment which unite them.
An individual who wishes to become a member of the YCM needs to be introduced by two “sponsors”, both of whom must be YCM members. Anyone who has been a club member for more than one year may propose one applicant per session. Twice a year, all applications are examined.
iPremium Lifestyle: What are the key values of the YCM?
Bernard D'Alessandri: Under its statues, the YCM is charged with fulfilling two key missions that underpin its values: on the one hand, as a private Club, dedicated exclusively to its members, and on the other as a catalyst for bringing life to Port Hercules, the main port of Monaco, and a driving force for the yachting industry [fourth largest sector in the Principality] by providing a range of new spaces for events.
As a key player in the Principality, YCM also has a public service mission to contribute to Monaco attractiveness as a destination, by offering owners and yachting professionals a tool with which to promote Monaco reputation. As a matter of fact its ultimate goal is to make Monaco the world capital of yachting.
iPremium Lifestyle: What is your favourite regatta? Why?
Bernard D'Alessandri: That’s such a difficult question, there are so many. The race that had the most impact on me was the Monaco-New York transatlantic in 1985 when I had the honour of being at the helm of Biotonus, which represented the Principality with a team. It was a real adventure and a sporting challenge for all the crew.
Therefore, I am full of admiration for what the sailors are achieving in the Vendée Globe, a solo non-stop round the world race without assistance; with a special thought for Boris Herrmann who is representing our Club on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco and who we are following very closely.
iPremium Lifestyle: First year without iconic Monaco Yacht Show, which event-wise alternatives can you propose to yachting enthusiasts?
Bernard D'Alessandri: I should stress that YCM does not organize the Monaco Yacht Show.
That said, this year the Club was behind “Monaco Capital of Yachting Experience”, a series of virtual events and conferences held as part of the Planetary Health Week, organized by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, during which the MYS would have taken place. It was an opportunity to officially launch the new Super yacht Eco Association (SEA) Index, a reference to measure the environmental impact of yachts over 40m in length which the YCM promoted.
Obviously, the health situation is forcing us to be inventive, but we have the technology to help us- We have embraced the digital transition for a long time and the current situation confirmed that we are on the right track. It is possible to organise some of our events virtually, as we did in July with the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge through online auditions.
We still had 18 teams representing 12 nations, which was great!
iPremium Lifestyle: What are the most anticipated events of 2021 in the Yacht Club?
Bernard D'Alessandri: There are several. I am thinking in particular of the Superyacht Chefs Competition (8th April 2021). Under the aegis of the YCM La Belle Classe Academy training centre for Luxury Yachting professionals and which includes an “Art of Service” course, the Yacht Club de Monaco sets up this event for chefs on super yachts over 40m in length. It is wonderful to watch them transform a basket of mystery ingredients into original dishes in just 30 minutes at workstations which mirror the tight spaces they work in on board. The three winners of the qualifying rounds go through to the finals and another basket of mystery ingredients, but this time they have 45 minutes! It is very popular!
Another highlight in our calendar is without any doubt the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge (6th-10th July 2021). In collaboration with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the International Power Boating Federation, the meeting brings together researchers, academics, future engineers, inventers and yachting professionals. All have their sights set on one goal: to develop and then test in competition at this event in Monaco alternative propulsion systems to build the yachting of tomorrow.
And then we have the 15th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe (8th-12th September 2021). This biennial event is unique as it always attracts the most exceptional boats. Small, big, luxury yachts, racing yachts (like YCM’s own flagship Tuiga built in 1909), and period motorboats and motor-yachts. It is like a journey back in time, paying tribute to our maritime tradition and a certain lifestyle at sea we call the “Art de Vivre la Mer”.
iPremium Lifestyle: Recently you have launched completely new format of championships: the “digital races”; what made you take this innovative direction? What is the main goal of it?
Bernard D'Alessandri: For sure, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns motivated us to look for solutions to have something to offer our racing and sailing members so they did not lose touch. Since they were not allowed to sail, the only solution was obviously the virtual races.
E-learning and an E-Sailing Autumn Championship on J/70s using Virtual Regatta software are just some of the fun initiatives our Sports Section has been running to maintain contact with the sea which unites we all. They have been remarkably successful and the feedback very positive. Furthermore, it is a great way to work on your positioning on the start line and tactics or on how to keep your opponents in check. All this according to the conditions recreated in order to help the contestants’ progress and tackle situations they would face on the water. In the same spirit, we also launched free online Monaco Weather Lab courses in the La Belle Classe Academy, focused on marine weather in partnership with Navimeteo and Ascoma Group.
iPremium Lifestyle: What kind of other transformations YCM had to go through facing the COVID crisis?
Bernard D'Alessandri: An important goal is to react and adapt quickly. We have reorganised our facilities with all necessary health measures in place, so our members can continue coming to their Club knowing they will be safe. We have thought of everything so each person can enjoy their visit. Our staff have also been trained to welcome them in the best possible conditions.
iPremium Lifestyle: What new coming yacht owners should take into consideration when making their base in Monaco? Where to start and what challenges they will have to face?
Protecting the environment is a major concern for all those involved in yachting in Monaco, led by the Yacht Club de Monaco, under our President the Sovereign HSH Prince Albert II. Among our members, more than 800 are owners of super yachts, including 37 that feature in the list of the world 100 largest yachts.
Given that there was no benchmark for super yacht emissions, the YCM set up the Superyacht Eco Association (SEA) Index. This is meant to encourage the industry to research and put forward alternative solutions to reduce the impact of these boats on the environment and be aware that you can only quantify what can be measured. The SEA Index has been developed and it has already the support of key players in the industry.
Monaco Capital of Yachting project, again initiated by the YCM, to make the Principality a centre of excellence in the luxury yacht sector, deserves a special mention.