These large watercraft have a growing presence throughout the waters from the Pacific side of Costa Rica all the way up the coast to British Columbia and beyond. Demand from Silicon Valley moguls, business owners, and athletes has been the engine driving the yachting industry forward, particularly during the last 10 to 15 years. A number of shipyards that began as the construction sites for fishing boats now devote their energies to building yachts. In fact, North America’s largest constructor of yachts, Westport Shipyards, is located in the former fishing village of Westport, about 130 miles from Seattle.
It is fitting, then, that some of the world’s most exciting marinas in development and already in existence are found on the West Coast. Here, Haute Living rounds up the ports of call worth a call on any eastern Pacific itinerary.
When it is fully completed, the 180-slip custom-designed floating dock system will accommodate luxury watercraft up to 220 feet, with a total of 380 slips.
Costa Rica and the newly opened Marina Papagayo is the perfect place to launch a tour of the Pacific. The only marina of its caliber in Costa Rica, Marina Papagayo encourages visiting boaters to discover the dense jungles of Central America.
Marina Papagayo is often used as a juncture for crafts cruising from the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and all points of the Pacific. It is situated below the hurricane belt and sheltered from easterly trade winds, ensuring calm, protected waters year round. In addition to the strategic location, the facilities are five-star at both the marina and the surrounding private community. Captains, crews, and boat owners enjoy a high-tech harbor that offers state-of-the-art facilities and nautical services: dockside marina concierge, on-site customs and immigration clearance, high-speed fuel pumps, dockside gray water pump, 500-amp electrical service, Wi-Fi, cable, even white-glove golf cart concierge and dock shuttle service. When it is fully completed, the 180-slip custom-designed floating dock system will accommodate luxury watercraft up to 220 feet, with a total of 380 slips.
IGY Marina Cabo San Lucas
Island Global Yachting set the worldwide standard for megayacht marinas, and the Cabo San Lucas outpost is no exception to the level of luxury and service that has become synonymous with the IGY name. Located at the very tip of the Baja Peninsula, the 380-slip marina can berth yachts up to 200 feet in length. IGY prides itself on both security and service, both of which are abundant at this location. Provisioning is as simple as using channel 79A to communicate with the market, which is well equipped to deal with the needs of sea travelers. Furthermore, the marina features a 75-ton travel lift with a handling capacity for vessels measuring up to 80 feet. Onsite amenities include restaurants, shops, activities, a business center, and dry-land accommodations.
CostaBaja Resort & Marina
Further up the coast is the CostaBaja Resort & Marina. With 250 prime slips, it can accommodate vessels ranging from 30 feet to 220 feet. Situated in a development that comprises 550 acres of coastal land just north of La Paz, Mexico, CostaBaja’s masterfully planned community offers a luxury resort lifestyle in addition to marina services. Should you want to take a day or two off from life at sea, this would be the place to do so. Activities include golf, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, kayaking, fishing, and taking in the charms of nearby La Paz. In the Pacific, just off Baja, amazing islands await, such as Guadalupe Island, a remote outpost to the west that is home to sea lion colonies. Nearby, the Todos Santos Islands are a hugely popular surfing destination, with some of the best waves to be found anywhere in the world.
Catalina has long been a yachter’s favorite. During the golden age of Old Hollywood, fans of Catalina included the likes of Ronald Reagan and Natalie Wood. Located just 22 miles off the coast of southern California, Catalina Island is a world-class destination for diving and other water sports. The island is also home to great restaurants, shopping, and hiking trails. In the high season, the harbor becomes a hub for sailboats and motorboats en route to and from points all along the coast. The two largest harbors, Avalon (400 moorings) and Two Harbors (239 moorings), provide many amenities. Additionally there are moorings at 16 other coves, making Catalina Island a popular destination for many megayachts.
Fifth Avenue Landing
San Diego, California
San Diego is a premier destination for the growing yacht community. CNN recently dubbed the city the “new superyacht capital,” an accolade it bestowed based on San Diego’s new-and-improved megayacht facilities and overall wave of affluence in the city. It is also home to YachtFest, the West Coast’s ultimate boutique yacht show. Now in its 10th year, YachtFest shows boats starting at 60 feet-this criterion separates the event from other, larger yacht shows that offer boats of all sizes. More than $60 million worth of boats, yachts, superyachts, luxury cars, and other accessories are on display and for sale. The annual gathering is held in September at Island Palms Hotel and Marina on Shelter Island.
The new Fifth Avenue Landing is the state-of-the-art superyacht docking and berthing facility located in the heart of San Diego. The secluded marina can host up to 12 megayachts up to 300 feet, and offers complimentary concierge service for owners and crew. Fine dining and shopping are mere minutes away, making this new facility the bunking place of choice for the world’s finest crafts as they make their way through the southern city.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is one of the world’s most picturesque cities, and in recent years, yachts have begun to figure ever more prominently into the fold. San Francisco Bay has played host to some of the world’s most impressive yachts. This is no coincidence; Bay Area residents happen to be the owners of some of the most eye-catching megayachts around. Tiger Woods’ 155-foot Privacy, Tom Perkins’ 290-foot Maltese Falcon, and Charles Simonyi’s 233-foot Skat have all graced the scenic bay with their presence in recent years. In downtown San Francisco, Pier 38 can accommodate yachts up to any size in its deep-water harbor, and is currently offering megayacht berth ownership opportunities for watercraft 50 feet to 350 feet long.
Victoria International Marina
Considering that the Pacific Northwest has seen so much growth in its yachting industry, a marina that can accommodate the needs of the area’s boaters is overdue. Fortunately, the Victoria International Marina is currently in the works. Set to be open for business in the summer of 2010, the marina will cement Victoria and Vancouver Island’s burgeoning reputation as a yachting destination. The slips will be devoted to boats that are more than 65 feet, a testament to the growth in that specific sector of the market. From Victoria, it is not far to scenic Alaska, a summertime favorite amongst intrepid boaters.