Memorial Day weekend welcomed more than just beachgoers in Orange Beach. If you were anywhere near the water, you probably couldn’t miss the showing of mega-yachts. Some came just for fun, but others came because of coronavirus restrictions at ports in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Whatever the reason, they got plenty of attention.
There’s big and then there’s really big and then there’s the mega-yacht. The ones that payed Orange Beach a visit Memorial Day weekend were mostly between 100 and 165 feet in length. Boats of that size typically have a full-time crew of up to five or more people. The first question people ask is what’s the price tag?
“A motor yacht that’s over a hundred feet and is fully finished out, has all of the state rooms, has all of the services, has all of the toys…yeah. You could start at ten million and go up from there,” said John Fitzgerald, GM of Saunders Yachtworks in Gulf Shores.
And then there’s the maintenance. John Fitzgerald said annual operating costs typically average about 10% of the value of the boat. Of the half a dozen or so that were there, only a couple yachts remained Wednesday, May 27, 2020. One of them was the 99-foot Jazz. It’s berthed at Saunders. The crew asked that Saunders not publicize its presence, but it’s hard not to notice the huge vessel as you drive along Canal Road. It’s easy to find out about a boat’s history, but one thing you’ll rarely learn is who owns it.
“They’ve made an investment, but they’d rather not have to explain it to other people because they are such attention getters,” Fitzgerald explained. “They are such an attraction to people that are not involved with them that it seems to generate a lot of questions. They’d rather just enjoy the boat or the benefits of running it as a business.”
From the 85-foot Come Monday to the 164-foot Apricity, boats of their size are sure to catch the eye. Apricity berthed at the Wharf through the weekend where it drew crowds until it left for south Florida Tuesday. Wharf Marina Director, Beverly Morgan said there were plenty of questions.
Who owns it? Is it someone famous? Or, how did they get in here, all the way through the pass to get into the canal to dock here?” Morgan recalled.
The Wharf accommodates an impressive fleet of large vessels year-round, but the mega-yachts impressed even the owners of them. Tim Mayeux of New Orleans owns the 90-foot MYU and has had it docked at the Wharf for more than two years. The 30-year-old vessel has been well taken care of and boasts many luxuries. But, with the lowly price tag of just $2.4 million dollars, its amenities pale in comparison to some of the newer mega yachts.
“It’s just my fascination. I like boats and seeing some of these coming in here that you don’t get to see too often is really interesting. Different styles,” Mayeux said.
Only when you get up close or take a tour can you truly appreciate the craftsmanship, design and sheer luxury found on board.