Catamarans are coveted for their spacious interiors and comfortable, stable platforms in certain seas. Necker Belle should attract charter guests for those reasons, and more, starting in February in the British Virgin Islands.
The 105-footer is part of the Burgess charter fleet as well as the Virgin Limited Edition luxury resorts. The latter, or course, is Sir Richard Branson’s company. Branson bought the yacht, launched in 2003 as Lady Barbaretta, and had her refitted as a charter yacht over the past several months.
I recently attended a launch party for the yacht, and although she wasn’t there – she’s en route to the islands from her refit yard in Australia – I did learn more about her. Necker Belle will serve as both a charter yacht and a cruiser available to guests staying at Branson’s Necker Island retreat. Branson was onboard just prior to her departure from Australia and is delighted with the refit. “She really is a stunner and certainly turned my head, especially knowing the speeds that she can get up to,” he comments. “I have no doubt she will do the same to everyone else!”
What’s so special about her speeds? Necker Belle should 20 knots while under sail, pretty impressive. Under power, she cruises at a reported 18 knots.
Other features make her noteworthy, too. All four staterooms, including the master, should boast excellent views. Two of the staterooms convert from doubles to twins, for flexibility. In addition, should the need arise, the saloon can convert into a fifth stateroom. (However, considering there’s a bar in the saloon, an attractive option for after-dinner drinks at anchor, I have a feeling the room will mostly remain as is.)
Outside, amenities abound. They include the customary cockpit seating/dining area, but some unexpected delights, too. If you fish, there’s also a fighting chair, for example. Necker Belle further has a diving board off the top deck and a crow’s nest.
Necker Belle will have a winter rate of $88,000 per week, plus expenses. She’ll head to the Med for the summer season. There, her rates will switch to euros: €65,000 (about $93,054 at press time) for high season and €60,000 (about $85,900) for low.
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