Photo: Dunia Baru
Photo: Dunia Baru
A haven for kids of all ages
Superyachts not only offer families the perfect chance to enjoy time together, they also offer a host of opportunities for children to have fun – and to learn something new about the world around them too.
Screaming down a giant inflatable slide into crystal clear azure waters from the top deck of a superyacht is a unique kind of thrill. It’s the sort of thing that superyachts – especially those that charter – specialise in, complete with garages full of every sort of water toy you can think of. It’s heaven for kids of all ages, but for the children a superyacht can offer so much more. There’s the attention of the crew who can oversee and entertain the children while the parents get some much-needed downtime, and there’s the fact that superyachts offer families the chance to explore the world, which can deliver unprecedented opportunities for a child’s education and cultural understanding.
Superyachts, says Steve Osborne, Captain of the 60-metre yacht Slipstream, offer the ultimate in time and place for a family holiday where all the focus is on yourselves. “It really is the ultimate way to spend time with your family,” he says. “And if the kids are happy, the parents are happy – that’s something we’ve always focused on here. It’s about coming up with new ideas and new ways of entertaining children and making it fresh, because if you have people coming back year after year they don’t necessarily want the same experience every time so you have to think outside the box.”
Part of the challenge – which applies to all areas of life – can be to wean younger family members off phones and tablets, and this is where the superyacht environment and the imagination of the crew can make a real difference. “You have to be creative,” Osborne enthuses. “So it’s coming up with shore-based activities, treasure hunts, beach days and shore excursions – trying to encourage them to do these things involves everyone doing a lot of research on the current exciting things to do.”
More than that, it can also be about coming up with activities that have a responsible or a sustainable element to them, which in turn can help educate or inform in a fun and engaging way. “Having children on board makes for the best charters because they just want to have fun,” beams Ayeisha Dyer-McCutcheon, Second Officer on the 90.1-metre Nero. “It can be things like water fights with water balloons or hide-and-seek – last year, we had charters where we were in the water from seven in the morning to nine in the evening just playing with the kids.
“You have to relate to them,” she continues, “and you build a good friendship with them and then we’ll do things like a treasure hunt – we even did a superyacht design competition with some children on board last year because they were so into drawing. We teach them things too, and they feel that they’ve really achieved something while they’re away on their holiday – something a bit different from maybe just being sat in front of an iPad the whole time.”
Indeed, there’s another aspect to the idea of fun for children that goes far beyond water toys and other activities, and it’s an element that superyachts offer almost to a unique degree – involvement. Designer Andrew Winch has been involved in a huge number of projects, many of which revolve around families with children who aim to explore the corners of the world while educating the children on board, and more than that, including the children at every stage of the project.
Combining fun, inspiration and education is key. Winch talks of a large sailing yacht project the team completed, designed because the parents wanted to take their five children around the world to islands. “They wanted to educate their children over a year and a half that the world was full of islands, and islands were communities, and communities had to be understood and communicated with,” Winch explains. “For example, England is an island, Tahiti is an island, Vanuatu is an island, but each culture is different. They wanted to help their children learn about the world culture and what makes people diverse, and we built the boat for that purpose.
Photo: Dunia Baru
Photo: Dunia Baru
“And now we’re building an explorer yacht for a client in Italy – the family are very keen that the boat is as ecologically built as possible for them and their family to go exploring around the world,” he continues. “The children, who are young, have been making models with Lego and with other materials of sofas that they’d like to see.” The Winch team has turned those models designed by the children into sofa drawings for manufacture for the yacht, so that the involvement of the family is consistent. “They are in love with it,” Winch enthuses. “The parents say we’re very happy to build a sofa, and the colours that the child has chosen are just as important as the construction. And we’ll build the sofa so it’s perfectly comfortable but the child says ‘I designed that!’. That’s fun. That’s involvement.” Indeed, he suggests, that’s craft that might lead that child to have a career in design himself.
“It’s a lovely story,” he concludes. “It’s about involvement. It’s about participation. It’s not about it being done for you, it’s about you being part of the story. And I think that’s much, much more fun, and that’s what the parents want – the children will be school educated on board as they travel, the parents will have the type of life they want, and the children will be inspired.”