There was fun, food, and even a fire show, as yacht owners gathered under the Mediterranean sun for the party of the year.
It was the greatest number of Sunseekers seen together in years. As the sun turned amber over the bay of Pollença, at the northern tip of Mallorca, 24 of the world’s finest motor yachts wafted gently in the warm breeze. Assembled for Ultimate2016, for owners it was the culmination of three days of cruising with new friends and old acquaintances.
One of those owners was Damon Harvey, who, cocktail in hand, looked down to ‘Chaos’, his Predator 60. “Some are going to go on after the cruise, but three days is enough for us, because when we party, we party hard,” he said. “But it’s been great. We’ve already exchanged numbers with people and said, ‘We’re here or there next week, why don’t we meet up and have lunch on the beach? It’ll be fun.’”
He was standing on the upper terrace at La Fortaleza, the fort built in 1622 to defend against pirate attacks. The estate will be familiar to fans of the BBC hit drama The Night Manager as the lair of villainous arms trader Richard Roper, played by Hugh Laurie, but that evening it was host to a far more congenial crowd, as the party welcomed the whole Sunseeker family of owners, representatives from Sunseeker London Group and Sunseeker International, and several brand sponsors. The estate, with its verdant gardens and rippling water features, is closed to the public and only open to a handful of the world’s most exclusive private events each year.
For two days, an armada of yachts had stopped bathers and fishermen in their tracks as they powered from the company’s base in Port Adriano on the southern coast. “We’re in Mallorca 120 days a year, but we’ve never been right around the island,” said Damon as waiters passed around specially created cocktails and an elegant acrobat twisted through silk sheets suspended from a high frame. “So it’s been wonderful, really.” Twelve yachts had left the marina – Sport Yachts, Predators and Manhattans – to be joined by four more by the time they moored for the night at Porto Petro further east on the southern coastline.
There they were met with a rather unusual surprise – a ‘cocktail tender’ nipping about, courtesy of Chase Distillery. A few classics, a few new inventions by Britain’s only single-estate distillery, but it’s fair to say the firm’s signature Great Chase cocktail of Chase vodka, elderflower liqueur, soda water and freshly squeezed lemon served over ice with a slice of lemon to garnish, was just what the captains ordered as they moored in the natural harbour before dining together in the gardens of a nearby five-star hotel.
The next morning, everyone arrived in Pollença to rendezvous with eight more boats and try out new toys, such as Flyboards – water jet-powered hoverboards – and Seabob, the world’s fastest water sled that shoots users over or under the water at up to 20km per hour. It’s fair to say a few orders were placed that day. The guests then took a look at land-based travel in the form of Land Rover’s hottest new models.
And finally it was the party – the high point of the trip. After drinks and canapés, 200 guests sat at tables laid out on a high terrace as darkness fell, leaving the 24 yachts lit up to shine on the water. Before the food arrived, there was a warm round of applause for Sunseeker’s founder, Robert Braithwaite, who gave a toast to the friendships that ownership fosters.
The Mediterranean setting was a perfect backdrop for the Michelin-starred cuisine from chef Marc Fosh. He had speciallyselected a fusion of his two Mallorcan restaurants: Marc Fosh, known for its emphasis on clean flavours and seasonal ingredients, and Fosh Lab, where his experiments in food introduce new elements into old recipes. The menu included a delicately flavoured chicken cannelloni with organic white asparagus, rocket and shaved truffle, followed by Mallorcan-style line-caught sea bream with a black olive parmentier.
‘Everyone knows the boats are a fantastic product that give people privacy and a place for family life. And La Fortaleza is a great location, not open to the public, where we can have a fun time together’
It was topped off with a white chocolate and olive oil cremoso doused with blueberries and jasmine flowers. Among the guests enjoying it was Tim Gawthorn, Sales and Marketing Director of Wanda One UK, the highly successful Chinese firm that joined with Sunseeker in 2013 and works in close partnership with the company to cement the brand as a world leader. “Marc Fosh has done an incredible job providing such delicious food for 200 guests,” he said. “And it was a real coup to get such an incredible, unique, high-profile venue. What Sunseeker owners are looking for are exclusive experiences – not everybody can rock up here and have a party. We’re so grateful to Sunseeker for coming to Wanda Group and inviting us to get involved.”
During dinner, Phil Popham, Sunseeker’s CEO, fired the starting gun on a silent charity auction which offered prestigious prizes, including a Williams Jet tender and a very impressive pair of tickets to the football World Cup final in Russia. The £44,000 raised went to Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides nurses and care for people living with cancer.
Afterwards, as the water on the pool sparkled under the flames from a fire show, Phil said the night had been all about reflecting the Sunseeker lifestyle. “Everyone knows the boats are a fantastic product that give people privacy and a place for family life. And La Fortaleza is a great location, not open to the public, where we can have a fun time together. It’s the pinnacle of a great week,” he added.
His words were echoed by Kevin Liebenberg, owner of ‘Dad’s Toy 60’, another Predator 60. “We’ve been with Sunseeker for 10 years, started on a 35, now onto a 60. I love the way it looks, the lifestyle it affords and the support we receive. Once you’re in the Sunseeker family, you’re in,” he said. “Look at how many people are here; we’ve all been onto each other’s boats to look around. You don’t get that unless you are a close family.”