If you were to write the recipe for the ideal superyacht marina, what would the ingredients be? Perhaps something akin to the following: One part excellent amenities, one part generous berthing space, one part appealing local attractions, all seasoned with a sprinkle of exceptional service and a well-connected location.
If you were looking to find such a place, you don’t need to venture too far from the Mediterranean’s beaten track. We visited IGY Sète Marina where Simon Bryan, IGY’s European Operations Director gave us the scoop on what makes Sète the ideal stopover and home port for superyachts in the south of France.
Location, location, location
Nestled discretely between the hills and the sea, halfway between Barcelona and the French Riviera, Sète has been dubbed the ‘Little Venice of the Languedoc’ thanks to both its rich and charming culture and the numerous canals running through the town. A well-connected spot, offering convenient access to Montpellier International Airport, Sète is the perfect starting point for cruising the southern French and Spanish coastlines, far from the madding crowds.
From a practical point of view, Sète’s location also makes it ideal as a homeport or wintering destination for superyachts. The marina is located between some of the world’s most prestigious refit yards including La Ciotat’s Monaco Marine and MB92’s facilities in both La Ciotat and Barcelona. And as Bryan highlights: “Because of the location within a commercial port, there is an almost unlimited range of work for yachts that can be completed in the marina.”
Bountiful berths at IGY Sète Marina
When it comes to berthing space, IGY Sète Marina has it in abundance and caters for yachts of all sizes, offering alongside berthing for superyachts up to 180 metres (590’) with a maximum draft of 9 (29.5’) metres. Sète provides a range of power from 250-2000 amps, with new bollards and dockside pedestals delivering plug-in-fibre optic Wi-Fi and water.
Both ISPS compliant and fully gated, and with 24-hour security for added peace of mind, IGY Sète Marina’s facilities are numerous and include fuelling, concierge services, internet connectivity, as well as alongside dockage for routine maintenance, repairs and provisioning.
Indeed, as the Regional Director explains, it is these berthing capabilities which lend the marina one of its unique selling points. “Where else would you find alongside berthing for the world’s largest superyachts in a protected, secluded basin with a minimum depth of nine metres. This, in combination with our fantastic location close to the traditional cruising grounds for superyachts in the Med, is what makes us really stand out as a facility.”
A retreat for captain and crew
Sète Marina can also be described as the ideal rest spot for superyacht captains and crew. The recently-opened Sète Marina Crew Clubhouse is designed around the needs of busy superyacht crew, equipped with a fitness centre, business centre, Wi-Fi, a lounge and a rooftop terrace, providing a haven of much-needed calm during precious down time.
“Our facility is extremely secure, which makes it a highly relaxing space for a captain or owner,” adds Bryan. “You can just quietly walk into town from the marina and be totally inconspicuous; it’s not the sort of place where people come to be seen. Captains love our marina because it’s deep, easy and has all of the facilities they need, while still being unfettered by local crowds.”
It is important to both IGY and Bryan himself that captains and crew are well looked after during their time at Sète: “We want to offer more than a practical berthing spot and have built a portfolio of trips and days out to the local area which we offer to captains and crew, including kitesurfing, paddleboarding, oyster tasting, beach trips, wine tasting, and even skiing in the Pyrenees.”
Distinctly Sète – things to do
An attractive tourist location all year around, Sète truly comes into its own in the summer months, when a variety of local festivals create a buzz and give visitors a true taste of the region’s history and culture.
These include such unique occasions as the quirky sea urchin eating festival through to the popular St Louis festival in August, in which teams of jousters travel along the main canal and attempt to joust each other off the back of the barges. For those of a more musical bent, summer festivals local to Sète include both a jazz and an international DJ festival.
A foodie’s paradise
If it’s phenomenal food and drink you’re after, Bryan asserts that Sète has it in spades. “This is the centre of France’s oyster production, as well as mussels, and there is a large tuna fishing fleet here which means that the seafood is fantastic and they export all around the world from here. Unsurprisingly, this means that the festivals are very much linked to food.
“They also produce a lot of very good wines locally, including muscat, which can either be very dry or sweet and serves as a delicious dessert wine when it is on the sweet side. We also have a caviar factory and a liquor factory which are local to us and even have our own Michelin-starred restaurant, as the feather in Sète’s cap.”
To make the most of this exceptional gastronomic culture, IGY has also partnered with a number of local businesses and created a high-end concierge service for the region, offering owners and guests privileged access to various nearby restaurants, activities and events.
History and culture abound
Located just 25 minutes away and boasting an international airport, the city of Montpellier is a popular visiting spot for guests at Sète.
“There are beautiful old parts of the city which are well worth a visit; cobbled windy pedestrian-only streets, sandy coloured buildings, some beautiful parks and communal squares and plenty of shopping too.” adds Bryan. “The airport is obviously quite important for superyacht crews looking to get in and out too!”
For visitors looking to venture further afield, IGY Sète Marina offers a perfect location for yachts to discover and explore the wider region of Hérault and Occitanie. Whether you’re looking for medieval villages, vineyards, national parks or ancient Roman attractions – such as the Pont du Gard or the cities of Arles and Nimes – there is plenty to spark your interest in this culturally rich and historic region of southern France.
Long-term berths for superyachts
As the world gets increasingly expensive at the time of writing in May 2022, IGY Sète Marina also offers the option for owners to acquire long-term berthing at competitive prices, with packages offering access to all of IGY’s 23 superyacht marinas globally.
“Thanks to IGY’s established relationships with some of the world’s largest superyachts, we know that our Sète marina will continue to be a highly attractive proposition for the active fleet. Whether you’re looking for a berth with a five, 10 or 15-year lease, we will find you the ideal spot for a highly competitive price. Everything you need for your vessel will be taken care of, so all you need to do is relax and enjoy the local area.”
For more information about current rates and availability at IGY’s Sète Marina, visit the website here.