Gustavia Yacht Club sails into Monaco

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Just when you thought Monaco, where every third person is a millionaire but money still can’t get you into the most exclusive parties, couldn’t become any more enviable, in sail Gustavia Yacht Club members, returning after their first long winter’s stay in St Barts.

It was only nine months ago that the Gustavia Yacht Club started accepting membership applications even though the clubhouse had yet to open, and low and behold, 125 people signed up on spec before the opening in November 2016. Today there are 250 members, 70 of whom are Monaco residents, and an impressive list of sponsors: Sibarth, IYC International Yacht Corporation, Boutsen Design, Château d’Esclans, Veuve Clicquot and Jamis Bikes.

For mere mortals, this overnight success would seem an impossible feat in such a short period, but Sir Stelios, who created Gustavia Yacht Club with some friends, is not just anyone.

Commodore Stelios may have wondered whether he’d be spending the winter alone in the 100 sqm triplex, but it turns out the Clubhouse has become a hotspot within the St Barts eco-system. And that’s not easy in St Barts, where New Year’s Eve revellers are willing to spend $6,000 a pop, for just a chair at Nikki Beach – not including one nibble or drop of drink.

Bucket Regatta, parties, guest speakers, extreme adventures, Mardi Gras … scroll down Gustavia Yacht Club’s FB page and it’s understandable why followers were futilely trying to swipe right on the eye-popping selfies.

It would be hard to go cold turkey after the first Gustavia Yacht Club season in St Barts, so when Sir Stelios returned to Monaco he recently hosted a little shindig chez lui for 50 members, to celebrate the start of the season and to showcase a selection of the Club’s bespoke luxury merchandise by Bousten Design, as well as classic items, including sunglasses and the official Club tie, one for daytime and for evening, on sale on the night.

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The cocktail dînatoire à la Stelios, where plenty of tales of the Buckets and who-frequented-whose-yacht were backed up by iPhone videos, was also an opportunity to spread the word that Gustavia Yacht Club and the Monaco Yacht Club have worked out an informal reciprocal arrangement whereby members can visit each other’s club for two weeks a year. According to inside sources, YCM members have wasted no time to head to St Barts to check out the Gustavia clubhouse.

Gustavia also has agreements with Anguilla Yacht Clubs, Chicago Yacht Club, Corinthian Yacht Clubs of Philadelphia and San Francisco, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Manhattan Yacht Club and Sint-Maartin Yacht Club.

Anchoring Gustavia Yacht Club even more firmly in the Monaco social scene, a series of Club events have been fixed in the French Rivera summer calendar: Pre-Grand Prix get together Les Voiles d’Antibes (May 31st to June 4); Stelios Philanthropic Foundation fundraiser in aid of the WWF with the Foundation of Prince Albert II (in July); Monaco Classic Week (September 13 to 17); Regates Royales Cannes (September 23 to 30); Monaco Yacht Show (September 27 to 30, with its own stand to act as “our summer Clubhouse in the Mediterranean”); and Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez (September 30 to October 8).

With Commodore Stelios at the helm, and genius merchandising behind it, Gustavia Yacht Club is certain to makes waves this sailing season in Monaco. The question remains: who will be amongst the exclusive members onboard?

Article first published May 9, 2017.

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Article first published May 9, 2017.

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