Why sun tanning is so much better on a private yacht

I have to say that sun tanning on the deck of a luxury yacht somehow feels better than lying on a pool deck. And more glamorous. Which is another reason I’m happy to live in Dubai. The water is almost always calm, the sun always shines, and there are plenty of yacht rental companies, so heading out for a quick party afternoon is easy.


The Yacht

Which is exactly what we did when a friend decided to throw a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend. We hired a 53 foot yacht between twelve of us, loaded up with food and booze and threw a big birthday bash on the water.

A 50 footer is big enough for about ten to fifteen people and perfect for an afternoon. We could’ve gone for a 70 or 85 footer, or something much fancier, maybe with a helicopter? You can rent whatever you want. And if you’d like to cruise up the coast for a couple of days, no problem. Maybe next time.

Personally I think I would still stick with less people, even on a bigger boat. You only want people on board that are comfortable with each other and are good fun, because it’s a long swim home if you’re unhappy. Luckily we had a great bunch on board, and the twelve of us were just fine with our triple level 50 footer, complete with aircon cabin, skipper and three other deck hands who were happy to accommodate us, and the chaos.

Fun In The Sun

When we got to the marina, we had to make a call to get through security, but after that it was all good. We hopped into a nicely furnished aircon cabin to set out balloons, streamers and the rest of the usual party paraphernalia. By the time birthday boy arrived, it was a fully-decked party boat.

People tanning on the front of a boat leaving the marina

We pumped up the music and set out. It’s a long, slow journey through Dubai Marina, past all the apartments and out to the ocean. But it gives you to time to get a drink or two in and relax. We had hardly started moving when the champagne was popped, the girls were in the bikinis and everyone was spread out on the front of the boat tanning.

We travelled up the coast, past all the suburbs and it was great to get a fresh view of Dubai, passing the Burj Al Arab hotel and all the private mansions on the shoreline. We headed for a small island just off Jumeirah. It’s literally a big sandy patch that everyone moors their boat off. It’s a safe, protected area for swimming, so that’s where we stopped for a couple of hours to swim and have lunch.  The water was crystal clear and so damn refreshing I stayed in bobbing about for ever while the others kept throwing themselves off the higher decks.

Looking back over boat's wake to Dubai skyline

BBQ And Bubbly

If you’re going to hire a bigger boat you can also arrange a chef, but we just brought cooler boxes full of food, wine, bubbly and vodka and the guys hooked up an electric BBQ so we could grill on the back deck. It was awesome.

We ate lunch, drank, swam, drank some more and just before sunset we headed back to the marina. But on the way back, we went into deeper water, and sailed all the way around Palm Jumeirah (that big famous man-made island) past the Atlantis Hotel at the head. It’s an impressive island.

Group tanning on yacht in front of Burj Al Arab Dubai

We also passed one of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s yachts on the way in. (He is the ruler of Dubai if you didn’t know). It was one of his baby yachts, but it still had place for a helicopter. Like I said, maybe next time.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's luxury yacht

When we entered the marina, it was like we’d joined a flotilla as loads of other yachts headed back as well. By the time we docked, our boat looked like it had crashed through a party accessory shop. The staff said they didn’t mind (I’m guessing they’re used to a boat load of hooligans). And as the bigger booze cruise boats headed out for sunset, I convinced myself this should become a monthly day out. Like all good intentions it probably won’t happen, but at least I know the opportunity to tan and BBQ at sea is always there.


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