Yachting World look at the site of Camper & Nichloson's new superyacht marina in Malta

It may be in its embryonic stages but Camper & Nicholson’s latest superyacht marina development in Malta’s Grand Harbour is already attracting serious attention. This multi-million pound, Government-commissioned development in the Dockyard Creek area of the picturesque Grand Harbour Marina at Valletta has already sold one of its 50m superyacht berths and, with five more potential purchasers interested, business is looking good.

With just six months to go before the completion of phase one, there is little to see in the way of development, but, thanks to a stunning architectural backdrop, it’s easy to picture why this new development could become a Mediterranean superyacht haven. Situated just six miles off the main cruising route from Gibraltar to the Suez Canal, the marina will have plenty to offer, including lifting-out and servicing facilities, a five-star hotel and an abundance of waterside shops cafes, bars and restaurants.

But it isn’t just the setting, location and facilities that’ll woo the big yachts. Another key factor is that because Malta is outside the European Union there’s no VAT to pay. Fuel prices are relatively cheap and marina berths will be at least half the price of other marina locations in the Med. For example, a 25-year licence on a 50m berth will cost in the region of US$1 million; a similar lease in other areas of the Med is more likely to cost up to US$2.3 million.

The first phase of berthing development for 50-75m superyachts just off the Vittoriosa Wharf should be completed by the middle of 2002. The berths for seriously big yachts (65-100m) will be on St Angelo Wharf at the creek entrance and are scheduled to be ready by the end of 2002/beginning of 2003. The remaining pontoon berths will be situated further upstream.

Not surprisingly, there has been plenty of controversy over the developments, particularly from local residents, who can visualise their sleepy, historic harbour turning into a glitzy playground for the rich and famous. But developers say they are keen to retain as much of the original harbour as possible and by restoring old buildings such as the grand Maritime Museum (the former British Naval bakery) and the casino, the area will retain its historic flavour.

Away from the marina, on the north-west shore of the harbour, is the capital town of Valletta and just 10 minutes away is the airport. Visiting yachtsmen can also visit the Royal Malta Yacht Club, which stands on Mauela Island on the other side of the main harbour.

Contact: Camper & Nicholson Marinas, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 1AH, United Kingdom. Tel: 44 (0)23 9252 4811. Fax 44 (0)23 9258 9541.