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The Monaco Grand Prix is just days away—here’s what you need to know if you are ever planning to catch the event from onboard.

Few experiences in the world could top being in Monaco for the Grand Prix, which has been held in the principality since 1929. In fact, the only way to make attendance at this momentous occasion even better is—of course—to do it aboard a yacht. Monaco is centered around its famous harbor, Port Hercules. As such, the water offers some of the most sought-after views of the race and, not surprisingly, the parties there are nonpareil. Here is everything you need to know before the race kicks off at 3 p.m. Monaco time this Sunday.

“The parties are incredible and there are so many of them,” says Alessandro Sartore, who owns All Services, a yacht service and charter company based in Italy. “There are two kinds of yachts in attendance, those with an owner and charter yachts. The ones with owners aboard often have more intimate gatherings, but the charter yachts throw big parties.” If you find yourself in attendance at one of these soirees, Sartore gives a hard recommendation on ear plugs. “It gets very loud,” he says. “Monaco is all buildings and the sound from the cars bounces off of them. You definitely want to make sure you are protected.”

Berths for race week, which is typically held in late May or early June, must be booked by January 15th. Wait any longer than that and they will all be gone. Sartore says that priority is given to yacht owners who have a connection to the race, through a car or other avenue. Yachts can be assigned to one of three different zones—Zones, 1, 2, and 3. Of the three, Zone 1 off Quai Kennedy is the most prized, as guests can see both the start of the race and the Portier, the Monaco race track’s famous tunnel. These berths are best booked through an agency such as Sartore’s or else through a yacht brokerage firm. Using a Monaco insider as an agent helps immensely with the notorious red tape and labyrinthine rules and bylaws in the principality. The agent can deal directly with the Ports of Monaco to assure a berth is assigned.

Eleonora Pitasso is a Monaco insider if there ever was one. The Burgess broker has lived in Monaco for years and knows it inside and out. She is a massive fan of the Grand Prix, and understands the appeal completely. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” she says. “I can see why people fly from all over the world just to say they have been there. It’s different than Italy and France, just a totally singular type of vibe. When the track is in town it is completely nuts. Everyone in Monaco is mad for the race, and rightly so. There are so many people here, there is so much going on, and it is so, so much fun.” Pitasso adds that she thinks in a post-Covid world, people are much more focused on enjoying life in the moment, and that has fueled even more desire to be a part of this marquis event.

Many of the big brokerage houses hold terrace parties on race day with excellent views of the track below. Though most are stand-up cocktail soirees, Burgess does things a bit more formally than most, as Burgess is wont to do. “We invite our clients—yacht owners or charter people—and we do a seated lunch which is different because usually people are standing up and sipping drinks. But it’s a very important moment for our clients, so we like to do something a bit different than the rest.”

As for tips for race week, Pitasso voices a seemingly small but possibly monumental concern. “All the women want to wear 6-inch heels, and I get that. I am Italian. I love my heels,” she says. “But I am telling you, bring comfortable shoes for walking. There are only 15 licensed cabs in Monaco and the streets will be packed with people. No one wants to end up walking uphill from Twiga to Beausoleil at 4 a.m. in stilettos.”

With the race just around the corner, Monaco is currently sizzling with anticipation. A palpable air of excitement blankets this unique home to some of the world’s wealthiest and most glamorous cities. If you are not able to make it this year, you can of course watch on TV. But start preparing for the 2025 edition, because nothing compares to being in town for the race onboard your very own yacht. Just make sure it’s a Heesen.

By Kevin Koenig

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