Charter during the America's Cup

In this article we analyse the opportunity generated by the competition for yacht owners who want to charter their yacht during the competition.

The 37th edition of the America's Cup will be held in Barcelona in September and October 2024. The event promises to be a great attraction to visit Barcelona, particularly for sailing enthusiasts. As in previous editions held in other cities, a large number of private yachts, as well as charter yachts, are expected to arrive in Barcelona. The demand for yachts offered for charter is expected to be high, as teams, sponsors and visitors will demand this service.

Aware of this circumstance, the marinas in the area have increased the price of the few free moorings during the competition period, which creates an advantage for the charter yachts that already have moorings in the area and also for those private yachts, also moored in the area that, after processing the corresponding permits, want to offer themselves for charter during the competition period.

The charter activity in Spain is reserved for pleasure yachts, regardless of whether the owner is Spanish or foreign, natural or legal person, registered as commercial. A registration is considered to be commercial when the yacht is authorised by the flag to carry out charter activities. In the case of yachts flagged in Spain, they are those registered in the Sixth List of the Register of Ships.

The flag of the yacht is not an impediment to chartering in Spain, and the yachts can be flagged in European Union countries or outside. In other words, a foreign owner, for example, a Panamanian company, can charter in Spain a yacht registered in the Cayman Islands, as long as it has a commercial registration and the corresponding charter licence is managed.

Now, what are the requirements for obtaining the charter licence?

1) The yacht must be EU goods or cleared for free circulation, a status that will confer non-EU yachts the customs status of EU goods and free circulation. In short, if it is a foreign vessel, it must be imported. There are mechanisms by which a non-EU yacht can be released for free circulation without having to disburse import VAT.

2) The Special Tax on Certain Means of Transport (known as matriculation tax) must be paid or exempted from payment. This tax is applied to Spanish flagged yachts or those that are chartered in Spain and is at a rate of 12% of the value of the yacht. As indicated at the beginning, when a yacut is used exclusively for charter, it is possible to apply for exemption from this tax and thus avoid paying it.

3) Obtain the corresponding authorisation, called despacho, which is requested from the maritime authority. In order to obtain the clearance, when the yacht is up to 24 metres in length, it is necessary for it to pass an inspection carried out by authorised inspection companies, in which the safety equipment is substantially checked. For larger vessels, the class certificate required by the flag state is sufficient. It is also necessary to take out liability and passenger insurance to cover the occupants. The crew, if applicable, must be duly contracted in accordance with the rules of the flag state.

From NauticaLegal Abogados ( , we have opened a specific line of services for those owners who want to qualify their yacht for charter during the 37th America's Cup period. The service includes legal and fiscal advice, management of the charter licence and preparation of contracts.

Contact: Yamandu R. Caorsi
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0034 615320452

Nauta Legal Abogados

Balmes, 197, 1º, E
08006 Barcelona
T: +34 93 024 18 86
M: +34 615 320 452

Paseo Vara de Rey 20, 1°, 2ª
0780 Ibiza
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M: +34 686 382 537


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