We asked the co-owner and CEO of Royal Yacht Club Anton Dolotin to sum up the first decade of one of the most famous yacht clubs in the capital.
You were interviewed by Yachts Magazine in 2010, when the Yacht Club turned five. That's when Royal Yacht Club first started to earn at full power. The third five years were coming to an end. How has the yacht club changed since its inception?
First of all, the yacht club had its regular tenants and clients. We managed to gather almost all players of the Russian yachting market on the territory, despite the fact that they are direct competitors of each other. Today the yacht club has an 80% occupancy rate. Mostly - and this was our general line - are yachting companies, including the main players of the Russian market, Nordmarine and West Nautical. In other words, the main yacht brands in our mid-sized segment are Princess, Sunseeker, Azimut and Fairline.
IN A DECADE OF LIFE THE YACHT CLUB HAS REALLY CHANGED - BECAME MORE YOUTHFUL AND DYNAMIC.
This is due to the opening of the PROyachting school on our premises, the emergence of the wakesurf school and the more active social life we lead.
In particular, we have the Moscow Yacht Show on a regular basis. It is the most significant event for our yacht club. In this sense we are grateful to MotorBoat magazine and those people who hold it - we really like the way the boat show is organized today.
Five years ago, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel opened next to the RYC. In an interview you gave itBoat shortly before its opening, you said you were looking for a «dynamic» hotel brand for the club. Did the bet on Double Tree pay off?
Oh, yes, of course you would. The brand has given a certain amount of freedom in terms of the design of the object, and we have implemented it completely, because we were engaged in both construction and development. Today, the average annual occupancy rate of the Double Tree is 80%. The hotel specializes in holding various events and conferences, and for us to have such an active partner in our neighbors is very useful.
In an interview in 2014 you said that you plan to sell almost all of the real estate that is available on the yacht club - seven thousand square meters of apartments and offices. To what extent has this plan been implemented to date?
The main tribune building is now completely sold out. We have gathered there respected and worthy people who understand what an architectural monument is, how to work with it and how to live in it. We are now actively negotiating the sale of the office building so that the future Rantier can generate a steady income in an ideal location on the shore of our yacht club.
Five years ago there was the Tribune Restaurant on the spot, and not long ago the Royal Bar was located on the beach next to the Yacht Club. Now these establishments no longer exist. Tell us who has replaced them and are there any future plans to open new places? I know a lot of people have regretted closing the bar.
I started at the Royal Bar, but I quit the project because of a disagreement with the owners. After that the bar changed owners several times and just two or three years after I left the project, it ceased to exist. In my opinion, the format of the restaurant closes both these niches - the Royal Bar and the T»ribuna «»Restaurant «at the same time. Yes, you might have thought of reopening the Royal Bar in the same place, but so far there is neither time nor desire.
During its existence the Yacht Club (together with the whole Russian economy) has experienced two crises. Is it possible to say today that their consequences have been mostly overcome?
It cannot be said that the consequences of the crises have been completely overcome. If we speak in general about the Russian yachting market, today we see that despite the fact that there is a certain liberalization of legislation (in fact, now anyone on a boat under a foreign flag can temporarily enter the territory of Russia), the general economic situation and tension in international relations do not allow people to enter the internal waters.
UNFORTUNATELY, 70% OF THE RUSSIAN YACHTING MARKET IS NOW CONCENTRATED ABROAD.
Compared to 2005, when you started, how has yachting in the capital changed? Is it possible to say that some kind of yachting infrastructure started to form?
When we started, there really was nothing. By 2010, the development of the yachting infrastructure was at its peak.
AND NOW WE'RE SEEING SOME STAGNATION.
There are no economic conditions for investment in yachting infrastructure and, as you may have noticed, no new yacht clubs have opened recently, even on the contrary, some are closing.
How do you feel about the idea to place a settlement on the water in the Khimki Reservoir«?»It is said that Alexander Klimchuk, Director of Houseboat Company, managed to get the support of this initiative from the Moscow Canal...
The initiative is revolutionary, but the question, as in any development, is how it will all look. Personally, those houseboots I saw weren't very impressed. But a stylish and beautiful project - like the ones in Holland - I would support it.