Short question: When would you consider buying
a boat that's in charter
(and leaving it there) if it's the only realistic way you can own it? And it's the perfect boat for you?
I'm looking for some input into a decision I'm looking at. It's a biggie.
By way of background, I'm approaching 40, have a wife and a one-year old son, and few land ties that I care about. My wife and I have skills that allow either of us to earn over $100k (Canadian), but not lots more, and I can work anywhere I have an Internet
connection. For now I'm being a stay-at-home dad, and have been using my idle time to shop for boats.
I've been interested in sailing since my youth, and have been active at my local yacht club for over a decade crewing
on cruisers and racers, lately foredeck during spinnaker
races. The last, and only, boat that I've owned is a Hobie 18. I've been reading the boat owner's library - Practical Sailor, Nigel Calder's books
, etc over the years. I am very certain that I want to live aboard for as long as practical, starting with journeys for a few months, then a year, and then multi-year.
The thought of trading up through boats as I undertake this just fills me with dread. Getting to know a ship, with all its quirks, ironing out the ones that bug me, only to trade
it out for something bigger and better sounds like a great way to be annoyed and spend money
We've chartered in the Caribbean
, and my wife has announced that the only type of ship she feels comfortable on is a catamaran
. Heeling is the main problem for her, and the main benefit is not having to scramble around collecting stuff before taking off in the morning. I've seen people swear they won't let their wives onto a cat for just such a reason.
I have come across a 10-year old cat that is intriguing. Just over 10 years old, a brand known for a well-built reputation. I've chartered the boat for a few days, and have convinced myself that it's solid, meets my needs current
and future, and is a hell of a lot of fun (10 kts in 20 kts of wind
with 2 reefs
in). The list of deficiencies is modest, but it does exist; the worst is that the GPS/chartplotter is dated and an ill-considered vent in a hatch
that people obviously step on has cracked the hatch
. I am sure the boat has kissed the charter dock
a few times, but not humped it.
Its first 5 years were in salt water
, in the hands of someone not especially great at maintenance
. Typical example: The sacrificial bits on the outboards sacrificed themselves.. and weren't replaced. The current
owners picked it up and relocated it to the Great Lakes
, where it is in charter. As a cat, it's the busiest boat in the charter fleet and sees perhaps 7-10 charters a year. The charter company owner is picky, and required the current owners to invest significantly reviving the boat from its hard first five years. It is my view that the chartering area attracts a more modest sailor, not your typical 30-somethings on a booze cruise
in the caribbean
The boat's asking high in the $100,000's; the charter revenue after the dust settles produces income
of around 7% of that. While in charter the boat might cost me $3k a year; out of charter... closer to $20k. I'd better be having a hell of a good time for that kind of money!
I think the only thing giving my wife and I pause is the fact it's in charter about 5 hours away, and to pay it down I'll have to leave it in charter for another couple of years. The fact we need to take the boat out during the off-season for longer cruises is not a big deal.
I would welcome some input into this decision.