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Old 22-08-2012, 22:33   #1
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Buying a Moorings or Sunsail Boat

We are about seven years from having the nest empty and hopefully spending 4-6 months a year cruising. In the mean time we have been considering purchasing a new boat either through the Moorings or Sunsail ownership program. While we like the idea of an initial down payment and no other out of pocket expenses for 5 years, I am sure there are some down sides to these types of programs. If purchased now we would probably only use 5 or 6 weeks a year of our ownership time. Anyone out there that has purchased a boat under a moorings or similar program, we would love to hear your thoughts on what you liked, and what you didn't care for. Thanks in advance,
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Old 24-08-2012, 17:55   #2
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Not sure if this is posted in the correct area? Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 24-08-2012, 18:59   #3
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For us it looked like a good thing to do... With plans to spend winters on a boat about 5 years down the road at the time.. a 5 year ownership program with the moorings looked like a good thing for us, but only looked good because we were able to put much more down than they were asking and didn't use their finance program. In 5 years, we'll have a boat only 5 years old and should be (I'm quite confident) in much nicer shape than all the used 5 yr old and older boats I looked at before going with the moorings... And with the guaranteed monthly check, they put a good dent in the bill.
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Old 24-08-2012, 19:54   #4
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Unused Time

There has been a market for unused Owner's time - that could come into play if you have "credits" unused........it was with M/S blessing & the buyer chartered just like a normal week......might want to inquire into current rules & could provide add'l cash (not a windfall) to you
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Old 24-08-2012, 21:18   #5
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Re: Buying a Moorings or Sunsail Boat

I know a bunch of cruisers down here which bought a ex charter boat and are happy. Yes, lot of work and engine has high hours but overall a much cheaper boat. But they paid it afterwards....

I personally checked the program and decided no.

You own a new boat and its worked down quickly - that hurts. Not much influence from your side while in charter. And at the end its still "just" an ex charter boat. I made therefore the following calculation: Charter 2 weeks a year (I had not much more time then) vs cost, benefit and estimated value. Add some decent risk margin as you have no clue how the market looks in 5 years! Finally assume the guys from the charter companies are liars and just wanna sell.

Then compare what you could save in 5 years and what you would get today - great chance you would get massive "more: boat in 5 years. Plus your personal desiree in terms of boat may change significantly due age, different cruising grounds, family situation - you name it.

So I waited and I think it was a very wise decision. But just my five cents...
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Old 24-08-2012, 22:32   #6
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Re: Buying a Moorings or Sunsail Boat

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Originally Posted by IslandDreamer View Post
We are about seven years from having the nest empty and hopefully spending 4-6 months a year cruising. In the mean time we have been considering purchasing a new boat either through the Moorings or Sunsail ownership program. While we like the idea of an initial down payment and no other out of pocket expenses for 5 years, I am sure there are some down sides to these types of programs. If purchased now we would probably only use 5 or 6 weeks a year of our ownership time. Anyone out there that has purchased a boat under a moorings or similar program, we would love to hear your thoughts on what you liked, and what you didn't care for. Thanks in advance,
It has certainly worked for many. Depending on what country and what tax structure you're under of course. I mate of mine did it. And spent a small fortune buying gear for the boat in its final year. By the time the boat was paid for, he was able to load it up with all his brand new gadgets, gizmos etc. As well as a new sail wardrobe. And got the deductions taboot.
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Old 25-08-2012, 16:03   #7
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Re: Buying a Moorings or Sunsail Boat

I purchased a boat through the Moorings, and after finishing that contract have now had it in Footloose for about a year. Of the four cruising boats I've owned, it was the most expensive to purchase, but I'm confident will end up being the least expensive to own.

If you like chartering, but would like to do it more often, I think owning can be a very good deal. I have no regrets. (I figure about 2 weeks/year will likely be my break even point compared to chartering)

If your alternative is not chartering however, I think you need to compare charter management to what ever else would make you happy. Owning a charter boat and using it for 6/wks per year will almost certainly be cheaper than buying the same boat new and only using it 6 weeks per year - but is that what you would otherwise do?

It's a buyer's market now, so if you are happy with a 25K used boat, it may not make sense to buy a 180K charter boat. Paying all the expenses yourself may be cheaper in that case. You can't drive down to the marina and take your Moorings/Sunsail boat out for a sunset sail.

One thing I've seen many state that I do not agree with is that charter boats will come out of the program in much worse shape than privately owned boats. Having owned, exchanged, but also purchased a couple used by owner boats, my experience is the opposite. Many privately owned boats have been neglected and have issues that I've never seen on any of the charter boats I've been on. Sure charter boats get used hard, but the Moorings and Sunsail also need to maintain them in charter ready condition.

I've looked at both the Sunsail and Moorings offerings. Typically, I think the Moorings boats are a bit nicer. I believe the biggest difference in the use structure is that Sunsail charges owners less, but does not include fuel and a few things that the Moorings does. - Just my general observation. Obviously you should talk to reps and study each.

I've also felt that Tui marine has been very good about being very honest about exactly what the contract does and does not include. I've had no surprises along the way.

I should add, while I've been exceptionally pleased with the program, I probably won't do it again, and that's due to the way new vs. used boat prices have changed over the past 6-7 years. Six years ago, one could get into the program for under $120K. Now I think their entry level boat is over 180K, and the used boat market has come down. I'd love to buy a cat, but how do I justify spending 370K+ on a new charter cat, even with 43% or so back in income, when I can go buy a similar used cat that's only 10 years old for $140K?

Though I should add one thing that is so nice about the program is a complete absence of stress regarding upkeep and maintenance. Show up, and go cruising.

Feel free to message me if you have any more specific questions.
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Old 25-08-2012, 19:35   #8
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Thanks to everyone for the Information. We are headed to Tortola in 12 days! Still on the fence, but a darn good excuse to go see some blue water.
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Old 26-08-2012, 08:28   #9
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Re: Buying a Moorings or Sunsail Boat

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Originally Posted by IslandDreamer View Post
....we have been considering purchasing a new boat either through the Moorings or Sunsail ownership program....
Search the forums here, lots of discussion of this subject already.
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