Explore potential companies before you buy a boat. The big companies (Sunsail and Moorings) do not just take boats people own into their programs. They order boats they desire and then allow individuals to purchase
them for inclusion in their charter fleet.
I'm currently 3 years into a 5-year contract
with the Moorings. So far I'm very pleased. Not having to deal with or pay for maintenance
, but just show up and have a boat ready to sail is wonderful. For me, it's clearly much, much more affordable than chartering would be and appears to be cheaper than owning a comparable boat not in charter. However, I can't say for sure what the final pay off will be until the boat is sold.
My experience is that charter boats are used hard, but also professionally maintained to a standard that they are ready for people who are dropping serious money
A charter management program is only viable if the time contractually allotted to you fits your cruising desires. Same for location. Being able to trade
for other locations is a nice option the larger companies offer. When it's in charter, you can't use it when ever you want for evening or weekend sails
My opinion is that if you like to charter and want a similar experience that allows you to sail more weeks for less cost, you will be happy. If your goal is to own a like-new boat for less and are very attached to it, you will likely be constantly worried about how other people are treating it.
I currently own a three year old Beneteau
32.2 in charter and a 1988 Hunter
30 I just purchased. My projections are the averages costs for the charter boat over the time I own it will be much less than the Hunter
not in charter, even though the charter boat is newer, bigger and had selling price
over over 4 times that of my non charter boat.
Note that both Sunsail and the Moorings are owned by Tui Marine
as is Footloose which comprises boats that have finished the initial contract
. I'm sure the smaller charter companies vary considerably in their offerings.