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Old 30-03-2009, 08:27   #1
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Fractional Ownership

Being brand new to the whole idea of sailing (currently undergoing theoretical and practical training inland on a 26' yacht), and admittedly unsure of the amount of time I would be able to spend on the water, would someone please be able to advise me on the pro's and cons of fractional ownership where possibly the full cost of sailing could be shared between a few people and the yacht utilised on a rotational basis. I would not be able to spend more than a month or two a year on a yacht. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 30-03-2009, 08:35   #2
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There is a lot to it because the expenses and maintenance of a boat are pretty involved. There are a lot of "what if" situations with a boat that must be covered. What if someone leaves the boat dirty? What if someone is late in making a payment? How do you go about scheduling the boat over holidays? What if something needs to be replaced from wear and tear?...or because it broke? Who decides the difference between wear and breakage and who should pay? What do you do if something turns up missing? How do you decide on where to haul out? Which engine to buy if it needs to be replaced?

You will need to find a partner who you generally agree with or it will not work. (much like a marriage) People vary in their levels of maintenance, cleanliness and at what levels a boat must be taken care of. They also vary in how much money they are willing to sink into a boat. Boats are money pits and they always cost more than you originally think.

You need to think about all the possibilities of what might go wrong, expenses and to create contingencies for all of them put down on paper. This will help keep you out of court if there is a big disagreement. It may turn into a 50 page agreement but without everything spelled out ahead of time, a partnership could turn in to a disaster because of misunderstandings or differences in your personalities or beliefs.
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Old 30-03-2009, 08:44   #3
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A lot of "fractional ownership" programs are actually not really fractional ownership programs.

For legal reasons, the programs do not even involve ownership for the people in the program other than the owner-member who actually owns the boat.

What you get is the opportunity to use the boat a specific number of weekday and weekend days and nights based on your level of membership. You also get "on-demand" use if no one else schedules the boat." They seem to have an initiation/training/certification/ membership fee and then monthly payments for the programs.

The level of apparent boating expertise varys widely from what I have seen.

Our boat is directly opposite of one of these operations, so we get to see it in action. Their staff seems to spend a lot of time keeping the boats clean and well maintained. There is also a conventional charter operation on our dock, so we get to see both types of operations.
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Old 30-03-2009, 08:46   #4
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Thanks for the feedback David. There are companies here in South Africa that do just that and a contract is drawn up between the affected parties which (according to them) caters for all eventualities. I cannot afford a decent yacht on my own, hence the query.
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Old 30-03-2009, 08:47   #5
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phatch, I own a boat in charter which has many things in common to fractional ownership.

If your desires or ability are limited to cruising a few weeks a year, sharing the costs makes more sense, than paying for a boat to sit unused.

Comparing fractional ownership to charter management, I think the advantage of fractional ownership is everyone using the boat has a vested interest in maintaining the boat. I think the advantage of charter management is that it is more common, thus offering more options and you will be the only owner. This means no fighting over use, etc. You always have priority to use it when ever you want. I also really enjoy being able to swap and sail other destinations. and enjoy that boat is always maintained and ready to use.

I think there is no question, that both charter management and fractional ownership are much more affordable than purchasing and maintaining a similar boat yourself. However, owning a similar boat yourself, may not be what you would otherwise do and that's the big question: If you don't do that, what would you otherwise do and how do the costs and other benefits compare? If you really desire a similar yacht for similar sailing, it's probably the way to go. If you are just as happy with your 26-footer that costs 15K you can sail anytime for as long as you want, instead of $75+K for fractional ownership, you may come to a very different conclusion.
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Old 30-03-2009, 08:51   #6
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To address many of the points made above, if you go through one of the major companies, they will have the policies and procedures to take care of many of the issues involving payment by other parties, maintenance, insurance, etc.

I personally would only consider fractional ownership in a situation where the owner fees cover these things. I'd never consider a situation that is several owners with no over riding management structure.
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Old 31-03-2009, 00:07   #7
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Thanks

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 31-03-2009, 02:43   #8
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if you only sail a couple months a year and that's not 1 day per month but more like a couple days / weeks in one go then just charter a yacht. it's like renting a car.

if you have the time to sail at least 1 day a month then fractional sailing can be interesting. companies like SailTime can give you the opportunity to sail a new yacht without the maintenance worries. it's like a member ship at the gym, you use the machines on a regular basis.

when you do that a couple years you can always buy your own yacht
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Old 31-03-2009, 10:42   #9
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i have friends in a fractional ownership "co-op" and they love it. the co-op has two boats, before you buy-in, there are 2 skippers in the co-op that take you out for a few days and train you on every aspect of the boat, you do a test, you have to have your BC Boat Operators Card (issued by the govt), a radio license and stuff like that. They then have a discussion on your boat skills, then you meet everyone in the co-op at one of their meetings, then everybody votes on you.

In the summers, you can only book one week until the end of April, then you can grab unbooked weeks. There's usually co-ordination so that one member drives up to where the boat is already cruising, and the other member drives back, so boat time does not have to be taken up to get to a cruising destination (Here on Vancouver Island, the destination is usually Desolation Sound).

it works great and if i didn't already have a boat, i'd be in theirs...
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Old 31-03-2009, 15:24   #10
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WE were in a sail club. It was fixed fee for the season with a pool of boats. You got so many reservation with unlimited as available time. Since we could go during the day during the week we got a great deal. It was our first full year sailing and learning a lot without the hassle of also learning all the rest is helpful.

It really is all about the money. trying to compute the cost ownership isn't an easy task and some items cost different even for the same exact boat based on where you live and where you want to sail.

If you are new and the facility is close I would consider it as a first year experience with the idea of doing as much day sailing as possible. It's the only way you get better. It also sharpens you skills and your base of knowledge for selecting a boat. You need to do a lot of work to learn how to select the boat for you. Using the above alternatives buys you time to get the best idea of how it will really work if you owned a boat yourself.

We get our current boat slip nearly free and the sail club fees when we were in the club were one third my annual costs today. It's the cheapest sailing we ever did. Any one that is not prepared to sail regularly should consider one of the above alternatives.
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Old 31-03-2009, 18:09   #11
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I shared a driveway with a neighbour......bad blood all around. I, and this is just me, would never even consider fractional ownership. Sometimes I don't play well with others...lol
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:37   #12
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Thumbs up Thanks Again

Thanks for the friendly and useful advise. I have today put something in place for the first year only. Thereafter, I will hopefully have enough wisdom to make a longer term decision. Happy sailing.
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