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Old 21-03-2017, 07:29   #31
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Caribbean winters, North Dakota/Minnesota summers
Boat: Leopard 39 Owners Version
Posts: 327
Re: Merits of Buying a Boat to put in Charter Fleet

Just quickly, here's my story and I'm sticking to it:
Firstly, I knew going in that I was going to take the boat over as a winter home after the charter contract ended.
I put a small catamaran into charter in 2011. Did a ton of homework on what boat would make me and my wife happy, and would also have a good chance of bringing a premium should we ever decide to sell. Whether that premium be a lot, or a little, my thoughts were that a boat that would bring a premium, should be easier to sell. Watching the market for 2 years, I saw the used owners versions come and go quickly. So, from that homework, I knew an owners version would have a good chance of selling, should that be the case.
At the time, used, small, owners version cats for sale were bringing a large premium. Used 4 cabins around 5-10 years old, were asking upwards to $200K, and owners versions of the same model, upwards to $250K (or more) at the time, if I recall correctly. As my nick suggests, I was focused on 3 models of boats, Privilege, Leopard, and Lagoons.
For me, it was mostly about budget. I wanted a new ~$400K boat right now, but only had about $225K, maybe a bit more, to work with. So, I traveled everywhere, looking at used $225K boats, all of them, except one, needed a ton of work, and the one that didn't, needed an engine overhaul, and really wasn't a model I was considering, although, very nice and very clean, a Manta 40.
So, took my budget, went to the local bank, then called the Moorings (now that they had an owners version available). and figured out how their ~40% cash back would pay off my boat in full at the end of 5 years or less, with my budget put up front.
My wife loved the program, wanted me to sign back up, we traveled a lot of places, we used boats like ours, bigger boats, and newer boats on occasion. We met people who were on their 3rd boat with the company. So, we sailed when we could, traveled to all kinds of places to use boats. Spent a small fortune sometimes on the travel. Here's some advice, if you go with a program like the Moorings, book all your advance booking right when you buy the boat, tie up those dates, times, and places.
Now, to my boat. I also knew, besides that I was going to take it over at 5 years, that I could be on top of the phase out. At phase out, my boat was trashed, it was a wreck. It had been taken such good care of until the last year of charter. That last year it got dismasted, sat with no care, parts taken for other boats. It was dis-heartening. The de-masting actually got me all new rigging, sails, sailbags, etc. etc.
Now the good, because so many parts were gone, so many parts were replaced with new or newer than original. Because I was there, things they wanted to jury rig, got fixed correctly, even if it took them twice and twice as long to do it. The metal work that was still bent up from the dismasting, was taken from a nearby boat like mine, and made mine good. It was months and months of work. Fortunately, for me, I could be there, kind of unfortunate for them I suppose, but that's what their phase out contract is all about. Making the boat right. and safe.
Now the value, when I looked at trading it back for a one step up newer, larger model, about the time of the dismasting, they offered me good value for my boat.. $275K. But, minus 10% brokerage fee, and 5% for something they called a risk factor fee ??. So, $40K worth of fees, trading up wasn't going to happen. Now, my survey came back with $250K value. The value to me is really immaterial to me, as it's my winter home, and not for sale just yet. It is nice to know there is the potential there for some money in pocket, if I need to sell. There are a lot of boats of my model coming out of their charter service, so to sell, I'm sure I would need to have the best and cleanest one of all and competitively priced.
So, overall, the program worked for us, and for the people who are on their 2nd or 3rd boat with the program, it must be working for them.
Anyone who says buying a charter boat NEVER works out, is wrong. I'm sure sometimes it doesn't, but sometimes it does.
All you can do is consider all, read about others' experiences, homework, homework, make up your mind, either do it, or don't.
An aside thought, the quality of the newer boats is dwindling.. don't rule out a good, well built older boat. But be ready, Waterworld and Budget and Defender and West Marine and Amazon want all your money too.
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