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Old 24-03-2013, 07:59   #1
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Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

Advice needed!!!

I live in Chicago and am still engulfed in the career deal for at least 10 more years. Our sailing season is May 15 - October 15 (harbors/launches open). My wife & I are avid weekend sailors (cumulative 20 years) & have a wild time on Lk Michigan whether it be more relaxed on our Hobie Getaway or flying hulls & skimming whitecaps on the Wildcat.

My brother-in-law lives in the Annapolis area & is an avid open water sailor (30 years), but has a business to run for about 10 more years. Both of us plan to do a trans-Atlantic crossing together in 2 years & then an attempt to sail around the world in 4.

My dilemma is: should I buy a 36' for personal use, harbor it in Chicago & continue to be a seasonal sailor; or buy a 44' with my brother-in-law and charter it out of the Carrib/Annapolis, with the option of sailing here-and-there year 'round?
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Old 24-03-2013, 08:55   #2
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

Personal use?
Charter part time?
Seasonal use?
Sporadic use in other places?
Partnership?
Brother in law?
Smaller boat/bigger boat?

No offense, but the only person who can possibly answer your question(s) lives in your mirror.
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Old 24-03-2013, 14:27   #3
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

Well ... I am quite aware of that , but I was hoping to get some input from people who purchased a 36' that may have wished afterwards they'd gotten a 44', or who may have had bad experiences with leasing their 44' to a charter company.
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Old 24-03-2013, 16:04   #4
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

A Hunter 36, or a similar design, would be a good boat to own. It is rugged, has a low keel, with a track record of predictable performance and can be handled single hand. In boating like in flying, there has to be one and only captain on board; share no ownership with your in-laws. Your boat's bill of sale/insurance should only be in your name and your spouse's. I have seen many close friends/spouses go on extended sailing trips...when they came back, they couldn't stand the sights of each other. Close quarters and long sailing voyages are not for everyone; a dangerous mix. To avoid conflicts and barring severe/inclement weather, I usually hang on deck most times and never engage in controversial topics; I even like to sleep in a hammock, under the stars! As far as chartering your boat, it is not a good idea at all; there are several reasons why charter companies do NOT own any boats. (By the way, I used to live in suburban Chicago, and sail on Lake Michigan; I no longer live there.) Sail away!
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Old 24-03-2013, 19:03   #5
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelrock View Post
Well ... I am quite aware of that , but I was hoping to get some input from people who purchased a 36' that may have wished afterwards they'd gotten a 44', or who may have had bad experiences with leasing their 44' to a charter company.
Well, we own the FP Mahe 36 and would love to have a Helia 44, but it's just too expensive for us and we do not like chartering a boat that we want personal use of.

We are very fussy and keep every detail just perfect. Chartering that out to others and watching the abuse it would take would kill us.

The two of us are on our boat for 6 month of the year, so we really use her all season long. A FP Mahe 36 has been a very cheap summer home for us and works well for having guest for a week or two.
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:55   #6
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

You may want to look at a new company in the USA called SunNFun who have heavily been promoting the pros and cons of private vs charter and are full of information re the possible outcomes, tax benefits you can derive, have a mass of bases to choose from and seem to be very professional from the time I have spent with them...Sunnfun.com
I believe the way to go is charter using the 179...
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:44   #7
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

There are pro's and cons to both... You'll be looking at a much larger hit on the resale value of your boat even if you only do "light" chartering. I know a couple who have been cruising their PDQ 32 for a couple of years now. Instead of waiting until they could afford something larger or newer they decided the best thing to do was get out there. I don't think they have any regrets. The Mahe 36 is a great little cursing catamaran. THere are also some really good deals on Leopard 40's and Lagoon 380's out there.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:50   #8
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

Owning a boat makes zero financial sense, like many other things worth doing. You own a boat because you want to own a boat, not just rent one.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:39   #9
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
Well, we own the FP Mahe 36 and would love to have a Helia 44, but it's just too expensive for us and we do not like chartering a boat that we want personal use of.

We are very fussy and keep every detail just perfect. Chartering that out to others and watching the abuse it would take would kill us.

The two of us are on our boat for 6 month of the year, so we really use her all season long. A FP Mahe 36 has been a very cheap summer home for us and works well for having guest for a week or two.
Owning and maintaining a cruising boat is very different than owning beach cats. We're like Cotemar when it comes to others using the boat. I used to be a very active windsurfer with a quiver of high end boards and rigs. I was always willing to teach and loan equipment. Not now. We get hints from our sailing siblings that they'd like to "use" or "charter" our boat. Ain't gonna happen in our lifetime. Co-owning with your brother-in-law is going to be a potential challenge even before the first strangers let go the dock lines and crunch the boat across the way. Unless you have experience owning something substantial together (vacation home, for example) you may want to move cautiously.

My recommendation would be to buy the 36' boat that you and your wife can own. You'll learn what matters to the two of you together. That will give you a much better foundation for determining if you and others in the family are capable of co-owning as well as appreciating the challenges of chartering.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:37   #10
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

Thanks all! Appreciate the advice.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:10   #11
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Re: Buy a 36' for personal, seasonal sail or 44' to put out to charter

A friend (semi-retired - aka wealthy enough that he works only when he wants to) has taken an approach that makes alot of sense to me - he owns a small boat in a couple of places. He has a small 19 ft "summer" boat that is good for daysails and the occasional long weekend out, on the mid-sized lake where he spends the summer, and he keeps a Bristol 24 in Florida where he and his lady-friend will spend weeks at a time cruising the Gulf coast.

This approach is lower-cost than having one big boat, and the smaller boats would be easy to sell if/when he gets the itch to cruise the world.

So to the OP, it might make more sense to buy himself a cheap but reasonable boat for the Chicago area (eg 25 to 33 ft), and the brother-in-law do the same in Annapolis, and visit each other alot for some test cruises... and then either charter something big for the big cruise, or sell the small boats to buy the world-cruiser.

This might be a lower-risk way to achieve your dream, without betting the farm right away.
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