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Old 04-08-2016, 07:05   #1
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Chartering matchmakers

I have had the frustration about a dozen times of trying to organize a chartering trip with different couples. Inevitably, they back out and the trip never happens. I live in place without a lot of sailing so most people in the area are not avid sailors.

Most of the time, all I really want is this: split the cost of the charter with other people, have someone else onboard who has some experience, and have a vacation in paradise.

Firstly, has anyone experienced this also? Most importantly, is there any resource or chartering company that will match people up for chartering?

I asked Conch Charters about this and they were like no, we don't do that.
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:32   #2
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Re: Chartering matchmakers

We experimented with that at a charter company where I used to work. It creates a lot more hassle for the booking process and often does not work out well.

The owner declared an end to that experiment after a captain had to confine two couples to quarters for the last leg of the trip because they got in a fight every time they looked at each other.

Posting here on CF, like in Crew Wanted, would be a start or maybe ask the mods to set up a category for shared charters. You have a lot of likely shared charter candidates right here on CF so its a good place to start.
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:55   #3
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Re: Chartering matchmakers

Yeah, I can see there being a challenge there, but I feel like it would be in the best interest of chartering companies to try and build more of a community of people who want to go chartering.
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:04   #4
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Re: Chartering matchmakers

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Originally Posted by meg23 View Post
Yeah, I can see there being a challenge there, but I feel like it would be in the best interest of chartering companies to try and build more of a community of people who want to go chartering.
To create a social network where people could make their own connection would not be a bad idea, but another downside to the charter company is guess who has an unhappy customer when things go bad on a charter company arranged shared charter?

Therefore best it be independent of the charter company. Also, its a small segment of the market, not many people want to vaca with strangers (those of us who work in the charter industry are accustomed to hopping on boats with strangers...the rest of the world...not so much).
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:46   #5
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Re: Chartering matchmakers

A few ideas for saving money on charters.

Owner's Time. Some owners sell their time independently of the charter company at lower rates. You see postings advertising this on CF sometimes and I think there is a web site for it also.

Smaller Boat. Cats are popular, but expensive, some charter fleets have a few smallish monos which are much less expensive...just fine for a couple.

Off Season. Rates are lower in offseaon of course. Get trip insurance just in case, charter companies don't refund due to weather. In some areas off peak times are just due to lower demand, not bad weather. For example in Belize, winter months are peak due to demand, but not because its the best weather. Some spring months are off peak, with lower rates, due to lower demand, but the weather is actually much better.

Timeshare/Fractional. I dont know how the costs compare, but there are companies out there who do timeshare/fractional charters/ownership such as Trade Winds and Sail Time.

Second tier company/venue. Big operators like Moorings/Sunsail in a prime maket are the most expensive option, smaller companies in non-prime markets (Florida, Great Lakes, ...) can be much less expensive. The risk is that their boats and/or service may be sub prime too, so shop carefully.
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:05   #6
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Re: Chartering matchmakers

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Originally Posted by meg23 View Post
I have had the frustration about a dozen times of trying to organize a chartering trip with different couples...
Which is why my wife and I almost always just go by ourselves. Does it cost us a bit more to do it that way? Sure, I suppose. But then we have none of the frustrations or headaches, and no one else ever ruins our vacation for us. That is worth a lot!
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Old 05-08-2016, 05:14   #7
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Re: Chartering matchmakers

My wife and I have chartered many times throughout the Caribbean and Med. In all that time only one couple backed out at the last minute. It was the result of a minor disagreement with one of the other people (they were co-workers) on the charter. Luckily all $$ had been paid and there was no refund. On one other occasion one couple had a family medical issue pop up about 2 days before departure, again $$ paid, and they had trip insurance.

I think we've had good luck with charters, but we also choose the invitees carefully. My wife and I always arrange the charters and I "act" as captain, really more of a skipper. We have had virtually no issues. I think the main reason is we only invite folks on charters that have the right kind of personalities and skills. We expect everyone to pitch in by doing the things they are comfortable doing. Do not invite another couple just to fill a cabin and share expenses!

We are lucky in that we have a large circle of very active friends; bikers, runners, scuba divers, paddlers, hunters, and sailors. It makes for an active and fun vacation. Although there are many great charterers that have the attitude of chillin' and limin' all the time, unless you know those folks very, very well and have vacationed together before, folks with a more active, hands-on attitude make for better charter companions IMHO.

We also go day sailing at least once with most of our potential invitees, just to see their boat skills and try to access if chartering is a good vacation choice for them. Normally friends bring the idea up, of joining our next charter, and we are very honest with them about how things need to work. In all these years no friendships have been lost, even when we've decided not to invite someone who inquired. Our next charter in the Caribbean will be around #15.

Good luck!


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Old 05-08-2016, 06:35   #8
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Re: Chartering matchmakers

My wife and I went on a cabin charter with Festiva Yacht Charters. There were 4 couples on a Lagoon 450, none of the couples knew the others all of us got along pretty good. Basically as good as if you went on a week long sailing vacation with your friends. Even best friends get on your nerves after a while, lets not even talk about vacationing with family members. I think the key to our trip was the 450 Lagoon. There is so much room on that catamaran if you don't want to be a part of a conversation you can go someplace else, front cockpit / trampolines, Fly bridge / lounge, rear cock pit / salon. A good crew is probably more important. I am wanting to do this again, just undecided where and how to include my 13 year old daughter without having to pay for a whole extra cabin.
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