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Old 24-10-2006, 21:49   #1
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fractional sailing

Dunno if this is the place, but if not I'm sure someone will tell me.

Two questions:

1) Does anybody have any experience with being a boat owner in these fractional sailing operations? As I understand it, you buy a boat, they find a bunch of people to pay to sail it and pay for the privilege. You have to have enough for the down payment on a new boat and be able to get a loan for the rest, but they apparently funnel some of the fees from the others in the group to you to help cover the loan.

So the question is: Is this too good to be true? Or are there major drawbacks?

2) Has anybody bought a boat from one of the Caribbean charter companies? They seem to buy new (and nice) boats,run them for a few years and then sell them at quite reaonable prices. Again, is this a good way to go?

Thanks for any info. I'm the brand-new owner of a Mirage 27 (Connemara) and plan to spend the next few years learning how to do shortish cruises, with the long-range goal of going whole-hog, for which I would need a bigger boat. Naturally, an innovative way of getting a good boat for a good price has its appeal.

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Old 02-11-2006, 15:02   #2
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Talking Charter companies

I like chartering in the Carib too, no doubt. But I suspect that the major chartering companies, ie, Moorings, etc, have their boats built to their own specific construction standards and the boats are designed to do what they do, cruise around close to harbors and ports for 5 years or so. Just my opinion, and open for discussion,of course, but I would'nt trust these boats with long term,hard duty open water cruising. I don't think theyr'e built for it.
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Old 02-11-2006, 15:55   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Connemara
2) Has anybody bought a boat from one of the Caribbean charter companies? They seem to buy new (and nice) boats,run them for a few years and then sell them at quite reaonable prices. Again, is this a good way to go?
Connemara,

The charter companies do not own the boats. "Investors" who buy them from the charter company and put them into charter do. I think the major charter outfits make more selling boats than managing them. As for buying a used charter boat, some have been happy, some not so happy. One of the drawbacks of charter boats is that the layout in usually one that maximizes cabins, not so desireable for a cruising couple.
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Old 02-11-2006, 16:20   #4
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First, I agree with everything Rick says about the charter operations. Second, I think that the fractional ownership model is FANTASTIC for someone who wishes to cruise on the weekends and maybe schedule a week or two here and there for vacation. The model makes perfect sense.

While trying to sort out what I was going to do in life a few years back, I got the business plan for one of the fractional ownership companies out of TX. Their model was good for the "owner" of the boat as well as for the people paying. The real key is everyone saves big $$ because you all share the expenses. The reality is that most boats sit at the dock most of the time in the coastal cruising scenario. This model just takes advantage of all that wasted boat. I see it as one of the best ways to get some sailing in for little $ and very little commitment.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:43   #5
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Sean:

I've just read the flyers they hand out, but it made some sense to meas well.

OTOH....isn't there always an OTOH? .... I wonder if the model might work better in Texas than in Toronto, where my new (to me) Mirage 27 is sitting on the hard while we wait for the snow. In a place where you can realistically only sail half the year, I wonder how the numbers work out for fractional sailing.

But I suppose I should really get off my duff and call the folks in charge. Facts are a Good Thing.

regards
M
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:53   #6
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Connmera:

Looked at buyin in fact had an accepted offer on a boat in Sea of Cortez. Problem is at the end of five years there is the possibility of being upside down (owe more than it is worth) at the end of five years. Companies guarantee they will buy them for a certain price if (and this a big if) you buy a boat of comprable or bigger size. I think that the boats have a ten year depreciable (IRS) life so there are tax advantages and you get to charter boats at any of there sites all over the world but as Sean said they make money selling the boats. It can work but only if you plan it really well.
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Old 08-11-2006, 11:12   #7
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Charlie: I think we may be talking about different things. There's a company in Toronto (and throughout the US, I gather from their website) where you buy up-front a new boat, usually a HUnter in the 35-foot range.

The company helps out with the financing and whatnot, but you need to have a substantial downpayment.

Then the company organizes seven other people who pay to sail your boat on a computer-organized rota.

Company takes care of maintenance, slip fees and whatnot (details foggy here, because I'm recalling what I read on the website.)

The point is that the other people pay and the company pays some of that over to you, so that (they say) there's usually enough to cover the monthly payments on the boat.

In the long run, you get the boat for (essentially) the down payment.

I'm a big fan of the adage: "If it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is." So that's why I'm asking if anyone has experience with this.

For me, it may no longer be a major issue, at least for a while, because I just bought Connemara, a 27-foot Mirage, and plan to sail her for a few years before morving up a size or two.

But I may revisit the idea later.

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M
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Old 08-11-2006, 15:01   #8
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Yeah, I think Charlie is talking about a tradational charter boat, such as "Sunsail" or one of those outfits in the carib.

Connemara and I were talking about fractional ownership. A very different animal. Either way, I think it's great since although you have to buy a popular boat (ie Hunter), you at least get to do coastal cruising part time while you are working a career for much less $$ than if you were to simply buy a boat and pay for everything yourself.

It really is a win/win since the owner gets a boat dirt cheap (costs are offset by the other "shares" in it), and the shares get an even better deal - all the fun of sailing without buying a boat or ponying up for slips and maintenance.

I do think the people who share the boat are better off than the owner though, if you are looking at these programs for occasional recreational use, and not as a vehicle to affording a large boat for little money.
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Old 10-11-2006, 09:18   #9
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Sorry I was mistaken. I was talking about Moorings. I looked into the fractional as well but wasn't interested in buying a Hunter. I don't think it would work for a person interested in bluewater cruising but it would be a good way to do local sailing and save some $$$
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:02   #10
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Charlie:

I'm not interested (just bought Connemara) in a Hunter either, but it struck me that this would be a good way to buy a boat relatively cheaply that you could later go cruising on. I don't think yer locked into more than about 5 years in these programs.

But I'm interested in your views on buying from the charter companies, since that also struck me as a possibility.

M
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Old 11-11-2006, 07:10   #11
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Connemara:
I currently have a J105 in a charter fleet. It is not a fractional ownership fleet but a sailing club. The boat was sold to me with the idea that It would produce $1000 a month in income. It hasn't come near that. I'm trying to sell it right now and its going slow. OTH it is being maintained really well.

I don't have any direct experience with buying a retired charter boat. Heresay is that you can get them cheaper than the advertised price. My neighbor has a friend who bought a cat out of charter and then took it to another charter company and is making $20k of profit per year on the boat after paying all expenses. (I can't verify this so won't call it gospel) but he is figuring on paying the boat off early.

I think it has alot to do with the individual boat and how well they are maintained.

Sorry no real info in this post.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 26-11-2006, 10:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Connemara
2) Has anybody bought a boat from one of the Caribbean charter companies? They seem to buy new (and nice) boats,run them for a few years and then sell them at quite reaonable prices. Again, is this a good way to go?
Keep in mind, that charter boats are heavily used over the years. Further, unexperienced crews handle the boats with less care than normal boat owners. It's like the same with rental cars.

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Old 27-11-2006, 02:34   #13
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In general, Charter Boats are:
1. Designed to accommodate larger groups of users, for shorter-term occupancies.
2. Designed for easy coastal operation, by inexpert charterers.
These are exactly the opposite of most live-aboard cruisers’ needs.
3. As Peter suggested, charter boats are generally “rode hard, and put away wet”.
Amateur users and cheap maintenance do not a good combination make.

Accordingly, for most prospective cruisers, the ostensibly attractive price of most ex-charter boats is a dangerous illusion.

The rare exception might be the case of an experienced cruiser, with excellent repair/ refit skills, and a larger family.
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Old 03-12-2006, 11:38   #14
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Check out http://www.sailonline.com/ to get in touch with the Moorings Owner's Group -- owners of boats in the Moorings fleets.

My charter experience is strictly as a consumer in the Bahamas and the BVI, almost entirely with the Moorings. My understanding is that monohulls (from Beneteau) are sailed from the US on their own bottoms and cats are similarly sailed from South Africa. About four years ago on a flight from Abaco to FL I sat next to a delivery skipper who had just sailed a 38' cat to Abaco from South Africa. He spoke well of the boat. I think most of the big charter boats are pretty well built because they expect abuse from many charterers.
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