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Old 01-01-2010, 11:09   #1
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Potential Lifestyle Change

I have been in the IT industry for 20+ years and need a change.
My wife and I are considering a complete lifestyle change. Having sailed other folks' boats and chartered for many years in different parts of the world we are minded to try a water-based lifestyle.
Our thinking to date is to purchase a 50 to 60 foot (used) monohull and go for a combination of providing luxury charters (for income) plus time on our own.
Target cruising areas are the Caribbean or Eastern Mediteranean.
We are not going to rush into this and want to gather as much information as we can before commiting to such a change.
Any information, advice or comment will be most welcome.

Thanks

Phil
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:24   #2
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Phil.

You might be interested in this lengthy thread:

How Tough Is the Owner/Charter Business?
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:46   #3
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Sounds great. 50-60 feet is a lot of boat, however. Lots of systems, complications. Might be worth thinking about a smaller boat, 40-50, for example, and come up the learning curve.

Anyway, welcome aboard!!
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:53   #4
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welcome aboard Phil,
Something that has always worked for me.. and I've owned a number of business's
To find out how they are run and what your expected return would be, go to work for a charter company for a few months.. you learn the business while getting paid and can pick through the problem areas that an owner might not see.
You can design your business bases off the way they run there's..
A good example is a business a good friend of mine started.. He owns a charter business and rents out boats in San Francisco.. after checking out another business he found the main drawback was owning boats himself, buying a fleet, and selling them when they hit the point of 3 to 4 years old..
Came up with a brainstorm..... He offered people, to pay for their boat, must be a new boat, and he would make the payments for 5 years, including slip rent.. so If you bought a new boat, based on what he was looking for, he would make all the payments and the boat would cost you as the owner nothing, nada, no money...
and you had the oppertunity to use the boat whenever you wished by calling ahead and reserving it..
He rented out the boat for more than it cost to pay for it.. a win-win situation if you didnt mind someone using your boat. The result was for him.. he owns nothing and only keeps track of whats comming and going and keeps the paperwork in order..
The people renting it have to provide insurance on it in case of damage so all he does is collect money..
He learned this by working for another charter company, and at the present, has about 10 boats in his fleet..
My business is another story... I worked part-time in a canvas shop to learn the trade.. We now own Stitches-n-Snaps... And even to the point where we set up the business.. in an upper-end marina... so the public here thinks to start with, if we opperate in this marina area, we must be backed by the marina themselves..
We've been in business for 8 months here and we're setting apps. for the month of March to get your work done.. Not bad for our first year..
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Old 01-01-2010, 15:16   #5
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Came up with a brainstorm..... He offered people, to pay for their boat, must be a new boat, and he would make the payments for 5 years, including slip rent.. so If you bought a new boat, based on what he was looking for, he would make all the payments and the boat would cost you as the owner nothing, nada, no money...
and you had the oppertunity to use the boat whenever you wished by calling ahead and reserving it..

Hasn't Moorings been doing this since the 60's?...................i2f
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Old 01-01-2010, 16:00   #6
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Originally Posted by imagine2frolic
Hasn't Moorings been doing this since the 60's?...
Moorings, Sunsail, and pretty much all of the others.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:12   #7
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Thanks for your replies - please keep them comming. In particular thanks GordMay - I have browsed 'cruisers forum'. Overall the thread is rather depressing, but most posts relate to rather different scenarios from the one we have in mind.

Maybe I should have explained......
We are OK with issues about running a sucessful business. I have my own (small) IT company and Irene runs our French property as a holiday home (bare-boat on land, if you like).

Our aim is to accommodate up to 4 (maybe 6) guests with a fair degree of luxury, with ourselves as crew. The intention is to defray running costs, not to build up a significant business.

What do you think are the issues with this idea?

Phil
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:25   #8
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Originally Posted by lordphi View Post
Our aim is to accommodate up to 4 (maybe 6) guests with a fair degree of luxury, with ourselves as crew. The intention is to defray running costs, not to build up a significant business.

Phil
That's exactly my thinking. Fully fledged chartering will make you the guests' servant and bring along tons of paperwork. Informal cost sharing arrangements, however, taking no or little cash, are just as common.

Here's a recent NYT article on the subject
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:53   #9
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It sounds like a good plan. I would purchase a vessel that I could afford and maintain with my own resources until the business got off the ground.

Build the business slowly, and tweak it as you go. I wouldn't start off with 6 clients....rather book small at first...What I would call a " soft" opening.
I would think that your goal would be to develop a " niche" market with repeat customers and word of mouth business. Developing a unique " point of difference" from other similar enterprises would be a smart thing to do in my opinion.

Some charters offer: training and certifications others..diving and snorkeling, naturalists...etc. So, I think it would be best to define your particular market and develop your unique offerings.

Develop, the relationships with the folks who would help " service" your business 1st. How will you provision, where will your home base be? Airports, taxi's, repairs etc etc. I think it's best to try to control the " whole" experience for the guests.
So, have your vendors lined up. Begin to develop good relationships with the local economy. All the things you have done in your land based business.

Best of Luck.
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Old 02-01-2010, 21:36   #10
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Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
Came up with a brainstorm..... He offered people, to pay for their boat, must be a new boat, and he would make the payments for 5 years, including slip rent.. so If you bought a new boat, based on what he was looking for, he would make all the payments and the boat would cost you as the owner nothing, nada, no money...
and you had the oppertunity to use the boat whenever you wished by calling ahead and reserving it..
He rented out the boat for more than it cost to pay for it.. a win-win situation if you didnt mind someone using your boat. The result was for him.. he owns nothing and only keeps track of whats comming and going and keeps the paperwork in order..
The people renting it have to provide insurance on it in case of damage so all he does is collect money..
He learned this by working for another charter company, and at the present, has about 10 boats in his fleet..
That sounds illegal (and probably is). What he is essentially doing is using straw 'owners' to make it look like the business doesn't own its assets.
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