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Old 11-10-2008, 17:45   #1
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Sparkling Charter Company

Have any of you ever heard of this company? They have some cats listed for sale which are priced very well. They have to stay in charter for a specified amount of time but that is actually ok with me. Mostly looking to see if this is a reputable charter company.
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Old 16-10-2008, 16:57   #2
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I've never heard of them

I have never heard of Sparkling Charter Company. I can't find them with a google search. Might be a scam. I have chartered in the BVI with Brent at provalorsailing.com (not to be confused with provalorcharters.com who I do not know). Brent is great! Good luck finding a boat to buy or a charter company.
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Old 17-10-2008, 05:47   #3
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Originally Posted by drjjlloyd View Post
I have never heard of Sparkling Charter Company. I can't find them with a google search...
Founded in 2001 by Pascal Marcel, Sparkling Charter operates in the Caribbean, from St Lucia, Martinique or Guadeloupe. The charter fleet is composed by 32 vessels, 13 monohulls from 39’ to 51’ and 19 catamarans ranging from 38 to 46 feet.

The first return on a Google of <Sparkling Charter Company> (there are more):
Caribbean Yacht Charter - Location de voiliers aux Antilles - Sparkling Charter

http://www.sparkling-charter.com/sailing-yacht/
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Old 17-10-2008, 07:04   #4
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Gord, Thanks. I had found their web site but can't seem to find any independent articles or reviews on them. They have some cats listed on Yachtworld which are below standard market price given their age and equipment. The only "catch" seems to be keeping them in the charter program. I think I'll call them and find out what the deal is next week. Thanks again. David.

2005 Fountaine Pajot BAHIA 46 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 17-10-2008, 08:08   #5
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The French West Indies offer delightful sailing destinations, and a more continental ethos, but French is the preferred language, not English. Not speaking French is a definite handicap, in the marketplace, on the radio, and dealing with officials. The police are from France, and rotate in for limited tours, so they are strangers to the local population, and strangers to cruising boats too.

Every Island has at least one bakery, where residents line up at 5 AM to buy bread and pastries. These, alone, are reason enough to go there!
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Old 17-10-2008, 08:16   #6
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Every Island has at least one bakery, where residents line up at 5 AM to buy bread and pastries. These, alone, are reason enough to go there!

AHHHHHHH fond memories fo purchasing, and preparing Imagine on St. Maarten. I was like an addict to a certain French bakery. I missed the tinned New Zealand (?)butter too!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 25-01-2013, 09:49   #7
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

Did you even find out information on them? Did you end up using them? We are thinking about it too so Id really appreciate any information you've got.

Thanks.
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Old 28-02-2013, 15:35   #8
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

We recently chartered 3 boats from Sparkling Charter: Dufour 455, Bavaria Match 42 and a Lagoon 42. Based on our experience, I would be cautious of chartering with them, particularly a monohull.

The front end customer service is very good- they are friendly and provide information quickly. They’re a little slow with the documentation however, and we had to prompt them to send us the required paperwork in order to fill everything out before flying out. Ahead of the trip, the staff at the Guadeloupe base were very friendly, albeit seriously understaffed.

On taking possession of our charters, we noticed that the monohulls were looking a little worn- lines were fraying, there were dents and scratches along the hull and transom. During the trip itself, several more problems arose – mold and mildew inside the boats, door latches coming apart regularly, significant leak where the hull and transom meet (requiring constant bilge pump and airing out mattresses and bedding following any sailing on a starboard tack), leaking water tank">fresh water tank, not enough anchor rode & line for the depths of the anchorages in that area, etc…

The skipper and crew of the catamaran did not have any complaints about their boat – and would have enjoyed their charter had they not been witness to the problems we were having with the two monohulls.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:26   #9
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

I was on the trip with Nbvik.
6 weeks later, here is our status:
The Bavaria Match 42 we were on leaked it's fresh water contents overnight on evening#2, and we couldn't find any more for the entire week. Having no access to fresh water for 5 days was a disgusting experience. Sparkling Charter gave us incorrect advice on where to refill, and we spent the rest of our holiday motoring (see below for THAT reason) from island to island searching unsuccessfully for fresh water.

Our foresail blew out in 20-25knots of wind and only 30% unfurled. It was an old, unreliable sail.
Sparkling Charter was friendly while we were onsite, very apologetic for the state of the yachts. After we left, they got in touch to say that we owed them 4000 Euros for a replacement sail. We wrote to dispute this, as the conditions leading to the damage were quite obviously due to their condition before we received the boat.
They took our 4000 Euro damage deposit without another word, and we are struggling to retrieve it. It doesn't look likely.

Avoid Sparkling Charter. They took our money from a position where we have very little way of retrieving it.


I've been lurking on this forum for a while, but finally joined just to write this. Nobody else should go through the danger and trouble that we did.
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Old 08-04-2013, 13:42   #10
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandy daugherty View Post
The French West Indies offer delightful sailing destinations, and a more continental ethos, but French is the preferred language, not English. Not speaking French is a definite handicap, in the marketplace, on the radio, and dealing with officials. The police are from France, and rotate in for limited tours, so they are strangers to the local population, and strangers to cruising boats too.

Every Island has at least one bakery, where residents line up at 5 AM to buy bread and pastries. These, alone, are reason enough to go there!
You'll find people speaking english, but sometimes learn some words in a foreign language is something that a sailor has to face
Police is a mix of locals and people from France.
The bakery is definetily not the only reason, the cheapest and best rum in all the caribbean, best place to buy any kind of food of better quality for a good price. The clearance system is the simplest in the Caribbean (just go to a tourism office or some other desk, fill a form in the computer, print, and go sailing), lots of beautiful anchorages...

Concerning Sparkling, I was part of the assistance boat for antigua sailing week 2 or 3 years ago. If the boats are cheaper is because they are charter boats, so they are not identical that owner boat when you buy them new. Although it is possible to have very good deal with them because, when they sell a boat it has 2 months to go, so they sell them cheap (by the way, they have a 40% refund when they buy a new one thanks to a detax law specific to french islands, the only thing is they can sell it after 5 years).
If you buy one of this boat you know you'll have a cheap boat but the engines might have a lot of hours, the sails are cheap quality (even new ones), the interior is often not wood nor plywood, but a kind of foam.

Since a year the company is for sale, I've heard that to make the offer more attractive they got rid of maintenance technicians, and increased salaries of managers to show that the business is very profitable.
I wouldn't buy one of their boat this year unless after inspecting it I'm conviced that this unit haven't been mistreated.
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Old 08-04-2013, 13:45   #11
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

I have seen their boats sailing around down here. I don't know anything about them though.
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Old 19-08-2013, 10:57   #12
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

Hi ToMatt

How did the settlement work out with Sparkling? 4000 Eur is too much for a headsail, even if they had to buy a brand new one.

I am considering a charter with them next year, and would really like to hear the final outcome.
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Old 19-08-2013, 11:10   #13
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

Unfortunately Sparkling Charter refused to reply to any of our attempts to contact them directly.
The credit card company (used to cover the damage deposit) was unable to come to any sort of negotiated agreement. We lost the full 4000 EUR damage deposit. And to add insult to injury, they pulled an old replacement sail out of storage and rigged it the day we returned the boat. They didn't even buy a new one!

I would never recommend Sparkling Charter. I have had great experiences with the TUI companies (Moorings, Sunsail, Footloose), and with their coverage there is no reason to risk your vacation, money, and indeed LIFE with a Sparkling Charter.

While there were some positive aspects to Guadeloupe, they're just not worth having to deal with that company.
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Old 19-08-2013, 12:13   #14
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

Sorry the hear the outcome was not favorable from your side.

I will be bringing up your complaint with Sparkling before engaging them.
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Old 29-05-2014, 16:05   #15
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Re: Sparkling Charter Company

Just a follow up to this thread.

Notwithstanding the warnings posted here last August, I nevertheless elected to charter a Dufour monohull from Sparkling for Antigua Sailing Week 2014 in April 2014. Overall charter was two weeks.

I have recently returned from this trip and can report that both the boat and charter base services were really excellent. I also fully recovered my very large racing damage deposit.

The yacht performed extremely well in the Antigua races, the Guadeloupe/Antigua Race, and on the return to Guadeloupe. We were well prepared at the base and the return checkin was efficient.

I should mention that we were very careful, handling this vessel as if it were our own. Conditions can be challenging in this part of the Caribbean and particularly when racing. The possibly of damages is real. Several other bareboats sustained considerable hull and keel damage during Antigua Sailing Week this year (a routine occurrence, I was told).

It must be understood that, when chartering, you, as skipper, are responsible for vessel and crew, and damages to both your vessel and to other vessels that may be damaged as a result of your errors. This is a serious responsibility, if only a temporary one. (It's nice to hand them back the keys at the end of the trip).
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