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Old 24-05-2014, 16:07   #1
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Cool To all our Bareboat Chartering Friends

During several last days I went through three different posts in three different threads, telling in different (but every time very civilised way) that bareboat charterers are disregarded and disrespected by average members of CF.
If there were no three similar observations posted in short time by different persons, I would not give it a thought, but…
In one or two threads I made a posts recently, asking for awareness regarding the bareboat charterers. May be – just may be – someone could take my posts as derogatory, even if they were not intended such a way. If somebody took an offence, let me offer my apologies and explain my motivations.
Bareboat chartering is a fine and useful way to get sailing. It offers the possibility to explore far away destinations, to sail different boats, to sail without owning the boat. Nothing wrong about this.
I’m the boat owner for about 30 years now, but for first 20 years I owned only small boats. First was 22 feet cruiser, next 27 feet cruiser racer. Both centerboard boats, fine for the lakes and sheltered waters. Some twenty years ago I started chartering in the Med, and learning to sail bigger boats. First time I went as a crew on 44 footer, then chartered independently. 35, 38, 42, 44, 50, 56 feet were my steps up. Ten years ago I bought my first own seagoing boat, so I’m not chartering any more, but was charterer myself for quite a long time and I do not disrespect bareboat charterers any way.
On the other side I know first hand and understand some factors and limitations going along with bareboat charters.
First of all there is a matter of familiarization with a boat. On our own boat we know her very well, can “feel” her almost unmistakably. Bareboat charters tend to be quite short. Week, two, rarely longer. When skipper familiarize himself with a boat well, it is too often a time to leave. Better to be aware of this.
Next – boat owners often have an “inner circle” of family and friends tending to stick to the boat. It make for quite well communicating and coordinated crew often. It is much less about charterers, as I remember well from my own experience.
Next – bareboat charterers are often quite novice skippers, on their way to the first own boat, so they are often lacking a bit in experience, this I also remember well.
Next – they are many people, for whom sailing is of secondary only interest. They are taking the “sailing vacations” once a year, or every second year for example. Nothing wrong about it, again, but a week or two of sailing per year is not enough to built up the expertise.
And they are also “flotilla charters” – basically groups of bareboat charterers, led by professional crew on another boat. Fine way for introduction sailing, but here You can easily find people skippering their boats after reading “How to learn sailing in a weekend”.
So, where one is in close quarters with bareboat charterer, should remember about all above possibilities and be more careful and aware than by average – for the sake of both sides.
It has nothing to do with disrespect.

Cheers,

Tomasz
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Old 24-05-2014, 16:46   #2
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

The best site for charterers is Traveltalkonline Lots of good info on conditions and on specific companies and boats.
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Old 31-05-2014, 04:16   #3
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

We bareboat charter and find your observations just about spot on. A week here, two weeks there, and by the time we really know the boat we're leaving.

We have no "inner circle of friends" that surround the boat, though we have made some friends with whom we tend to charter (good attitude, conservative decision making, good cooks...).

There always seems to be an initial period of several days during which we must relearn some fundamentals. We've never entered an anchorage under sail or wound the backstay in a winch, but we feel super cautious until we have gone over the boat and practiced the routine functions several times. We also took a lot of classes and tests to actually learn how to sail, which I think has helped us avoid (so far) becoming another amusing "idiot charterers" story on CF.

Sailing is definitely of primary interest to us. Maybe we are not the norm, maybe we are. We charter because we move every two years and we don't get to chose the location, so owning a boat is a dream that presently we cannot realize. This forum is part of the therapy.

Flotilla sailing - this sounds like a blast! Fun parties, lots of new friends, and subject matter experts to make sure you see and appreciate the special things about your location. This is one area where we differ from some boat owners. Our goal is not to avoid everyone, but rather to open up to all the opportunities to meet new people and see new things that sailing offers.

One additional point that I would like to make is that the lovely modern production boats would not exist without a robust charter market. In fact, the entire sailing industry likely would enjoy significantly less economy of scale and many fewer affordable boats without the income stream of vacation-skippers bopping around in the warm sunny places. In fact, many boat owners become owners by going through the charter companies. Sunsail and The Moorings do not own any boats, for example. In fact, the only big charter firm I know of that owns a significant percentage of their boats is Dream Yachts.

So, us charterers do all sorts of good things for boat owners, at least indirectly.
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Old 03-06-2014, 23:00   #4
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

Good points. Charterers, as you noted, are not often as comfortable with the boat as they are their own - and this should be COMPLETELY understandable to most intelligent beings. I mean, we are coming up on 7 years owning our boat, and we STILL find "things" out.
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Old 04-06-2014, 00:51   #5
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

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Originally Posted by DoubleWhisky View Post
During several last days I went through three different posts in three different threads, telling in different (but every time very civilised way) that bareboat charterers are disregarded and disrespected by average members of CF.

It has nothing to do with disrespect.
There seems to be some conflict in your opening and ending. I'll just say this. It's wrong to disrespect others, whether bareboat charterers or non boaters. Also, there are bareboat charterers who regularly charter the same or similar boats and actually spend more time cruising on the water than some live aboards. Generalizations are always dangerous.

Edit: To add one thing. Whether a bareboat charterer or an owner, those without adequate knowledge or training to operate a boat properly and safely should take someone with them who is trained, whether a friend or paid captain. We're having too many cases of boaters pressing beyond their experience level to the danger of themselves and others. If they fail to do that then they won't be respected.
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:36   #6
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

Tomasz,

I bet what you wrote is perfectly geared to at least Europe.

Unfortunately, we've seen what the inexperienced charters can do destructively, and you even mentioned their being told to bounce off your boat in med mooring. That kind of behavior, anchoring too close, especially upwind, is a pet peeve for some. We do not want to play bumper boats at night.

We have overheard radio traffic where the renta-yacht people tell their clients, "if you're not sure where to anchor, anchor next to a cruising boat," and then go on to describe a generic low bucks cruising boat's appearance.

In places where they're given or have bought cruising guides, they tend to all try and anchor on the little anchor symbol in the guide. Often, it is easy to get safely away from them.

Still, because of the aggravation some of them cause, all are punished. It doesn't have to be that way. Once, a chartered boat's crew invited us over (because they wondered why all the dinghies were going "over there"), and we chatted and eventually went aboard and had a pleasant chat. Once, we offered to teach a young couple to sail their boat, when they expressed uncertainty about doing it. But, most often, we'll stay out of charterers way. Because here, where there is much open space, and charterers are limited in where they can go, it's easy.

I think B&B's suggestion for them to hire a teacher, while quite practical, and a way to avoid the problems we've had, is ultimately unrealistic. You can't expect someone with a dream for which they've saved up for 2 or more years to take the added financial hit of hiring a private skipper to teach them. They (the less wealthy) won't do it.

Ann
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:55   #7
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post

I think B&B's suggestion for them to hire a teacher, while quite practical, and a way to avoid the problems we've had, is ultimately unrealistic. You can't expect someone with a dream for which they've saved up for 2 or more years to take the added financial hit of hiring a private skipper to teach them. They (the less wealthy) won't do it.

Ann
Make friends then. Crew for them and let them teach you. Also, and their is a new thread here reflecting one circumstance, charterers are taking licensing requirements in their countries too lightly sometimes, ignoring their own rules. Also, ignoring their insurance rules. Join a sailing club or take classes. That's not so expensive.

They can learn in controlled situations as well. There are some safer areas to learn to sail than others. Owner or charterer, just don't get in a boat your first time and decide you're ready to cross oceans. Even just reading and talking to others can help some. If you're cruising a new area talk to people and pick up local knowledge. Plan days that you can easily make, instead of scheduling and pushing for something unreasonable. For instance, if I was going to charter a sail boat (which I wouldn't without someone with more experience than me), I'd motor out away from everyone and from shoals and rocks and then practice a little, get use to handling it. I practiced docking a lot on powerboats, docking in invisible docks near nothing.

Incidentally, it's not just charters or sailors or ocean goers. Lakes are worse. We'd see people buy or rent boats all the time on the lake with zero knowledge and experience. Take off at 40 mph on the water, run across sand bars, dock by ramming into the berth, cut right in front of others.

We all just need to be responsible adults. Then we all need to respect each other.
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Old 04-06-2014, 02:11   #8
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

Firstly, a chartering companys manifesto, is purely financial. The whole reason for existence is to make money from renting out boats. They buy vessels and rent vessels that attract renters, who in the main are either complete novices or occasional sailors.

I admit to laughing at Anns accurate description of what charterers do because they have been told.."bump off boats.............. anchor next to a cruiser".

Once you comprehend that chartering a luxury boat or catamaran is the last bastion of freedom and ability to be on the water in something you can never afford in real life, it becomes obvious why people do it. It is a call to us ordinairy Joes and mrs Joes to answer the urge to tame nature by being a 'real' sailor. For every person who charters to learn, there are 10 to whom chartering to have a good time and holiday. Some take it very seriously, others are there to sunbathe and drink and because it seemed a good place to go to at the time.

Charter companies differ in their acceptance of people they will allow on their boats. Some insist on prior experience, but generally the main central overiding criteria is Mastercard, Visa or American Express.

As a young man, I grew up fishing off small 17foot cuddy boats. My buddies and I were "experts' in certain waters and could handle the boats with a lot of skill. However, put us in harbours or shipping lanes and we knew nothing. We learned what we had to and knew no more. Only later did we take the time to realise boating included a lot of other stuff other than the waters we sailed in.

I cant find it in me to be really irritated with charterers. Yes I can be pissed off with loud arrogant gits, but generally, I never did or would cruise in charter territory. Im also not in favour of legislation being brought in because it always always brings unwelcome restrictions on boat owners as well. Governments do not give a crap about safety.....its about politics.

So.... charters are the stepping stones to boat ownership or the ideal novice entry into a world they have no interest in pursuing more than once every two years. Either way, I hope they (and me) have a great time.
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Old 04-06-2014, 02:19   #9
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

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Make friends then. Crew for them and let them teach you. Also, and their is a new thread here reflecting one circumstance, charterers are taking licensing requirements in their countries too lightly sometimes, ignoring their own rules. Also, ignoring their insurance rules. Join a sailing club or take classes. That's not so expensive.

They can learn in controlled situations as well. There are some safer areas to learn to sail than others. Owner or charterer, just don't get in a boat your first time and decide you're ready to cross oceans. Even just reading and talking to others can help some. If you're cruising a new area talk to people and pick up local knowledge. Plan days that you can easily make, instead of scheduling and pushing for something unreasonable. For instance, if I was going to charter a sail boat (which I wouldn't without someone with more experience than me), I'd motor out away from everyone and from shoals and rocks and then practice a little, get use to handling it. I practiced docking a lot on powerboats, docking in invisible docks near nothing.

Incidentally, it's not just charters or sailors or ocean goers. Lakes are worse. We'd see people buy or rent boats all the time on the lake with zero knowledge and experience. Take off at 40 mph on the water, run across sand bars, dock by ramming into the berth, cut right in front of others.

We all just need to be responsible adults. Then we all need to respect each other.
And you expect people to do this?

LOL... people do not take boating seriously if they are there for a good time. its a week out of their lives. If the charter company is kind enough to entrust them with a 300K vessel then thats good enough. NO ONE is going to practice docking. They are just going to do it and wonder why it isnt working as well as the movies...

Its a different world. Its not their boat. They have insurance. They dont need no stinking practice, they can drive a car so a boat cant be that hard. They have a radio to call for a tow.....

Best just to take each situation and deal with it.. I like the option to not be there and move away best.

I also like that some cheap ex charter vessels come on the market from time to time.

Its just the way it is.
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:28   #10
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

Cautionary tale, from another thread :
http://travelbelize.co/american-tour...ned-in-belize/
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:02   #11
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

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It seems the charterer is blaming Moorings for allowing him to charter even though he was inexperienced. He now says Moorings is responsible for damage to a reef. Interesting.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:55   #12
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

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It seems the charterer is blaming Moorings for allowing him to charter even though he was inexperienced. He now says Moorings is responsible for damage to a reef. Interesting.
Even worse he was unlicensed and apparently he's saying Belize requires you to be licensed. Now of course how he was pulled off the reef is another issue. But seems to be both the person who chartered and the charter company are at fault.

There was recently a captain held in Hawaii over a similar incident. Now this was supposedly an experienced captain.

We boat a lot in the Bahamas and being aware of and protecting the reefs is a very important aspect of doing so.

Is the Belize fine perhaps excessive? Probably so as the target number has moved many times. But should both the boater and the charter company be held accountable in some way? I'd think so. I would have also thought or hoped they had insurance to cover incidents. A word to those of you who do charter. Check the insurance coverage. If you don't think it's adequate, get some insurance on your own to supplement it.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:14   #13
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Re: To all our Bareboat Chartering Friends

For the Belize people it sounds like they thought they were insured "fully" but did it through Moorings and probably didn't look at the details - I'm not sure but it might be implied that the lack of certificate invalidated the insurance?

"We definitely asked and paid to be fully insured on the boat. We never imagined this would happen. Moorings rented me this boat knowing of my experience and also knowing that I did not hold a certificate. "


Agreed that it's the renter's responsibility to be legal but as a past renter I can say I only checked the basics when jumping onto boats, batteries, fuel, radio, flares, flotation and sailing equipment. Its amazing I didn't get into more trouble but if a company rents you significant equipment without asking for credentials my guess is most people would assume the credentials aren't needed.

Back on topic, as I mention I've rented boats, will probably continue to rent boats in locations where I don't conveniently own a boat and will continue to steer around boats I know are rentals and avoid them in anchorages. It's not disparaging there's just increased risk there.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:24   #14
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Unfortunately, we've seen what the inexperienced charters can do destructively, and you even mentioned their being told to bounce off your boat in med mooring.

We have overheard radio traffic where the renta-yacht people tell their clients, "if you're not sure where to anchor, anchor next to a cruising boat," and then go on to describe a generic low bucks cruising boat's appearance.

Ann
Hi, Ann

the people told to bounce off my boat were the complete novices.
They should be taken care of, not ill instructed by one profebloodyssional.
I must admit, they were confused and obviously uncomfortable in this situation (at least most of them). They were given the boats under condition to obey the instructions of the flotilla leader, so they obeyed.
I think most of the problems is connected to the malpractices of charter companies (lack of checking the qualifications on water, lack of proper instructions, briefings, advice and so on).
It is also true about flotilla charters. The company throws the band of completely unexperienced people on the heads of "leading crew", with a schedule giving no time for full and proper instruction, boat familiarization and often with some popular but not easy places to go.
Not good, but I do not blame the charterers, I blame a charter companies (even if I understand their position and motivation).

Cheers,

Tomasz
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Old 04-06-2014, 23:14   #15
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Re: To all our bareboat chartering friends

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It is also true about flotilla charters. The company throws the band of completely unexperienced people on the heads of "leading crew", with a schedule giving no time for full and proper instruction, boat familiarization and often with some popular but not easy places to go.
Not good, but I do not blame the charterers, I blame a charter companies (even if I understand their position and motivation).
Actually some of the flotilla charters in the PNW (to Alaska) are to very experienced boaters who happen to live in other parts of the country. A couple of the companies I'm aware of are very careful regarding experience and if they find it lacking will require a captain. I'm sure in other areas this may not be true at all.

As to looking out for charterers, I'm very much on the water like I am in a car. I assume every driver approaching a red light is a candidate to run right through it. And I assume every boater out there might well do something careless or crazy at any time. Until two years ago our boating was on an inland lake and I can assure you that on a summer weekend or holiday the number of dangerous boaters was quite significant. It's one thing when a boat pulls across in front of you, much too closely. But quite another when they're pulling a water skier 100 feet behind. On the Tennessee River I saw them pull skiers in front of tows and barges. Obviously they don't know how long it takes the tow to stop on the chance the skier falls.
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