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Old 07-04-2016, 11:48   #1
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What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

My wife and I just returned from our first bareboat charter in the Southeastern US, and it was not what we expected. Iíve read a few posts on this, so know that charter boats are not always in perfect condition, however ... We chartered a 20 year-old mid-30 foot boat from a smaller charter company. It had non-functioning mast lights (anchor, steaming); all fire extinguishers and flares expired; no working instruments except depth (no GPS, speed/log, wind, engine); most port lights leaked; no current charts/guides; almost empty propane and half-empty diesel; loose connection on house battery; and all running rigging not lubricated (almost impossible to raise main). The owner made some of the repairs at the dock on our time and he was very nice about it. We got an electric lantern to hang for an anchor light and fills of propane and diesel. I spent an hour lubricating all of the blocks and tracks. I'd like to know how common these problems are in chartered sailboats.

I was expecting better from the hospitality industry. When I rent a car, it is ready when I arrive; fully fueled and washed. I do not have to check the lights, horn, or airbags. The windows work properly and do not leak. My hotel is usually properly cleaned and everything works. I pay considerably less than $400 per day for these, and they are at least as complex and demanding of maintenance as any boat.

We would like to know if our bareboat experience is normal, or if we just got a bad example. If we had gone with Moorings, Sunsail, TMM, etc. would we expect the same? We are experienced sailors, travelers, and boat owners, just inexperienced charterers. Frankly, if this is normal, I am reluctant to drop another $4,000 for the opportunity to repair someone elseís boat!
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Old 07-04-2016, 13:34   #2
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

When was the last time you rented a 20 year old car from a small rental company? Mainline charter companies tend to use new boats for the same reason that mainline car rental companies do, they don't have as many maintenance issue.

When you step down to an older, smaller company, and I assume less money, you get what you pay for.
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Old 07-04-2016, 13:41   #3
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

I would stick with the mainstream big charter companies. They always worked well for us without any problems. Charters are usually short, and I don't want to have issues that spoil the adventure.
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Old 07-04-2016, 14:00   #4
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

Doesn't sound normal to me. Bigger companies may be better. They are not perfect, sometimes there are no reefing lines etc. But most everything should be working. The Moorings has always been good for me.
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Old 08-04-2016, 06:24   #5
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
When you step down to an older, smaller company, and I assume less money, you get what you pay for.
This. Sunsail or The Moorings is going to cost more, but the boat is going to be newer and in better shape.

Frankly, I'd be tempted to report this to the local Coast Guard unit. Expired fire extinguishers is a very clear violation of CG regulations, and is a serious safety hazard.
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:27   #6
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

If you want to make a fair comparison compare your per day cost to the nearest Moorings/ Sunsail. I suspect you got what you payed for. I have had good boats and tired boats but the prices were fair for the tired boats.


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Old 08-04-2016, 07:48   #7
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

d0n, you read my mind. There's no excuse for a charter company failing to maintain USCG minimum standards--and those are, after all, the MINIMUM safety requirements.


Anybody can screw up, like saying "Gee, your boat won't be ready for another two hours, I forgot to gas it up" but then if someone has any concept of responsibility, they'd also say "So dinner is on me." Of course if they had any concept of responsibility they'd also have the extinguishers, lights, and flares all in working order.


One has to wonder, does the guy even have commercial insurance.
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:25   #8
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

There are lots of local bareboat companies that provide as good if not better than Moorings and Sunsail. It sounds to me like you got a company that doesn't care about its customers.
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:33   #9
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

Chartering boats in bvi moorings and sunsail always cost me first day at the dock fixing something. Chartering is like buying watermelons you got to cut into it before you know what you got.
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:50   #10
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Trusty View Post
My wife and I just returned from our first bareboat charter in the Southeastern US, and it was not what we expected. Iíve read a few posts on this, so know that charter boats are not always in perfect condition, however ... We chartered a 20 year-old mid-30 foot boat from a smaller charter company. It had non-functioning mast lights (anchor, steaming); all fire extinguishers and flares expired; no working instruments except depth (no GPS, speed/log, wind, engine); most port lights leaked; no current charts/guides; almost empty propane and half-empty diesel; loose connection on house battery; and all running rigging not lubricated (almost impossible to raise main). The owner made some of the repairs at the dock on our time and he was very nice about it. We got an electric lantern to hang for an anchor light and fills of propane and diesel. I spent an hour lubricating all of the blocks and tracks. I'd like to know how common these problems are in chartered sailboats.

I was expecting better from the hospitality industry. When I rent a car, it is ready when I arrive; fully fueled and washed. I do not have to check the lights, horn, or airbags. The windows work properly and do not leak. My hotel is usually properly cleaned and everything works. I pay considerably less than $400 per day for these, and they are at least as complex and demanding of maintenance as any boat.

We would like to know if our bareboat experience is normal, or if we just got a bad example. If we had gone with Moorings, Sunsail, TMM, etc. would we expect the same? We are experienced sailors, travelers, and boat owners, just inexperienced charterers. Frankly, if this is normal, I am reluctant to drop another $4,000 for the opportunity to repair someone elseís boat!
Not normal for any boat I've chartered, but chartering a twenty-year-old boat would give me pause. That said, the rate might suggest you didn't get what you paid for.
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:51   #11
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

Charter boats are usually ridden hard during the peak season. You should always expect something. However, the issues you describe should be considered neglect. I'd have never left the dock without my money back.
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:59   #12
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

We have chartered with Moorings and Horizon and the first day is always frustrating getting the boat issues sorted out. I have never left the dock befor 3pm on a charter start. Our best experience was with Moorings on a Leopard 48 that was <six months old. No issues at all. Paying the extra for a new boat was worth it. Our charter this year started with Horizon in the BVI on a 2009 Jeanneau 50DS. After the first sail to Norman Island we had diesel fuel floating in the bilge (floating bio-hazard). We returned the boat and they brought out a vacuum and spray bottles, without identifying the issue. They suggested we 'go test it out' again. I promptly got all my money back and went to the Moorings for a Beneteau 48. Lost a day, but saved the vacation. The Beneteau was 2 years old and pretty beat up, weak battery bank, no inverter, and a very detuned rig. It worked fine and once you are out there sailing and away from the dock and charter company life is good.
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:04   #13
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

In the Mediterranean, most charter companies don't touch boats older than 6-7 years. Older ones go down to Tier 2 charters that are cheaper, but you get what you pay for. And you are dependent on the company being long term and caring about maintenance.

20 years is gambling, I guess.
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:07   #14
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

Speaking as someone who has spent years in the charter biz; you got ripped off. It's not easy turning a lot of boats around in less than a day but what you describe is unacceptable for any charter company. Sure, we had problems but never a situation like you describe. They owe you a partial refund.
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:14   #15
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Re: What is normal quality for a bareboat charter?

Cannot say I have the breadth of experience to answer your question but from the charter fleet just in my marina I would say a 20 year old boat is most unusual. The majority would be less than 5 years old. The oldest boat I know about is 8 years.
As to condition, my experience is the charter companies are good at keeping them in good condition and keep on top of repairs and maintenance. The older boats invariably show fair wear and tear. The gel coat has lost its as new gloss, the sails have a few smudges and stains, the upholstery a few wear patches and stains etc. But all the important running gear etc is all in good condition.
The boat you describe sounds like it has more than fair wear and tear and essential equipment has been poorly maintained as well. There are shady operators in any industry and the yacht charter industry is no exception but I think what you experienced is not typical.
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