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Old 28-06-2012, 19:23   #1
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Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

I've seen it repeatedly stated on these forums that owner boats are a better buy than ex-charter boats because they supposed are (a) better outfitted, and (b) better cared for, and (c) have fewer engine hours

However, I think I prefer to buy an ex-charter boat -particularly in the Catamaran crusing class - and here are my reasons why:

1) Ex-charter boats are more fairly priced
I see owners trying to sell their boats FAR above reasonable pricing, sometimes near the price of a new boat! Charter companies have fixed margins and pre-calculated depreciation. The price might be good or bad, but it is determined in a predictable, reasonable manner.

2) Owners don't correctly represent the condition of their boats
I have heard or seen owners claiming "exquisite condition" and "well outfitted". I remember one story on this forum about a buyer traveling to see a boat called "Black Pearl", advertised to be in amazing condition, and it was not - a wasted trip.
I recently saw a boat for sale online advertised to be "exceptionally outfitted", which turns out to mean that it had a couple upgraded component (I don't recall which ones), and I'm assuming that they were replacements for damaged parts. No AC, WaterMaker, Generator, SolarPanel, SSB, Radar, or anything else you would have expected

Charter companies don't do this. They have old, used boats for sale that have been heavily used. You know exactly what you will get. You might get a selection of several old, used boats to choose from. They will NOT be "exceptionally outfitted". They will be basic, will have minimal equipment, and will need some spit and polish when you get yours home.

3) Charter boats are minimally equipped
Call me a masochist, but I LIKE this feature. It comes like it did from the FACTORY - except old! There is no old, broken down watermaker with an obsolete filter design. There is no sputtering gasoline generator that doesn't fit correctly and roars like a NASCAR engine.
I LIKE the idea that the boat will be retrofitted only with the accessories I want, that I need, and that when I get them they will be brand new, state of the art, and in proper working condition. Also, I'll know the exact method and quality of installation that was done!

4) Charter boats are professionally maintained
Ok, ok so there is some room for interpretation here. But at least you KNOW if, how, and when it was maintained (I am assuming a professional charter company here).
On a charter boat, I would expect not to find a piece of lamp cord duct taped to a battery and disappearing through a hole gouged in a bulkhead with a kitchen knife.
I would not expect to find my bilge pump's float switch floating upside down in my bilge, connected only by a piece of zip-tie to some cord or tube running through the bottom.
I would not expect to discover that the boat has two left rudders, or that a running light has been installed upside down, or that a sheet line has been replaced by a line which is just slightly larger in diameter than the prior one - just enough so, really, to occasionally bind up the pulleys.

3 of the above things actually happened to me

5) Charter companies have a selection of boats to choose from
One trip, one hundred boats, one check. I love it love it love it.
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Old 28-06-2012, 19:26   #2
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

6) Charter boats have been cleaned every week
Owners often brag that they have been the only occupants, cruising in that boat for 5 years. Who are those people? How clean are they? What kind of stinky, smelly, dirty things did they do on that boat? And how did they cover up the mess?
Who knows?
If I could own a good owner boat for a little more than a charter boat, it would be different, but the difference is very large - often $75,000, $100k, or more!!
And for what? I see the potential benefit, but I just am not seeing the value.
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Old 28-06-2012, 20:57   #3
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

7) Engine hours are not that important, IMO
Unless you plan to use your vessel as a motorboat. But not on a cruising boat. I'm not an expert on diesel engines, but aren't they supposed to be tough as rocks? Aren't they supposed to love hard use? To a "true" cruiser (and I don't mean to be offensive by that, just trying to establish a category), isn't engine usage a sort of "last resort", when all other options fail? The last thing I would want is a nearly new, practically unused engine on a 5 year old boat - at least, that is the last thing I would want to pay a premium value to get.
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Old 28-06-2012, 21:36   #4
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I take it that either you are buying a charter boat or that some muppet has given you a hard time on charters??

I totally agree with you, ownwers are no reasonable and they dont see the boat in the same way the seller will do due to sentimental reasons.

I was having this discussion last week at the marina with a couple of mates that just bought new boats (Hanse & Elan), the price of their brand new boats is pretty close to that of similar second hand ones!!! Totally insane, a boat suffers depreciation the minute you take out of the yard, and then the usage and weather. Being so, do owners think that a boat is like wine that get better as with age????

I am currently looking for my next boat (upgrading in size ) and I've given up on the private sector, only looking at charters

That is the way to go until private owners fell of the pedestal!!

Cheers
Andres
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Old 28-06-2012, 21:58   #5
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

I would tend to agree.

In the area of engine hours, as an ex auto mechanic, hours are truly irrelevant. Engines can last a very long time when maintained properly. Abused engines, on the other hand, will wear out very quickly. For example, it is normal for many car engines to last in excess of 500,000km when maintained properly and regularly, while i've replaced many engines with under 60,000km simply due to abuse and lack of maintenance (mainly lack of oil changes does it).

Also, sitting is the worst thing for many mechanical items. Engines, gear trains, etc. do not like sitting. Many older pleasure boats have sat vacant for many months, or even years, on end. Lubricants lose their lubricity, parts seize and flash rust, etc. A 10 year old engine maintained and used regularly will likely outlast an engine that has sat un-used and neglected for the past 10 years.

A professional charter boat will be much more likely to have had regular maintenance throughout its whole life than a private boat.
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Old 28-06-2012, 22:04   #6
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

In General private owned boats are far better in most cases maintained than charter boats or excharterboats, but hey there is lots of bargains out there, and in good condition, starting from the engines, a private owner in most cases know how to handle the diesel, knowing the limitations and the correct procedure to start a engine, many charter partyes , and i know that by experience, put the yanmars at Screaming mode after 10 seconds of pressing the starting key.

Here in St Martin let me guess?? ok, we have a Catana 40 something that loose the starboard bow in a colision between BVI and St martin , the boats spend in a mooring for one full month with the splits of fiberglass and foam getting soaked with salwater for the whole month, after that a full crew of grinders and glass boys made a new bow in one week, after Gelcoat finish, you dont see the diference , fantastic ,,,

In the 2 case we have a Troop of Mahes 36 from a local charter company in a local boatyard with serious Osmosis isues, talking with a local worker he say the boats are really wet, plan from the charter company?? do a full gelcoat peeling and epoxy job in 2 weeks timeframe , 2 weeks for a Osmosis job???? I guess the boats need go back to work...

In the last scenario, in St Vincent a 440 drag anchor in the night i dont remember if in Wallilabou , he broke the starboard rudder, back in Martinique the boat is booked for the next month , imagine the diver apply underwater putty to a severe splited rudder, and i see finally the boat in the boatyard at the end of the season.

Yes Charters boats are fixed in a regular basis, becarefull when you take a look at charter boats , this is just some examples, in the other side there is lots of charter boats sailed by experienced people who take care of the boat like if is their own boat.
Cheers.
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Old 28-06-2012, 22:38   #7
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

charter company "maintenance" is a joke. Jury-rig is SOP.

... Jus make it work and on my way mon.
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Old 28-06-2012, 23:22   #8
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

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Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
Yes Charters boats are fixed in a regular basis, becarefull when you take a look at charter boats , this is just some examples, in the other side there is lots of charter boats sailed by experienced people who take care of the boat like if is their own boat.
Cheers.
Do you trust in the maintenance logs on these boats? My expectation is that each vessel will have a maintenance record associated with it, but I can only hope that it will be accurate.

Also, I'm expecting that marine survey will reveal any permanent or secondary damages resulting from accidents and fiberglass issues.

Realistic?
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Old 29-06-2012, 11:14   #9
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

I am very interested in the answer to this question myself????
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Old 29-06-2012, 11:45   #10
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

One big problem with charter boats is their layouts. Who wants 4 heads on a frik'n cruising boat?
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Old 29-06-2012, 11:58   #11
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

There is a reason that ex-charter boats are cheaper than owner used boats. If they could get more for them they would. The ex-charter boats are generally not owned by the charter companies. They mostly have individual owners, just like the owner used boats have and these owners would, like most folks, like to get the best buck possible for the boat.
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Old 29-06-2012, 12:03   #12
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

I haven't seen that big a price difference on the web for charter/owner boats. was on moorings site yesterday and a gemini cat was on there for $140 for a 2008. That's no great price. I would have expected $75-$90.
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Old 29-06-2012, 12:25   #13
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

So feel free to buy an ex-charter boat. I personally think it's a crapshoot, but it's possible to win at a crapshoot.

Were I still in the market (and I've seen a lot of boats in the last ten years, ranging from you must be joking to I can't believe how nice this is), I would aim at the late-in-life boatseller who has been the only owner.

Frequently, they are looking to swallow the anchor about five years after they stopped doing much sailing. They have spent on fees and maintenance and keeping the boat "sea-ready", so it looks lovely, but might have elderly electronics and a engine that should have run more.

The elderly parts make the boat's age apparent, but if it is structurally sound and the engine can be rehabbed (and the tanks cleaned, etc. of equally elderly fuel, etc.), you can get a real bargain in the currently demographically challenged market.

I find a lot of boat families don't go more than one generation, and if Cap't. Dad gets up there in years, the pressure grows to dump the boat and its yearly costs.

There's pearls in that muck worth searching for.

By contrast, because a charter is treated like a rented condo on Spring Break, results can vary appallingly.
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Old 29-06-2012, 13:24   #14
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post

1) Ex-charter boats are more fairly priced (...)

2) Owners don't correctly represent the condition of their boats (...)

3) Charter boats are minimally equipped (...)

Call me a masochist, but (...)

4) Charter boats are professionally maintained (...)

5) Charter companies have a selection of boats to choose from (...)
1) They seem to be priced lower. I do not see any direct relationship between a lower price and a fair price.

2) Where I live, they do.

3) You are a masochist. ;-)

4) If they are fairly priced and professionally maintained then why are they being sold?

5) Bava or Lagoon? That's choice! (For definition of 'that's choice!', ask any Kiwi).

;-)

There are many ways to look at things. Much depends on where and how one intends to cruise. As you explained, sometimes an ex-charter is the better choice.

b.
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Old 29-06-2012, 13:43   #15
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Re: Why I think ex charter boats are a great buy for cruisers

No ex charter boat can hold a candle to a private owned boat from an owner who cared!!!

Do people really believe that a charter company fixes something on a boat that could have been "waited"? It's like the chances that someone with a leased car went beyond the minimum to maintain their car; all they are looking to do it get it to the end of the lease in the "expected" condition!
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