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Old 03-05-2008, 20:20   #1
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Ex Charter Boat?

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has bought or looked seriously at an ex charter boat. I hear reports that they have a lot of wear and tear and are tired boats. I'm wondering about the actual condition of say a 4 year old Beneteau 393 would be coming out of one of the fleets?

I expect the upholstery would show signs of wear along with sails and a lot of hours on the engine. For the right price this wouldn't bother me. Could you expect to find a hull and rig in great shape?

Pictures on websites are lovely, but I'd really appreciate the opinion of those who have actually looked at or owned these boats.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 03-05-2008, 20:56   #2
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A four year old charter boat basically has 20 years worth or wear on it. Everything--even the gooseneck swivel and the rudderpost bearings--has been used every day for long days, presumably 6 days a week for 30-40 weeks per year as opposed to a private boat that isused for two days (weekends) in the six summer months only.

If the boat has been well maintained, the engine is still probably going to have a lot of wear from daily short time use. The sails may be shot--or newly replaced.

You have to take a good look at the boat and the maintenance program, compare the price, and see if you're getting a bargain.
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Old 03-05-2008, 21:31   #3
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Originally Posted by waterdog View Post
I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has bought or looked seriously at an ex charter boat. I hear reports that they have a lot of wear and tear and are tired boats. I'm wondering about the actual condition of say a 4 year old Beneteau 393 would be coming out of one of the fleets?

I expect the upholstery would show signs of wear along with sails and a lot of hours on the engine. For the right price this wouldn't bother me. Could you expect to find a hull and rig in great shape?

Pictures on websites are lovely, but I'd really appreciate the opinion of those who have actually looked at or owned these boats.

Thanks,

Steve
As an instructor, I sail a lot of charter boats.

At the very least:
  • Hire a reputable surveyor
  • Hire a reputable boat mechanic
  • Haul the boat
  • Take for a sea trial, with an expereinced sailor
A boat in the Caribbean will suffer from UV damage. The hull and decks may be washed out. The running rigging will have to be replaced. Check all the stress points: turnbuckles, stem plates, etc..

There is a reason that charter boats are for sale; they may not be marketable in the fleet.

Be very, very careful.

Jack
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Old 03-05-2008, 22:05   #4
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I have the first 1995 Beneteau 321 of the Moorings boats. She is hull #1 of the 321's. A great boat in my personal thoughts. Upgrades from Moorings in this boat include a better 30 hp Perkins Diesel, extra water tanks, additional fresh water pumps, cutlass bearing ect,ect. The gel-cell batteries are now 13 years old and now need to be replaced ( how lucky is that) the motor has a total of 1,404 hours and runs like a top.
Love my boat and I have maintained her so that she looks like new. I have replaced all the foam and recovered everything as nothing lasts forever.
Every boat is different and some may have suffered more than mine did in charter but you would have to inspect the boat to see if it measures up to your standards.
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:09   #5
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Depends on what stage out of charter your looking. Most Carter boats from places like Mooring and SunSail have initial 4 to 5 year contracts and companies like these appear to typically take very good care of the boats. Check ups every charter...7 to 10 days or so. The obligation of the Charter Company is to return a fit ship to the owner at the end of the initial charter term and if your owner had a marine survey performed as they should all the survey hits would be repaired at the charter companies expense prior to hand over to the owner or new charter company. These top end companies don't want boats more than 5 years in their fleet.... because maintenance will increase with additional age and the initial splits with the first charter are far better for the owners.

At the end of the initial charter the boat is often "demoted" to the 2nd tier charter companies who use boats up to around 10 years in age. The splits the owner gets and the cost of maintenance and repairs is also often split per contract making it less desirable for the owner. A boat out of a completed 2nd tour of charter may be a problem but still one you could evaluate with a good marine surveyor if the price were right. This scares many charter owner's into feeling they need to move on and not have a possible high maintenance bill hit them when they are not ready for it if the go for the 2nd stage charter.

The "key" to purchasing an ex-charter boat is knowing the type service it has been in, knowing the locations it has been in service, how long it has been in service and the engine hours and a good marine survey of all hardware, engine and rigging.

If you target your purchase toward a boat at the end of the charter season... the start of hurricane season in the Carib for instance.... and target boats just about to come out of the initial charter agreements (under 5 years) from one of the better charter companies... you can get a really great deal.

Most of these upper level companies have new boats coming in each year and have to move out older boats to make room for them. Not that anything is specifically wrong with the boats but they make money on the sale of the new boats to new owners.

Visit lots of boats, know what you want and select the one you feel best about then consider an offer. You still need to have a full marine survey and sea trial (make it a condition of sale) with you attending... bring a cooler with cold drinks... its was a hot ordeal for me.

While the number of days a boat is in service may be important, the engine hours is usually the key. Most charter companies do not actually have every boat out every day.... they are like hotel rooms and in season the turn around may be near "full occupancy" but that is only in high season... in the mid and off season most just set around but are far better cared for than the typical boat you see in a US marina in the off season growing mold inside and collecting salt outside.

I have a 2001 Beneteau 361 that was coming out of Moorings initial service and she had only minor hits on the marine survey and sea trials and Mooring made all the repairs and actually went over the requested ones and replaces some lines and even house ware items that were part of their contract and I've had over 2000 hours on her since with no problems at all and fixing to spend over 1600 more starting in just a couple of days.

Getting a boat is like getting married... select well, get one that isn't too expensive but still looks great, handles well, and treats you right.

MMmmm should have thought of those specifications before I got married..... either time!!!
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Old 04-05-2008, 10:04   #6
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There is one very special camera that flies around the world taking Real Estate photos and boat photos for brokers. The lens is very special indeed: Small rooms look huge, huge rooms look like the Great Outback and all cabins on boats look like Statrooms on the Titanic.

That being said, then next bit is quite obvious: Ex-charter boats are at quite a price reduction off their non chartered sisters.

We bought a 393 for less than an unchartered 361.

So thats your basic equation.


Mark
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:01   #7
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Thanks for the Feedback!

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think there is some real merit in looking in to this further. Of course I'd prefer to have some thoroughly salty canoe-sterned thing with wind vane already attached, SSB installed and ready for a season in the Caribbean followed by a canal transit. But if a modern Beneteau limited to the Caribbean only is what it takes to close the deal with the better half, then so be it!

Steve
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:29   #8
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But if a modern Beneteau limited to the Caribbean only
Steve
Steve, limitations are only in your mind.

By the way, how many friends with beer bottles can you fit in a Canoe stern?
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:15   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterdog View Post

Pictures on websites are lovely, but I'd really appreciate the opinion of those who have actually looked at or owned these boats.
I have not looked at or owned a Beneteau but I did buy a charter boat. My boat is older to begin with -- 1977 -- and it spent a few years in charter. And when I bought my boat, I bought into the concept of offsetting costs vis a vis charter. People here are right -- get a survey, but in my opinion, that may not get at all the issues. If I were to buy another charter boat, I would do so differently. I would have special surveys done -- one specifically for the engine, one specifically for the rigging, and one specifically for the wiring. Even if the boat was alot newer than mine, I would have these things done. With what I know now, those monies would have been well-spent. It is the hidden things that come out months later that are expensive: A slightly bent shaft, leaking stuffing box, that hot water heater that was jury rigged, the reconditioned heat exchanger, rusted fittings at the top of the mast. The least of your worries are dings in the sole and worn uphosltery.

General surveys -- in my opinion -- are not at the level of detail needed for buying a charter boat.

Anyways, I know I am little off topic in that this post is not specifically about your boat.


Michael
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:27   #10
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I purchased a 3 year old charter boat out of the Sunsail fleet. I looked at over 30 boats before choosing the one I ended up with.

The BVI is easy sailing and most charter guests use the engine, so the charter boats there tend not to get too much wear-and-tear on the sails and standing rigging. Running rigging gets a lot of UV, as does the bimini/dodger. The engines get high hours (in my case both main engine and genset) - it seems that Sunsail actually does regular oil changes on maintenance on the engine; whereas some operators are known to neglect even rudimentary filter and oil changes.

The interior woodwork is scuffed and dented and scratched through charter guests, but unless they backed into a reef or grounded the boat the hull structure is usually pretty good.

The phaseout from charter is an important step, if the owners care about their boat and it's resale value then a lot of work will be done during that point in time.

I am happy with what I got in my ex-charter boat and would do the same thing again. If you find a boat that seems right to you, then let a professional surveyor that you hire and whose opinion you trust tell you what sort of use and abuse a specific boat has taken during the course of the charter history.
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Old 05-05-2008, 16:31   #11
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Steve, limitations are only in your mind.

By the way, how many friends with beer bottles can you fit in a Canoe stern?
You know Mark I've seen a Beneteau go hard aground on a rock fall over and float again on the high tide, I've also seen one blown high and dry on reef in a gale. In both cases I was really impressed with the integrity of the hulls. And I've done over 1000 miles "offshore" in a 42 footer (2/3 of that racing) and I was impressed with how solid these boats are.

So I would tend to agree sacrificing beer storage for seaworthiness should not necessarily be a high priority. Some argue the open transom is an invitation to invite a wave aboard. The other way to think of it is a hell of a large capacity cockpit drain to get the sea out again!
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