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Old 02-04-2009, 03:06   #1
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Catamaran Charter Business

Hello,

I am seriously contemplating investing in a charter sailboat through a reputable charter company.
Here are my wishes:
1- I will use the boat only 5 weeks a year
2- I want a free hassle ownership
3- I am interested in the French Polynesia.
4- I can put around US$ 200K
5- I want the boat to pay itself through the charter program. Is this realistic even in the bad seasons?
6- I am interested in a charter company that offer the possibility to swap areas of cruising.

My concerns are:

1- Which charter company is best (reputable)?
2- Can the charter company help me to buy the boat?
3- Should the boat be new or second-hand. Boats prices are elected to sink in the coming months?
4- Can the charter company provide some scenarios about the income?
5- With that tag of price, can I afford a crewed boat?

For those who have gone through this process or some of it, I would be grateful if they can share with me their good and bad experience.

Thanks in advance, and best regards,

Yacef
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:28   #2
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Quote:
1- Which charter company is best (reputable)?
Only the biggest ones. Lets see if we can make a list. They have the most boats and the infrastructure to let you trade for most areas of the world.

Quote:
2- Can the charter company help me to buy the boat?
The big companies only use new boats and they buy them for you. You can pick different types with limited set of options but they specify them. They want similar boats for the clients they expect to handle. They want a boat that can meet their ability to maintain the boats with parts and technical people. They know what people want for charter. It may not be what you want so that is where it may or may stop you.

Quote:
3- Should the boat be new or second-hand. Boats prices are elected to sink in the coming months?
The big companies only use new boats - period. As they age they rent them less and at some point in the contract they terminate the contract. After that you can get into the second tier companies that accept used boats, pay less and have less options for your use. There are also options for you to trade up for a newer / bigger boat too. Basic idea is people don't want to charter old boats and pay top prices. Companies don't want the added hassle (expense) of maintaining boats that are older.

Quote:
4- Can the charter company provide some scenarios about the income?
It's based on a contract. There can be many pages and it can be complex. Not so much in any bad way but the terms and conditions are complex. You hold the bank note for the boat if there is a loan. Any loan is all your liability no matter what. The company charters out the boat and takes a percentage and handles the work involved and does everything required to keep it in good serviceable condition per the contract. You can use a loan and the income stream to finance the boat, but if anything happens you are always still on the hook for the money. Should the company fold the note becomes due upon demand. The whole deal is based on the contract so legal advice is required. When you finance this way you are taking the risk.

Lots of people do this. In good times I think they can prove it works. In these times it might not be true. I don't think any of us know what the market will be for charters in the current economy. People that charter still want to have fun even if they don't have as much money as before. Charter companies let other people buy the boat because it's better for their profits.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:47   #3
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Last year I was booked a year in advance this year I have only 2 charters! So now might not be the time- I would wait a year or two
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:50   #4
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Yacef, you might want to post your question in the BVI forum at www.traveltalkonline.com. Lots of charterboat owners on that site and there are
frequent discussions about the economic pros & cons of owning a boat in charter with Moorings, Sunsail, Conch, Footloose, TMM, etc.

Steve W
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:27   #5
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$200k will only get you the smallest new catamaran so you are looking at borrowing money for most boats. If you have to borrow then the numbers probably won't stack up.

Here in the BVI, the smaller reputable bareboat charter outfits still seem to be doing well. People like TMM have most of their boats out most of the time. There are a huge number of Moorings and Sunsail boats on the dock every time I go past. They won't let that continue though as they have guaranteed payments they have to make to owners. Therefore deep discounting is likely to happen unless conditions improve.

Smallest crewed charter boats are around 44ft and you are looking at at least $500k for something that size. A lot of crewed charter boats in the Caribbean are really hurting this year with few bookings or very heavy discounts. I'm doing fine because I don't use brokers so can keep my prices well down.

Polynesia is a much smaller market and I have no idea what conditions are like there at the moment.
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:39   #6
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I know this may come a bit late, but I just came across this thread. I currently have a boat in charter management with the Moorings, but looked at several options. Some companies base income on a percent of actual charter income they take in. Other companies such as Sunsail and the Moorings give you a guaranteed income. For me that's about 45% of the price of the boat over the 4.5 year contract period. I think that will come close to keeping up with depreciation.

My first desire was to have the boat in St. Martin, but was told most of the French territories don't allow Americans to do this. I recommend you check into this regarding French Polynesia.

I don't think you can get into a charter cat for $200K total, but that might come close if take out a loan using the guaranteed income to cover the financing.

What I have enjoyed about charter management is always having a boat in a great location ready to just get on and take out.
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Old 14-04-2009, 13:47   #7
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Anyone have any experience with Catamaran Company out of Tortola? We do, and we'd be interested in your experience with having your boat with their charter fleet. We had our Lagoon 380s with them for about 1 year.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:54   #8
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Re: Catamaran Charter Business

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Originally Posted by rogerlaura View Post
Anyone have any experience with Catamaran Company out of Tortola? We do, and we'd be interested in your experience with having your boat with their charter fleet. We had our Lagoon 380s with them for about 1 year.
Sorry for resurrecting a very old post, but I am wondering the same question. Has anyone had any experience with Charter Management program with Catamaran Company out of Tortola, BVI? I am looking into a Lagoon 450 with them. Thanks!
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:08   #9
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Re: Catamaran Charter Business

You might want to post this question at the traveltalkonline.com BVI forum, I am sure that you'd find some people there with experience and knowledge of that company. I see their boats a lot and they look in good condition.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:22   #10
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Re: Catamaran Charter Business

Thanks for the suggestion, I will definitely do that.
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Old 07-03-2013, 16:58   #11
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Re: Catamaran Charter Business

The Moorings offers a guaranteed income program, but only for new Leopards that you buy from them. The program is 4 or 5 years long. A small number of boats are extended into their Sunsail program. The program will not pay for an entire boat, but will pay for a lot of it. You may get some tax benefits, though, that are significant enough to make it worthwhile. I don't know if they have a program in your area. You do not have to utilize your own boat, you can use boats in their fleet and maybe in other fleets, as well.

There are some other programs offering guaranteed income, who I cannot name at the moment, but encountered at the Annapolis sail show.

The Catamaran company did NOT offer a guaranteed income program the last time I spoke with them about it.


The depreciation on your boat may exceed the value of the income you receive, based on some number work I did, but the fringe benefits may overcome that. If you set aside the potential tax benefits and sailing benefits, I'm about 98% certain that it is cheaper to purchase a used boat than to put the new boat through the charter program (I'm assuming the boat is financed to it's maximum value, a cash-purchased boat will certainly have a different value outcome )
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Old 09-04-2013, 14:57   #12
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Re: Catamaran Charter Business

There is only one location (I know of) that generates enough demand for charters to make the numbers work. Virgins. We are there, selling a fractional share in a fginancial success. What makes this work is 2 things. 1. We don't have to deal with a money sucking management service - we manage our business on our own. and 2. We sell only full service crewed charters with our own captain. We would never let our $1 mm investment in the hands of a novice. If you have an interest, Catamaran The Sweetest Thing, or wade@yachtsweetestthing.com. It's not French Polynesia, but the numbers work far better than the big "trustworthy" charter companies who neglect to explain how hard it is to sell a used boat for more than your loan balance at the end of 5 or 10 years, when that market is overwhelmed with used charter boats for sale.
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Old 09-04-2013, 15:07   #13
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Re: Catamaran Charter Business

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Originally Posted by jsous View Post
Sorry for resurrecting a very old post, but I am wondering the same question. Has anyone had any experience with Charter Management program with Catamaran Company out of Tortola, BVI? I am looking into a Lagoon 450 with them. Thanks!
The numbers will work much better for you, if you would consider fractional ownership of Catamaran The Sweetest Thing an FP 48 - better boat, better equipped, certainty of a going concern, and MUCH lower investment.

contact wade@yachtsweetestthing.com
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