I'm planning a 6-12 month "sailing sabbatical" with my girlfriend and need some advice for you guys.
I've been sailing since I was a kid and have always dreamed of taking some time off to sail around the world. After speaking with some folks at boat shows and reading online, it appears that for a trip of this duration exploring the Caribbean
and Central America
might make more sense than an around-the-world trip. My girlfriend is not an experienced sailor, but fortunately she's adventurous enough to go along with the idea!
We've narrowed the field to a 38-44 foot catamaran
, most likely a Lagoon 380
or Leopard 40
. The question is, to rent or own?
After all my research
thus far, I figure I have a few different options:
Option #1 - Buy a non-chartered boat, sail it, and sell it
This would probably be a 2-4 year old cat, owner's version. I'd rather buy used than new, so that someone else can take the initial depreciation hit and outfit the boat with all the bells and whistles that we'll need. The advantage is that we'd have a boat that is still relatively new and hopefully without any big maintenance
issues. The disadvantage is that I'll incur a lot of transaction fees
when it's time to sell, which might not make sense if I only only own it for a year. Of course I could just keep the boat for private use when the trip is over, but since I live in Atlanta it wouldn't be convenient to use it every weekend. It would probably drive me crazy to pay monthly bills for a depreciating asset that I can't enjoy very often.
Option #2 - Buy an ex-charter boat, sail it, and put it into charter
This would probably be a 3-5 year old cat, 4 cabin
version. That advantage here is that I could buy it really cheap
, though I may have more maintenance
issues since charter
boats work hard in their lives (hopefully this could be mitigated by buying
from a reputable charter
company and getting a good survey
done pre-purchase.) Another advantage here is when I'm done with it I can just put it back into charter with a second-tier charter company, avoiding seller transaction costs and hopefully generating enough revenue to offset the costs of ownership
. Plus, it would be there for me whenever I want to sail for another week or two after the big trip. If I went this route
, I'd probably want to keep the boat in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami
so I could get to it relatively inexpensively.
Option #3 - Buy charter weeks
A very crude friend of mine once advised, "If it floats, flies, or f**ks, better to rent than own" (my apologies to the ladies.) Another option is to just buy a bunch of charter weeks from either a private owner or charter company. There seems to be a healthy after market for unused "owner use" weeks, sometimes going for just 50% of the prevailing retail charter rates. One advantage of this is we could take the weeks at various charter locations around the world, perhaps leading us to a Land & Sea Adventure where we'd travel the world, splitting our time between weeks traveling inland and weeks aboard sailboats in the Caribbean
, etc. It's a different kind of trip, but it wouldn't suck.
I welcome your thoughts, questions, and advice!