We bought our boat after she came out of a five year charter service with Sunsail. We put her into a second tier charter company in the BVis. We have literally just taken her out of service and moved her to Puerto Rico where we are outfitting her for cruising, our approximate departure date is November 1st. The charter company was sad to see her go because she was one of the best charterers.
In general, we were happy with the way the charter company took care of her and really liked the people at the charter company. We were very involved owners, we visited the boat often 3-4 times a years for 2-3 weeks at a time. That and the fact that we took the time to do upgrades to her when we visited I believe had a big impact on her care. But to answer you questions:
1. Were they honest about what needed repairs
-- about the big stuff yes. On the other hand, we bought a lot of lightbulbs (one of the first things we did after we bought the boat was replace all of the bulbs with LEDs. Sometimes, it seemed as if they had charged us for work we had done when we were on the boat.
2. Do they give the boat to anyone -- can't say for sure. But in our experience, the most noticeable thing that the boat was being used were the engine hours. It appears that everyone that sailed the boat knew the basics and treated the boat well.
3. Hull inspections -- yes. They even did hull inspections when we brought the boat back!
4. Properly trained maintenance staff -- the honest answer is yes and no. At a second tier charter company, they have many different kinds of boats. We had already decided to replace the refrigeration
on the boat when we moved aboard. The refrigeration
crapped out last fall and they brought in someone to install the new system we purchased because it was beyond their capabilities. Initially I was please to be getting the work done before we got there, now looking at how they had it installed I wish we had done it. The first thing we will be changing is the wiring
, the refrigerator
side of the system is showing a fault and the wire is very hot -- an indication to us that the wire is undersized. While in Puerto Rico we are completely replacing all of the standing rigging
. We met with the rigger yesterday to review what he found after inspecting the boat. The good news is there were no major issues. On the other hand, there were silly little things that made us wonder what they were thinking. One example is that we had them replace the main sail last winter, when they put it on they just tied the halyard
to the top of the sail rather than using a shackle. This is a small thing but I guess I would have used the shackle from the old sail. There were small things that made us wonder if they were cutting corners or, with short turn around times between charters, they were quick fixes that never got completely fixed -- we will never know.
5. We had a great relationship with the charter company, but as I stated before we were there a lot and our boat was chartered a lot.
6. They were very service minded and extremely easy to communicate with.
For us the experience was positive. We had done and did ourselves many upgrades to the boat while she was in charter service. There are always glitches when you are trying to do things long distance and communication about what you want done will not always be understood exactly as you meant it. In the end, we would both be willing to do it again.