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Old 18-06-2010, 18:46   #1
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Bareboat Chartering a Small Cruiser - The insider View

Hi everyone,

I've been sailing for the past 5 years now, and am toying with the idea of buying a solid cruiser, somewhere in the 35' range. I'm wondering if it's possible to set the boat up as a bareboat charter, and charter it out enough to break even for the year on cost.

I've been looking around the interwebs to try and find some advice on doing this (good or bad), and am finding surprisingly little, and would appreciate everyone's advice that have done more research on this, or actually done it themselves.

I'm currently in the Boston area, which only has a 6-month sailing season. My goal would be:

1. Get to sail as much as possible myself
2. Make enough off chartering during the season for the boat to pay for itself.

Obviously I understand it would take a good amount of time/work/advertising/etc. I'm not interested in captaining the boat (God forbid being cooped up with strangers for a week!). My questions are mostly about whether this is even feasible/legal, and what flaming hoops you'd have to jump through to make it happen.

Thanks for any advice, and sorry if this has been exhaustively covered before here in the forums (I didn't see anything immediately with a search).
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Old 18-06-2010, 19:33   #2
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Well - This is, of course, many peoples' dream: to offset the costs of running the boat by chartering it out. The problem here is at least twofold:

a. What's your attitude towards your own boat. Is it going to be your "pride and joy" or just a business tool? If it is to be your Pride and Joy - you wont want strangers treating it as "oh - its just a rental" (and they do, unfortunately). If its a business tool then have you considered the other aspects of the business. You mentioned the advertising and marketing but what about setting up the other infrastructure.

By this I mean that lets suppose you rent the boat out to someone for a week: You will of course have had it cleaned immaculately and checked all electrical, mechanical, rigging plumbing and hull systems. You'll then do a comprehensive boat hand-over briefing to the charterer and quite likely a comprehensive chart briefing on the cruising ground. So far so good but on day three of the charter at, lets say, 7.30am, you get an anguished call from the charterer saying something has broken: oh yes, he's 170 miles up the coast, and he wants it fixed NOW. You either go up there and fix it yourself, or call a local mechanic/electrician/plumber who knows boats. Well, things dont go smoothly and maybe you cant get there and the local mechanic cant do much "until later this afternoon". You will get several calls, each slightly more irate, throughout the day asking for an update. The later calls will start hinting at compensation. Lord help you if its been a refrigeration problem because he will need re-imbursement for spoiled food. Well, it turns out that he is not a nice person and slightly litigious to boot.....get the picture? Having got him (and his lawyer) off your back, you've then got to mend whatever else he broke (but didnt tell you about), and clean the boat up for either yourself or your next charterers.

Its damned hard work and that's why there are well organised bareboat charter companies around the globe. And they dont always get it right, I can assure you! (having run one!)

What was point b? I forgot - but I hope I've given you something to ponder. Tony
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Old 18-06-2010, 21:56   #3
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There are "co-op" sailing/charter outfits all over the USA. You join the "club" and then you can rent a small sailboat for the day or week. Most of the regional clubs have reciprocal privileges with other such clubs so you can get a boat when you are away from your local cruising grounds.
Here is a Florida club that has been around to 20 years or more.
http://www.floridasailing.com/
- - You might get an idea of where the ones near you are located and how the system works from them.
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Old 19-06-2010, 06:31   #4
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orissail: Strangely, there's really nothing in the Boston area that fits that bill, which I'm a bit surprised by. There are 2-3 sailing clubs in Boston Harbor, but they're way too expensive, with too many people per boat, and really terrible fleets. I've been sailing in the northwest until I moved here recently, and there's really no comparison. Sailing club membership in the NW makes a lot of sense, but it just doesn't seem to have caught on here in the NE for some reason.

bvimatelot: I agree, there are obvious headaches associated with this. I'd be trying to reduce them as much as possible by chartering the boat as little as possible. Ideally, only 6 weeks per year would hopefully cover most of my costs. But yes, it would be a balance between owning my own boat (aka, pride and joy), vs. the beating it would take from strangers during charter.
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Old 19-06-2010, 07:39   #5
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I have a 32 foot sloop for charter in the Carribean. I cruise it about 5-6 weeks per year. Charter income pays all dockage, maintenance, insurance and provides an income of $960/month.

I won't know how this pays out for sure until I sell the boat, but I predict the income will not keep up with depreciation and estimate an end cost of ownership (depreciation, insurance, dockage, maintenance) of about $3,000/year. - not a net income generator but much less expensive than traditional ownership.
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Old 19-06-2010, 09:48   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subcloner View Post
1. Get to sail as much as possible myself
2. Make enough off chartering during the season for the boat to pay for itself.
Not sure if this idea is any help...........

But have been kicking around the idea of buying a 2nd boat. In my case an older 20 odd foot "bay racer" - for occassional and year round use (at least for me).

Although the purchase cost not a big deal I don't want to pay for all the mooring / running costs (and preferably none ) - given my low intended use..........am thinking of forming my own syndicate with a max of 3 people.

For them no boat purchase costs - although they may get a 1/64 share if it helps with the insurance / liability issues. Annual Running costs fixed and split 3 ways - paid annually in advance. to me As well as my 1/3rd cash my contribution will be time, management and wielding the paintbrush etc now & again.

Downside is that I carry the risk of folk leaving me with all the costs (or anything unexpected and uninsured requiring a fix), but for the size of vessel I am looking at (with low complexity) could live with that. but bigger boat is bigger risk on the bills.

Don't know whether a variation of the above concept or a straight boat share (can't find one suitable? set up your own!) would address your needs?
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Old 19-06-2010, 10:17   #7
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Hey Nautical,

That sounds about right, and is pretty much the same type of boat I'm thinking of. Do you have your boat with a company in the Carribean that takes care of chartering for you, or do you do it yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
I have a 32 foot sloop for charter in the Carribean. I cruise it about 5-6 weeks per year. Charter income pays all dockage, maintenance, insurance and provides an income of $960/month.

I won't know how this pays out for sure until I sell the boat, but I predict the income will not keep up with depreciation and estimate an end cost of ownership (depreciation, insurance, dockage, maintenance) of about $3,000/year. - not a net income generator but much less expensive than traditional ownership.
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Old 19-06-2010, 13:37   #8
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Okay, 20 years ago the "co-op" clubs were really big with 200 boats in the one I belonged to in Miami. Probably 500 members who were "renting" the boats from the boat-owner members. The boat owner members got free membership and the dues from the others paid for the insurance on the commercial use of the boats. "Interline" or reciprocal privileges with other clubs around the country was at its peak with 50 locations from California to Maine.
- - But back then insurance was $500-800 per year. I suspect that the premiums today on such boats - inside the USA - is probably 10 times or more higher. That would definitely put most of the clubs out of business. And I suspect today getting insurance for your little boat to be used in such an endeavor would also be astronomical, if it is available at all in today's USA climate of suing anybody and everybody at the drop of a rain (loss of blue sky conviviality) and a hundred other obscene reasons. Which also probable explains why renting a bare-boat charter boat in the USA requires reams of super-fine print in the contract and your thumb print dipped in your own blood.
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Old 30-08-2010, 17:41   #9
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Looking for a Quality boat to add to our fleet

We are looking to add a quality sailing cat 38' - 45' to our fleet. check us out at www.cruiseabaco.com and email me.
Mark
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Old 25-09-2010, 23:17   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subcloner View Post
Hey Nautical,

That sounds about right, and is pretty much the same type of boat I'm thinking of. Do you have your boat with a company in the Carribean that takes care of chartering for you, or do you do it yourself?
It's in charter with the Moorings.
Sorry for the delayed response.
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Old 28-09-2010, 21:07   #11
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It's in charter with the Moorings.
Sorry for the delayed response.
I'm not sure if 3 months later really qualifies as delayed Perhaps a couple of days would..

But, as long as you brought it up.. Is the $940 a month income after you pay the mortgage on the boat? That seems a lot higher from what I've seen on their sales material.
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