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jillskor 07-21-2001 10:49 AM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
Looking for the pros and cons of buying a boat through a charter service -- purchasing a new boat and placing it in charter service for the first four or five years. I''m especially interested in the Island Packet charter program out of St. Thomas -- it''s the only way I''ll be able to afford an IP! :)

Any and all thoughts appreciated.

JeffH 07-22-2001 08:01 AM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
While I am not a fan of Island Packets, I am focusing on the crux of your question about putting boats into charter. I have been involved in helping owners fix up boats ofter they have come out of the Charter Trade. putting a boat into charter, especially in the Carribean where they are sailing in consistently higher winds really takes a toll on a boat. The boats are in use day in and day out in a very long season. They have a lot of sun exposure which takes a toll on sails, hardware and finishes. They are bounced around and treated as "not my boat".

After 5 to 7 years in the Charter Trade, the boats that I have been involved with have needed some combination of: new sails, instruments and upholstery, and engine rebuild or replacement, replacement or rebuilding deck and galley hardware, bebuilt or replaced refrigeration gear. Often ground tackle, rodes and groundtackle handling gear is in need of attention. Then there is the aesthetic issues. These boats all had a fairly large number of major dings and dents. Wood work was in really poor shape both on deck and below. Deck leaks had been left untended or crudely patched resulting in stains on deck and below.

The point here being that most boats that come out of charter, at least those that I have seen, have needed major refits and restoration.

Beyond that, boats that have been in charter are also often sold at a lower resale price because they are percieved to have withstood a lot of abuse while in charter. The increased depreciation and the required rebuilds have been so extensive that they pretty much offsetting any percieved savings in buying a boat through one of these charter buyback deals.

I have generally thought that the best way to buy one of these charter boats is to buy one from the guy who got it back from charter and has done most of the fix-up work on the boat. These are probably the best deals of all and in the meantime, buy high yeild CD''s and put way a little it each month so that you have most of the cash that is necessary to buy the boat when you are ready.

As to the Island Packet component, there sure are a lot better boats out there for the money (but that was not your question was it.)

Good luck what ever you do.

jsh1997 08-14-2001 12:30 PM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
Jeff which boats do you prefer to the IP''s?

JeffH 08-16-2001 05:11 AM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
Sorry, I just saw your question. While I am probably the wrong guy to ask about Island Packets, I would say that I would buy almost any equally priced (or even a little less expensive) sailboat before I''d buy an Island Packet. You need to understand where I am coming from though. I am very much a person who appreciates performance boats and really enjoys voyaging under sail. I have been known to go coastal cruising and not start the engine for a week at a time, sailing in and out of slips and on and off the anchor. Running the engine is the close to the last thing that I ever want to do. Yesterday, I bought a Farr 38 (11.6) which for myself,is my idea of a near perfect distance and coastal cruiser. Please take my comments in that context.

From my point of view, Island Packets make little sense for the way that most people say they want to use their boats. I have spent a lot of time watching them under way, talking to current and past owners, sailmakers, and talking to people who work in repair yards about them. The fact that they have achieved the kind of status that they have is a real mystery to me.

My biggest gripe with the Island Packets starts with how they sail. I have watched them in lighter winds, and I have watched them in higher winds. In light air, they don''t sail By that I mean winds under mayve 8 knots. On a boat that is intended to be sailed most of the time, 8 knots of air should be enough to achieve hull speed on a close reach. I have also been amazed that they don''t sail better in a stiff breeze. I have been negatively surprised by the amount of heel, leeway and their motion when things have gotten a bit brisk. They really do not seem to handle a chop very well and and seem to be surprising wet. To quote a local sailmaker who has spent a lot of time on IP''s as he has made a lot of sails for them and then usually gets asked to sail on the boats to explain why the performance isn''t better than it is, "They are trawlers for people who don''t want to admit they bought a trawler."

I think that is a little harsh, but I don''t care where I have been in recent years, on a nice sailing day you will see most of the boats out there sailing, except Island Packets which you much more typically see motoring with their mainsail up. This may say more about the type of people who buy IP''s than the boat (i.e. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool, never crank up the noisemaker type, you probably would not buy an IP) While the newer larger IP''s appear to be greatly improved over earlier models, this still seems to be the case.

Beyond that are a lot of more subjective issues. I am a fan of more modern designs and also of genuine traditional designs. I have owned a 1939 Stadel Cutter and a Folkboat, and routinely sail and race on traditional water craft. Its something I get a kick out of. I really admire and like to think that I understand traditional water craft. One thing the IP is not is a traditional offshore craft. When you look at the designs for older work boats their lines have evolved over long periods of time into a carefully modeled hull form that are well suited to thier environment. When I stand below an IP I see none of that careful modeling that results in a seakindly, well balanced design.

Then there is the rudder design which for the most part is a post hung spade rudder with a token SS strap at the bottom. While I personally have zero problem with a well engineered spade rudder, this wolf in sheeps clothing apparently is a problem to the repair yards. In talking to a couple owners and the boat yard folks who work on these that SS strap is often an annual maintenance repair. That is not my idea of an offshore boat detail.

I could go on but I need to get into the office. I''ll try to put more up on this later.


RichH 08-16-2001 01:19 PM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
I may agree with your impression of the IPs; but, will wait until you''ve loaded your Farr with a few thousand pounds of gear and stores... and see if you have the same story about the Farr when she is sailing low in the water with a full cruising load.

JeffH 08-16-2001 07:32 PM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
I think that it is a misconception that lighter boats can''t carry enough gear and supplies be good distance cruisers. Some of that perception comes from earlier lighter weight designs that truely were limited in their ability to carry enough gear to go cruising. But some of it comes from looking at L/D as a be all-end all while ignoring the absolute displacements involved.

It is very common for people to search for boat solely on length and the need for specific accommodations. I really think that the displacement of a particular boat says a lot more about its ''real'' size.

In other words, traditionally, the classic texts used to suggest that a distance cruiser needed 5,000 to 10,000 lbs of displacement per person. With an L/D typically in the mid to high 300''s this meant that an ideal single-hander was somewhere around 29 feet and an ideal cruiser for a couple would be somewhere around 32 to 35 feet or so. If you look at the boats that were used for distance cruising in the 1930''s on up to the 1950''s this was pretty much the case.

Better hardware has permitted that ideal weight to creep up a little and the current trends in loading boats up with all kinds of heavy extras has pushed that range up to closer to 10,000 to 14,000 lbs of displacement per person.

I personally prefer to cruise more simply and so prefer to use displacements in the more traditional range of 5,000 to 8,000 lbs of displacement per person. That says that I was looking for a boat in the 10000 to 20000 lb displacement range for two people cruising and

But today, with better structural engineering, higher tech materials and careful decisions in the choice of fitout, boats with an L/D as low as the 150 to 160 or so range can make good distance cruisers. If I go back to the classic 10000 to 16000 lb displacement range for a couple, and decide to try to stay at the lower end of that range but go to a lighter L/D, I end up with a 37 to 39 foot boat.

I had decided that 36 to 39 feet was about the right length. Smaller than 36 feet it is hard to get the kind of accommodations and capacities that I wanted in lightweight boat. Over 38 feet or so, single-handing became considerably more difficult.

I have concluded that staying at a traditional weight range but lighter L/D results in a longer boat which is a good thing. One thing that has consistently come out of the studies of the Fastnet tragedy and the Sidney-Hobart disaster, is that there are a lot of factors that determine whether a boat is a good sea boat or not, but nothing succeeds in heavy weather like length.

So I focused my search on boast that were light in weight, considering a partially loaded weight under 12,000 pounds dry was my ideal. Properly engineered and constructed, a dry displacement of 10,000 to 12,000 pounds can easily provide all that is needed for a couple to go cruising for long periods of time.

You often hear the old saws about heavy displacement being necessary in a cruising boat. You often hear comments such as, "light boats don''t have the capacity to carry enough gear and supplies to really go cruising." Or "they loose their speed advantage when loaded to go cruising". These kind of statements ignore that boats in this size range are often raced with 1,500 to 2,000 lbs. of crew weight and in distance racing, an equal weight in racing gear and provisions for this crew.

One of the reasons that I chose the Farr 38 (11.6)was that they had an excellent record as distance cruisers. When I began researching the Farr 38, I came across multiple references to their use for long distance voyaging with large and small crews alike.

While I don''t believe that light weight boats are ideal for everyone, for the kind of coastal cruising with an occasional longer passage that most of us do, a lighter weight boat will serve us far better. Their easily driven hulls offer better sailing performance in a wide range of conditions and their longe sailing length can result in a more comfortable motion for a given displacement.


reganv 08-19-2001 02:14 PM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
I am considering a boat purchase from SunSail. If anyone has had charter or charter boat ownership experience with SunSail I would like to hear about that experience wether good or bad.

kimberlite 08-19-2001 07:39 PM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
congrats on your new purchase.
which farr 38 did you get ?
is it the glass over wood one that is about 8100 lbs?
what year was she?
what did you think of kimberlites photos?

JeffH 08-20-2001 03:23 AM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
I purchased a f.g. Farr 38 (11.6) up in Maine, which was intended as more of a cruising boat than a racer. The boat that you are thinking of began life as an IOR 1 tonner race boat and actually is not as fast as the boat that I bought nor does it have the accomodations and tankage.

I did visit your site but I was having problems with my ISP so as I recall I was not able to open the photos. I really need to get back to there for another look.


mattf 08-29-2001 08:59 AM

Purchasing through Charter Programs
I charter with Sunsail. All good experiences. The boats sometimes have faulty systems, but they seem to be able to repair everything to get you going. However, go over the boat most carefully. I sail the charter boats as my own, but many do not. Also, I sat in the bar in St Vincent, and had a drink, and watched them bring the boats to the near docks for cleaning. They used the docks and the boats on either side to stop. They back in doing it seems like 5 knots, slam it into forward to slow down, hit the dock, and step off and tie up. I knew that there were no charter owners in the bar, as if there were, they would be down there screaming. I would much prefer buying a boat from a 15 year owner who has carefully maintained than through a charter. Nothing new here.

Regards and good luck,

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