Well after a long search, I have finally made up my mind. My model for purchasing a boat is somewhat different to the way most folk have purchased their boat on this forum although I may be wrong
My personal circumstances find me very much still trying to earn a living which means that the time I am able to spend sailing is more limited than someone who is retired. In addition, the cruising opportunities are quite limited in Cape Town unless you like Force7/8 winds with very little place to go. Sailing in Cape Town is therefore dominated by round- the-can racing on Wednesdays and weekends (weather permitting) which is fine for occasional racing but not so good for cruising. If it were any different, then you can be sure that Sunsail and Moorings would have a base here.
So, how to satisfy a passion for sailing with limited time and limited opportunity on your doorstep without spending a disproportionate amount of money? My model for yacht ownership has therefore become DIY fractional ownership of a second hand yacht kept in a non VAT paying jurisdiction. This model has a number of advantages and some disadvantages.
First the advantages:
The capital cost is split between 3 owners in agreed shares
The monthly running expenses are shared in the same proportion this would cover marina costs, maintenance, insurance, licencing etc;
Any improvements to the yacht are funded by the partners in proportion to their share after prior agreement by all the owners of course;
Each owner has a responsibility - there is a bosun, an accountant and a manager with clearly defined responsibilities hence the do-it-yourself (DIY) nature of the consortium as opposed to having a syndicate manager;
With only 3 partners and a sailing season in most Med countries of around 24 weeks, I will have 8 weeks of sailing which can be taken at any time during the sailing season and by agreement with the other owners; as a 1/3 owner, i would of course have the right to use the boat outside of the sailing season as well;
This arrangement is a massive saving over chartering for a similar period even if one takes into account depreciation which would be significant on a new yacht but far more limited for a second hand yacht.
Now for the disadvantages
The nature of shared ownership means that you are forced to compromise over usage, improvements, location of the yacht now and in the future;
The yacht will be used by other owners although there is an owners agreement that is similar to a shareholders agreement that ensures the yacht is kept in the best possible condition; 3 owners having a vested interest in the upkeep and improvement of their yacht is a world away from giving your boat to a charter company for charter; most owners agreements specifically exclude chartering
Shared ownership implies having co-owners who may have different values although I am told that this is more a problem in theory than in practice from those who have been involved in a number of consortia in the past;
The choice of second hand boat is limited to what is available in the fractional share market at the time unless you are willing to fund the purchase of a second hand boat yourself and then look for co-owners afterwards obviously a riskier strategy.
You could of course decide to buy a new boat of your choice and then seek fellow owners who share your vision of what is ideal as a cruiser/racer
again a riskier strategy;
The choice of a second hand yacht kept in a non VAT paying jurisdiction with 2 other fellow owners seemed to make the most sense to me as my first foray into yacht ownership given my own circumstances. The cost benefit is obvious given that a relatively new second hand yacht should trade at around a 30% discount to the new discounted price with the added benefit of not paying VAT either.
So much for the background.
I have just concluded the purchase of a third share of a well specified 2008 Hanse 350 with 120 hours on the engine. The current model is the Hanse 355 which includes a more traditional layout down below, a slightly longer V-berth and a revised swimming platform it is the same boat in almost all other respects. The boat will be used for coastal cruising in Croatia until we decide to re-locate it which my fellow owners are open to. I love the look of the boat which I find to be very European. I would have preferred a nicer bathing platform and twin wheels which some of the newer models have. The Dufour 335 immediately springs to mind.
As you know, I have long been a fan of Hanses - my first post on Interesting sailboats asked your opinion of a Hanse 375. They also have a very strong owners forum which confirms that they are owned by enthusiasts.
The Hanse brands ethos is:
Fast, easy to handle yachts, which actually belong to the category of safe ocean voyagers and are quick enough to win races as well
The emphasis at Hanse in terms of where the money is spent is on the hull and the rig with less money spent on the interiors. This probably explains why so many are bought by Scandinavians who are not able to afford the much more expensive yachts built in their own countries. The design is by Judel and Vrolijk who have a strong racing pedigree most famous for their design of Alinghi, winner of the Americas cup. They also design Najad and Baltic yachts amongst others.
These are its vital statistics:
LOA 10.59 m | 34΄7˝
Hull length 10.50 m | 34΄4˝
LWL 9.60 m | 31΄5˝
Beam 3.55 m | 11΄6˝
Draft 1.92 m | 6΄3˝ (standard)
Displacement approx. 6.36 t | approx. 14,021 lb
Ballast approx. 1,845 kg | approx. 4,068 lb (standard)
Engine 16.2 kW / 22 HP Yanmar saildrive
Fresh water approx. 240 l
Fuel tank approx. 120 l
CE Certificate A (ocean)
Mast length above WL approx. 16.43 m | approx. 53΄9˝
Total sail area approx. 64.86 m2 | approx. 698 sq ft
Main sail approx. 35.25 m2 | approx. 379 sq ft
Self-tacking jib approx. 29.61 m2 | approx. 319 sq ft
Design judel / vrolijk & co
My comments on the Hanse 350 are as follows:
o LWL vs LOA modern design with very little overhang fore and aft which maximises maximum waterline length which should translate into improved speed
o quite beamy with beam carried all the way back should result in good downwind performance L/B 3.0 which is not excessive by modern standards; (Oceanis 37 2.93)
o Fine point of entry should contribute to good upwind performance;
o Strong form stability
o Hull is hand landed. Epoxy based vinylester resin is added as a top layer with the final gelcoat on top of that. Hull is solid laminate up to the waterline then foam cored up the deck. The deck is a balsa sandwich
o All bulkheads are structurally bonded not spot bonded as is the case with some French producers;
o There is a glass fibre matrix bonded to the hull around the keel which forms a ring frame to which the rigging is tied and which also picks up loads from the keel. The 2 fore and aft stiffening members either side of the centreline are filled with resin as are the transverse members that join them. The others are hollow and limbered to allow any bilge water to run through.
o At 6.4 tons, the Hanse 350 is not the lightest boat around. The re-inforcements detailed above no doubt contribute to this. The downside is that she may suffer a little in lightwind performance although current owners say differently particularly when fitted with an overlapping genoa. The upside is that she will feel more solid in a sea. The epoxy version is not available in the smaller sizes. (The Oceanis 37 which is 11.5m weighs 6.5 tons.) D/L 200 (Oceanis 37 162)
Keel shape and rudder
o Iron keel with torpedo shape resulting in low centre of gravity B/D 29% (not adjusted for low COG) - ; B/D for Oceanis 37 is 27.2% which has a spade keel;
o This together with strong from stability should make the boat stiff;
o A draft of 1.92m should not pose too many problems in a non-tidal area like Croatia and should mean good performance to windward particularly with the self tacker which you can sheet in very tightly.
o Deep rudder with rod and pinion system which has no play or creaking. The rudder is made from weight saving aluminium with self aligning bearings which apparently makes the steering lighter and more responsive we shall see.
o A modern high aspect rig design with a large mainsail and a small self tacking headsail as standard;
o The mast is tapered for performance tuning via an adjustable backstay;
o What is interesting is that on the H350, the shrouds are inside next to the coachroof which enables you to mount a 140% genoa. The upgraded H355 has the shrouds on the gunwale which limits this to 105%; (the Oceanis 37 has the shrouds on the gunwale which can accept a 105% genoa)
o The mast is supported by 2 sets of spreaders with continuous diagonals that allow for easy adjustment - typically found on racing boats but not that often on cruisers;
o Standard sails are from North with a SA/D of 19.2 with the self tacker and 22.1 with a 140% genoa (Oceanis 37 19.4 with 105% genoa). The polars for the boat show that from 12knots TWS and up, there is no penalty for using the self tacker;
o Given its weight and the sail set up I would imagine that the boat will come into it own in winds that are over 10knots. In lighter winds, i would imagine that a large overlapping genoa will be needed with an assymetrical a must for downwind sailing.
o One can only imagine that there was more criticism for the assymetrical layout in the H350 with en suite heads upfront which has resulted in a change in the H355 which has the heads aft and a more symmetrical layout in the saloon;
o Having said that I like the look of the layout in the H350 and am not planning to use oilskins which then have to be hauled through the saloon before being stored in the heads;
o The downside in the new H355 layout is that the heads are slightly smaller than in the H350 and the saloon area is also slightly smaller;
o With a high freeboard, the minimum head room is in the V-berth at 1.85m which means I can stand up straight
o We have the lighter more expensive cherry wood option in our boat which I must say that I prefer to the more traditional mahogany look with the more expensive white cushions which also look pretty cool
o Great size cockpit for a 35 footer apparently bigger than the cockpit on the Hanse 375 on account of the twin wheel layout;
o There are many options for Hanse owners to choose from including whether the traveller is in the cockpit or on the coachroof . This boat has the traveller on the coachroof. I will need to explore the option of mounting the mainsheet to a single point in the cockpit with a block and tackle and fine tuner along the lines of the Dufour 335 with my fellow owners
A few other Hanse owners have this dual set up which looks interesting.
o With a water tank of 240l and fuel of 120l, this is adequate for the coastal cruising we will do;
o Also the size of the boat is very similar to the Jeanneau 36i that we sailed in last year in October which we found perfectly suitable for a couple and would easily handle another 2 people for a week at a time (J36i hull length 10.69m vs 10.5m and beam 3.59m vs 3.55m)
o Practical Boat Owner published the following info in the March 2008 edition:
AVS 133 (118.2 per ORC)
Maximum righting moment 53;
o Looking at the hull shape, the way the hull has been designed and the keel design, I would say that the boat will be safe and stiff B/D (not adjusted) 29%.
PBO concluded Where the 350 stands out is in being fast, responsive and fun to sail and in most obvious respects, sensibly built.
What I found interesting in finally making a decision are the mixed emotions one has. On the one hand, I am happy with my decision for all the reasons I have given. On the other hand, having finally made the choice, I now feel limited as I know there are so many other options out there that one could make a case for I dont think one can honestly say that there is a yacht that is the ONE. I am sure that you have probably had similar emotions?
All the best
Ps - Not me in the picture a proud owner from the Hanse Owners forum A great view of the keel and the rudder though.