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Old 06-27-2010
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Day Sail Business

After a somewhat lubricated bull-session with some friends about running away and starting a sailing business...I found myself wondering whether this might actually be possible. Alot of work, crazy, but perhaps a way out of the office cubicle parade. I have some experience in sailing and some in business, but none with the two of them together and I need to develop some general insight about this business...the good, the bad, AND the ugly. Are there any business owners out there who could share their experiences? Thoughts on starting one from scratch or buying in or purchasing an existing one? Places to do more research?

Thank you -z
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Old 06-27-2010
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Been in your shoes. Got seriously burned out after lots of years at the grindstone and started a business around one of my favorite hobbies.

Unfortunately all I wound up doing was ruining a great hobby.
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Old 06-27-2010
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Thanks for the warning, but that isn't something I'm worried about. I have experience creating career choices from activities and passions.
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Old 06-28-2010
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Without having any idea about where you are, it would be somewhat difficult for anyone to comment sensibly.
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Old 06-28-2010
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Z, sounds like you already have the experience to do what you're asking advice about. As such, you know there are way too many variables involved to give you advice with the limited amount of information you've given.

Are you located near water, inland or coastal? Are there launches, marinas, slips, moorings or other facilities you can use? Are we talking big boats, small boats, skippered or uncrewed. Do you have competition? Is there a market for it? And the list can go on and on.

Or are you just asking if the concept is viable? If so then yes. There are rental fleets and charter companies in nearly every marina.

One more thing, if it was as easy as going to a sailing message board to learn how then there would be a LOT more competition out there.

My .02 and worth every penny you paid for it.
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Old 06-28-2010
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One thing that comes to mind, is that unless you locate to a year-round warm climate, you will be starting a " seasonal " business.

Can you define what you mean by "Daysail" business? Do you simply want to own some sailboats and rent them out by the day or the hour?

Do you want to run a sailing school? a club? a combination.

There are many business models out there...which one did you have in mind, and where did you think you would run away to?

More information is required to provide useful feedback
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Old 06-28-2010
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Thanks gang...

Responding in no real order...

The vision at this preliminary point would be the "large cat" concept. Location, TBD really, one of the possibilities would be to buy an existing business which would determine the location. The market would determine the best niche obviously from there - corporate teambuilding, snorkel trips, sightseeing, etc. I am less looking for "how" to do this, but more for insight - there are common business concepts involved, but every business has its own pitfalls, unique challenges that crop up, things I wouldn't think to investigate without a heads up. Perhaps someone on the board has done this and has some "ooh watch out for this" or "try this approach" or even, "read this" input that I could use to jump start my initial study.
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Old 06-28-2010
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OK then, watch out for this. The worst businesses are those that compete with others who are willing to do it for nothing. All those businesses revolve around hobbies.
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Old 06-29-2010
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Sailing clubs/charter companies are hurting big time in this economy. Think very carefully about what you are proposing.
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Old 06-29-2010
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Thinking very carefully, yes, that is the idea...

Now what to think about...that is the question here.

What about vacancy rates for day charters...anyone have some insight there? Carribean? Med? NE? South Pacific? Are any of these zones better than others in this economic climate? In a previous endeavor, I was able to learn a lot of these kinds of things through trade publications and market research reviews. Any suggestions where to find those kinds of resources?
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