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  #11  
Old 05-24-2011
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This is a question that comes up quite frequently on the sailing forums and so this is copied from an earlier discussion. From reading posts and from talking to people who have done the purchase lease back or bought ex- charter boats I have come to the following conclusions. Much of this varies with the charter company and while not every boat that comes out of livery is trashed, most come out with defects, some minor, some major, some visible and some not, and some a simple product of wear or neglect that are just waiting to fail.

You have to understand how these boats are used. First off, they are out of their slips, almost day in and day out. Most are being used in the Caribbean, which is not an easy environment on boats; Lots of sun, high salinity, lots of breeze, all of which add to the toll.

They are being used by people who in the best case are well meaning and careful but are not completely familiar with the operation of the particular boat they have chartered. In the worse case, are not competent and frankly don’t care. Charterers run the gamut from people who are a bit timid and spend a lot of time at the dock, perhaps not all that well tied up and protected. To the other extreme, the people who feel they have rented this thing and by golly they will sail it or slog it at full throttle no matter how much wind or violent the waves that are out there, to every type of personality in between.

Adding to the problem is that charter boats are often ordered with fairly minimal equipment, such as slightly undersized winches, travelers with almost no purchase, the smallest self-furler that can be expected to make it through the lifespan in livery, cheap sails made of heavy cloth, and so on.

From talking to people who have bought ex-charter boats, you might expect to have to upgrade, replace or repair big ticket items such as: engines, sails, deck hardware, upholstery, running and standing rigging, instruments, ground tackle, galley equipment, as well as, the need to address a whole array of cosmetic issues. In the worse cases that I heard, there were keel and frame structural problems from (a) probable hard grounding(s), and major electrolysis problems leading to a sinking when a bronze thru-hull have up the ghost.

Now then, not every boat is going to have every one of these problems but even if there is a minor mix of some of these, it can result in a lot of long term high maintenance costs. In the end you have to ask yourself whether you couldn’t buy a solid boat, that was not in charter which has better gear and less use, for less money and a lot less effort than it would cost to buy an ex-charter boat and put it in shape.

A good friend of mine, who had gone the ex-charter boat route and was constantly picking my brain for advice as he restored his ex-charter ended up replacing an engine, sails, awlgripped the hull and refinished the interior and replaced instruments, upgrading and replacing worn deck hardware. He once said,”You know the guy who buys this boat from me is going to get a great deal.” He was probably right. The fact that the boat had been in charter will always limit its price and the fact that this guy had done a great job fixing it up meant that he had far more into the boat than he could sell her for. Perhaps, the right answer is to look for the ex-charter boat that some guy just carefully restored and negotiate hard.
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2011
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Keep in mind that not all charter boats and charter companies are created equal. Charter boats get painted with a broad brush due to the common perception of Caribbean boats that get used 24/7, "rode hard and put away wet." And in many cases there's surely a lot of truth to it.

But on the other hand you have charter management companies through which privately owned boats are carefully and selectively chartered out for maybe 8-10 weeks per year, in a protected local sailing area, when the owner isn't using the boat anyway, in order to generate some revenue and help offset some of the costs of ownership. For the owner, the boat is usually not too far from home, and can be reserved for owner use at any time, or used on short notice whenever she's not already booked.

We carefully vet our charterers for experience on boats comparable in size to the ones they want to charter, the boats are thoroughly cleaned and inspected in between each charter, and issues are addressed immediately. If something isn't working right, it doesn't get put off, or jury-rigged, it gets fixed right or replaced, period. The last thing I want is to get a call on a Friday night from a charterer for whom something isn't working right, who is now anchored out 60 miles away.

When it comes time for the owner of one of our charter boats to sell, I have no hesitation at all about putting her up for direct comparison against similar, non-charter boats in terms of condition, cleanliness, and maintenance.

As for the original poster's question about buying a boat for Caribbean charter service, the advice to get input from someone who's done it seems like wise counsel to me (and I'm sure is part of what he was looking for by posting here).
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  #13  
Old 05-24-2011
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With all the risk of using my own money so others (charter company) can make money off of it, it does not make sense. Putting money into real estate is better deal.

If I want to sail without buying a boat, a time-share is a way to go. Fixed cost and renew annually are appealing to me. Granted the money i pay to the time-share is gone forever.

Unlike real estate, the value of the boat sinks when you stop feeding money and effort into it.
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Old 05-24-2011
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Buying an ex charter boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
This is a question that comes up quite frequently on the sailing forums and so this is copied from an earlier discussion. From reading posts and from talking to people who have done the purchase lease back or bought ex- charter boats I have come to the following conclusions. Much of this varies with the charter company and while not every boat that comes out of livery is trashed, most come out with defects, some minor, some major, some visible and some not, and some a simple product of wear or neglect that are just waiting to fail.

[deleted]

From talking to people who have bought ex-charter boats, you might expect to have to upgrade, replace or repair big ticket items such as: engines, sails, deck hardware, upholstery, running and standing rigging, instruments, ground tackle, galley equipment, as well as, the need to address a whole array of cosmetic issues. In the worse cases that I heard, there were keel and frame structural problems from (a) probable hard grounding(s), and major electrolysis problems leading to a sinking when a bronze thru-hull have up the ghost.
There is only one reason to buy an ex charter boat: the greatly reduced price of the boat. For example, if you are looking for Beneteau 343 models, 2005-2007 models on the east coast list for around $115K. The same boat listed with the Moorings Brokerage has a price of $70-80K.

You can buy a lot of brand new gear and still save a lot of money.

I'm not advocating buying an ex charter boat, but understand that the boats are much cheaper. And I'm sure there is a good reason why they are so much cheaper.

Barry
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