SailNet Community banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
How much capital is available to buy and refit the boat and get the business off the ground? It would inform answers to your specific question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
There are countless little communitues that rely on goods being flown in or coming in by tugboat
Things like clothing and electronics, that don't need to be flown in and could be made cheaper might be an option for you?
I applaud the OP having a dream on the water, although, it sounds like there is insufficient capital to give it a go and it does seem like a stretch to be viable. A shoestring, family run, single cargo carrier isn't going to be very reliable, let alone likely profitable. It's described as a very small carrier, which would be inefficient. Sailing isn't free. The sails for a vessel of this size will cost tens of thousands of dollars, plus running and standing rigging, and wear out far more often that a weekend warrior's. Down for repairs is one thing, but I'll bet it won't be that much cheaper to operate per mile than a slow displacement diesel barge, when you factor in the life cycle of the sailing bits.

Time is money, as they say. The longer the stuff sits in transit, the more it costs whomever made it. Most companies have borrowed money to fund their inventory, because that's the cheapest way. Shareholder capital demands much higher returns. Most "green" things need to be priced up or government subsidized to work. I figured the niche was going to need to be wealthy areas that would pay up to feel better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
The traffic carried by ships cannot be diverted to rail, or vice versa.
Reminds me of a moment I had once. Wife and I were going bareboat cruising for a week in the Caribbean. Then I coincidentally needed to be in Puerto Rico for the follow week to work. I didn't want to drag formal work and evening wear around on the bareboat, so we decided to ship our work luggage directly to the hotel in PR, so it would be waiting for us.

I take our bags to the local shipping store and they look up all the rates. US Post Office would technically work between mainland and PR, but he advises me that arrival time is not guaranteed, nor even estimated. While I have two more weeks, before I'll get to the hotel, he said it was still a gamble. And that was long ago, today I wouldn't trust them to get a letter across town.

He looks up FedEx, etc, and quotes $700 for two oversized pieces of luggage. Then says, unfortunately, they don't have ground service to PR. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
Just fair warning. Nothing can take the romance out of a business faster than a paying customer who has higher expectations than the owner's dreams. Once you involve passengers, you introduce variable expectations for everything from service to accommodations to food and even some who can never be happy. Wake up having a bad day? Too bad, put a smile on and kiss your customers butts all day. Not to mention licenses, insurance, inspections, etc. Just offering this so you plan for it.

I've seen several operations that rely on the charitable approach. Just this past season, I saw a big wooden brigantine, which was used by a fringe church to reportedly teach sailing and repair skills. Another was a big catamaran that was custom built to allow for disabled crew and passengers. A wheel chair would fit down the side decks.

In both cases, their websites made it obvious they had multi-million dollar benefactors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
Alaska's a different game from what I see
All I'm saying is that customers are not always happy or see things eye to eye, regardless of what they're buying. Not all Mercedes buyers, not all Chevy buyers, not all Used beater buyers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
I learned along time ago you can't make everyone happy, just have to have tough skin
That's perhaps the right attitude to start with. However, you'll also need to skills (and tons of energy) to turn them around, as every disgruntled customer will talk ten more out of doing business with you, even if they're wrong.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top