Cutting the Cost of Ownership

 In January’s YM, Peter Willmot wrote about his experience of buying a 33ft yacht to charter with Sunsail. In this month’s issue, Sam Brunner took a look at some other ‘time share’ options which could help you to cut the cost of ownership in 2007. Here, Sam examines charter management with Sunsail, and what it might cost – or save – you.

Charter management is a great option if you have the capital to buy a boat, but only really intend to sail for a few weeks holiday a year and want to make it pay. Charter companies will lease your boat from you, maintain it and offer you a certain number of weeks sailing a year. Because the main companies are international, these schemes often offer you a huge selection of sailing venues where you can sail yachts equivalent to the type you buy with none of the delivery or transportation fees usually associated with sailing your own yacht abroad.

Company Profile: SUNSAIL

With 23 international bases and 2/3 of its fleet privately owned, Sunsail is probably the most prolific charter-manager around. They charter a variety of boats, dependent on location, with a range of Beneteau, Jeanneau, and several other designs on their books. At the end of the agreement, you can collect your yacht, sell her through brokerage or trade her up for a new yacht and continue the partnership.

How it works:
There are two programmes available. The standard scheme is the Guaranteed Income Programme. Here, the owner purchases the yacht outright and pays for its registration: marine finance can be used as the asset is wholly owned and can be used as security against the loan. Sunsail commits to paying a monthly income for 5.5 years. The owner can give 6 months notice to terminate at any point during the contract. If you have the capital, this programme is the more profitable of the two (see breakdown below).

The second option is the Sunsail Finance Programme; this is only available with certain yachts and at certain bases. A single payment of 63% of the full retail price and registration fee is paid at the outset. There are no further payments from either the owner or Sunsail. Just as with the first programme, the owner owns the yacht outright at the end of the 5.5 year contract.

Usage: Up to 10 weeks usage per year. This is not restricted to your yacht – you can use a variety of Sunsail boats at any of their bases. There is no limit on the number of crew the owner can take with them.

Usage Allocation: Owners are guaranteed 6 weeks, but are able to take more than that if they choose to go outside peak season. If the owner has time left over, this can be used by anyone they choose, providing they have the required experience to skipper a charter yacht.

Maintenance: Maintenance, insurance, berthing and marketing are all covered by Sunsail. One month before the end of the contract, the owner is invited to spend a week ‘inspecting’ their yacht to identify and agree any items that might need attention before the hand-over.

Cost: for Sunsail 43.
Programme 1 : Guaranteed Income

You pay:
10% deposit (on boat upon signature of contract): £11,900
Registration: £1000
Final Balance on boat: £107,100
Total Cost: : £120,000

You get:
Income: £793.33 pcm/ £9,519.96pa
Total Income: £52,359.78 over 5.5 years.
Boat at end of contract

Programme 2: Sunsail Finance
You pay:
10% deposit: £11,900
Registration: £1000
53% balance: £63,070
Total Cost: £75,970

You get:
No income
Boat at end of contract

Tel: 0870 428 1890; Web:; Email

They say: ‘Worry free yacht ownership with an income’.
We say: Perfect for capital-rich, time-poor who want to explore warmer climes by yacht.

Reader’s Verdict

David Lambe, 65, director Adley Properties. Married with 3 children, lives in Worcestershire. He has been with Sunsail for 12 years and is on his 3rd boat.

David started sailing about thirty years ago. He owned a Benetau 30 for 5 years, then traded up for a Moody 33, sailing from Salcombe with his family around British waters and the Channel Islands.

Finding himself ‘cheesed off with getting down to the boat only to find it was pouring with rain, too much wind, or none at all’, and tired of maintenance work, he found out about the Sunsail yacht partnership option. ‘I liked the idea that you could sail year-round in good weather, and you could use an equivalent boat at any of their bases in the world.’

David bought a Benetau 40, and after the first contract (5.5 yrs) traded it in for a new Benetau Oceanis 473. When that contract was up six months ago, he traded it in for a new model. The best thing about the scheme, says David, is ‘that it gives you the opportunity to go anywhere in the world and sail. We’ve been to Thailand, all over the Caribbean, Canada, Greece, Croatia, Corsica? and all its really cost us is the airfare’

Were there any hidden costs?

No, its all been pretty transparent really. We’ve come up from an £80,000 to an £120,000 boat without paying anything like the market price for it.

What’s your advice to others?

Don’t look for great profits, but you will have some great experiences.’