Month: January 2017

Looking for a lifestyle change

Sailing is one of the great escapist past times and allows people to dream of a different life which is as far removed from their day to day monotony as it is possible to be.  Some people in their younger years step into the world of super yachts where they polish brass on a floating hotel, and some people simply throw in the towel later in life, buy a yacht and go off cruising.  These options however aren’t for everyone as most of us are too old to become super yacht deck crew and not all of us want to sail over the horizon and leave friends and family behind.

There is however another option which has just reared its head on the classic boat market, an option which will allow the new owners of this fine yacht to own a proper boat, a boat to be proud of, to sail as much as they like but not to have the ongoing running costs and organisation of a big yacht, but how is this possible?

The answer is Amelie Rose, a 44′ Pilot Cutter built by Luke Powell in 2009 for the present owners and operated ever since as a hugely successful charter business.

Running a charter boat is not for everyone and the skipper needs to be not only a highly competent sailor but also very confident with handling a gaff rigged boat.  He or she has to be a chef, a leader, a teacher and above all a really nice person who the clients feel comfortable with and happy to be around.  This may not be everyones cup of tea, but the new owner of the boat doesn’t necessarily have to be at the helm on a week by week basis, there are some good people around with a lot of experience of running and handling gaff rigged charter boats so it would be possible to place a full time skipper aboard the boat to manage her week by week, which would have the added benefit of allowing the new owners to sail with their own skipper whenever they use the boat.

Purchasing a yacht and placing a skipper aboard her is only a small part of a successful charter operation, the difficult area is to ensure the business is managed and run correctly, the marketing is carried out and the boat is kept full.  The benefit of taking on a boat such as Amelie Rose is that, with a little extra negotiation, she comes with the complete business including the web site, data base and good will of a very well known and respected name.  The boat is booking up fast for the 2017 season so if new owners stepped in this winter they will have a flying start into their first year of trading with a boat that is largely full for the summer with an itinerary and logistics all planned out.

An opportunity like this is not for everyone, but there are many people out there who possibly have not even considered the idea of owning a charter business for whom this solution could work very well.  It is difficult to justify any yacht purchase as an investment, however this is as close as you will come and would enable the busy professional family to own and run a superb yacht without the worry of maintenance and running costs.

It would also be possible to hand over the management of the yacht entirely which would obviously suck away at the profits but would allow the new owner to not worry at all about the day to day logistics.  Here at Wooden Ships we have the skills, contacts and knowledge to manage a boat such as this and there is a specialist company based in Cornwall who could successfully market the boat and keep her full throughout the season.

The possibility of breaking away from your day in day out routine may not be as far away as you think and owning a traditional sailing vessel such as Amelie Rose doesn’t have to be on the conventional terms, why not invest a lump sum of cash into a project like this and start to enjoy the high seas in a real boat!

So you want to buy a boat- 2

So you want to buy a boat- 2.  The Second installment of Peter Gregsons notes on buying a yacht

Last time, we looked at buying a boat privately or through a broker.  Following the broker route, keep in mind that up to the point when you decide on a particular boat the broker is there to offer you advice and help you towards the right boat, especially if you are a novice but as soon as you decide on a particular boat do remember that essentially the broker is acting for the seller in any negotiation and he is paid by the seller.

That said, in any negotiation on price and conditions the broker although formally acting for the seller is best placed to ensure that at the end of the day the seller’s instructions to sell the boat are achieved  which means finding a fair deal for all parties. The negotiations and the logistics of the deal are the broker’s job, that is what he is being paid for and that is what you should look for, never mind whose side he is on.

Some points to think about will be the time schedule of the deal, who will move the boat to the slip for survey, where you will take possession, the equipment to be sold with the boat and much more. The broker will help you with all this if only because he does not want to spend time later sorting out problems. And he has been there many times before.

A verbal negotiation will be followed by getting it all down on paper, hopefully in a proper legal form as this deal invariably involves a lot of money.  Confrontation is not the name of the game, what both you want as buyer and the seller is a clear path to follow, what happens and when. And of course you must ensure that there is some back-up in terms of what you can both do if something goes wrong. While you don’t have to have a complicated document the back of an envelope or worse a hand shake in the pub is unwise and the broker will invariably use a formal sale agreement. If you are doing a private deal you can download a suitable document from the net. Either way it is essential that you both know exactly what to expect and when.

At this stage the broker will ask you as buyer for a deposit with your signature on a contract. The purpose of this is firstly to concentrate your mind on the deal you are entering into and secondly to protect the seller. We have seen a buyer string out the whole deal, even go to the length of signing a contract then disappear meanwhile the boat is off the market and the seller could well have refused other offers.  Alternatively we have seen the boat slipped for survey, stripped down and opened up, paint and varnish scraped off all for the surveyor to gain the access he wants then the buyer disappears leaving the seller with a wreck on his hands and a big bill. It has happened!

Up to this point it is probably best keep the seller at arm’s length giving yourself more room for manoeuvre but build a relationship with your broker.

It’s not a battle, at the end of the day you all want the same thing and never forget that yachting is a sport and a hobby and should be enjoyable from the start.