A thriving new marketplace for instant pay-to-play boating will shake-up how we go afloat. Toby Hodges explains the four different types of yachting renting platforms
This is a more established avenue for boat owners looking for some financial returns, or for those looking to rent more consistently. Fractional ownership or membership schemes, which provide a certain amount of guaranteed sailing (and potential income), have existed for years now.
The largest is SailTime, a US-based fractional boat membership franchise founded in 2001. The model offers both membership and a taste of ownership ‘without the constraints’. So those looking to buy a boat can hand over the management to SailTime to help offset purchase and maintenance worries and costs.
Yachts are professionally managed at local bases and used by only six to eight competent members. Typically, an owner’s annual net income ranges from 4% to 6% of the boat’s base price. It’s a similar model used by most large bareboat charter companies, which manage boats to rent through buy to let programmes.
One of the largest charter companies, Dream Yacht Charter, recently launched Dream Fractional Ownership, calling it the world’s first five-year fractional sailing programme. The scheme enables four joint owners of a 45ft catamaran to enjoy five weeks of sailing time each on that boat, or the option to sail on a variety of yachts within the group’s worldwide fleet.
The owners each receive a guaranteed income of 5% of the selling price paid annually for five years, giving back the original buy-in share of 25%. At the end of the five-year programme, the owners can sell the yacht and split the profits.
Both Dream Yacht and Sunsail, meanwhile, have ‘sail by the cabin’ offers as a way to enjoy a sailing adventure without needing any experience or having to book the entire yacht.
Groupe Beneteau has partnered with SailTime in the US and also launched its own Boat Club in Les Sables d’Olonne, which focuses on boats under 30ft and involves a monthly membership fee to access a range of craft – both investments aimed “to show that boat sharing is part of our strategy,” says Beneteau’s general manager Gianguido Girotti. “We are undergoing a cultural change from a provider of products to a provider of services. It’s the biggest shift since leasing, which has already completely opened up the market.”
Other yacht renting sites
- Flexisail – Solent and East Coast UK-based, founded in 2004, offering ‘ownership without buying’.
- Pure Latitude – Annual membership with flexible bookings available in the Solent, Plymouth and Sardinia.
- Fairview Sailing Boat Club – Solent-based partners with Dream Yacht Charter to give access to 1,000+ charter boats for a £495 monthly fee.
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