Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Yacht Ownership

Students often ask for my advice about purchasing a yacht, particularly with reference to what they make and size to buy.

I always find this a difficult question to answer because I personally feel that it is very hard to justify the costs and time involved in owning a yacht. I understand the pleasure to be gained in having your own vessel and to have it set up so that you know how it works, and it is personalised to your taste, but the expence involved is quite considerable and I believe that most people who buy their first boat do not realise quite what is involved.

I normally recommend that people charter boats for a few years before considering purchasing. The main benefit of chartering is that you know the cost upfront, but also after you have been sailing you do not have any concern about looking after the boat (with many keen sailors working long hours to pay for their fun, this can be a big factor). Another factor that I mention is that after you have owned a yacht in one area for a few years there is a tendency to become a bit tired of visiting the same ports.

Chartering gets round all these things, you can have different boats, visit different areas and not have the worry of how well the boat is moored when a storm blows up.

Of course the downside is that you are never sure of the condition of the boat you will charter and they are never equipped the way you would prefer. A more practical issue is that of learning to drive a new vessel in a tight space, perhaps with your family looking on!

My advice to people considering buying a yacht is that unless you are retired, taking a long period off work, or in a position that the cost is not important you are better off chartering. Alternatively if you feel that you do want to own a yacht, joining a good syndicate ( or something like Smartsail ( can be good choices, but they do need careful consideration first to ensure your goals are compatible.

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