Do I get half the fo'c'sle and most of the poop deck?
January 17, 2008 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Is fractional boat ownership all it's cracked up to be? If you have first- or second-hand experience with it, would you recommend it?

Specifically, I'm wondering if it is truly cost-effective vs. outright ownership and chartering. Assume one sails once or twice a month on average. The OCSC outfit in Berkeley touts their program for buying a yacht that they maintain and charter for the owner. SailTime does essentially the same thing all over the country and beyond. These programs are similar to timeshares, except that they suggest that the owner actually makes money off of the arrangement. SailTime goes so far as to guarantee it. (Ok, they only guarantee that you'll cover your costs, but still.) Which leaves me wondering; if it's so profitable, why don't they just do it for themselves? Is it possibly a good investment or only a way to sail cheaply?
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This is an interesting question; I didn't realize anything like that was available.

A quick google search yields this page, which has a following quote:
"My boat, a 34-footer valued realistically at $35,000, costs me approximately 14 percent of that value each year in recurring costs: moorage, off-season hauling and storage, insurance, outfitting supplies, and replacement of gear. Note that the figure does not include costs to upgrade my boat, only her maintenance. ... I do all my own maintenance work, religiously buy at a discount, ..."
So this person (in 1991) spent roughly $4,000. Looking at the page you linked that seems to be about the cost you'd pay for the time share. Of course you only get it for X number of weeks a year, instead of actually owning it. Of course you offload the maintenance headache to someone else... I guess whether it's worth it for you depends on your usage patterns.

I'm sorry I can't provide any more factual information. I will be monitoring this thread because this opens up a world of oppotunity for me!
posted by aeighty at 1:15 PM on January 17, 2008

The expression goes, "If it flies, floats or [redacted], rent it."

If you really want to own your own boat, fractional ownership can be a good idea, but I wouldn't do it through a large organization where you need to pay overhead and profit.
posted by MarkAnd at 1:25 PM on January 17, 2008

This is a derail (I apologize), and it may also seem like a joke, but I swear that I'm asking this in utter seriousness. Are there any companies/services that offer fractional ownership of larger sailing ships? Say, a schooner or brigantine?
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:47 PM on January 17, 2008

Best answer: I've had a flatmate who went thirds in a 30-something foot Bayliner, and another friend who worked for a company that sold motor boats (both outright and fractional) as well as looked after them, much like the OCSC you linked to. So I don't know about sailboats, but I can say everybody I've met who took up fractional ownership was quite happy with the deal, although I've never heard of anybody making money off of the arrangement (except the people who actually manage the boats).

The former flatmate was very happy with his situation. He only went out a couple of times a month, so it was pretty much the same as owning one outright, just cheaper.

I understand one of the downsides is that there can be wrangling over who gets to use it when, and for how long. For example, it's very popular here in Sydney to go out on Boxing Day to see the beginning of the Sydney-Hobart, and most of the owners all want to use it on that day.

Love the title, btw.
posted by kisch mokusch at 5:31 PM on January 17, 2008

Response by poster: thanks for the input Kisch. The scheduling consideration seems like small fry to me in comparison to the advantages.

Faint of Butt: I haven't seen any. I tried googling "fractional" and "tall ships", "schooners", "brigantine" etc. It's slightly problematic that fractional can also describe rigging.

aeighty: It a shame there hasn't been more answers. Perhaps what we can glean from what you've found and kisch's comment is that it can be a cheap way to go boating if you're willing to cooperate with the other owners.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 6:26 PM on January 17, 2008


First of all I want to start off by saying my opinion will be very biased, I am the founder of a rapidly expanding fractional sailing company called WindPath Sailing.

I truly believe that the future of boating lies in the fractional model. For members it is a no-brainer. Fractional programs remove nearly all the burdens of ownership, and for a low monthly fee they get to sail a new or late model sailboat.

We also offer an owner member program similar to the ones being discussed and I want to make a few points.

1. A recreational boat should never be considered an investment, at its very best it is a tax right-off
2. Our program is marketed as "break even" for the owner member over a five year period, we take care of maintenance, slip fees, note payments, storage, cleaning, and everything else, the "owner member" is entitled to a 1/8 share of the time on the boat and has the same rights as a "member".
3. When running any numbers on a program like this it is very important to consider all the variables. An established, honestly managed fractional sailing company will always present them to you in a simple clear to understand way.

To address some of the questions in this thread:
The "owner member" model allows fractional boating companies to grow without the massive capital expense of a fleet of quarter million dollar boats.

To my knowledge there are no companies offering a fractional model on the type of "tall ship" you are looking for.

If you are interested in learning more about the owner member model visit the fractional boat ownership section of our website.

I'll be monitoring this thread and am happy to answer any questions anyone has.

Fair Winds,

Ian Treibick
WindPath Sailing, Inc.
posted by WindPath at 10:29 AM on January 18, 2008

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