Overseas Radio Network – Tips on Charter Yacht Ownership from Founder of Largest Charter Yacht Forum
In the Overseas Radio Network Show 4, Segment 2, we will talk with the founder of the largest charter yacht owners group:
- Myths of charter yacht ownership
- Choosing a charter company to buy from
- Charter boat ownership is good for sailing experience
- Plan phase out of a boat with your retirement
- A typical week on your own yacht
GARY FRETZ: Welcome back to our show. I am Gary Fretz and coming up in our next segment we are talking about ways to finance your boat. In this segment, I am pleased to have as our guest, Michel Benarrosh. Michel has been called an international man of mystery, inventor of the internet, he supposedly holds a patent on the wheel, and most importantly he founded the world’s largest charter yacht owners group. So he is one of the world’s foremost experts on charter yacht ownership. And he has a website called sailonline.com that offers information about charter yacht ownership and things like that.
For a transcript of this podcast, click “read more” below.
GARY: He has owned 2 charter yachts. And he has been to the BVI and the Caribbean over 30 times. Michel, tell me, what are some common misconceptions about charter yacht ownership?
Myths About Charter Yacht Ownership
MICHEL: Well, I would say there are basically 2 misconceptions. The first one is that a charter boat could be an investment which is not the case and we may talk about it later. The second one is that charter boats are basic boats which end their life with a charter company completely beat up and worthless. So those are 2 ideas that are really in the main stream of people who don’t know about the expense of charter boat ownership.
The fact that the charter boat can be an investment is obviously completely erroneous. It is only a way to defray the cost of owning a boat. Most people who do it, do it for 2 reasons:
either they just want to enjoy the experience and keep rolling from a boat to another
or they prepare their retirement and they time the purchase of the boat as such.
The other misconception about the shape of the boat at the end of the charter life basically depends completely on the choice of the charter company that will keep the boat in the fleet. If the company is a good company with a good reputation and a good maintenance program obviously bearing the fact that the company can have the boat can have an accident maybe other than that a good company will give you a charter boat in excellent shape at the end of the program.
Choosing a Charter Company to Buy From
GARY: How did you choose your charter company?
MICHEL: Well, I did a lot of homework and research. And the company that I chose was offering a program that really suited my needs. I wanted to have my boat in the Caribbean, but also wanted to be able to sail a similar boat in other places worldwide and that company offered that benefit.
GARY: Wait a second, tell me about that a little more. What’s this about sailing other similar boats in other locations around the world?
MICHEL: The larger charter companies, and they are only 3 in the world today, have bases on location worldwide. And let’s say you buy your 45 ft monohull with the company and the boat is based in the Caribbean in a particular location. Well, the program offers the owner of the boat the possibility of sailing two or three weeks a year in a different base obviously in the same charter company in a different base anywhere in the world where they have that base on a similar boat. And that’s not a marketing tool, it’s a real benefit that a lot of people really appreciate.
GARY: So if you have plans to make your escape and sail off into the sunset eventually, this could be a great way to get experience, don’t you think?
Charter Boat Ownership is Good for Sailing Experience
MICHEL: Yes, absolutely and there are quite a few people, and as I said, time the purchase of the boat with their retirement 5 to 6 years down the line. And they use this time to get familiar with the boat, confirm that it is only the boat that they use for their retirement. And also go sailing in other location you see how it is to sail in the Med(iterranean), sail in the South Pacific. And it is a tremendous tool to acquire experience both and on the front sailing grounds.
GARY: And if you don’t have a wealth of experience, the charter company will help you find an instructor or captain who will go along with you and train you. Can you talk a little bit about that?
MICHEL: Sure, actually when you charter a boat, when you don’t own it through the company, supposedly will check your resume out and make sure that you are decent competent seamen. And if deem that you are not, then they will ask you to take on board a freelance skipper for either one day or two days or seven days depending on your competency to make sure that you understand the boat and that you are safe.
GARY: That sounds like a great way to learn, too. And how did you choose your boat?
MICHEL: Well, I was always a monohull sailor and so at that time the catamarans had not taken the market by storm as they have now. So the monohulls were really the boat of choice. And I really enjoyed monohull sailing. You know, I like to have the rail in the water, as they say. And so that’s why I chose the boat and it was a very good deal. I like the comfortable layout. I like the way the boat looked and that’s how I chose my boat.
GARY: Okay and if you couldn’t make your escape right now what do you think is a good plan to effect something like this?
Plan Phase Out of a Boat With Your Retirement
MICHEL: Well, assuming that you want to escape in something like 5 or 6 years down the line, so most charter companies offer contracts that last 5 or 6 years. At the end of the contract the boat is going to be phased out. So it is something that Gary and we will talk about at another time: What is phased out? And then you are on your way to sailing in the sunset. If you make a mistake and consequences have changed, you can always take the boat out of the fleet put it in another charter company that will take your boat and keep doing the same thing for another year or two and then go out and do your escape.
GARY: Now, you just returned from the BVI, the British Virgin Islands. And you were there for a week. Tell me what did you do there. What typically. how would you use your boat in a typical week? Just give us a quick overview. We’ve got about a minute and a half left.
A Typical Week on Your Own Yacht
MICHEL: Well, the BVI are a very particular sailing ground and is probably unique in the world in my opinion. But, typically, I do a big loop. But what’s very particular about the BVI and I have been there so many times but there are still places that I don’t know and I have not explored yet. So I usually try to do a mix depending on the guests that I have on board. This time I had divers so I tried to do a mix of commonly used places and I try to, every time I try to discover new areas that I haven’t seen before, some anchorage that I don’t know.
GARY: Okay, well we are going to have to take a short break and we will be right back to continue this discussion. And you are listening to “Yachts: The Perfect Escape Vehicle” only in Overseas Radio Network.