MULTIHULL MATCH Sabbatical Year: Purchase or Long Term Charter?

Multihull Match is an open forum, a place where those involved in the multihull industry can have the freedom to express their opinion. For this head to head we decided to ask whether during a sabbatical year it is better to choose a long term charter or to buy the boat of your dreams. To try and find the answer, we asked for the views of two sailing pros: Eric Vasse and Philippe Merceron.

If one believes the Holy Scriptures, in antiquity, the Hebrews were already rotating their crops; unfortunately, this worthwhile seven year labor has fallen out of fashion with today's farmers, but 21st century sailors are rediscovering the practice in a different context. To the eternal question of how to choose a boat, there are some new answers. Here are some knowledgeable and contradictory views...

Sabbatical Year: Purchase or Long Term Charter?

I WOULD CHOOSE LONG-TERM RENTAL By Éric Vasse: Sailor and Manager of Punch Cruises in Martinique

Aha! The sabbatical, a chance to set off for a long time and to just let go! Cipango, Miladou Madoulou… or les Saintes come to mind perhaps; right, let's cast off! We've all thought about it, but what are the various choices? For me it would obviously be a multihull, and in the Caribbean for the fantastic sailing conditions! But how exactly do you go about it? Which boat to choose: a new cat or trimaran, a good second-hand or charter boat? (it does exist, even for a few months). Buying a new boat requires having a large budget (even when leasing), but it also means that you have a guarantee, can choose your options, and take delivery of the boat at the shipyard. For some people it's the only way to go. Buying a used boat can look like more of a risk, but it can also be a chance to find a compromise, or discover that hidden gem in a chaotic market place, and to hope that you fall on your feet. Those who manage to resell their boat at a not too-discounted price are rare, when all the extra costs like research, expertise and preparation (which are often underestimated) are taken into account. But a new option has now appeared on the market: long term charter. There are two possible sources for your boat: The first is from private owners who are offering a boat with which they have already travelled or have just returned from a trip, although the lack of a formal contract can be risky. (This is what happened to Richard, who had planned his project around a Bahia 46 chartered from a private individual, and who found himself without a boat two months before his departure, despite the fact that everything had been arranged: time off work organized and apartment rented out!) There are still not that many professionals offering multihulls on long term charter. Some have come to the end of charter contracts, and aren't always fitted out in a contemporary style as the charterers would like. Others have boats which are just for this kind of rental. They are set up to allow for a maximum amount of autonomy, and to be able to make the most of anchorages for as long as possible. This new charter product has several advantages: it allows one to work out one's budget more easily so that there are no surprises, and it means that at the preparation stage, the charterers are in contact with real professionals. What is indispensable, necessary, comfortable, not needed, depending on the route and the regions being visited? This isn't always easy when ...

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