Yacht-sharing has long been the way to gain most of the benefits of having your own yacht, and avoid the hassles of maintenance and need to find large amounts of cash. However, like all yachting activities, it is a discretionary spend and now as Western economies slim down contrasting fortunes are emerging between yacht-sharing companies in the UK.
Yacht-sharing - traditionally the perfect way to have the fun of a yacht without having a yacht, but hard times are sorting out the industry
SailTime, the world-wide fractional membership yachting franchise, has announced that Sailtime Bases Ltd, which ran three of its UK sailing clubs at Hamble, Gosport and Poole, on the UK's south cast has ceased trading.
Other SailTime bases are not affected, and Richard Davies and Richard Bowden-Doyle, 'both of whom are owner-members with a wealth of relevant experience', are looking to take over these SailTime bases, with the support of SailTime Group LLC, the US-based franchisor.
The cause of the company's demise is given as 'weight of historic debt' rather than membership levels, which have actually risen in recent times.
This is backed up by the experience of another south-coast shared boat membership operator FlexiSail, which has seen 20 per cent growth over the last nine months.
Its managing director, Richard Pierpoint told Fractional Life: 'The future is bright for well run and focused membership sailing companies that put their members first and can set the standards in customer care.
By‘sharing’ your boat through a sailing or motor cruiser membership programme you can enjoy the benefits and lifestyle whilst neatly side stepping the need for a large financial outlay, time, energy and money required to manage your boat. Most importantly you avoid the cost and headache of disposing of your boat and funding the capital depreciation shortfall.'
'At FlexiSail, despite having launched three new boats this year we are actively looking for new owners to meet our growing membership, demonstrating that the interest is still very much there,' added Pierpoint.