Over the years, the Whitsundays has emerged the leader in bareboat charter holidays in Australia, with a handful of large fleets that have stood the test of time and gained strong reputations for quality sailing holidays. Many of these fleets in recent years have moved towards catamarans as their preferred boat of choice with Seawind maintaining the lions share of the charter catamaran market.
We talk with Glen Read, General Manager for Whitsunday Rent A Yacht to learn more, 'We have about 30 boats in our fleet. More than half are catamarans and the majority are Seawinds.'
'The demand is for charter catamarans. They are more stable and have more room, and the girls don’t spill their champagne!'
So what should you expect from your charter company? Well, like many larger boats such as superyachts that have full time boat managers who look after all aspects of running a boat and keeping it maintained and ready for your arrival, charter companies offer the same service with the added bonus being that they market your boat around the country and the world to charterers who will pay good money for the privilege of sailing your boat, and ultimately contribute towards the repayments. You don’t have to wash your boat, slip and antifoul her, make repairs, refuel her or worry about that storm that is passing over. This is all the responsibility of the charter company. Then, once the expenses have been paid for, you get a cheque in the mail.
Glen explains further, 'We’ll look after the boat for you, produce income and you get the opportunity to share some of that time on the boat up here cruising around the islands'.
Keeping your boat well maintained is a high priority for charter companies, 'There are certain things like anchor and sheet winches, engines and the more heavy mechanical items that are serviced on a regular basis. Engines for instance are serviced based on hours used. Winches are done on a periodic basis, say once ever 6 months or so.'
'We make every endeavor to keep the boats looking good, because obviously this is in our interest. We are far more comfortable selling a holiday on a boat if it is in good condition, and we would soon get a negative reputation if we didn’t look after them.
When it comes to marketing your boat, the Whitsundays offer the strongest returns due to a well established market of repeat business and new customers brought through tireless campaigning both locally and internationally at boat shows and other advertising.
Our international content is normally about 15-20% but at the moment due to the low Australian dollar, international visits are up there. The weak Australian dollar has maintained consistent business for charter operators, despite the doom and gloom in the media, 'We were fearful business might slow down there for a bit, but we are still meeting our sales targets and projections.'
'I think a lot of that is to do with the fact that the Australian Dollar is weaker, hence, people are taking holidays in Australia rather than going overseas, and likewise, overseas people are finding it good value to come to Australia.'
Whitsunday Rent A Yacht are actively seeking new investors for Seawinds into their fleet.