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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection


CHOOSING THE RIGHT BAREBOAT

by Steve
March 2008


When reading past newsletters and browsing our site, it is clear that we place a lot of importance on matching crewed yacht customers with a boat and especially a crew, that is right for them.

The same holds true for bareboats. Crew is no longer an issue, but there are literally hundreds of different models, particularly when you consider varying layouts, specifications, and equipment packages within a boat type.

Most prospective bareboaters start with a number of total guests in mind. They open a bareboat charter company's brochure, flip to the back and start looking at layouts. Most go on to consider overall size, and whether they're happy with two heads or they require three for their party of six. All too often the choice of yacht starts and ends with the layout.

Look again at the layout in the brochure, and ask yourself how much time you're going to be below decks on your charter. The typical charterer spends almost no time in their cabin, besides sleeping. Where will you spend the majority of your time? In the cockpit. Unfortunately, most yacht layouts provide little information on the deck layout and the comfort of the outdoor areas.

Most people reading this article will use a web site rather than a brochure to do their research. Interestingly, the three most visited pages on bareboat companies' sites are the fleet pages, the rates, and the special offers.

Price is another key factor when choosing a bareboat. This is not necessarily as straightforward as it seems. Until relatively recently,one simply compared the charter fees of similar boats, about the same age. Yes, there were extras, but generally they varied little from company to company. This has changed and variations in damage waivers and other add-ons can make a significant difference. It's important to consider the total price when making a comparison.

On the value-for-dollar topic, we're often asked what we think about chartering older bareboats. Whether an older boat is a bargain depends on the customer's expectations, the company, the boat, and the amount of savings against a similar model in a fresher vintage. A four or five year old boat offered by a 'second tier' company, commands a lower charter fee, but that also means there's less money to spend on maintenance, just at the time the boat needs more. One way to rationalize this - if you pay a low price and don't have a problem on charter, you got a bargain, but if you are waiting for the chase boat to arrive, well you didn't pay much for your vacation!

Booking an older boat without proper research can be an enormous mistake, and it is almost always true that the cheapest choice isn't the best value for money. Ask us - we have booked literally thousands of bareboat charters and know all the ways to maximize value.

There are so many options in bareboats today - company, builder, size, number of cabins, number of heads, number of helms, pullman or v-berths, the list goes on. There is however a common thread with every bareboat request - you have a vision of what your sailing vacation should be.

At Ed Hamilton & Co, our job is to discuss this vision with you and make recommendations based on our past experience and in depth knowledge of the bareboat fleets. We're not allied with or locked into any companies, so our service is completely independent, and always free.

Tell us a bit about your plans and we will help you find the right boat.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
24B US Route 1, Edgecomb, ME 04556

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