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

by Ed
October 2006

Earlier this month we were quoted in an article entitled 'Rent a yacht for your next vacation' in Fortune Small Business, at CNNMoney.com. We really appreciated the promotion and had quite a flurry of enquiries, but I did feel that the main subject of the article was misleading at best. The author had found a company in Greece that would deal with him directly and supposedly give him a better price.

Unwittingly, he illustrated one of the advantages of using a broker. The author is 6' 2" and there were just two in his party. The people he called had 24 boats in their fleet and he was put on a 60' yacht with 5 tiny cabins. He writes 'reaching for clothes, books, or supplies resulted in what looked like a game of Twister'. Obviously he did not get the best boat for his needs. With just two people, he should have had a boat with a large master cabin, that he could stand up in. A broker could have found this for him.

Dealing directly with a yacht can be full of pitfalls, particularly if you give the crew money up front. We have rescued or heard about plenty of cases where clients have gotten into trouble. This is one industry where it can really pay to use a broker, who can find a boat that truly matches a client's requirements, at a fair price. Generally charter fees are held in a trust account and released to the boat just before the charter. Imagine trying to get money back from a yacht that is out of the country and might have even moved on to a different location!

Any reputable broker knows the boat and cruising ground he is recommending and can give detailed advice on both.

We book a lot of charters in Greece and there are some great yachts based there, but in many cases the standards can be well below those found in The Caribbean, where boats are used to catering to the American market. For this reason, charterers often end up selecting other areas of the Med, such as Turkey, where there are less restrictions for Caribbean based boats that charter there for the summer months. It is not totally surprising that some Greek operators are offering discounts to people who contact them directly, but I don't think this is necessarily in the consumer's interest. We book from a fleet of over 1300 yachts, not just 24 and could have found the author a better option at a comparable price.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
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