The Debrief: Boat Ownership - Your Options – Sail+Leisure
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The Debrief: Boat Ownership – Your Options

by Ingrid Hale
Boat Ownership: Princess Yachts
Boat ownership options can be varied and complicated. Fractional ownership is one solution, but where do you begin, what do you look for and what are the possible pitfalls? Bobby Jordan asked three brokers for their top tips on ownership plans.

Luxury powerboat and yacht broker, Princess Yachts International and Beneteau 

Princess Yacht

Princess Yachts

David Abromowitz, Peter Bacon and Howard Godfrey formed Shareboats in 2007 and were the first to start the fractional ownership programme in SA with the Princess 58 Aqua Princess. The business model has grown from there.

Our fleet

“We currently have five boats that we sell shares in: two Princess 58 motor yachts and a Princess 25M motor yacht in Cape Town, a Princess 72 motor yacht in Turkey and a Leopard 46 Sail Catamaran in Mauritius. In essence it is fractional ownership, however, we run our programme under the Shareboats name. The shares in the boats are not swappable; in other words, if you have a share in say the Princess 58 in Cape Town, you cannot use the Princess 72 in Turkey, unless, of course, you own a share in both. Each boat is owned inside its own company as a sole asset, and the shareholders of the boat are the same for the company. The Princess 72 is moved to different regions on an annual basis, last year we were in Croatia, this year Turkey and a mutual decision is reached by all shareholders as to where to explore the following year.

Hassle free

We offer a completely hassle-free form of boat ownership. You can use the boat at any time, there is an online calendar that is managed by us, and ostensibly it is your boat – it is actual ownership, albeit shared. Usage is key to the owners and the flexibility of that usage has been a huge success for us. (There are other operators who dictate to owners when they can use their time on board.) The boats are professionally crewed and maintained and the only responsibility for the owners is to arrive on time! Each boat has a set of Agreements in place for protection of all shareholders and not once in 13 years have we ever had to “throw the Rule Book” at anyone!!

To date, we have over 45 shareholders in the programme across the five boats. The programme is extremely popular and not one shareholder has ever sold their share due to unhappiness with the boat or program, people do sell to move onto a boat of their own or simply to get out of the game and therein lies the opportunity for newcomers to join us” says Rob Sharp.

Read about Lindani Mchunu, the newest member of the Abromowitz, Sharp and Associates team

Catamaran yacht broker, Leopard, Sunsail, The Moorings

Leopard 40

The comfortable Leopard 40 catamaran.

Sunsail and The Moorings have been around for more than 50 years, offering sailing holidays to their customers. Both offer two ownership programmes: the guaranteed income and the option-to-purchase programme. The guaranteed income programme is available in the Caribbean (British Virgin Islands, United States Virgin Islands, St Martin, St Lucia, Grenada), the Americas (Belize, Bahamas), the Indian Ocean (Seychelles) and Whitsundays (Australia). The option-to-purchase programme is available in Spain, Greece, Croatia, Thailand and Tahiti.


With Sunsail or The Moorings Charter Ownership Programme, you may use your boat or any other similar size boat globally. If you own a sailboat you also make use of a powercat and vice versa. We also offer the option to purchase a monohull, catamaran or powercat through both brands.

Guaranteed income

The guaranteed income programme offers a great opportunity to have usage of a boat during the year for holidays and after five years fully own the boat. With this option we offer a 9% guaranteed income per year, paid monthly to the owner of the boat, for five years. In the Seychelles we offer 8% income per year, paid monthly for six years.

Currently South Africans tend to prefer the guaranteed income programme as the guaranteed foreign income can be received into an offshore account. Most buyers also make use of their annual R10 million foreign allowance as we can only deal in foreign currency to purchase into the programme (the Reserve Bank allows South Africans to move an amount of R10 million per annum out of the country into foreign funds should all your taxes be up to date). With the option-to-purchase programme, Sunsail partly finances the boat and the financial outlay of funds is only 45% of the price of the boat, initially, to the customer. On this programme the customer does not receive a monthly income, but has the same usage as the guaranteed income customer. After five years, they have the option to purchase the boat by paying 20% of the original retail price and receiving title. Should they not want to keep the boat after the five-year period, then Sunsail or The Moorings will pay them 20% of the original price of the boat and sell the boat as a brokerage boat on the open market.

Ownership program benefits

With our ownership programmes we pay for all parts, maintenance, insurance, haul-outs, bottom paint, dockage and moorage for the yachts. Owners are not billed for anything associated with the operation of the yacht. The only cost to them will be for the registration or ‘flagging’ of the yacht and any annual fees associated with this. When the owner uses the boat, they pay a fixed turnaround fee. This is a flat fee regardless of the number of days the yacht is used. It covers preparing the yacht for the owner’s use and cleaning it upon its return, the use of a dinghy and outboard, and a complement of fuel for the outboard, ice, fresh linen and topped water tanks, says Daniel Snyman. Find out more info on Leopard Catamarans.

Read about the Leopard 53 Power Catamaran.

Cruising in Turkey on a Leopard 48 with The Moorings

Cruising in Thailand with Sunsail.

Yacht Broker, Lagoon


The sleek Lagoon

Syndicated-ownership, fractional-owner- ship and consortium-ownership models are on the rise. People might be cash rich but time poor, so it makes sense to own a part of an asset and use it. The broker is generally the person who initiates the process, finds the vessel, markets the shares (in the event of shared ownership) and manages the process. Brokers tend to leave the syndicate over time as the other owners take charge.

Meeting the owners needs

“Key for me is making sure that any new boat owner gets exactly what they need and is guided in the process. A happy boat owner will get the bug and eventually be a multiple boat owner over time, which is great for the industry. But a boat owner who is sold a lemon by an unethical broker will be lost to boating forever.”, says Bruce Tedder. With any new clients the first question I ask is: ‘What is your plan for this boat you wish to buy?’ That question always needs interrogation and also gets the new buyers to really understand why and for what purpose they need a boat. That guides the criteria of exactly what boat will be needed, as there is a boat for every conceivable purpose and mission. We will always make sure the clients get what is best suited to them; not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather tailor-made solutions.

The pre-owned market

The pre-owned market is way bigger than the new-boat market by many factors of 10. Each new boat could result in five-to-eight sales contracts (different owners) over a 20-year period. Free market conditions prevail. A secondhand boat is available immediately whereas in many cases there might be a one- or two-year wait for a new vessel, and with larger superyachts that process could be up to three or even five years.

Good sales documents guide the process and protect buyer and seller just as a conveyancing attorney protects both buyer and seller in real estate transactions. The surveyor is the key, especially for used boats. For new boats an independent surveyor is also important to act for the buyers for ocean trials and testing to ensure the buyers get what they paid for. For more informations visit Lagoon SA

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