Why a Sailboat?
29 August 2013
Friends of ours know that Rich and I enjoy things that go fast. The faster the better... airplanes, cars, etc. The first question our really good friends ask is: "Why the hell did you buy a Sailboat?"
Rich grew up in South Florida and during our dating years (20+ years ago) we were on a power boat almost every day. We could leave our condo in Ft. Lauderdale and go to Miami, for drinks and be home quicker than if we drove. We didn't have to wait for bridges to go up, we just zoomed down the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway) and quickly passed the pretty sailboats. So,... Why the hell DID we purchase a sail boat?
As you may have noticed, up until know I have been referring to Sail Pending, as a BOAT, not a Sailboat. That is because for the first couple years our bareboating vacations (and research into purchasing a boat) were in rented POWERBOATS. There were VERY few companies that rented Powerboats in the Virgin Islands then and they were very expensive. Every year, we saw more and more companies popping up, but we really wanted to learn to sail because; 1.)The sailboat rentals were always much less expensive, and 2.) The sailboats used less fuel, so they were even MORE, less expensive (if that makes sense). Point being... A sailboat is MUCH less expensive than a powerboat of the same size.
In December 2010, we chartered a private (not managed by a company, but by a person) sailboat for 14 days with a captain and a first mate. They were going to meet us in St. Maartin and teach Rich and me how to sail. Needless to say, we were very excited!!!
When we landed in St. Maartin, we received a message that the boat and crew had maintenance issues and was still in Tortola. We were in St. Maartin with 2 kids over Christmas vacation with no reservations. For 4 days, we made phone call after phone trying to find a place to stay each night. We moved from Sint Maartin (Dutch side) to St. Martin (French side) to Anguilla (a British Island North of St. Maartin) because there were no rooms on St. Martin/Sint Maartin anywhere!!! We only found a room if someone cancelled their reservation at the last minute.
After 4 days of hearing from the Captain that the boat was still broken and calling hotel after hotel trying to find a room for that night, we decided to call the Moorings, a well-known charter company, to see if they had any boats available. We were previous clients from their powerboat base in Tortolla, and we knew they also had a base St. Martin. They said we were in luck, because they just had a cancellation on a 47' Robinson Caine, Catamaran SAILBOAT that was available immediately and was available until our flight back home 10 days later. Remember, we have never sailed before in our lives. Once, we tried to rent a Hobie Cat and were denied because we didn't have any sailing experience. Because of the previous Hobie Cat denial, we knew we had to bullshit our way through the checkout, or we wouldn't have a place to stay for the next 10 days... We weren't planning on putting the sails up; we were just planning on motoring around the islands. A sailboat without the sails up is just a slow powerboat with a great big lightning rod, right? Really, How hard could it be?
We easily bullshitted our way through the checkout of the systems and just pretended we were listening when they were going over all the colored ropes. We didn't know the difference between the halyard or reef lines. We didn't know that a jib was one thing and a jibe was another. We started the engines and headed out of the marina into the Caribbean Sea... Next Stop, St. Barts!!!
The only problem was the Moorings guy was still on the boat and there was another guy in a dingy following us. The Moorings guy climbed up the big lighting rod like a monkey, unzipped the blue bag, and cranked on this black wheel thing he called a "winch" to put up A GREAT BIG WHITE FLAPPY THING!!! ....WHAT!?!? We were just going to motor to St. Barts.... What was he doing? Rich looked at me and said, "Go up there and figure out how to put that f**ing thing back down." BUT, How was I supposed to ask how to put the sail down? If they learn that we have never sailed before and had no clue how to put the big, white thing back down, we won't have a place to stay for the next 11 days... I told Rich we have a couple hours to figure it out and it can't be all that hard. The monkey guy came back to the helm (it's called the same thing on a power boat) looked at us, asked if we had any questions, and before we even had a chance to answer, he jumped in the dingy following us and off he went.... I guess we we're sailing to St. Barts!!!
There was a pretty nice breeze just off of our backs. We actually even turned the motor off for a few minutes and enjoyed the peace and quiet while we SAILED, south to St. Barts. I felt like Bob in the movie "What about Bob!" I'm sailing!!!! I'm sailing!!!!
BUT, to tell you the truth... Once we figured out how to get that big flappy thing down it never went back up the entire trip.
Rich and I have since rented smaller sailboats, both catamarans and monohauls, and have learned to sail. We very much enjoy the peace of not having the engine noise or the smell of fuel with the engines running. On our last trip we actually complained about the loud, fast, powerboats that zoom by us. We felt sorry for them because they don't realize how peaceful it can be getting from point A to point B. In a powerboat, we missed the turtles that come to the surface and the dolphins that come and play with the boat. Maybe it's that we are getting old and finally growing up, but in a Sailboat we actually slow down and enjoy everything around us.
Why buy a boat then put into a Charter Business
29 August 2013
Rich and I in front of "Sail Pending"
Another question we've been getting asked a lot is, "Why did you purchase a boat and then lease it to a charter company?" Well...There are several reasons for this:
1.) Rich and I are still pretty young. We are in our mid-40's, have a 9 year old son and 17 year old daughter who are both still in school. We absolutely LOVE living in Central PA! We aren't ready to sell everything and live full-time on a boat in paradise. Maybe in a few years, but not right now.
2.) We didn't want a boat just sitting in a marina waiting for us to come and use it. We know that when we had time to use it, we would be cleaning and working on it the entire time. Boats, Airplanes, Houses, need to be used...When they sit vacant or don't get used things decay quicker. They get musty, moldy, and seals dry out. Having a boat just sitting in the water, waiting for us to come and visit would be a constant visit to maintenance problems. Our trips would be more work and headaches, than they would be fun and relaxing.
3.) Since the boat is being leased to a charter company, we will show up to a well maintained, clean boat, with clean sheets, clean towels, clean dishes, that is ready to go. They will even have the A/C on for us when we arrive... Hence, when we leave, the charter company does the laundry, and cleans the boat. We won't have to do anything except pack our bags, get a taxi, and get on the flight home. Easy come, easy go. It's still like we are going on a vacation. We aren't going to a vacant boat that will need care and maintenance once we get there.
4.) We've been renting boats in the Virgin Islands at least twice a year, sometimes 3 times a year for the past 8 years. Over the years, we've spent A LOT of money renting boats!!! We ran the numbers. If we were going to continue to bareboat charter at the rate we have the past few years, purchasing a boat was the ONLY option that made sense. ... And the best benefit is; Now, all of our trips to the Virgin Islands are not only "vacations" they are business trips!!! We are permitted to write off the expenses to check on our boat, ie "business" because it is a licensed LLC.
Why we decided to Buy a Boat
28 August 2013
A lot of people have been asking me to write about this journey that Rich and I have been on for the past few months. Some are friends interested in boating, others are bloggers I have never met, and some are business associates who want more information about owning a boat as a business.
That's what we have done... We have purchased a Boat, (actually, a pretty big boat) that will be chartered in the Virgin Islands and operated as a business.
The first and most important reason we decided to purchase a "Boat" is because the entire family loves to be together and escape to paradise without standing in lines or being crowded like cattle on a cruise ship or an all-inclusive resort. (Actually, you couldn't pay me to get on another cruise ship or go to an all-inclusive resort anymore) We are pretty simple folks who don't want to get dressed upped for dinner, we want to be able to go barefoot for days at a time, and be the ONLY people on a beautiful beach.
FOR ME, I have found that the boat is one of the only places that I can truly escape, be completely relaxed, and not check my phone and emails every few minutes trying to keep in constant contact with my clients. YES, I let my business run my life. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE what I do ...but seriously, I do it 24 hours a day. I will wake up in the middle of the night thinking about ways to help my clients. Sometimes, even I need a break, and I get that break when I am on the boat.
Last Christmas (2012) my parents finally went with us on the "boating" trip that we do every Christmas. They loved it!! I guess that was one of the final peices of the puzzle. Not only, does our teenager (yes, a teenager) love to go "boating" in the islands, but now my parents love to go too!!! Boating in the Islands is something that the entire family WANTS to do and we all enjoy it together. ---- Rich and I have been bareboating in the Islands for the past 8 years and casually doing research about charter and management company's, as well as, different owning/leasing options. We think we've chartered through almost every company in the Virgin Islands. So, if you have a questions about Bareboat charters, just ask. We've been there and done that.. Now we are onto the new adventure of being the owners of the boat.
The picture attached is my Mom and Dad, and kids. Kaycie (16) and Tyler (9).
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