For many of us, the dream of owning a boat goes something like this: You buy a beautiful, powerful vessel that somehow stays in mint condition with minimal work and cost. You run her from one exotic locale to the next without emptying your wallet and without a care in the world.
The reality, of course, can be quite different. As any experienced boater knows all too well, there are any number of costs and hassles associated with ownership—everything from fuel bills to maintenance issues. Wouldn’t it be great if you could own a boat and somehow avoid those negatives? Well, according to the renowned charter company, The Moorings, you can.
Owned by TUI Travel, one of the world’s largest travel companies, The Moorings is a charter, brokerage, and management company that for 40 years has also run an ownership program aimed at changing the way people buy and own boats. Moorings sales manager Jean Larroux summarizes it this way: “[Customers] buy the boat, we pay income that covers the mortgage, they use the boat with little cost, and when they return [her] to the marina they dis-embark, leaving dirty dishes in the sink, and get on a plane. No hassle!” That no doubt seems like quite the boast, but when you take a closer look at the program, you see it’s also true.
Here’s how it works: As a potential owner you secure financing—either on your own or through The Moorings’ sources—then, based on your preferences and what’s available in The Moorings’ fleet plan, you select either a 37- or 47-foot R&C Moorings power catamaran. Each year you can reserve up to 12 weeks of cruise time aboard your vessel, which is kept at one of The Moorings’ bases in La Paz, the Abacos, the Seychelles, Thailand, Australia, or Tortola. If you want to use a larger cat or explore a new area, you can arrange to cruise aboard a sistership. And no matter how minimal the booking lead time, The Moorings promises that every yacht is spotless and in top working order when you step onboard. She’s clean, fueled-up, and ready to go.
But here’s the real bonus: There are no operating expenses. Owners don’t pay for dockage, insurance, or maintenance; they pay only nominal fees for things like ice and water. And according to The Moorings, the financial benefits don’t stop at the lack of operating costs. Because during the time you’re not cruising your vessel, the boat is being used for charter, which means she’s generating income. Thus, you receive a guaranteed monthly stipend that, according to the company, should “exceed the mortgage on your yacht based on traditional financing.” In other words, you get paid to own the boat!
At a program’s end—most last for five to six seasons—there are three possibilities: You can negotiate a lease extension with The Moorings (offered at the company’s discretion), trade up to a new boat, or sell your vessel with the help of the company’s international brokerage division.
Times have changed: The Moorings originally offered only a sailing yacht ownership program.
So what can you—as an owner—expect from a M372 or M474 powercat? According to Larroux, “economy, privacy, stability, and performance.” Oh, and room, too, particularly on the M474, which he describes as enormous. “[She] probably [has] the space of a normal 70- to 80-foot boat.” This, the company explains, is due in large part to the catamaran design, which increases interior volume without adversely affecting performance. All of The Moorings’ cats have expansive full-beam saloons and galleys on the same deck. And Larroux adds that while some owners do ask to personalize their vessels, “most realize the identical character of the fleet is what has made our product so attractive and marketable from a charter perspective.”
This article originally appeared in the August 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.