Buying into Yachting Paradise
The Moorings and Sunsail offer the opportunity to own a boat based in one of the charter companies’ exotic locations around the globe and use yachts at any of them for up to 12 weeks a year, either for fixed income or a reduced purchase price.
When the Moorings was founded in 1969, it had a total of six yachts in the British Virgin Islands. Five years later, Sunsail started operating, in Greece. Today, The Moorings and Sunsail – which merged in 2005 – form the world’s largest charter company, employing over 800 people globally and managing a fleet of 850 boats all over the world.
The Moorings and Sunsail have not only revolutionised the charter industry but also ownership options within charter programmes. In total, they’ve had over 5,000 boat owners between them. The companies offer a huge fleet of Leopard catamarans built by South Africa’s Robertson & Caine (only The Moorings offers powercats) and sailing monohulls built by iconic French brands Jeanneau and Beneteau.
In Asia, Leopard catamarans and Jeanneau and Beneteau sailing boats are owned and used throughout Asia, but The Moorings Yacht Ownership programme offers an alternative way of buying and using these yachts. So, how does it work and what are the advantages?
The standard contracts typically last five to six years depending on the location of the yacht. In Asia, The Moorings has a base in Phuket, Thailand, while other destinations around the world include Tahiti, Seychelles and right across the Mediterranean, Americas and Caribbean.
The Moorings and Sunsail yachts are operated for a maximum of six seasons, with only limited numbers of boats extended longer. Almost all are individually owned and this obligation to the owners results in highly maintained yachts. The bases are staffed with employees trained to the highest of standards in customer service and technical expertise for maintenance and upkeep of the yachts.
The ownership programme includes the option of almost any ‘Leopard’, as well as sailing monohulls from Jeanneau and Beneteau, exclusively branded as The Moorings or Sunsail charter boats and with charter-specific options. Models available include the Moorings 4200 (with three or four cabins), 4500 and 5000 sailing catamarans, which are the equivalent of the Leopard 42, 45 and 50, respectively.
Powercats based on the Leopard 43 PC and 53 PC include the Moorings 433 PC (three cabins), 434 PC (four cabins) and 534 PC (four cabins). The Sunsail 41 (Jeanneau 409), Sunsail 44 (Jeanneau 44) and Moorings 48.4 (Beneteau Oceanis 48) sailing monohulls are among other models available within the ownership programme.
As for payment options, The Moorings and Sunsail offer the Guaranteed Income programme at most bases worldwide and the Option to Purchase programme in Greece and Thailand.
Guaranteed Income requires 100 per cent payment up front and then returns fixed income paid monthly (not dependent on charter activity). At the end of the programme, an owner can either keep their yacht and sail away, sell it through the company’s in-house brokerage service, or trade it in and start a new programme.
At this time, it’s worth noting that The Moorings and Sunsail have continued to pay all its boat owners in full through the Covid-19 period, unlike many other charter companies.
Option to Purchase requires owners to pay only 45 per cent of the price of the boat to join the programme. At the end, they can either make a purchase payment of a further 20 per cent of the yacht’s original price and take clear title to the yacht or take a guaranteed cash buyback of the equivalent 20 per cent.
Prices for both programmes include the yacht’s equipment and charter inventory, delivery to the charter base and commissioning.
Within these programmes, owners can sail up to 12 weeks each year on their yacht or sisterships at any destination worldwide in The Moorings and Sunsail network. The companies have bases all over the world and owners have access to all of them and the option to pay for an upgrade to a larger model.
Owners have zero operating costs as The Moorings and Sunsail cover all of them including annual berthing, insurance and maintenance costs. Furthermore, professional management is provided for the yachts all year round.
The Leopard 53 PC released in 2020 is known as a Moorings 534 PC (four cabins) within the charter fleet
Another of the benefits of this global programme is that identical specifications of each yacht allow for maintaining interchangeable parts for various yacht models. Spare-parts inventory at all the bases allows for efficient and timely maintenance of all yachts. Consistent designs and specs also ensure owners are familiar with the yachts whether they holiday in Thailand, the Mediterranean, Caribbean or anywhere else around the world.
Owners are also reassured by the companies’ methodical and thorough ‘A-B-C-D’ maintenance programme. The A maintenance is scheduled for the end of any charter, following each charter debrief and repairing any minor issues. These are attended to prior to the start of the next charter. The B maintenance is the periodic oil, transmission and other fluid changes required for preventive maintenance. These are computer tracked for precision.
The C maintenance is the major maintenance that is scheduled periodically, with the boat typically hauled out and the hull below the waterline treated. ‘Major’ maintenance recommended by engine and transmission manufacturers is also undertaken, along with cosmetic work to hull and bright work. The D maintenance is the end-of-contract maintenance, during which the boat receives a full refit upon departure from the charter fleet or handover back to the owner.
One of the main advantages with The Moorings yachts coming out of the charter fleet, and either handed back to the owner or sold through our in-house brokerage team, is that the boat is never ‘as is’ but in a refreshed, ready-to-sail condition.
The Moorings and Sunsail yacht ownership programme offers a lower-cost, worry-free option of purchasing a yacht without the overheads, with the option of cruising for three months a year in the world’s most beautiful locations.
However, if owners want a yacht all to themselves, there are also the options of buying pre-owned from the companies’ brokerage arms or a brand-new, personalised version directly from Leopard, Beneteau or Jeanneau. The choice is yours.
A Phuket native, Kit is Asia Regional Manager for Leopard Catamarans and handles all Asia yacht sales for sister brands Sunsail and The Moorings, which form the world’s largest charter company. He began his yachting career in Asia over 15 years ago, having developed his love for the sea and boats at a young age through his father, an avid recreational fisherman.