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Old 02-11-2010, 12:29 AM   #1
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I'm in the process of buying a large (100 ft 12 pass) schooner to run as a charter boat. I'm thinking of starting a round the world cruise that never ends, and you may join the boat and leave the boat at any point. I'm figuring a five year circumnavigation, and if it's successful we will just keep on keeping on. We would also add in lots of educational aspects, long distance cruising, heavy weather, sea subsistence, cooking at sea, etc. Do you think enough people would want to do this to keep the boat running? Would any of you pay money to participate in something like this?

This is not in any way advertising, this is strictly theoretical at this point. Is there enough interest out there to make it worth pursuing?
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:52 AM   #2
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I would not pay money to do it, I am already an experienced sailor and could do the same on my own steam (or sails).

I do know that there is a market for this, however, and you probably would find people willing to pay money for it. Just be aware that the CruiserLog forums are not the place to advertise for this sort of service though.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delatbabel View Post
Just be aware that the CruiserLog forums are not the place to advertise for this sort of service though.
I think that this is a really interesting idea and, without any evidence to the contrary, think it could be a great lifestyle opportunity for some, a sabbatical for others and a pointless exercise for those with the wherewithal and nouse - northern English for ability - to run their own boat.

While I can sort of understand the desire to keep commercial interests off the board, I have to wonder what the view would be of someone - me for example - grasping an opportunity to adopt the cruising lifestyle on such a basis basis and continuing to post here.

Would I be any less of a cruiser cos I don't have the wherewithal or nouse (not) to run my own boat ? Would I (still) be welcome to contribute, ask daft questions, laugh at the bad jokes, marvel at the wealth of (corporate) knowledge, share my own experience and/or, indeed, seek a way thru the moral maze of who should be deemed worthy?

A little sharper than I intended at the end there, perhaps, but, once ya start making rules, instinctive anarchists can start to get a little jumpy!
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:20 AM   #4
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Would I be any less of a cruiser cos I don't have the wherewithal or nouse (not) to run my own boat ? Would I (still) be welcome to contribute, ask daft questions, laugh at the bad jokes, marvel at the wealth of (corporate) knowledge, share my own experience and/or, indeed, seek a way thru the moral maze of who should be deemed worthy?
Hi Peter

I think that the friendly point was just being made that this forum would not be the place to advertise for people to fill the charter - nothing else was intended I'm sure. We would love to have the input on the forum about the whole deal - the planning, the passage, etc.

It would indeed be a major undertaking - much bigger than I would ever dream of. What comes to mind was that big clipper/schooner/tallship (out of Nova Scotia I think) that circumnavigated a couple of times with inexperienced (paying) crew until he lost someone overboard. I never did here the final outcome of the court-case (perhaps someone could fill us in). Did the owner/skipper manage stay out of prison? Did he manage to keep his boat?
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:52 AM   #5
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Yes. I personal know 4 successful "sail training" businesses which do as you describe. However none of the boats are over 76 ft on deck. All the skippers of these successful businesses have impressive tall ship experience before starting their own businesses.

If serious about such a venture...you should read Alan Villiers Cruise of the Conrad. Nothing has changed in 80 years. Amazingly.
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:22 PM   #6
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During our first crossing of the S. Pacific, a "sail training vessel" tied up next to us in American Samoa for a few days, and I found the grumblings of the "students" interesting. I wasn't expecting the complaints when I first asked how they liked the boat and their trip so far. As I remember, it was a European vessel, and all the "students" were European, it seemd mostly from Germany. Young kids who complained that they had to do all the work, paid a lot of money for the privilege, and were fed primarily beans and rice, and apparently not enough of that. I asked why they didn't leave, and were told that they had paid in advance and wouldn't get their money back if they left so they might as well make the best of it.

When we were in Fiji when we listened to a radio conversation between Fiji officials and an American who was asking to be allowed to tie up at their commercial dock without charge because it was a "sail training ship". I remember very little about the exchange, but I do remember my own irritation that the fellow seemed to feel that he was entitled to some special dispensation to this non-Fiji vessel for what seemed, at the time, as a specious argument for special privileges. Because of that irritation, and the earlier conversation in American Samoa, I have been suspicious of the claim that a couple has bought a large vessel in order to pay for their cruising using "sail training" paying passengers. I have not read enough for this cynical attitude to have evaporated.

I went to a website called Sail Training Ship MIR which has a long list of sail training ships, including one that I remember fairly well, US-flagged "Tree of Life", which I assume completed its circumnavigation, but their website has very little information. It seems to me that for there to be that many vessels there must be a significant level of interest.

I don't know the particulars of the group that sailed on Tree of Life, but it's clear that it isn't a ship that could be sailed by just the owners. See its picture and some info. Tree of Life for sale I thought that this fellow, also, billed his boat as a training ship, but I don't know that for sure.

Cynicism aside, I think that a sail training ship would be a worthwhile and rewarding enterprise, and Cruiser Log would be most receptive to its skipper and crew contributing to our forums. That we do not solicit nor allow commercial ads does not mean we disapprove of commercial ventures. Our warnings to potential crew remain valid, but go no further than that. Hah! Some of our best contributions are from commercial mariners.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:25 AM   #7
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There are way too many scams out there involving sail training vessels. If totem doesn't already have an impressive set of credentials involving tall ships, I'd suggest that he not purchase such a large vessel and expect a successful venture. If on the other hand, he's got a 100T masters license or better with sailing endorsement and lots of experience on a tall ship, he may well be able to successfully put together a great sail training program on the 100 ft schooner.

Interestingly, all the sail training vessels I know I was thinking of are NOT on the list you posted, Jeanne. Many of the museum vessels here in San Diego seem to be on the list, though (HMS Rose and Californian for example).

Again, I do know of some scams out there or things which are not a good deal for the "student" participants. They tend to be run by folks who, IMHO, haven't "paid their dues" in the sail training/tall ship world but who are just looking for a way to pay for their cruising lifestyle.

I get a bit aggravated myself when people start grilling hubby and I on "what are you planning to DO with your schooner???" because we have no intention of running a business from our boat. It is tiresome to explain to people that one CAN have a historic vessel and simply voyage about as a private citizen--see the world on our own dime rather than other people's money. There seems to be an expectation that anyone with a large, historic, schooner would be running some kind of charter business. Pet peeve of mine is that conversation with complete strangers.

Totem--do you have tall ship experience? If not, do you have a maritime museum nearby your home where you can get the needed experience or do you plan on hiring a suitable captain for your business venture? The realities of insuring (for private use OR charter) such a large vessel must be first and foremost. I know that we had to provide a sailing resume just to prove we knew how to use the rig on our schooner (running backs, gaffer...) and that we were well prepared for maintaining it as well. I'd imagine you'd have a similar set of hoops to jump through and even more if planning on a business venture.

Where does your interest in doing a sail training vessel come from? Is it simply the easiest way to fund the lifestyle you want or do you have a background which prepares you for this type of business?

Looking forward to hearing more,

Fair winds,
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:37 PM   #8
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Yes I have a lot of tall ship experience. I've got a 100T masters with sail and towing endorsements since I was 19 yrs old, all learned the hard way, no Sea School for me. The captain of the HMS Rose was my captain when I was coming up, taught me everything. I was boatswain on the Rose for years, and participated in the massive rebuild and refit. I helped build the Pride of Baltimore. My uncle helped build the Californian, and I've sailed on her and the Kelpie many times. I've been in lots of tall ship parades on the Rose, the Eagle, and a lot of other vessels. I was a sailing instructor, ASA certified for many years, even won best instructor in the US three years in a row. I have tons more experience than this little bit, I stopped counting at 100,000 miles offshore, and I hold lots of racing wins and world records as well.

However, this is not a "tall ship", merely a big sailboat. She is a staysail schooner, so fairly easy to handle even though large. I don't want to be taking bunches of schoolkids and working their fingers to the bone. I figure on the long crossings we will run as a training ship, for those who want to gain serious offshore experience. We will throw in celestial nav lessons, heavy weather, cooking at sea, marine biology on long offshore legs. I doubt too many people want to go on month long legs at sea, other than those who want the experience.

Most of the time there would be short hops from island to island etc. I figure these would appeal to people as a vacation, rather than a sail training type of trip. I will also pull the masts out often to do long inland waterway trips. I'm thinking Rhine Main Danube trip from the North Sea to the Black Sea as an awesome adventure, but we'd have to pull the sticks for all the bridges. I'm sure we eventually can do trips up the Yangtze, up the Amazon, up the Congo, up the Nile, etc etc.

I don't think I will have any problems running or maintaining the boat, I've been doing this stuff all my life, running everything from parasail boats, dive boats up to superyachts. I was a Sea Tow captain for many years, so I'm good at helping others out in a jam. I've worked in lots of boatyards too, so I am quite familiar with EVERY aspect of building and maintenance.

I'm just wondering about the idea of one way trips, as in, you can board and leave the vessel anywhere you want, as opposed to a trip that starts and ends in the same place. Would this be appealing to people, or would they always want to start and end at the same place? I've run charter boats for years and that is always the way it works, I've never seen a vessel running one way trips. This is my real question, would that work? Or would no one want to do it that way?
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:39 PM   #9
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One way trips should not be a problem especially for long crossings. I have done a couple short one way trips myself and am leaving at the end of the month to catch a charter in SXM and depart in the BVIs.

Some of the World ARC boats sell legs during the voyage and a lot of the ARC boats sell one ways on the trip over to people who need the miles for their Yachtmaster.

The only thing with such a big boat is that you will need a good supply of guests to make any profit at it due to the increase in costs to maintain a larger vessel.
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:17 PM   #10
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Thanks, Sammy for your reply. Many Cruiserlog members are cruiser and don't do charters so cannot comment on the market for such things.

Totem--I heartily suggest that you get in touch with your contacts via the tall ship world (Pride, Rose, and Californian) as some of the most successful charter boats that I can think of are run by folks who were captains and first mates on those particular vessels which you mention. You likely know these folks and they can provide valuable insights.

Regarding tall ships--definitions vary. LINK A schooner of 100 ft (that is length on deck?) is very likely to be traditionally rigged and capable of setting topsails. Even a staysail schooner (like Kelpie or Dauntless) usually sets sails like a topsail, fisherman or gollywobller that place it into the traditionally rigged realm and thus may be considered tall ships.

Good luck on your purchase and business plans.
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:32 PM   #11
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Glad to be able to contribute. Being a working stiff whos busy season is in the summer and living on the Great Lakes I can't do much cruising in my little boat so the extent of my cruising is on charters.

I pointed out the profitability issue because the last 2 years have been tough on the charter trade as with any type of travel. To give an example, I did 2 two week trips through the Grenadines in Dec and Jan with the boat I have been sailing on. The cost was 750 GBP ($1200 US) for the 2 weeks and includes eveything except the evening meal which we usually eat on shore. Even at that price the first trip they had 4 guests and on the second 5, one of which was my girlfriend. And this is a nice boat 51' MCA Catagory 0 with all the safety gear you could want 2 life rafts, 3 sat phones, 6 EPIRBS, SSB, AIS, full medical kit up to intramuscular injection and cathaters, fully insured. The owners are both RYA Yachtmaster ocean instructors, they do corporate charters in the UK during the summers. So it's not just some mom and pop operation or a boat bum trying to make a few bucks on the side.

But even with everything they have to offer at a great price they can't fill the boat.

The advice of talking to people that are doing the large boat world trips is spot on, they will be able to give the best insight to how much business can be expected and all the little things that you don't think about until they come up.

I'll tell you this I, like probably every other sailor at one time or another, have always thought I would like to retire and do charters on my (future) boat in the Caribbean, but after seeing all the things that have to be taken care of on a daily basis and having to put up with whoever might answer the ad on the internet and all the other BS, there is no way I would consider it anymore. If I use my license to suppliment my retirement it will only be with the occaisional delivery, and they will not be owner assisted deliveries, but that is another story.
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