Originally Posted by gelkins
What advice do you have to this guy who loves to sail but lacks the big bucks to make it happen?
It is clearly a matter of trust. I would be concerned that things are broken in charter more often.
If it is safety gear when needed, you are in trouble.
I would see if they offer remediation for such cases, and check if they have procedures to check the boat when it is back.
You might consider to charter one of their vessels, check the condition of gears, break something, and see if you can get away with it. (Of course remediate them when/if it is obvious they did/didn't notice.)
I was trained on a vessel which was given to charter by the owner. She was in miserable condition. Spinakker lost, motor did not work, and I ended up sealing holes with chewing gum to prevent rain to my bed. I would never give my boat to the hand of those charterers if I had one. Of course it is Wild East, you migh as well find decent and caring people.
I have choosen the other way to have a boat cheaply. Building one.