All The FunKatherine Stone

all the fun and no hassles without ownership.

There’s nothing like owning your own boat – a dream come true for many boating enthusiasts! But along with the joys of boat ownership come the headaches, frustrations, time-consuming repairs and maintenance, and a constant outflow of cash.

Someone once told me that owning a boat was like having a hole in the water into which you poured money – an accurate description if ever I heard one!

First you buy the boat. Maybe it’s used, but then you have to get a survey. Next comes insurance, initiation and annual membership dues, dockage, launch, and haul-out. Did I mention buying fuel, or replacing sails and parts? If you are going cruising, you need a dinghy and an outboard engine. The list goes on…



Freedom Boat ClubFreedom boat Club - time with friends and family.

So many people have told me they would love to go boating but either can’t afford it, don’t have the time, or both. On that note, I decided to look into some alternative options like fractional boat ownership, chartering, and fractional membership.

Let’s start with chartering. With myriad companies out there such as Moorings, Horizon, Desolation, and Canadian Yacht charters, you have options in Canada but also in some wonderful destinations much further south.

There’s nothing like enjoying tropical drinks and soft, warm island breezes on a yacht that can be chartered bare-boat, captain only, or fully crewed and flotillas.

Friday EveningImagine the freedom after work on Friday evening with SailTime.

There is also charter ownership where owners purchase a boat and place it in charter management with a charter company, of which there are hundreds, to help offset the cost of ownership through boat sharing.

Where does one find out about all these possibilities?

If you want to talk to the charter companies, start with a boat show. From the big ones in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Annapolis and Miami, to smaller local ones, you will find someone that will love to bend your ear. But don’t forget the Internet, Canadian Yachting, and word of mouth. Your best authority might just be a fellow boater who had the absolute best time on a charter.

There’s also chartering a boat for a specific event, such as a regatta. At the recent Sail Canada Women’s Keelboat regatta held in Toronto, in September, the members of the Canadian Shark Association voted overwhelmingly to offer their boats out on charter without a fee. In fact, many of the owners delivered the boats to the regatta, helped to set them up, went out for a practice sail with the crews, and answered questions on rig and sail tuning. All in the name of promoting their class.

On the other hand, at the 2017 driveHG.ca J/24 Worlds held at Port Credit Yacht Club, although the boats were delivered to the site, the owners were not present and the fees ranged from $1,500 to $3,500 for the week.

Often times, what you thought you chartered online from pictures is far from what you get. Do your homework and come prepared to do some re-fairing of the keel and replacing anything from deck hardware to the rigging.

Le Boat
Don’t forget to add Le Boat to your list. One of the leading boating holiday companies in Europe, Le Boat has been in business for over 40 years; last year it opened their first Canadian location on the Rideau Canal, the oldest continuously-operating canal system in North America and located right in our own backyard.

No licenses or experience are necessary, and as captain of your own boat, you can decide what you want to see and where you want to stop. Boats range from 47 feet for sleeping ten people with three washrooms down to 36 feet for sleeping six and with two bathrooms. Charter for three, four, seven, ten or fourteen nights to see beautiful, picturesque scenery on this World Heritage UNESCO waterway.
https://www.leboat.ca

 Fleet on DockFleet on Dock right at Harbourfront with Gone Sailing in Toronto.

Carefree Boat Club
In large cities as well as smaller communities, there are some great non-ownership boat programs.

In the powerboat category is Carefree Boat Club, which has over 70 locations throughout North America, two of which are in Canada (Lake Simcoe, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec), with others planned to open in Victoria, BC and throughout the rest of Canada. Members can enjoy a great variety of boats for all types of activities using reciprocal privileges. Carefree Boat Club has even expanded to the Caribbean in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

SailTime Is FreedomSailTime is freedom to sail when you want.

Formed in 2002, Carefree Boat Club is a private club where only the members can reserve or charter the club’s boats. Options include pontoon, fishing, deck, cruiser, bowrider, ski and sail boats from 18 to 35 feet.

With a member-to-boat ratio of 10:1, there is always great availability and members can boat as often as they wish using the online reservation system. No more buying a boat, maintenance, taxes, slip fees, insurance, cleaning, repairs or winterization – it’s all covered in your membership and one-time initiation fee, which is one-third less than owning a boat and allows more time for members to spend on the water with family and friends.

Boat safety, unlimited on-the-water training, and handling courses are provided by instructors at each location. The instructors will ensure that you are comfortable with docking, procedures, general navigation, and safety before you head out on your maiden voyage.

Members can join for as little as one year and renew as often as they like. With the ability to get on the water for a day or even just an hour, Carefree Boat Club is a great alternative to boat ownership.
https://carefreeboats.com

Travel In ComfortTravel in comfort and style on the Rideau. 

Gone Sailing Adventures
In the Toronto area there is a company called Gone Sailing Adventures, founded by Howie Colt in 2008, which offers myriad “adventures” both planned and customized. From sailing lessons, private charters, daily sails, and destination charters to their fractional sailing club - they have it all covered.

Their fleet consists of seven boats ranging in size from 22 to 45 feet, including a 45-foot powerboat, and their creative marketing department has come up with all kinds of events to get people out on the water.

Some of the more popular events include Friday night wine and cheese sail, often referred to as “date night”, the Summer Sailstice welcoming summer, the Full Moon Sail to watch the sun go down, Fireworks and Toronto International Air Show sails with the best seats in town to watch the sky entertainment, and an Ultimate Beach Day sailing around the islands and anchoring to swim.

The Boating LifestyleThe boating lifestyle without ownership.

Probably the most inventive experience is the Niagara County Sail, Sup & Savour. You can start on land at a Niagara winery, savour wine tasting and lunch, and then sail home with dinner aboard - or take the reverse trip starting on water.

Don’t know how to sail? They have all kinds of courses on land, water, and online including Learn-to-Sail, Basic and Intermediate Cruising, and harbour licenses.
https://www.gonesailingadventures.com

 

Freedom Boat Clubs
The Freedom Boat Clubs, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Vancouver and Port Moody, B.C., and Toronto’s Outer Harbour Marina, focus primarily on power boats up to 28 feet. As the franchise owns all the boats, members don’t have the hassle of buying, owning, insuring or maintaining a boat.

“Freedom to boat is at the very core of Freedom Boat Club.”

Members pay a one-time initiation fee and monthly dues, and with a ratio of 8:1, boats can be taken out with no wait time. Important to keep in mind is that it is a “dawn to dusk” operation, so all boats must be back at the dock every night.

With over 160 franchisees and 1,600 boats across North America, members have unlimited, professional on-water training opportunities. With membership also comes access to the entire fleet at no extra cost using the online reservation system. There are a variety of membership plans to suit your lifestyle from seasonal to year-round boating. https://www.freedomboatclub.com

SailTime
Started by George Bonelli in 2001, SailTime has 37 worldwide locations, including the newly opened franchise in the west end of Toronto. This unique program offers sailors the opportunity to purchase a boat and put it into fleet.

With owner-membership, the franchise will help you purchase and then manage, maintain, and insure your boat while splitting the rental income.

Unlike charters, there is a connection between members and owners. Only five members are assigned to a boat per season, so the owner has peace of mind and confidence as they know the other sailors using their boat.

However, you can become a member without purchasing a boat, with monthly membership allowing access to new boats in the SailTime fleet. Members have access to over 115 Jeanneau, Beneteau, and Hunter boats in other SailTime locations including the U.S., Australia, and Italy, ranging from 30 to 51 feet. There is availability to go sailing for one day, long weekends, or week-long cruises every month, all managed through SailTime’s online reservation system.

If you are new to sailing, their instructors will ensure that you can safely and confidently skipper your boat. Their innovative approach to boat access makes it easy and economical to “take the helm”.
https://www.sailtime.com

 

As I finish this article, it certainly makes a strong argument for fractional member-ownership and boat club membership; I’m seriously wondering why I own my own boat – actually, two boats!

The idea of no maintenance, no cleaning, no yacht club or marina fees, no insurance, no surveys – simply a boat to use just about whenever I want with someone else doing all the scrubbing, polishing, and maintenance is really starting to look good.

You just might want to look into some of these unique programs and see which one suits your lifestyle to help you get back out onto the water, or to do it for the first time.

I guarantee it will be a game changer.

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