Next meet the fleet day: Friday 14th September
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Membership FAQs

DO YOU HAVE OTHER MEMBERS WHO CAN SAIL WITH ME?

Yes, you have a number of options. Many of our members sail together by choice as it is more sociable, brings a greater experience on board, and of course only one member’s boat time is being used.

You will meet many like minded people through our socials and training days that we organise throughout the year. We also run a dedicated FlexiCrew Membership Programme specifically for this purpose, many of whom are very experienced, are familiar with the area and places to go, and it is a fun, social way to sail. You therefore never need to be without crew.

DO I MEET THE OTHER MEMBERS ON MY FLEXISAIL YACHT?

Absolutely you can.

As a FlexiSail member yourself you have all the other FlexiSail members’ contact details on your own boat as well as the opportunity to meet other members at our regularly arranged social and training events from across our locations of Hamble, Lymington, Poole, and Woolverstone.

If you are thinking of membership we are always pleased to arrange for you to meet or talk to existing FlexiSail members. It is a great way to get answers to questions, such as “What is your experience of FlexiSail?” or “Does the iCalendar scheduling work well?”

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MEMBERSHIP OVER OWNERSHIP?

The advantage of FlexiSail membership is that it is clear cut and straightforward. You are simply paying for access to the asset.  So whilst you are gaining the ‘ownership ‘ experience, you are not buying it.

Membership is a great way to see if sailing is for you (dipping your toes in the water) at a known fixed cost. By comparison, owning a boat involves a significant financial commitment, which by its nature is long term, and the costs if you change your mind are huge!

FlexiSail membership provides the flexibility to move your membership to different boats, all of which are new or nearly new. It is the perfect solution for busy and time poor people who want to use their spare time sailing and not committing to looking after another expensive and depreciating asset!

Membership is a no risk straightforward fixed cost 12-month or less commitment.

WILL MEMBERSHIP WORK FOR ME AS I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF SPARE TIME OR LARGE BUDGET?

We offer 9 membership levels so you can choose a membership that works for you in terms of time on the water and cost. We want you to achieve the maximum value from your membership.

Choose between ‘Anytime’, ‘Weekender’, or ‘Midweeker’ membership options for access with a bias towards weekend sailing or midweek sailing. Each membership type has 3 levels of usage from which to choose what works best for you. These are set out on the FlexiSail membership page.

Also you can choose to share your membership with another person, which will halve your costs. By mostly sailing together you have the best of flexible and ample access, and less cost.  At FlexiSail there is no additional cost to share your membership.

Our model is based on giving you the nearest experience to owning your own boat, but without any of the huge standing and running costs, or time and hassle involved with owning your own boat.

Our supportive environment also means that if something does go wrong we are there to deal with any issues.  This saves you an enormous amount of heartache, time and cost. One area this has been particularly appreciated is when a member has had an accident with another boat.

Membership is, therefore, more about the many benefits of having a share of the use of a beautiful boat rather than simply a cost per sail. By strictly controlling the number of members to a boat you will also be able to pick up free Last Minute bookings (within 3 days), which adds to the value proposition. Typically there are 70 days a year when the boat is available for last minute free sailing, socials, and essential maintenance – even when the boat is running full.

I AM INTERESTED IN OWNERSHIP, BUT CAN I BE A MEMBER FIRST?

Yes, we actually encourage all potential boat owners to become a FlexiSail member first.

This way you can see how everything works, ‘buy’ into the way we run our business, and proceed as a boat owner with absolute confidence that we will properly look after and care for your boat. You will also know the discerning people who are members on your boat and who also have your yacht’s interest at heart.

It makes the transition very easy as you literally step off one boat onto your own when it arrives. Meanwhile you have been enjoying your sailing during the wait. Any membership fees in credit are then refunded.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE DO I NEED BEFORE JOINING FLEXISAIL?

None! At FlexiSail we have our own fully integrated RYA training centre that is dedicated to member’s training, which is called  ‘FlexiSail Training’.

One of the great benefits with FlexiSail Training is that we will mentor and monitor you through your entire training.  You train on your own FlexiSail yacht or catamaran with our instructor, taking you, your friends or family, from total novices to competent sailors in a safe and enjoyable way. In fact, almost half of our members start their sailing with FlexiSail – it is where we specialise.

FlexiSail Training is both an RYA practical and shore based training school that is able to provide all your training needs, from novice to Yacht Master Offshore. Many members sail together as a result of meeting on our one day training events.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE IRRESPONSIBLE MEMBERS?

Our membership agreement makes provision for any member who abuses their FlexiSail membership to be fined or removed from the programme. In 13 years we have only had to ‘remove’ two members who felt no duty of care or responsibility towards the other members on their boat and treated our yacht as charter boat. One had a series of accidents, which directly impacted on other members.

You get to personally know the members that are following you on board.  Consequently, there is a natural concern and desire to return the boat on time and in the excellent condition that you received your boat. Also, because you join FlexiSail to have the ‘ownership’ experience, you become familiar with your boat, treat it as your own and as a result we have many fewer accidents.

IS FLEXISAIL SHARED OWNERSHIP?

No, Flexisail membership is not shared ownership. Full ownership is vested in the owner-member only.

As a FlexiSail member you enjoy all the benefits of ownership, but none of the downsides. By simply paying an annual subscription to have exclusive access to your FlexiSail boat, membership is kept very simple and uncomplicated. While you are a member you are enjoying exclusive access to a beautiful fully maintained boat at less than the cost of the marina berth, and on a fixed cost basis. Can’t be bad! When you choose to leave there are no shares to sell or other complexities associated with shared ownership.

Many of our members are ex-owners who like the low cost and simplicity of our membership programme.

IS RACING PERMITTED?

No, unfortunately not. One of the reasons why we can keep and maintain our yachts to such a high standard is that they are for cruising only. We know from experience that boats which are raced are ‘pushed’ hard and to the limit, which results in equipment breaking and significantly greater wear and tear.  The only exception is the annual Round the Island Race when we only enter one of our larger yachts.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE BOAT BREAKS DOWN?

FlexiSail provide breakdown cover through SeaStart – the AA on the water.  SeaStart will sort you out, usually within the hour, and will tow you back if necessary. They cover a wide area of the South Coast and have arrangements with local engineers in many other locations.

However, FlexiSail boats are generally new or nearly new, with an average age of approximately 3 years old. Yacht marine engines are very reliable and are serviced annually by the main dealer and service agent. Therefore, it is most unlikely that you will ever have a major engine failure (we have not had one in 13 years of operation of FlexiSail). However, it is always possible to pick up weed and cause the engine to overheat or to catch a rope around the prop.

SeaStart are available to chat through any potential issues before a breakdown, and of course we are on shore to deal with anything once you return.

WHAT IS THE INSURANCE EXCESS AND DO YOU PROVIDE A WAIVER?

With FlexiSail Insurance you are liable for the first £2000 inc vat.

FlexiSail Insurance is comprehensive and with a Lloyds mainstream insurer. Your excess is recoverable where the insurers deem it is not your fault. Normally incidents happen in the marina and the cost charged to you is the net cost to us for repairing the scratch or scrape, mostly done in-house to keep costs down. In the case of a major incident your liability is capped at the insurance excess of £2000. Most importantly we deal with all the hassle of dealing with third parties and any damage to their boat.

However, we recognise that a £2000 liability is a lot and makes any mistake a very expensive day, which in turn can destroy the fun and someone’s confidence.  We, therefore. offer an insurance excess waiver.  For a small amount paid annually FlexiSail will take the risk for you, giving you great peace of mind and will enable you to enjoy your sailing more.

WHAT EXTRA CHARGES ARE THERE ABOVE THE MEMBERSHIP FEE?

NONE, we do not have any FlexiSail membership extra charges. Your FlexiSail boat is fully insured, berthed, maintained and managed by us. Even the cooking gas and fuel is included. There are no further costs for you to pay. We do not charge for you to share a membership. You are of course responsible for your own overnight berthing costs when away from your home marina. FlexiSail membership is true fixed cost sailing!

You do have to cover the insurance excess if you have an incident, although we do offer an insurance excess waiver for a small annual charge.

To ensure that you are fully familiar with your yacht you do a two day induction with an instructor booked in management time, and which is charged separately. All training is also charged for separately.

Many members pay their membership fees by an annual lump sum for which we provide a useful discount. Alternatively, members may pay on a monthly basis, during which time FlexiSail hold 2 months’ fees in advance for the duration of your membership. This is refundable when you leave unless you have failed to give notice or have debts outstanding.

WHAT IS THE FLEXISAIL BOAT DEEP CLEAN?

Every month we carry out a professional FlexiSail boat deep clean that takes approximately 5 hours to ensure that our boats remain really smart inside and out. We use chemicals to remove stubborn marks on the deck; clean the bilges; galley and heads; and polish the woodwork and bright work.

We also use the deep clean day for essential maintenance to ensure that mechanically the boat remains in tip top condition.

As a member, and before you disembark, you are expected to wash down the decks, clean the galley and heads, sweep the floor, and clear out your rubbish, etc. Basically you will need to leave the boat as you would like to find it, ready for the next member. We also provide a professional cleaning service should you wish to arrange a member’s clean, something that you may wish to consider. After you have had the boat for a few days you will be tired and wanting to get home, and so a professional clean is a nice way to finish your time on board.

WHAT ARE FLEXISAIL'S ARRANGEMENTS FOR RE-FUELING?

FlexiSail have a fuel account at your marina or close by. We ask you to ensure that you leave your FlexiSail boat with at least half a tank of fuel. If you need to refuel just visit the fuel pontoon on your way back to the berth, fill the tank, sign the paperwork and the cost will go on to our account. If you need to refuel elsewhere you will need to pay, and then send us the receipt so that we can reimburse you. You should always ask for a 60/40 split on the tax – the split is the proportion that you are legally allowed to claim as heating fuel, which is taxed at a lower rate and so reduces the overall cost of fuel, and in turn the cost of your membership.

IS SHARED MEMBERSHIP POSSIBLE?

Yes, we allow you to share your membership with one other person.  In other words we allow two named skippers under one membership. This is normally a spouse or partner, but could be a friend, son or daughter, or business colleague.

There is no additional charge for sharing your membership, but there are some usage conditions where there are two independent skippers named.  Shared FlexiSail membership is a great way to reduce cost and increase value.

 

HOW MANY MEMBERS SHARE A BOAT?

We strictly restrict the number of members in any boat share to an equivalent of 7 Anytime Voyager members, including the owner-member. Often there are less. Anytime memberships may be split into a number of Weekenders and Midweekers, but will still only add up to a total of 7 Anytime Voyager memberships. This equates to 7 weeks sold in any 9 week booking rotation.

As the majority of our booking rotations are 9 weeks long, there will be a minimum of 70 days a year that cannot be advanced booked by members even if the membership is full.  This time is there for members to use as free Last Minute (within 3 days) additional sailing, for social events, and for essential maintenance.

It is the boat share members’ ‘pride of ownership’ that sets us apart from our competitors and enables us to maintain your boat to such a high standard.

CAN I BRING GUESTS ON BOARD MY FLEXISAIL BOAT?

Absolutely! Sailing with guests is much of the pleasure, be it family, friends, colleagues or other members.

Provided that you as ‘the named skipper member’ are on board, who you invite is entirely up to you. You can also still sail if you have not yet obtained your qualifications provided that you have a suitably qualified skipper who is in charge. In this situation, we need to have approved the skipper’s details and qualifications for insurance purposes prior to sailing.

Ownership FAQs

WILL THE OTHER MEMBERS SHOW A “PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP”?

Firstly, we maintain an exclusive membership where if you add up the time purchased by each member including yourself it works out at a maximum of 7 weeks usage in any booking rotation.  Each booking rotation is 9 weeks long in the sailing season of March to October inc and 8 weeks November to February.  This keeps the number of members who have access to your boat to a small select number.  This approach engenders a genuine “pride of ownership” amongst members who are using your boat week in week out as their own.

Each member must be suitably qualified and is assessed by us during the 2 day induction that all members undertake. This ensures that each member is fully familiar with their boat’s operation and equipment.

Through our RYA training centre, FlexiSail Training, we continually provide training to improve members’ skills. Additionally, each member receives a ‘Member’s Manual’ and signs a ‘Duty of Care’ undertaking.

Last, but not least, we have a proactive management team who maintain a high standard of maintenance, planned preventative maintenance and general cleaning.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so do come and see our existing fleet and take time to look at a 4 or 5 year old boat where you will see the “pride of ownership” at work – we know you will be impressed.

DOES FLEXISAIL’S OWNER AGREEMENT ALLOW FOR EARLY CANCELLATION?

Yes, our owner agreement makes provision for you to withdraw your boat at the end of October each year.

More importantly for most owners, the owner agreement also has the provision to keep your boat in our programme for additional years by the mutual agreement between the owner and FlexiSail.

We have the most beneficial ownership package possible with professional management, all running costs paid, a guaranteed net income, and most importantly a known small number of other users that take a “pride of ownership” in your boat. This gives the best possible outcome for an owner who cares about his boat.

WHAT IS THE FINANCIAL BENEFIT OF FLEXISAIL BOAT OWNERSHIP?

With FlexiSail Boat Ownership we offer a substantial discount on your new purchase plus a guaranteed income that is paid every month of the year.

In addition FlexiSail cover all the running costs and the owner receives free sailing.

The total boat ownership package value is generally around 20% of the purchase price of the boat, receivable each year for the 3 to 5 years (or longer by mutual agreement) that your boat is in our FlexiSail programme.  This means that over 5 years we pay out the capital cost of the boat again, saving you, as the owner, a huge financial commitment.

Come and talk to us if you would like to discus this possibility further.

AS A FLEXISAIL BOAT OWNER DO I GET PREFERENTIAL ACCESS?

Yes you do.

As a FlexiSail boat owner bringing a new boat into our fleet, then for the first year or until we have sold all other weekend orientated memberships less one (whichever comes first), we will provide you with a second membership free of charge, giving you 1/4 of the use of your boat. Longer term you can buy additional access at half price and which is offset against income.  In addition we often agree with owners to delay the start in our programme to allow you to enjoy your brand new boat for a few weeks before anyone else.

Otherwise, each membership is on exactly the same terms as any other member.

There is no owner priority over bookings, but as the owner we allow you to hold more advance bookings than member giving you more flexibility of dates.  The same ‘fair share’ iCalendar rules apply to everyone.

DO I SELL MY BOAT AT THE END OF THE FLEXISAIL BOAT OWNERSHIP AGREEMENT?

With the FlexiSail boat ownership agreement there are several options for you to consider.

If your boat is popular and you are happy to renew worn out equipment we will consider extending the agreement for additional seasons by mutual agreement.

You can choose to part exchange your boat for a new boat in our FlexiSail programme which can save significant selling costs if you want to upgrade. Your new boat will still be eligible for a discount.  Also, we normally arrange that the trade in has an upside value and payment should the dealer sell for more than the trade in value.

Alternatively, you can decide to sell the boat privately or simply sail off into the sunset!

HOW BAD IS YACHT DEPRECIATION?

Yacht depreciation very much depends on brand, model and condition.

As a generalisation the yacht depreciation curve is steepest in year one, becomes less steep in year 2 and 3, and continues to flatten in years 4 and 5. By year 6 most well maintained and cared for yachts will have pretty much stopped depreciating.

The caveat here is that repairs, renewals and high standards of maintenance are essential to maintain value.

Yacht depreciation overall will generally vary in range of between 30% – 45% over this period. It is surprising the difference you see between manufacturers and particular models, and therefore our knowledge and experience is vital to you.

Interestingly catamarans can reverse the trend have been known to sell for around their original new price after 5 or 6 years. When buying with FlexiSail, we will lead you through this minefield.

TELL ME ABOUT BOAT FINANCE FOR A NEW FLEXISAIL BOAT?

Boat finance for a FlexiSail boat is straight forward.

You are the sole owner of a FlexiSail boat and so you avoid the complexity of shared ownership which is a finance nightmare.

As a rule of thumb the maximum deposit/loan ratio is 20/80. Often the best rates are available at around 30/70.

The marine finance industry has become quite sophisticated over the last few years with variable and fixed rate deals, over periods up to 15 years.

Loans are available as a straight line repayment, or with a final balloon payments (which reduces the amount of capital that has to be repaid during the term, but the final payment is always kept below the future boat value).

Lenders have different ways of setting interest rates – some use Libor as the base rate, others the Bank of England minimum lending rate, etc.

The 3 main marine boat finance companies are SGB (Société Général), Barclays and Lombard. We have experienced all three and there are some significant differences.

Larger loans attract lower interest rates, but in all cases you need to be able to demonstrate affordability of payments, without the income received from FlexiSail as this is not taken into account.

SGB for instance, have funded many of our boats and they recognise that the costs that we cover and income we provide is significant added comfort, which in turn is often reflected in their rates and willingness to provide the boat finance to our owners.

WHAT ARE FLEXISAIL’S PREFERRED BOAT MANUFACTURERS?

Our preferred boat manufacturers are Dufour and Jeanneau yachts and Fountaine Pajot Catamarans.

We have chosen these brands due to a good balance between initial cost, future residual value and practical considerations for maintenance, suitability for our waters and our membership expectations.

All our boats are specified to a high “private” standard and are CODED to meet current Code of Practice required for commercial use.

We are also open in principle to other options as well as our preferred boat manufacturers if you wish to own a boat in the FlexiSail programme although the agreement may not be on the standard terms.

Please call us to discuss our current requirements, the options and financial model.

CAN I BECOME A MEMBER FIRST AND A FLEXISAIL OWNER LATER?

As a potential boat owner we actively encourage membership first.

This way you can see how everything works, ‘buy’ into the way we run our business and proceed to become a FlexiSail boat owner with absolute confidence that we will properly look after and care for your boat.

It makes the transition very easy as you literally step off one boat as a member onto your own as a boat as owner as soon as it is commissioned and ready to sail.  Any membership fees paid in advance are refunded to you.

Meanwhile you have been enjoying your sailing before and during the ordering, waiting for the build slot, manufacturing and commissioning process.

 

WHAT LEVEL OF BOAT SPECIFICATION DO FLEXISAIL HAVE?

FlexiSail boat specification is very high because membership with us is all about receiving the ‘ownership’ experience, so a well spec’d, well maintained, and comfortable boat is essential.

Our yachts include; EPIRB; chart plotter; autopilot; heating; electric windlass; wind instruments; depth and wind gauges; 2 x VHF; galley items and other features that make yachting easy and enjoyable so that all you need to bring is your clothing, bedding and food.

All FlexiSail boats are fully certified to the Maritime and Coastal Agency Code of Practice for small commercial vessels, complying with cross Channel requirements, and carry extensive safety equipment, plus most most boats are also fitted with AIS transponders, or radar.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF FLEXISAIL BOAT OWNERSHIP?

Boat ownership is an important dream for many people.

• Through FlexiSail boat ownership you have the opportunity to realise the dream knowing that your boat is being properly maintained, well cared for and all your running costs paid for.

• As a boat owner it is good to know the other members using your boat and to know that they have a real ‘pride of ownership’ too.

• A guaranteed income that comes in every month of the year

Add to this your free sailing where even the cost of fuel and cooking gas is included and you can literally ‘have your cake and eat it!

HOW DOES YOUR MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT HANDLE IRRESPONSIBLE MEMBERS?

Our membership agreement makes provision for those members who abuse their FlexiSail membership to be fined (eg. for the late return of the boat) or ultimately removed from the programme for persistent breaking of the rules or damage to the boat.

Since our inception in 2005 we have only had to ‘remove’ two members who felt no duty of care, one of whom had multiple accidents and treated the boat like a charter boat.

When you  personally know the members that are following you on board, there is a natural desire to return the boat on time and in the excellent condition that you received your boat.  Consideration for the other members (and owner) sharing the use of the boat is an important part of FlexiSail membership.

Training FAQs

I AM A VERY RUSTY RYA DAY SKIPPER, CAN I UPDATE MY SKILLS WITH FLEXISAIL?

Absolutely!  Whether you are already a RYA Day Skipper, have sailed but don’t have the qualifications, or are still at the novice stage, we will train you through our RYA sailing school, FlexiSail Training.

We will bring you up to speed and will make sure that you are happy with your skills and your FlexiSail boat before taking her out on your own.

Training on your own FlexiSail boat avoids all the common failings of standard courses by giving you one-2-one attention, and builds skills and confidence faster and more robustly than any other way. It is also a very cost-effective way to train.

We regularly run 1-day members’ skills days following your RYA Day Skipper training that you will find invaluable.

When you join FlexiSail you will receive a 2-day induction over and above any RYA Day Skipper training that includes a full day on the water with a lot of boat handling under power and marina berthing practise.

This is personal one-2-one tuition, which is always greatly valued by our new members. There is no better way to train, gain skills and build confidence.

CAN I DO MY DAY SKIPPER PRACTICAL OR COMPETENT CREW QUALIFICATIONS ON MY FLEXISAIL BOAT?

Yes, FlexiSail Training, our own RYA sailing school, is dedicated to member training and can provide Day Skipper Practical and Competent Crew training.

We saw first hand the failings of the standard school approach and wanted to do something better for our members.

We also have a vested interest in helping you have a higher skill set as we are giving you a new and expensive boat to use as your own, and we want both you and the boat to come back in one piece!

Day Skipper practical and Competent Crew training is done on a one-2-one mentored basis on your own FlexiSail yacht or catamaran, and with two of you training it is actually more cost-effective than standard school training, yet you achieve and learn so much more in the same time.

CAN I DO DAY SKIPPER THEORY WITH FLEXISAIL?

Yes you can.

We have found that an online interactive course is the most popular way to obtain the RYA Day Skipper theory and Yacht Master theory qualifications as many of our members find it easier to do it in their own time rather than spending holiday time in a classroom.

The online solution, which in many ways is more comprehensive with all aspects of sailing, as well as the “straight jacket” of the course itself, tends to be more fun and informative with interactive content. You can also use the course information as a refresher in subsequent years.

For this solution you need a reliable internet connection, although lessons can be downloaded for use offline.

For our RYA Day Skipper theory course we have partnered with local company Skippers Online. We have built a value-added package around the course that includes access to our own instructors as well as face-to-face theory days.

Please ask for details.

DO FLEXISAIL DO VHF RADIO AND SEA SURVIVAL COURSES?

Yes, for FlexiSail members we are a one-stop-shop and will book you onto any shore based course that you need.

These include VHF radio, Sea Survival, First aid, and Diesel Engine Maintenance courses.

At FlexiSail Training we occasionally run our own courses, but have found that we can give greater flexibility of dates by outsourcing to the best providers in each category.

For instance, with VHF Radio we think it is more valuable for you to be able to make and respond to a Mayday from another student in real time on a real set rather than use a software simulator.

Just let us know what you wish to do and we will organise it all for you.  You need to be a member, a family member, or sailing with a member to do any courses through us.  I am sorry, but we do not do courses for the public.

CAN I JOIN FLEXISAIL AND LEARN TO SAIL?

Teaching new members to learn to sail safely and competently and opening up a whole new world is an important part of what we do. In fact around 50% of our members come to FlexiSail in order to train with us.

FlexiSail Training is an integrated part of FlexiSail, providing member only mentored one-2-one training on a member’s own FlexiSail boat.

We have a structured, supportive environment that means that you are never on your own, and if something does go wrong we are there to handle it.

As an RYA Training Centre we will give you the skills and confidence you need to sail safely and enjoy sailing to the full. Through our membership programme you will have your own boat to enjoy and through our extensive social programme you will find many friends to make it even more fun and engaging for the whole family.

There simply isn’t a better way to learn to sail than on your own boat with great instructors and in our supportive environment.