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Many of the common questions people ask are here below. We have worked hard to make our web site as informative as possible but if you have any questions that are not answered here or elsewhere on the site do give us a call. We will be delighted to provide you with any additional information you are looking for. Do also consider meeting us and seeing some of our fleet. There is nothing like stepping on board to see how we go about our business to give you the best sailing experience possible, and from an owners perspective to see the exceptional condition that we maintain our fleet and look after your investment.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.