How good idea is to own a yacht? chartering boats is better

With the cost of owning and running a yacht, and the time you will actually use it, is there any point in owning a yacht at all?

Where at Kavas Yachting it may seem obvious that we’d encourage you to charter rather than buy a boat outright (we’re in the business of chartering after all!) there are some very sound arguments against yacht ownership and in favour of companies such as us taking the responsibility of boat ownership.

Sailing the seven seas…

Though most people who sail talk idly about taking early retirement, selling all their possessions and sailing around the world, few actually do it.

Most yachts might get used just a few weekends a year and the odd week pottering up the coast. You may end up paying €10,000 a year or more just for 20 days actually enjoying the investment.

Those who do cut loose have the time to move their yacht to the destinations they choose – they will enjoy taking their boat to the Aegean or Ionian in their own time. Moving your boat from Southampton to Piraeus by sea is around 2,600 nautical miles, and if you went nonstop at 5 knots this would take you 22 days. For most people just delivering their vessel to Greece would eat up a sizeable chunk of their annual holiday time – even if you didn’t stop at a number of ports along the way to refuel and stock up on provisions.

In chartering your boat here in Greece, you spend a day travelling and settling in and then you go to sea. At the end of the trip you clean her up and head home, not worrying about security or how the heck you’re going to pay for the mooring fees until you come back at Christmas!

Imagine you owning your boat and having had an extremely wet summer in the UK, you fancied a trip to the Southern Hemisphere to catch the sun in an Australian summer? From Piraeus to Sydney via the Suez Canal that’s 9000 miles…! Or you can jump on a plane and travel direct from the UK over two days, enjoy your fix of sunshine for two weeks, and head home with an unseasonal tan…

The costs of owning a yacht

There is a saying, “a boat is a hole in the water to throw money in!” It is all very well spending €15,000 buying a reasonably seaworthy yacht but after that even the best vessels cost a lot of money to keep in shipshape condition. As a general rule the cost of running a yacht used to be 10% of its capital cost. If you spend €15,000 on a yacht that means it should cost €1,500 to keep it running every year.

On the South Coast of England that is a fantasy for any boat owner… Keeping a 10 metre yacht at Portland Marina in Dorset will cost you £5020 a year if you pay by Direct Debit. On a sailing discussion thread in 2012 one yachtie reckoned that annual maintenance would set him back £1500 a year, and insurance £500 a year. Therefore if you paid £10,000 for the boat itself you would be spending somewhere around 70% of the capital cost just to keep it bobbing prettily at the dock! What about fuel, provisions and the expenditure around sailing it? If you have the time to sail it as much as you dreamed when you bought it, you could easily spend 100% of the value of the boat annually.

Let’s compare this to chartering a 45ft yacht from Kavas in low season? This could cost you €2400, though you will be spending money on beer, food and marina fees as you enjoy your week afloat. That could cost you another €1000, or with the cost of taking the luxury boat out around the Aegean somewhere around 30% of the cost of owning the boat on the South Coast of the UK!

Dinghies – the exception to the rule

Before we go we will just touch on dinghy ownership. A good boat will cost you € 5,500 second hand, and a typical club membership including storage will set you back € 250 annually. Unless you are a top class racer sailing on the national class circuit you won’t need to pour money into the boat on maintenance.

For even a fairly quick boat you won’t spend lots of cash on it annually. Where you won’t have a fridge aboard to chill your beer, most dinghy sailors do this to blast around the buoys for a few hours, once or twice a week. The investment isn’t horrendous and the sport is accessible to most people.

The reality of life

Let’s face it, not everyone has the perfect life, free of dramas or worries at home or at work. We never get every weekend we planned away, and families and friends can be a lot of trouble at times as we help them navigate their own stormy waters of life. In 2015 I got afloat one Saturday through the whole of that year due to an ongoing family crisis I had to deal with. You can’t guarantee that you will get even two weeks afloat on your boat in a given year.

Speak to most professional sailors and sailing journalists and you will find they don’t own their own boat. They enjoy sailing on new waters each time and though most can afford to own their own boat, they generally don’t. It isn’t just the exorbitant cost but the responsibility of keeping the boat that puts them off!

It actually makes a lot of sense to charter a boat, and we aren’t just saying that because we are in the business!

Richard Shrubb

See also ↠ Idiot’s guide to buying a second hand boat