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Plotman
Member


Joined: 03/25/13
Posts: 3
Sunsail Ownership Questions
      #1501014 - 04/16/13 11:11 PM (75.134.140.18)

I am interested in hearing from someone who has owned a boat through sunsail. I've gotten the info from them, but I'd like the unvarnished report from someone who has gone full cycle with them.

For Example -
1) At the end of the contract, did you sell, put it in another fleet ("Club Line", Footloose, Conch, etc).

2) at the end of the contract, how did how much you owed compare to what the boat was worth. In other words how big a hit do you take at the end of the contract?

3) Did the income payments from Sunsail actually cover the boat payments?

4) What was your experience getting owners weeks - either in the BVI or other bases.

5) Would you do it again? Have you?

Thanks

David


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summerwind56
Traveler


Joined: 01/12/13
Posts: 18
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: Plotman]
      #1501017 - 04/16/13 11:20 PM (76.180.45.224)

I would also like to know if anyone owns a boat through sunsail or moorings, if you can write all your trips off as a business expense because you have to check on your boat every couple months.

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Pvgreg
Traveler


Joined: 04/14/13
Posts: 362
Loc: CA, USA
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: summerwind56]
      #1501020 - 04/16/13 11:58 PM (72.211.237.83)

Great thread, I look forward to hearing people's experience as I have been interested in a moorings ownership. Plotman hits on all the questions I have about the deal. My biggest concern is getting stuck with a boat and big costs as it ages out of the moorings/sunsail rental program. I notice quite a few used rc cats for sale that are 5-7 years old, so if the used resale market is soft when you need to sell and upgrade (and when is it not soft) you take a big hit. It seems to me that one is just financing the moorings operations unless you sail 10 weeks a year. Unfortunately I don't have luxury of that much leisure time now so a weekly bareboat charter now and then will have to do.

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NCSailor
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Joined: 12/26/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: Pvgreg]
      #1501028 - 04/17/13 03:53 AM (74.235.171.223)

Check sailonline.com for a lot of useful information about owning a charter boat.

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SeaSeaRider
Traveler


Joined: 05/20/04
Posts: 896
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: NCSailor]
      #1501059 - 04/17/13 09:17 AM (198.183.167.2)

We looked really hard at buying a Sunsail R&C 38 cat at Annapolis 3 years ago. Crunched a whole lot of numbers and concluded it would not be worthwhile unless you can take at least 4 weeks/year of sailing trips. I didn't have that much vacation at that time. You can sell extra time but they've changed from a weeks/year allotment system to a points/year system, and their "use it for up to 12 weeks" assumes you use all of your points in very low season. Their monthly payments are designed to cover your note (after you've put down a huge deposit of course), but the sales value of your boat after 5 years will very likely be less than your remaining note+deposit, so you'll likely be underwater. That's where you add in the value of the trips you've taken. If you haven't used it enough, that value doesn't support doing it. If you plan to sail only once or twice a year, I wouldn't recommend doing it. If you can and want to sail 4 times a year or longer, it would definitely be worth investigating. Also with Sunsail and Moorings, you can go to some pretty exotic locations. By the way, your trips won't be "free", just hugely discounted. You'll still have some fees to pay.

Maytrix (Matt) on this board is a good resource for information about this. He's with Moorings.

We've gone a different route: buy a used TUI boat that's taken it's huge depreciation hit (in our case, a R&C 46, much bigger than Sunsail's R&C 38 we were investigating), place it with a "2nd tier" charter company (in our case, Pro Valor), then sail it 3-4 times/year while it charters out other times to cover costs.

Tax laws restrict your ability to deduct trip expenses for visits to the boat. We work with a very knowledgable CPA in Texas who we met through Sailonline named Mike Kimball.

Send me a PM if you have questions.

Rob

--------------------
Rob


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tpcook
Traveler


Joined: 10/16/00
Posts: 3751
Loc: South Sound Villa Virgin Gorda
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: summerwind56]
      #1501061 - 04/17/13 09:21 AM (24.151.27.131)

I don't beieve you can write off your travel expenses as you not controlling the boat actively but passively. Example I own a villa on VG. I actively repair the villa, take reservations, pay taxes, etc. That is not what you would be doing.

--------------------
tpcook


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windward2c
Traveler


Joined: 01/05/09
Posts: 253
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: Plotman]
      #1501063 - 04/17/13 09:31 AM (71.125.60.50)

Quote:

Plotman said:
I am interested in hearing from someone who has owned a boat through sunsail. I've gotten the info from them, but I'd like the unvarnished report from someone who has gone full cycle with them.

For Example -
1) At the end of the contract, did you sell, put it in another fleet ("Club Line", Footloose, Conch, etc).

2) at the end of the contract, how did how much you owed compare to what the boat was worth. In other words how big a hit do you take at the end of the contract?

3) Did the income payments from Sunsail actually cover the boat payments?

4) What was your experience getting owners weeks - either in the BVI or other bases.

5) Would you do it again? Have you?

Thanks

David




Sailonline is really the best source for this topic but here are my expereinces so far with Sunsail. Bought a Beneteau Cyclades 39 6 years ago. I forgot the exact price but it was very competative. Sunsail guarantted $1,500 per month (and delivered). My note payment was $1,100 so yes the costs were more than covered. I also negaotiated (not sure if they still do this) that I got owners time on any boat in any location equivalent to a Sunsail 43 DS. Since I always chartered with at least 6 and sometimes 8 however, I nevered used my boat or any monohull actually. I always charted either a Lagoon 440 or Lepord 460 and paid the difference b/w the credit. The owners booking agent was great - even booked moorings boats sometimes. Ive done entire Island chain and Sicily (never made it out further east though). The phase out did not go as smoothly. They try to just get to sign off - very unprofessional. I hired a independent surveyeor and after several attempts did manage to get Sunsail to make every repair on the list (which I went down for this but had no time). Be careful but ultimately they did do what was required. The boat is now listed for sail AND is in Footloose. The payments from them are 15% of actual charters (no guarantee). Some months Ive made more than I did with Sunsail others have been zero. The bad news is that there were like 8 other Cyclades 39s coming out of fleet at the same time. Most are asking $99K. I doubt anyone with get more than $90K and that is BEFORE the brokers commision. I believe my note is still around $120K. Will take a big hit here. However, when you factor in my profits, depreciation, all the charters, etc I expect it will be pretty close to even. Would I do it again? Pros - even though you can always charter owning definetly made me do it more!! My family and friends got to expereince adventures they never would have otherwise. I also donated charter weeks on the boats at several charities which felt good. I also loved saying, "I own a boat in BVIs". Not bc it impressed anyone, which I could care less about, but the conversations that got started from that over the years are priceless. Not sure if I would do it again but I am glad I did it once. Hope that helps.


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sailbynight
Traveler


Joined: 04/28/06
Posts: 1721
Loc: Med/ Caribbean
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: windward2c]
      #1501077 - 04/17/13 10:40 AM (190.102.8.172)

That is a great recount. Hmmm, reminds me of lots of timeshare stories. People excited about the notion of "Having a place" in the islands or wherever.

Truth is, in the end, it is likely always cheaper to rent a hotel or condo year after year. Keep that deposit money in the bank or a solid investment and take trips when and where you like. Same with the boats.

After years of working on boats and watching so many of them sit idle most of the year, and year-after-year, I believe in the saying, if it does something that starts with an F, (Float, fly, etc.) rent it unless you are in love with it.


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maytrix
Traveler


Joined: 09/18/10
Posts: 5429
Loc: Massachusetts
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: sailbynight]
      #1501083 - 04/17/13 11:04 AM (50.198.108.233)

Like windward, we owned a Sunsail 39. We bought it end of 2010. What was different for us though is that we bought it used with it leaving the program June of 2012. It was far less expensive that way requiring a down payment we could afford. We also went in knowing we'd eventually want to keep a boat - we just knew this wasn't the one we wanted to keep.

May 2012 rolled around and I got an email about some Moorings deals. A Moorings 43.3 was available at a reduced price and we'd be the first owners even though it was in the program for close to a year. Knowing this was a boat we'd be happy keeping, we bought it, trading in our Sunsail 39. Between both purchases, we ended up putting down a decent down payment (when added up) but we also never used our sunsail boat - we always upgraded to Cats. So the value of time we got exceeded our down payment - so we got great value from that 1 year.

So far in Moorings, we've actually only used our model boat (ours once in St. Lucia). Still a decent value and we now have until 2016 when we'll be ready to take possession. We plan on upgrading on a trip this summer and likely again in the fall. We take 3 trips a year for 8-12 days each trip.

Based on how we use it and how we upgrade and the value of the upgrades (plus having friends split costs and selling time) I think it would probably be worthwhile doing this even if we didn't plan on keeping the boat. But given that we fully intend on keeping the boat, its that much more worthwhile. I think its also important to make extra payments on the boat during the time its in the program to make sure you are not underwater at the end.

So ownership is not for everyone, but if you go into it with the right expectations and you can use it enough to make it worthwhile or will keep it at the end..etc, then it can be a great program. On the flip side, we won't go anywhere else because of the boat (at least no place moorings or sunsail don't have a base), but that doesn't bother us at all. We'd still take a long weekend somewhere else, but we're not taking a week long vacation unless its on the boat. Could be a con for some, for us its a pro.

In deciding if it makes sense, I'd take a good look at what you'd spend chartering over a 5 year period and factor that in. Also consider if you'd upgrade or use your boat - that can have a huge impact. And I can't speak to the phaseout as we haven't reached that ourselves yet, but we did meet a couple that were cruising on their former Sunsail Cat and they found the phaseout to work well - it took time and some back and forth discussions, but they got what they wanted.

--------------------
Matt


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CptCook
Traveler


Joined: 03/16/06
Posts: 195
Loc: SW Florida
Re: Sunsail Ownership Questions [Re: summerwind56]
      #1501360 - 04/18/13 11:13 AM (208.163.202.172)

Quote:

summerwind56 said:
I would also like to know if anyone owns a boat through sunsail or moorings, if you can write all your trips off as a business expense because you have to check on your boat every couple months.




We were Sunsail owners for 4 years. We were able to deduct travel expenses to the boat. We were audited by the IRS for a 2 year period and in the end, they allowed all of our deductions. There are 2 simple reasons they found in our favor. We have a brilliant accountant that did a great deal of research for us before we signed the papers, and we were in the Sunsail Home Waters program in Tampa Bay. We set up the company from the beginning showing that I was an "active" owner involved in every aspect of running the boat. That included maintenance and marketing. The typical Sunsail or Moorings scheme would not allow you to make that claim as the contract specifies that they will market and maintain the boats at their will. You are, in the eyes of the IRS, a "passive" partner.
One area that you might have some tax advantage is in you incorporation. Depending on where you incorporate (I did in Illinois) you will be required to conduct an annual meeting with recorded minutes. The costs associated with the annual meeting may be deductible. Our annual meetings were always held in conjunction with a trip to a Sunsail base. The minutes always reflected that we investigated the base, talked with base personnel, and considered relocating our boat there. The IRS did request and read all of our minutes, notes, etc. The investigator mentioned that one of the reasons he found in our favor was this attention to detail in our minutes. For these meetings, we wrote off airfare, rental cars, lodging off the boat. All were allowed.
YMMV and I do not think Sunsail has anymore home waters boats, but I detailed some of my experiences to give you talking points when discussing this with your accountants.

--------------------
"Be a Traveler, not a tourist!"

Edited by CptCook (04/18/13 03:52 PM)


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