Many charterers understand mechanical problems or acts of nature, like hurricanes, can force the cancellation or the delay of a planned yachting holiday, but few realize the sale of the yacht can also result in a cancelled charter – with minimal recourse for the customer.
Like many segments of the receding global economy, sales of the largest yachts are in a major slump. Financial woes have pushed increasing numbers of yacht owners to put their vessels up for sale. The result – a glut of yachts for sale with prices dropping each month.
"The fact that owners are actively marketing their yachts for sale, means charter clients must be keenly aware of whether or not their chosen yacht for their vacation is for sale," states Jana Sheeder, President of SailAway Yacht Charters. "Most charter contracts have an escape clause for owners if they sell their yachts before the charter. Of course funds are returned to the customer, but there is no guarantee a suitable replacement yacht can be provided for the same price and the same desired charter dates."
To hedge the odds in favor of the charterer, Sheeder and her team try to promote newer-model yachts to their prospective clients. "Statically, owners will want to enjoy their new yachts for a year or two before considering their sale. We try to take advantage of this situation and promote newer yachts to our clients, to minimize the exposure to the potential sale of a yacht."
Sheeder encourages charterers to ask their charter brokers about the sales status of any yacht that they consider renting. Ideally, they should seek a yacht that is not listed for sale. Says Sheeder, "If considering a yacht that is for sale, ask your broker for an analysis of how actively the owner is trying to sell, and see if there have been numerous or recent price reductions. Try to avoid any charter yacht that is actively for sale – or you could end up high and dry for your vacation."
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