Yacht Ownership – An Owners Story

We recently received this piece from Nick Brookes, who owns ‘Off Piste’ a Bavaria 41. ‘Off Piste’ was bought through the Sail Ionian Yacht Partnership Scheme and was part of the charter fleet for many years, and one of the main RYA teaching yachts. After nearly a decade of yacht ownership Nick has now taken her out of the charter fleet and intends to use her privately. He writes:

A decade ago, I decided to explore the world of sailing. I came across Sail Ionian and the first step was a family holiday aboard ‘Susan’, a Bavaria 40, to complete our RYA Competent Crew Course. I then completed my Day Skipper in the UK before we returned to charter ‘Shortbread’, a Bavaria 40N for a week’s holiday. Plenty of stress, fun and excitement was had by all aboard. 

So, what next; an annual sailing holiday in the Mediterranean, or the Sail Ionian Yacht Ownership Scheme? Discussions began about boat size, type, specifications, timings, contract terms etc. We quickly decided to go for a Bavaria Cruiser 41 and spec it as an RYA training boat. We were guided through the options and upgrade lists, which, believe me, are extensive. One of the fun discussions was about an electric toilet – we were clearly told that the second time it blocked it would be switched out for a pump toilet. We went with the pump toilet! 

One of the fun, but also hardest aspects was choosing a name, and ‘Off Piste’ was launched in Spring 2015. The chance to be a crew member for the delivery sail from Slovenia was an opportunity not to be missed. Well, what a trip; strong winds, rain, a wrapped propellor and yes, I was sick all over the side of my new pride and joy only 12 hours after she touched the water! 

What then followed was week after week of quality time with family and friends that would never have happened without owning ‘Off Piste’. Initially exploring new towns, villages, bays, tavernas of the Ionian. Then returning to favourite spots, often to be greeted as friends. Memories were made, bonds were formed, on occasion challenges overcome together, and laughs, lots of laughs. 

Of course, choosing the yacht ownership approach is a big decision, and there were several unknowns and nagging topics in my mind. So, what of them? 

Damage: Would have been sad if she sunk, but insurance would cover that. What about medium size structural problem requiring a rebuild, turned out this wasn’t an issue for me. 

Wear and Tear: Well, the first scratches that you find make your heart sink, however the Sail Ionian maintenance and cleaning teams do a great job in rectifying these issues. I am delighted with the condition ‘Off Piste’ is in today, she certainly doesn’t look 9 years old. 

Other people using the boat: Actually, I found myself happy for ‘Off Piste’ to be used and enjoyed by others. I always had a warm feeling when somebody told me they learnt to sail on her. 

Depreciation: Well, that hasn’t been a problem, she is probably worth today what I paid for her.  

VAT at end of the scheme: Regulations on yacht ownership constantly change, and you can’t plan for this, but in my case, it has not been a problem. 

On deciding to go ahead with buying ‘Off Piste’ we felt we were investing in a company and its people as much as a boat. Many of us see boats from other companies around the Ionian and it is the Sail Ionian fleet that always stands out as being the best kept. This is down the dedication of the whole team, and I express my thanks to you all.  

It is easy for the naysayers when you tell them you are buying a sailing boat; you are throwing your money away, people who charter your boat don’t care about it, you will never use it enough,,,,, bla bla bla!! Well, with first-hand experience, what I would say to anyone thinking about the Yacht Partnership Scheme is, “Just Do it”.  

What next for ‘Off Piste’? She has just been launched and the plan is to cruise along the Gulf of Corinth, through the canal, across the Northern Aegean to Turkey. Enjoying a few months of the Turkish coast before returning to Greece across the Southern Aegean, around the Peloponnese and back to the familiar waters of the Ionian. 

Fair winds and happy sailing everyone. 

Nick Brookes – Off Piste 

PS – I would like to highlight that nobody has asked me to write the piece or provided any incentive of any kind. 

Click here to find out more about buying a charter yacht through our Yacht Partnership Scheme.

This post was written by Tom Fletcher