I used to know a timeshare salesman operating out of the Med, Thailand and Bali who told me how the sales pitch worked. The timeshare sales technique was simple: get people into a flashy presentation, wear them down with questions that they have to say yes to, then get them to say yes to signing a contract there and then- a special offer only that day. He was selling a dream to the working classes, he said. Many people canceled as soon as they got back to their hotel but they still had to pay a cancellation fee, which went to him as the salesperson. Of those who went on to buy, the average turn around between buying and wanting to sell the timeshare on was fifty percent in three years, by which time the asset had devalued l. There was no resale mechanism in place anyway.
I am not saying that fractional ownership is in any way managed by dodgy sales companies but in essence, fractional ownership is no different from a timeshare on a condo in Torremolinos. And the same emptor caveat applies. Do the claims stack up? To be convincing, the financial benefits have to be pretty compelling because potential buyers at this level of Net Value Worth are not financially naive and no amount of charm will mesmerize them into buying into the dream – or maybe not. You know the joke:how to lose a fortune? Buy a superyacht.
Netjets which pioneered fractional ownership for the corporate and private jet world developed some impressive mathematical equations and computer modeling as an integral element in their sales presentation.
A fraction of the cost
A new yacht company, AvYachts, in Fort Lauderdale is offering fractional ownership programs to the superyacht world. Like NetJets in the world of jets, AvYachts claims to make yacht ownership much less costly while eliminating the hassles of the yacht charter market. The company is targeting both experienced Superyacht users and new entrants who are mesmerized by the dream of owning a superyacht. They offer a comprehensive program so that owners don’t have to deal with crew issues, maintenance, or managing the yacht. The costs are simple, transparent, and cost-effective – in as much as the costs of running a Superyacht can ever be any of those three – as any owner of a superyacht can vouch.
Holidays in the Sun
Like in a timeshare owners purchase shares in a superyacht so that they are partial owners: typically a 20-percent stake will give full access six weeks each year for a five-year ownership period. AvYachts claim a return on the investment when the yacht is eventually sold after the five-year contract expires.
The company currently has a Westport 112 as the first boat in its fleet and is acquiring several larger Westport 130s.
According to the sales schedule, a 20-percent stake in the Westport 112 would cost $1,780,000, as opposed to buying it outright for $8,900,000. The residual value that an owner should receive after five years is $1,380,000. AvYachts takes care of weekly scheduling, maintenance, payment, and rotation of the five-person crew, and other issues that have to do with yacht ownership. Owners pay for any incidentals or costs associated with stocking special foods or drinks during their charters. AvYachts estimates that total annual costs (including crew, maintenance, and operating costs) would be about $340,000 for owners spending six weeks aboard the yacht. Compared to chartering, that could be much less expensive than chartering a yacht of the same size, depending on the charter vessel’s age, brand, and location.
Seasons in the Sun
Ultimately, AvYachts plans to base yachts in Monaco and New England for summer charters, and another in Florida for winter charters to the Keys or Bahamas.
AvYachts has also recently partnered with Elite Alliance who offer fractional ownership of luxury vacation homes, with the ability for owners to exchange a week aboard the yacht for three weeks at a luxury villa or any other Elite Alliance property around the world.