Purchase of Five Senses: Charter vs. Owner Boat?

2004, Sun Odyssey Charter Yacht for sale, located: Biograd na Moru, CRO

"This is exactly what we have been looking for!"

Our Beneteau 38 called "Angsthase" was a great start, solid, reliable, in good condition - but - just a little too small for a family of five with a view of guests on board. Above all, the storage space was too scarce for us. Sabine had looked through the advertisements in the yacht magazine and when asked what I was thinking about yesterday's advert, I was able to announce: "We'll have a look at her on May 30th", that was on May 5th, 2016.


The then called "Chairos" had been doing her services as a charter yacht for 12 years. The main- and headsail have been replaced in 2011 and the chart plotter in the cockpit has been replaced by a multi-function display from Raymarine. The basic version was that of a Sun Odyssey 49, teak deck, furling mast, Elvstroem sailing wardrobe (110% genoa + standard main), stainless steel anchor chain, large stainless steel anchor "jambo", small 4-stroke outboard engine, cockpit cushions. The boat was serviced and maintained annually after the charter season, that much was easy to understand. The yacht faced some major refitting: underwater paint, rig, batteries, deck, bimini, spray top, well and actually the sails. But of course it's all a question of own expectations. An attempt was made to sell the boat directly without success. Chairos should now find buyers with a lower price and with the help of a yacht broker.


On-site visit in Biograd

"Chairos" still had the full charter season ahead of her. The former owners had arrived for our visit and we had the history and all service work, repairs and maintenance measures explained. Without going into all the details here, we had the impression after a few hours that some more work would be necessary, but the hull, keel, mast/boom/spinnaker pole, fittings, winches and most of the gear were in good condition. The biggest plus for us, was not only the agreement that all deficiencies that had been identified will be taken care off until the handover, but we also shared the new paintwork on the hull and a new countertop for the galley. Furthermore radar would be installed on our expenses. The biggest minus, however, was the degree of wear of the interior and the partly outdated electronics. Comparable ships sometimes had higher quality equipment, but also came with a significant surcharge. From our point of view, the price-benefit ratio was therefore at the upper end of our willingness to pay, but still in order. The general strategy of buying more cheaply and then upgrading step by step was fulfilled. We bought from a company, so the VAT still had to be paid, but we found that the professional environment also gave us additional security.

Immediately required repair :

  • Revision of stern, there was damage to the hull
  • Guard rails, stanchions were shaky
  • The hatch of the sailing load could not be closed tightly
  • The galley sink was not siliconized / leaking

Was added at our request:

  • Complete new painting of the hull
  • Installation of radar
  • Exchange of the countertop in the galley

What emerged later and in the context of the delivery to Italy:

  • Loose contact button bow thruster
  • Service batteries were at the end of their life
  • The bilge pump filter was completely blocked, the pump could not work
  • Seawater foot pump was not working properly
  • Compass lighting defective

My plan for renovations

  • Underwater paint
  • Exchange of shrouds and stays
  • Refurbishment teak deck
  • Sails need to be replaced
  • Bimini / spray top
  • LED lighting salon, cabins, bunks
  • Retrofit freezer compartment
  • New (high-volume) water pump

Other findings over time:

  • Through-hull fittings had to be exchanged
  • The prop's shaft was out of round
  • The shaft stuffing box had to be replaced
  • A feathering propeller is MUCH better than a fixed propeller
  • The dinghy was a bit too small for us
  • The cockpit cushions need backrests!
  • Autopilot and chart plotter have had the best time
  • The radio does not connect to blue tooth devices, a newer device would be great

Later ideas:

  • Underwater spots
  • Air conditioning
  • New stove / oven
  • Cooling drawer instead of a small cooling box
  • Cockpit extension for the VHF-radio
  • Floor and some of the interior wood work should be refitted
  • UV lamp and activated carbon filter of the water system
  • Li-ion batteries
  • Solar system

Today, years later, I can say that my impression has been confirmed. The wear and tear was quite considerable due to the charter operation, some major work was necessary, most of it for optical reasons. But Chairos at that time was handed over in good, ready-to-sail condition, most of the smaller repairs had only been carried out in part because the large work had taken significantly more time. We wanted to get on the boat at the agreed time and so we were OK to take care of these little things ourselves. The owners had ended the charter season prematurely and therefore waived a few weeks of income. The boat had escaped ever greater damage (e.g. no ground contact, etc.), necessary renovations and inspections had always been carried out professionally and thus the "basic substance" was and is in the best order. However, I underestimated the cost and effort of the deck renovation. But more on that in the next blog post.

What was your experience when buying Charter vs. Owner boats? I'm looking forward to your comments!

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