The argument for fractional ownership of your sailing boat

All yours - for six weeks a year!
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Fractional rigs are one thing, not usually much good for the cruising sailor, but what about fractional ownership? Will this let you own the yacht of your dreams, without the huge outlay and relentless bills? Let's face it, many sailing boats (and power boats too) sit in the marina for the bulk of the year - so why not share with compatible sailors?

So, faced with uncertain economic times, an increasing number of people are pooling their resources to buy up and then share their yachts through fractional ownership initiatives.

Is sharing the new way to go sailing? Not really. It has been around for over 20 years, but, as costs soar many yacht owners are realising how practical shared ownership can be, particularly when the sharing is run by a professional organisation who looks after the boat and the sharing arrangements.

Fractional ownership models work upon a basic principle: That things you don't use all the time are worth splitting costs over.

The concept was first introduced to the field of luxury travel in the 1980's by forward-thinking firms such as Netjets, who brought together buyers to purchase private jets using a time-share-like model.

Today, internet savvy companies like Flyvictor, who arrange shared time in aircraft, have constructed their own market-based version of the fractional ownership model.

'We're helping the (corporate aviation) industry to become more efficient by allowing owners to charter their aircraft through the victor platform and allowing people who want to charter a jet -- not own a jet -- and take all the benefits of flying private to and from destinations,' explained Flyvictor founder, Clive Jackson.

Flyvictor's website acts as a forum where owners or co-owners can advertise their jets for charter or hire. Those looking to fly solo or band together with fellow travelers meanwhile can browse to see what's on offer.

These same principles of savings and efficiency are at the core of yachting company, Monocle, which aims to bring fractional ownership to the high seas.

According to Monocle president, Loren Simkowitz, sharing guarantees the benefits of ownership without the hassle and expense of full management.

'It's the high cost ... that drives people out of yachting,' he told CNN recently. 'Most people use (a yacht they purchase) three to four weeks a year. The rest of the time it sits around as an idle asset depreciating. You spend more time managing the boat than your business,' he added.

Not all fractional boat owners own a boat where they live. Owning a fraction of a boat in the Caribbean or in Thailand can offer the benefits of a great holiday with sailing in an idyllic location.

With an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals looking to save money where they can, Simkowitz believes those opting for fractional ownership plans will only increase in the coming years.

'I think it's the wave of the future,' he continued. 'People are much more fiscally prudent with their money. People don't want to be tied down to an asset they use infrequently. They're smarter than they were in 2000,' he added.