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You have your boat! It’s great and just what you wanted.  You are trying to be independent, but before you have that parting beer, you might want to ask your broker where the best place for the boat is and what you are really going to do with it.  Yep, that’s right—the boat’s not just for Christmas! Your broker will advise you to the best of his or her knowledge; that is the reason you selected them.  There are many factors to consider with respect to your purchase, including what you plan to do with it and where to house your asset.  The needs of the boat and your needs are both key.  You should consider what work and regular maintenance will be needed on your boat, and the services you expect from a marina (Wi-Fi, cable TV or simply access to fresh water).  If you bought your boat in less than perfect condition and have had it spruced up, left unattended it will be wearing its tatty dress soon enough.

Yacht management companies are professional services that handle the grooming and upkeep you need.  Situated locally in a marina, they are a hands-on team that will keep your baby pretty.  Basic services start from running the engine once a week, pre-storm/hurricane prep, battery and systems checks, rigging checks and a bum clean—always handy!  If you have an extensive list of maintenance or haul-out recommendations or require bottom painting, they will manage those things, too.  Consistent and dependable management services will inform you of the boat’s state whilst dormant in the water and give you good advice, finding their own best sources to fix problems or advance the boat.  If it’s your intention to come to the BVI twice a year to sail, that is a lot of time for your boat to be sitting idle.

Another idea, if your boat is missing you too much, is to charter.  Easier said than done, but if you make the grade, it can be very productive in the sailing charter capital of the world.  Don’t assume that any boat will do; charter companies have a high spec of what to offer the general public.  If your intention from the beginning is to have a charter boat, look at the company’s fleet and their owner programme.  Make sure your boat is going to qualify!

The third and most delightful option is to be the one enjoying the cruising.  In season, the BVI offers hundreds of safe anchorages and amazing cruising conditions.  There is no better way to bond with your boat than to be in it.  Or find some crew to maintain and do it for you.  But recognize the realities of your time as you envision your future as a boat owner.  I was once involved in a delivery operation. The boat was sailed to the owner’s next favoured destination. He would fly in as we would leave.  Good deal!  Most will tell you it is worth it, at whatever level you are involved.

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