Dreaming of yacht ownership, but losing sleep at a quarter-million-dollar price tag?
Nathan Martin could make your dreams come true.
Martin is the owner of Gateway Yachts at Cap Sante Boat Haven, and he’s selling fractional shares of a 28-foot 2013 Aspen C90 diesel catamaran.
For $34,900, potential pleasure cruisers can own one-eighth of a fully loaded, fuel efficient luxury boat.
“If you can afford a car, you can afford a share,” Martin said.
The share includes five weeks of scheduled time on the boat every year, plus open time when no other owners are scheduled.
“That’s a big benefit for local owners,” Martin said. “If there’s a nice day in December, they can call me up and I’ll get the boat ready.”
A monthly management fee of $290 pays for moorage, insurance, maintenance and cleaning. Martin said he even handles concierge service, stocking the yacht with food and beverages, kayaks and other things owners might request.
Martin said his business is just another way that the pleasure boating industry is adapting to a tough economy.
“After 2007, boat sales took a tremendous hit,” he said.
Three years ago, looking to streamline the build process, Aspen contracted with Nordic Tugs in Burlington to build hulls for their yachts. Martin said his own partnership with Aspen didn’t just lower prices, but it made yacht ownership more practical to a marginal market.
“There’s two types of people who will be most interested,” he said. “It’s a low-risk, low-cost way for people new to boating to get into it.”
He said the other target group is experienced boaters who are tired of maintaining an expensive boat that they rarely use.
If one-eighth isn’t enough boat, Martin also sells larger shares (one-fourth and one-half), depending on how much boating his customers want each year.
Martin negotiates the schedule between the owners. If anyone doesn’t use their time, he tries to schedule a charter and pass the earnings on to the owner.
“And after seven years, the boat is sold and the money is divided back to the owners,” he said. “That way we keep the program young and fresh.”
According to a press release last week, Aspen plans to place four more yachts into Gateway’s fractional ownership program. It’s a $1.3 million retail deal for a new Aspen C90, which Martin said is coming this summer, and options for two more 28-foot Aspen C90s and a 36-foot C110.
At Trawler Fest next week at Cap Sante Boat Haven, Martin is teaming up with Aspen founder Larry Graf to market both outright and fractional ownership.
Martin said his boat, and an identical one from Aspen, will be docked stern-to-stern, and potential owners can explore both options.
Martin’s idea for fractional yacht ownership came from his days as a corporate pilot. He flew several jets for different corporations but rarely had a scheduling conflict. So he wondered why corporations didn’t share their aircraft.
Now fractional aircraft ownership companies such as NetJets make up more than half of corporate jet sales, Martin said.
Most of his potential customers have the money to buy a yacht fraction outright, but Martin said he founded his own financing business to bring ownership within even closer reach.
Buyers can put 30 percent down — as little as $10,500 — on their share of a yacht. Martin said traditional financing through a bank can be hard to obtain for fractional ownership.
Next week’s Trawler Fest is a celebration of the pleasure cruising lifestyle that begins Tuesday with Trawler Fest University at the Northwest Educational Service District 189 building, 1601 R Ave. Boats start arriving on Wednesday, and show hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Seminars will cover topics from purchasing a trawler and refitting an older boat to anchoring tips and the latest navigational resources and technology.
General admission is $15 per day. Evening programs are extra and include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, along with parties and shows begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Seafarers’ Memorial Park Building. The award ceremony Saturday evening is at the Cap Sante Boat Haven hospitality tent.
Trawler Fest is produced by PassageMaker Magazine, a division of Dominion Enterprises.
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