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frequently asked questions: COVID-19 Special

The global yacht charter market, like all sectors of the economy, is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This FAQ we hope  will clear up the confusion and make you feel comfortable about coming to a decision on a long-term investment in charter ownership.

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Countries & Sailing Areas

04/06 The Croatian borders are open. The latest data show that foreign visitors again exceed the number of local guests, as currently, 21,000 guests with foreign passports are visiting Croatia. Most of the foreigners have come from Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. (Ultra Sailing)

 

15/05 On Thursday evening May 14th, the Slovenian government decided that citizens and residents of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) are free to cross into Slovenia provided that they did not stay outside Europe in the last 14 days. (Total Croatia News)

 

15/05 according to Adriatic Sailing: “Croatia opened its borders, so all guests and tourists are more than welcome to come.  The self-isolation measure has been abolished, and the only required document is a confirmation for your charter, hotel, villa or related.” In other words, if you have a reservation for charter get in contact with your charter agent or operator for preparing your charter period.

Slovenia is the first European country to declare an end of the coronavirus epidemic.

01/05 The Croatian government is negotiating with countries who deliver them the most tourists to open up a corridor which their citizens can safely use to visit Croatia.

21/05

The Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis outlined on Wednesday the “Restart Tourism” plan that from June 15 Greece will allow the entrance of incoming tourists initially from countries chosen based on “epidemiological criteria”.

The incoming tourists will not need to have a coronavirus test prior to travel nor will they be quarantined after arrival.

The first countries that Greece will allow tourists to come from are Cyprus, Israel, China, Japan, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic.

 

05/05 The Greek National Commission for the Protection of Public Health has announced that all private leisure boats and commercial craft, regardless of flag, are prohibited from departing or arriving within the Greek Territory between Monday 4 May at 6am until Monday 18 May at 6am for precautionary public health reasons.

03/05 Greece was far less hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and is preparing to release the lockdown in May, but only for the mainland. The islands will remain closed, to protect the local healthcare facilities. 

4/6: In Spain, the industry’s national association ANEN reported this week that a ‘progressive de-escalation for recreational boating continues’. The new Order SND/487/2020 stated that recreational navigation would be allowed to ‘all people who are in the same province, island or autonomous city in which the boat is moored.’ Occupancy on board is extended to 75% of the people authorised on the boat’s certificate, up to 10 people. (IBI News)

Recreational boats (jet skis etc) can be rented, including leasing, by people who are in the same province, island or autonomous city where the rental companies are located. In all cases, use will be limited to the nearby waters of the territories of the province, island or territorial area of reference.

 

3/5 Spain will allow local boater to use their boats if the boat is moored in the same municipality. It's expected that Spain will release some of the most stringent lockdown measures as of May 11th.

09/06 From 3 June 2020, starting day of Phase 3, trips between Italian Regions and travel to and from abroad is allowed.

Visitors from the EU, Schengen countries and the UK are permitted to enter Italy without the 14-day self-isolation measure, still required for arrivals from other nations at least until 15 June. (confindustrianautica)

01/05 Several boat builders started up their production again. Wehaven't heard about lifting restrictions which could help starting up the toursim again.

1/7

Barbados will join the growing list of Caribbean islands opening up after the lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as from July 12. The news was announced by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

This step was announced after a period of some 35 days in which no new virus cases have been diagnosed.  (IBI news)

 

29/6 St Maarten reopens for tourists as of July 1st. "The announcement about the extension to American and European visitors was made by the St Maarten Tourism Minister, Ludmila de Weever. She said: “The Ministry understands the urgent need for increased economic activity on the island, but we intend to reopen in a safe and responsible manner for our residents and visitors.” " (IBI news)

05/06 Over the next few weeks, several Caribbean islands plan to cautiously reopen to international tourism, joining those destinations that have already reopened or that began phased operations in late May. (Travel weekly)

04/05 The USVI Governor announced the territories (St. Thomas, St. John & St. Croix) moved to Safer at Home status. The Governor also stated, "we anticipate moving from this Safer at Home status to the Open Door status on June 1st. That's when we will be opening up the reservation systems and welcoming tourists back, leisure travelers into our Territory."

03/05 Although the Caribbean sailing season came to a abrupt halt in March, most charter partners we spoke to had a moderately positive view on the next season. Was it not for the pandemic, the Caribbean 2020 season would have been the best ever. It could well be that the Caribbean sailing area could be the first to bounce back from the current corona situation.

4/6: In France, a new decree this week (n° 2020-663 ) repealed the decree of 11 May 2020, meaning nautical activities are no longer subject to authorisation by the prefect in individual departments, at the request of the Mayor. Prefects, however, retain the power to implement restrictive measures locally if they feel the situation warrants it. (IBI News)

 

11/5: France is opening up their ports for local traffic and French flagged yachts as of June 2nd. Foreign flagged yachts will not be allowed to enter France if the end destination is a French port.

If you have news you would like us to write about, send us your request in the comments.

Shipyard & Builders

13/5: Elan shipyard is opening up again next week. They have been cl0sed since March 15th. The intriduction of the new GT6 is delayed, but will be shown at the boats shows in Southampton and Cannes, later this year.

Shipyards in France have closed the production but are looking into solutions to get the workforce work safely again. Management and after sales departments are open and functioning well. The French government has lifted the restrictions for sailing out of the marinas, so in theory boats good leave the harbour were it not that other countries have still locked their harbours.

In Germany and Scandinavia the shipyards are working more or less as usual, taking the safety of their employees into account. They announced that they will deliver boats in time until the summer recess, if the Europe wide restrictions have been lifted.

Until now there is no pan-European agreement how to handle this crisis, but talks between the EU countries increased to come to unilateral decisions about both the health and economic issues.

There are a lot of uncertainties about how we can start-up the economy again. Within the boating business we have a fragmentated production process, with many suppliers both from the EU and the rest of the world, mainly China. At the moment the stocks are enough to produce boats until the summer, but what will happen after the summer recess? Some main suppliers such as Harken are based in the severely hit Northern Italy, when will they be able to start manufacturing again? And with the modern in-time production methods the main shipyards have made their manufacturing vulnerable for to-late deliveries of parts.

What will all this implicate for the pricing of the boats? We are not sure yet. It’s not an issue of the supply, but also from the demand. How many clients are willing to invest in new yachts after the summer? If you want to share your opinion, leave a comment to this FAQ topic.

Although most shipyards were sold-out until the European summer just before the outbreak, we expect that some deals will be cancelled in the next weeks and months. We will keep you informed about opportunities as they arise.

4/6 Currently we offer two Elan sailing yachts with immediate delivery.

Ask us for information.

19/6 Yacht-Match can offer you a brand new Lagoon 40 with immediate delivery to enjoy your safe holiday as of now.

 

22/5 Yacht-Match now have some Dufour Yachts with immediate delivery available: 530, 460, 430 and 412 are ready for you to take ownership of. Ask for the details!

 

In these unprecedented times we can only guess what opportunities may arise.

 

In earlier down-turns we experienced an increase in rejected production slots because, dealers or boat buyers cancelled their orders.

 

Yacht-Match Is in the middle of the boating business and will be amongst the first to hear if opportunities arise, at any brand. We will communicate about purchase occasions with our partners and consultancy clients first and in second instance with you as the reader of this FAQ page.

Keep a close eye on this space!

20/05 If you would like to sail your catamaran in the Balearics, get in contact with Yacht-Match about which Lagoon matches your preferences. The successful Lagoon 40, Lagoon 42 and Lagoon 450 models are now available including charter income.

Opportunities can always be made. But what is a real opportunity? We think an opportunity is an occasion which matches with your preferences, your demands, your expectations. It shouldn’t be the other way around.

It’s not an opportunity if the price is discounted, if you don’t like the boat or the version, if it doesn’t fit your ideas or dreams, if the bargain doesn’t fit your lifestyle or expectations. Too many times people have been tricked into buying a ‘special’ deal, to find out that the deal became expensive or in other ways disappointing afterwards.

Yacht-Match, being the only neutral advisor in the boating business, has the goal to help you avoiding these kind of ownership disappointments, with  personal advice.

Leave your comments to share your thoughts on this topic.

6/7 The Southampton International Boat Show will be postponed until September 2021. The British Marine issued the following statement:

Following the Covid-19 guidelines regarding large-scale gatherings, British Marine will be postponing the 52nd edition of the Southampton International Boat Show until September 2021. (IBI news)

 

 

1/7 The Bater I Sjoen show due to take place from September 3-6 at Aker Brygge Marina near Oslo is still on course to proceed.

The organisers Norboat, whose winter indoor show in Oslo was cancelled, are intent on holding the second full-scale boat show in Europe since March following the Helsinki Floating Show in mid-August. (IBI News)

28/06 The 43rd edition of the Cannes Yachting Festival is confirmed and will be organised from 8-13 September 2020 in two venues: Vieux Port & Port Canto.

19/6 One of the oldest European indoor boat shows retires this year; the Amsterdam RAI stops the organisation of the HISWA. The HISWA was an institute within the leisure marine market and used to be the yearly start of the season. The organisation will release a press message soon.

19/6 From 2nd to 4th July, the Bali catamarans, a brand of the Catana Group, is organising a private show, the Rendez-Vous Bali, in Canet en Roussillon, the Group's headquarters and main construction site. (YachtinArt)

3/7 Shipyards and dealers offer virtual boat shows enabling the audience to get an impression of the models through walkthrough videos, 360-degree presentations and sometimes personal advice via video conferencing. Some dealers have chosen to organise online boat shows for a restricted period. Shipyards host ongoing virtual boat shows such as the Dufour Marina,  Fountain Pajot’s virtual marina, and Sunreef Yachts. Since today, 19/6, Jeanneau has two boat shows online; one for the sailing yachts and one for the motorboats. Hanse Yachts from Germany has introduced their virtual boat show too. 

14/5 Boating industry expects that the leisure marine business will restart second half of this summer and the organisers of the Cannes Yachting Festival have announced that the most important in-water boat show of Europe will go ahead as planned. “The aim is to open the Yachting Festival 2020 in such a way as to allow the event to be held in the best possible conditions and in full compliance with the protection of exhibitors and visitors,” Reed said in today’s statement. (IBI news)

Organisers have to cancel or postpone their boat shows and events according to the restrictions imposed by the Governments. We will keep you updated about boat shows; organised in real life or virtual.

All real live boat shows and events have been cancelled until the summer. Hopefully, the autumn events can be organised all be it with an adjusted concept like the Genoa boat show. The Genoa boat show will be postponed till 1-6 October and will have another set up with more space and entrance points for the visitors and compliant to the potential regulations.

Financing & Leasing

6/7 The Croatian companies OTPL and PBZL are accepting application for leasing again. In combination with a charter feasibility study of Yacht-Match, we can arrange leasing with a duration of 60 or 84 months with a minimum downpayment of 55% of the price ex VAT. Get in contact with us to discuss how.

 

Although you might expect otherwise, financing is still available for boating. European leasing companies still offer finance to European citizens who can proof a healthy personal financial situation. Only the Croatian leasing companies have restricted their services. Until further notice they won’t base their approval on the business case behind the charter boat, but only approve leasing if one can offer a bank guarantee or other proof of security.

Because of the expected economic down turn the interest rate for leasing might increase up to 1,5 percentage points, It is anticipated that the leasing market might decrease with 30-40%. Leasing companies will be more careful who the lend money and will be more critical about the business plans behind charter boats.

 

We expect boat buyers who want to use leasing for part finance will need professional support more then ever to convince the leasing companies to provide money for the purchase of the yacht.

We are in regular contact with the main leasing companies who deliver finance to the boating industry and will report about our findings.

We encourage you to leave your comments on this page or in an email to us.

In every situation financial opportunities arise. 

Keep an eye on this space!

Buying & Purchasing a Boat

Check out this page regularly.

More information will come soon.

If you want to contribute, write your comments on this page or send us an email.

The market of pre-owned boats was under pressure before the current situation. The younger yachts of 3-7 years old where practically not available anymore. Vessels of this age could still be deployed in charter, charter an older yacht is not feasible unless it’s a special brand or larger motor or sailing  yacht which has been refurbished extensively.

Given the circumstances we expect that at the end of this season more yachts then usual will be offered on the second hand markets.

Buying a boat for charter should first and foremost be based on your preferences and financial possibilities.

Safe investments are those which are made with funds you can do without. Investing in a charter yacht with partial finance should only be done if you can guarantee the monthly instalments if the charter income is not what you expected.

A safer or better buy can be determined by analysing your preferences, financial abilities, charter market requirements and connecting the outcome with the best matching operator.

There is a distinctive difference if a dealer or shipyard becomes insolvent.

Shipyards have appointed dealers to communicate with you, the buyer. You make your down payments to the dealer, who on his turn pay the yard. As soon as you did your first downpayment, your dealer will reserve a slot at the yard under your name and address. You can ask your dealer for proof from the yard what production slot or hull number is reserved for you. If the dealer would go bankrupt during the ordering process, you can directly contact the yard and agree upon the payment structure with them.

In the recent past, we have experienced that even major shipyards like Bavaria in Germany were able to fail. If a shipyard goes bust, the administrator wants to create as much turnover as possible to be able to pay the creditors, and for this, he will let the yard produce the ordered boats. As far as we know, all ordered yachts have been delivered by Bavaria to their owners.

If the shipyard goes bankrupt, you are as a buyer most likely to be less affected than in case your dealer goes bankrupt and he hasn’t paid the yard yet.

Share your experiences with us in your comments or email to us.

Deals occur the whole year-round. The current situation will create opportunities which we will communicate with our partners and consultancy clients.

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Charter Operators & Destinations

At this moment we don’t know which sailing destinations will be hit hardest.

Although the Caribbean destinations have a better chance to be less affected by the economic crisis than the companies in the European destinations because when the pandemic spread the season was almost over, and we hope that when the new season starts in December, some of the travel restrictions will be lifted. The European charter market hasn’t started yet and already faced the first blow with postponements and cancellations.

We will inform you about the latest charter market developments on this page.

If the operator who has the responsibility for your boat goes bankrupt, it depends on your contract how this will affect your ownership.

The international charter operations offer similar programs, but you need to check the contracts connected to the program you would like to choose. And review the general terms, because you are connected with only one operator for five to seven years.

If you have invested in a charter yacht with advice from Yacht-Match, you don’t have much to fear. You will be the owner of the vessel, and you will be free to place your asset wherever and whenever you want. Your operator is only the service supplier; there are no other business strings attached.

28/4: To get the most out of half a charter season companies start offering day charter next to weekly charter too. Your agent has an increasing choice in flexible charter dates and can find you a matching charter time, whether it's just a day, several days or weeks via the professional booking platforms.

 

Operators are adjusting their business according to the developments in this crisis. Most European companies were ready for the new 2020 charter season when they had to postpone the start of their operations until an unknown moment in the future, to ensure the safety of their co-workers and suppliers and of-course that of their charter guests.

 

Many companies work with a seasonal workforce who they had to send back home. The staff had to deal with ad-hoc restrictions imposed by the authorities and with charter guests who had made a down payment but now can’t enjoy their charter holiday.

All charter operators we are in contact with, offer the clients the possibility to change the booking to a later date in the season or to convert their booking in a voucher to be used within a year.

Being the spider in the web of the charter management market, we have a finger at the economic pulse. We will be most probably the first to recognize threats and opportunities which we will share with our partners and consultancy clients.

 

Get in contact with us to discuss the advantages of being a B2B partner or consultancy client.

Charter Management Programs & Investment

With the expected increase of the leasing rates, it will be increasingly challenging to calculate a profitable guaranteed charter income, which will result in lower fixed income and cuts in costs such as maintenance and service.

In the contracts with the international charter organisations, it’s clearly stated that they have the right to move the boat connected to the fixed program. They have because the vessel is until the delivery after the program, not yours but part of the organisation.

If you have a charter contract established with the aid of Yacht-Match, you are the full owner of your yacht, and you decide what will happen with your boat.

Most contracts with international charter organisations are fixed for 5-7 years. You can’t change the agreement or move the boat unless you pay the penalty.

 

However, all charter contracts produced with Yacht-Match guidance give you the freedom to change or move your yacht whenever you want—taking into account the usual notice periods of one or two years.

Thie answer to this question is complicated.

If you have invested in a fixed program with a downpayment of 50% or less, the charter organisation is responsible for the financing of the other half. Because they purchase the boat direct from the yard the charter organisations only have to lend money over their purchase price, which is much lower than the consumer price, minus your down payment. The leasing rates are therefore lower and the risk that they cannot settle the payments is smaller too. If the charter organisation can’t pay the leasing instalments, they will be on the first of bankruptcy.

 

When you own a boat with part finance, you are responsible for the settlement of the leasing fees if the charter operator can’t provide enough funds because of lacking charter income. But at least you have a clear picture who owns what and is responsible for what.

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Coronavirus and the yacht charter market
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