Your dreams of owning a yacht may have just floated within reach. Arlington (Va.)-based YachtSmart of North America (fractionalyacht.com) is offering fractional ownership in two yachts that allows you to split the purchase and maintenance costs among 10 shareholders. Stockbrokers Jonathan Metcalfe and Philip Burroughs founded the company last year after Metcalfe tried vainly to purchase a 52-foot Fairline Squadron yacht but found the $1 million investment and $100,000 a year in maintenance and insurance prohibitive. Given the economic downturn, he knew he was not alone. "I don't know if our program would've gotten as much momentum in the late 1990s when people thought, 'Heck, I'll just the buy the whole thing,"' says Metcalfe.
What's the cost? A 62-foot Fairline Squadron is $186,000 per share, plus $1,450 a month in maintenance. That allows you 28 days of boat time and includes a full-time captain and all upkeep of the boat. The yacht has three bedrooms, or "cabins" in boatspeak, with flat-screen satellite TVs and a Sony (SNE ) PlayStation for the kids. It also has a kitchen and dining room with cherry wood tables with eucalyptus inlays.
If you want to go more upscale, a share in an 85-foot Azimut yacht will run you $425,000 a share plus $2,600 in maintenance fees. This has four cabins with similar features.
Both cruise the Northeast in the summer, the Florida coast in the winter months. Fuel and dockage fees are not included. But if you can afford a share, who's going to quibble about that?
By Lewis Braham