Annapolis, MD – SailTime® Group LLC, the world leader in fractional boating with more than 50 bases in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean, announced today significant growth for the first half of 2009, including the launch of three new bases in the U.S. and Europe and a record number of new members who signed up the first half of 2009. According to SailTime® founder and CEO George Bonelli, “In spite of the struggling economy, and perhaps even as a result of it, more people are looking to fractional boating as a way to maintain their lifestyle on the water, at a fraction of the cost of owning their own boat. The good news for the maritime industry is that expanded bases and membership results in new boat sales – helping to spur industry growth at a critical time.”
Pioneered in 2001, and similar to the concept of airplane sharing, the SailTime® program enables shared use of a sailboat owned by one individual with seven or more other non-equity members. Each member pays a membership fee to the SailTime® base for access to the boats and is guaranteed a number of sail times every month as well as “as-available” use on a 24-hour notice based on membership type. The membership fees include all dockage, insurance, and maintenance of the boat. Owners receive a guaranteed payment that helps defray the cost of operating expenses for the boat.
In the U.S., SailTime® announced the launch of a new base in Bristol, Rhode Island, and in Europe, two new bases located in La Spezia, Italy (South of Genoa) and Golfe Juan, France (near Nice). These new base openings come on the heels of new bases launched earlier this year in New Zealand and Australia.
Rob Lawnsby, base owner of Sailtime Rhode Island commented on the new base: “After sailing up and down the East Coast from Bahamas to Maine several times, my wife and I concluded we like New England best, and that Narragansett Bay was its crown jewel. Lots of cozy anchorages, plenty of delightful villages steeped in history, little current, and 150 square miles of sailing delight. We look forward to sharing our love of these waters with both novice and experienced boaters looking for an affordable, hassle-free way to fuel their love of sailing and boating.”
During the first half of 2009, SailTime® also added more than 300 new members, as compared with approximately 200 during the same period last year. That brings SailTime®’s total membership globally to almost 1200 making it the largest fractional boating program in the world.
One of the unique features of SailTime®’s program and a tremendous benefit to its members is SailTime® PLUS, where members can take advantage of up to seven days of sailing at any of SailTime®’s base locations around the world, including those in destination areas such as Miami, FL; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; and the Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance of travel. Prices vary per base but are significantly lower than charter or sailing club fees. Members can also reserve different boats at their home base, as long as they complete the appropriate additional training required for each vessel.
SailTime® is the worldwide leader in fractional sailing and power boating membership, a program that provides economical alternatives to boat ownership. SailTime also offers attractive boat ownership options. Pioneered by SailTime®, fractional memberships put novice and experienced boaters on the water for a fraction of the cost of ownership, maintenance, and upkeep. SailTime® currently operates a fleet of over 160 boats located at more than 50 locations in North America, the Caribbean and Europe, allowing SailTime® members daily access to boats in major waterways and coastal regions in the U.S. and abroad for a low monthly fee.