In 2011, I spent some time in Auckland, New Zealand and while there, I took some group sailing lessons to learn the basics. Those classes involved cruising around the Auckland harbor in Splash and Sunburst boats (the equivalent of sailboat training wheels).
I moved to Boston in July of 2014 and spent about 3 months taking lessons atCommunity Boating (CBI) sailing Mercurys. It sounds cliche, but I've 'caught the bug' as they say. As of March 1st, I decided to buy into a Lite Membership withSailTime Boston, which means I'll have access to a 35ft Gemini Legacy Catamaran from May 1st to Oct 31st, 2014.
If you're into sailing, SailTime is no brainer. With a Lite Membership, you receive 3 time slots with the boat per month. If you want details on how the program works, check out their membership page: www.sailtime.com/boston/membership
I'm not going to get into specific details of the program because they're laid out clearly on the membership page, but what I really want to do is share why I bought into a fractional boat ownership program.
1) They make it easy. To join you pay a flat, one-time membership fee and all of the other costs are taken care of. Insurance, gas, maintenance, all included. They aren't trying to make money off extras, they isn't any fine print, they aren't trying to scam anyone. There are less expensive options out there, but the SailTime pricing structure was transparent and easy to understand, which was important to me. I even asked the sales rep about his competitors and he didn't bash them or tell me how they suck. He helped me understand the difference between SailTime and the competition, encouraged me to do my due diligence and make my own decision (which I appreciated).
2) It wasn't a 'hard sell'. I work in sales, so I pay attention how I'm being sold to. Generally speaking, being 'sold to' has a negative connotation. It assumes someone is forcing you into something you don't want. The fact is, we are 'sold to' everyday without even realizing it. Anytime you walk into a grocery store, department store, or mall, you're being, 'sold to'. Sales is about helping people make a purchasing decision. Good sales people will listen to understand your challenge and attempt to match their products or services to your specific needs. In this case, I dealt directly with the President/Owner of SailTime, Doug. He helped walk me through the program requirements and the pricing. The first thing he did was listen to what I wanted to get out of a sailing experience. He walked me through the different membership options and recommended a membership which fit my need and budget. I shared my budget with him and he helped me understand pricing (**see below). When it came time to make the decision, Doug didn't try to 'hard-close' me (although, he probably should have). He acted like a true professional throughout the sales process. He listened and understood my goals and tailored his solution to show me how SailTime would help me accomplish those goals.
**Buying Tip: A lot of people attempt to hide their budgets when talking to a salesperson. Their rationale for keeping their finances 'close-to-the-vest' is they believe salespeople are sleezy. If they say, "my budget is $5,000" the salesperson will try and upsell them into spending $5,000. This is a negative stereotype which good salespeople are constantly trying to change. When a salesperson asks you, "what is your budget", be honest with them. Maybe what you're looking to buy costs more than your budget will allow and if the salesperson sees you're a good fit, they might try and offer you a discount or some free add-on's.
3) I'm not alone. One of the most important factors in my decision making process wasn't the spreadsheet I made which laid out the 'cost/benefit analysis'. This purchase (as with most big purchases) was not based on logic, it was purely emotional. Doug explained how there is a kickoff BBQ at the beginning of the summer to meet all 8 other members who I'll be sharing the boat with. I'm new to the tribe, but the sailing community seems to be very supportive. Most sailors had some help early on and feel a strong need to pay it forward with other novice sailors. I knew if I needed help, I would have access to large community of people who would be more than willing to 'show me the ropes' (#sailingpun).
I signed up atBlack Rock Sailing School to get my certifications and have already started studying. There is a lot of classroom time and on-the-water training necessary in order to safely captain a 35ft boat, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. However, I'm confident this bet will pay off in the form of an adventure-filled summer cruising with friends around the Boston harbor.
Final Thought: To all salespeople; make sure you run an honest sales process. You never know when one of your prospects might end up blogging about their experience with you (seehere).
For more info, visit SailTime Boston (https://sailtime.com/boston)