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Hargrave Fractional via Monocle

Discussion in 'Hargrave Yacht' started by dan1000, Jul 22, 2011.

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  1. dan1000

    dan1000 New Member

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    I am looking very seriously at buying a portion of a 2009 Hargrave 100' raised pilothouse yacht called "Perfect Harmony" that is being managed by Monocle Fractional Yachts.

    I'd be interested to hear from anyone with insights about this boat, about Hargrave or Monocle, or about fractional yacht ownership in general.

    My situation is that my family of 4 has just finished a fantastic season aboard our Sea Spirit Passagemaker 60 trawler (which appears in a review somewhere here on YachtForums). But our aspirations have changed completely since we bought that boat. Originally, we wanted to spend a lot of time at sea, being very independent, and exploring for several months at a time. But having done a little of that, we now recognize that we enjoy exploring a chain of islands such as the Exumas for a few weeks, and then returning to land-locked life. We also found that (unlike many!) we greatly enjoy having family and friends aboard, and found that we needed a little more room than Sea Spirit provided us with.

    So, with intended usage of 6 - 8 weeks per year, fractional seems to make sense for us, but I'm keenly interested in what you folks have to say about the choices I've listed above (Hargrave/Monocle).

    I've looked in the "Hargrave" section here on YachtForums, but haven't quite found the insights I'm seeking.

    Thanks in advance

    Dan
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I manage a yacht for an owner that also has a partnership in one of the Monacle 100' Hargraves and he is very happy with it. Aside from the entrance price, it costs him around $40k a year maintanence for his 4 weeks a year. , 2 weeks and 2 weeks and the boat runs a crew of 4. The downside is that his 2 sets of 2 weeks are on the same weeks every year. Although some of the partners trade their weeks around to a small degree. Other downside according to him is that the boat is in 2 different places. Northeast for the summer and Carribbean for the winter. 6 months at each place which can be a little too early or a little too late for the proper weather. He feels it would be better if the weeks were split into 3- 10 day blocks and the boat was in 3 different places to better suit the weather or seasons. That being said he thoroughly enjoys it. Also, his 50-60' yacht here in Florida costs him as much to maintain a year and he uses it about the same amount of time and feels it's not worth it to own the 50-60' for the amount of usage he gets with it.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Oh, and the crew is run completely ragged and has a high turnover. They have 40 weeks of guest on-board in 2 week blocks, 3 days of turnover between guests another 60 days or 9 weeks of turnover......so that's 49 weeks, a 2 week yard period......so essentially the crew is working 51 weeks non stop out of 52 weeks. But, if the schedule fits your schedule than it's a good deal for you at $40k maintanence a year for 4 weeks of usage.
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    That needs to be a primary concern when choosing a boat, probably even more important than the boat itself. Are the locations suitable to you?
    Another really big downside. Should the person who gets x-mas/New Years and Easter pay the same as the guy who gets say late October? Some companies have this figured out pretty well, while others don't seem to want to do the extra work. One way is to sell shares (days) instead of weeks and giving first choice to the largest share holder, etc. Another would be to hold a lottery for prime times such as holidays. This is basically a Timeshare, except that Timeshares often have mechanisms in place for people to use their times at different locations. Despite this many timeshare still go unused after a few years. So the devil really is in the details with fractional ownership agreements.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Well, on the other hand you know what weeks you get when you buy into it, so you know.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Very true, and many families work well that way. For me, with the exception of holidays and a few personal dates, my vacation schedule changes year to year, and I seldom go to the same place twice. So it's all a matter of what works for the individual. It's a serious consideration that needs to be thought through before someone plunks down a big hunk of change and commits to another big hunk every year for the foreseeable future.
    Another consideration is the exit strategy. What's it going to cost to get out of it if it no longer works for you in a few years? Will the company buy your share? Are you permitted to sell your share on your own or do you have to depend on the company to do it (in which case they'll take a fee and push your sale to the bottom of the list while they sell new shares since they already have your money coming in)? This is a common problem with time shares and dockominiums. Many people find that they have to pay to get out.
  7. dan1000

    dan1000 New Member

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    Thanks for the responses so far. I had not considered the crew burnout aspects. Yes, the boats run 40 weeks per year, and are "off" the remaining 12 weeks, but it's 3 or 4 days between each owner-changeover rather than one 12 week chunk off.

    We are looking at 6 weeks that would be blocked together for us in the Spring, which is our preference (we home-school our kids, so have a lot of flexibility here). 6 weeks is plenty for us, but I can see how anyone looking to be aboard for much more than about 10 weeks would be better off with outright ownership.

    I also agree that the choice of cruising grounds is important, and is decided a year in advance by some sort of super-majority vote of the owners.

    My understanding is that the Hargraves are well built. Has anyone heard anything to the contrary? Similarly, any comments specifically about Monocle?

    Once again, thanks very much for sharing your experiences and thoughts with me. Previously I have found YF to be an invaluable source of insight, although I recognize that what one receives when one asks for opinions and anecdotes is "input", not "answers".

    Dan
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    One thing all of the owners and you are failing to realize, is that it takes 3 days of work to Turn that boat around, clean the exterior, the interior, linens, provision, maintanence before the next group. So, the crew doesn't get any time off in between guests. Think about it, a washdown takes an entire day, then you have a day of cleaning the tender, cushions, polishing stainless, etc etc etc........just for the mate......then the stewardess has an entire day doing laundry and putting the stuff back on the beds, etc..... a day or two cleaning the interior etc.........

    The only way I could see this deal work well for everyone and the crew is either 8 owners max, and 32 weeks of usage max (which is still a lot), OR have 2 identical boats, and 3 complete full time crews and rotate each set of crew for 2 weeks off every month.........It seems to be working on the 1 boat I know of, BUT they go through stewardesses and mates every 2 months......OHHH and the owners are encouraged to NOT tip them.......so why wouldn't they just go to a busy charterboat making more money and less work.......
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Of course a well run operation could have a dock crew that hits the boat when it arrives washing the outside and interior in a few hours, leaving the crew to do the prep work at an unstressed pace. That could easily cut that 3 day layup down to 1, and save them from replacing and retraining crew every few months (not to say it's the way most do it). Personally, if I were laying out that kind of money, I'd like a boat where I'd have the same crew each time, and I'd hate to be out with a crew who has burned out and is planning to leave soon.
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    How do you hire people when you're constantly moving?
  11. dan1000

    dan1000 New Member

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    Your point is very well taken. I suppose it comes down to this: I need to find out if, as you say, the crew come and go with the wind due to poor working conditions and sub-par pay (which is what you are inferring), or alternatively they have a system in place that satisfies and retains crew without burning them out (which is what I have been told). If it is indeed the latter, I need to better understand how the crew's needs and expectations are met.

    About the tipping: My understanding is that the crew receives a fairly generous annual bonus from the owners (via Monocle). It's not a tip, but it's real money just the same.

    Capt J: While I would certainly ask the questions differently from the way you have posed them, they are the right questions, and I thank you for raising their importance in my mind.

    Dan



  12. dan1000

    dan1000 New Member

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    For sure. I think Capt J's concerns have merit in theory, but I need to speak to some happy or unhappy actual owners or crew in order to know the truth in practice.


  13. dan1000

    dan1000 New Member

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    Also, FWIW, the fraction we're looking at is 6 straight weeks, all at one time, not split up. The downside for the crew is they have to put up with us for 6 weeks. The upside is that they presumably could then get 3 x the usual number of between-owner days at the beginning or end of our stay. I'm not sure what the "typical" fraction is. I know they sell 10% fractions and allow people to add on as many 5% fractions as they want. If everyone does like me and takes 15% in one big lump, it significantly changes the equation in terms of allowing more down-days in between owners.
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    That means 6 straight weeks with nary a day off for the crew unless you provide for it. I doubt the employer would see it as an opportunity to give the crew a vacation afterwards. They'll have the boat back out making money as soon as it can be cleaned up and reprovisioned.
    Is there an opportunity to charter the boat on a trial basis? That would give you a chance to talk with the crew and get a feel for the experience.
  15. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Maybe the two of you can have a chat and see if it is possible to meet or at least communicate directly with the Owner CaptJ is working for.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I can talk to the owner that has a partnership in a Monacle Hargrave. He's a super nice guy and probably wouldn't mind talking to you about it. He has no problems using the same weeks each year. He is very happy with the situation and it meets all of his expectations. He is partners on a different Hargrave than the one you're looking into......The Captain and another crewmember have been on the boat a long time. Most owners wouldn't even notice that the other crew turns over a lot because they're only on the boat every 6 months......He's had the partnership for a couple of years and like I said....it only costs him $40,000 a year for his 4 weeks and I think that even includes when he's on it.......

    The other question I have, is what happens as the boat gets old.......I'm guessing your share price would go down with the value of the boat just like depreciation on a yacht........

    If you had 2 boats with 3 sets of crew, you could even rotate them and keep them on the same weeks with the same owners, so the owners in reality wouldn't even know there's another set of crew unless they swapped weeks with another owner......

    He's actually interested in going partners in a late model 70-80' MY that is kept here in South Florida and travels maybe NE, Bahamas, etc.....his needs are 4 staterooms, full beam master, nice crew quarters.......
  17. dan1000

    dan1000 New Member

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    Mmm. Another good question. But no, that's not how it works at all.

    The "down-days" are pooled to the "ends" of the block. They are not turned into extra owner-use days. Also, I asked whether Monocle puts the boat into charter during any non-owner time. The answer is no. Down time is down time. However, owners can choose to charter their fractions instead of using them, though apparently it happens only very rarely.

    As for care and maintenance of the crew during a 6 week block, I think this will be either easy or difficult depending on the people involved. For us, we're used to giving crew a lot of off-time while we're on the boat -- sometimes sending the crew home for a few days, other times just "local" days off without duties. But we may be unusual in this regard, and perhaps other owners wouldn't feel the same way.

    Dan


  18. dan1000

    dan1000 New Member

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    PM has been sent today. -- Thanks.

  19. aviator4512

    aviator4512 Member

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    My parents and I spent some time with Loren Simkowicz, Monocle founder and President, at FLIBS last year and the whole operation seems very sound. Loren maintains a great relationship with the Hargrave team, which he capitalizes on by purchasing several boats from them at a discounted price. Loren believes that by bringing together like-minded individuals who want an effortless yachting experience for only a couple of weeks a year (Generally 4 weeks) - that he can pass on the savings as opposed to owning the vessel outright. There are no headaches, but as mentioned before there are some drawbacks. Obviously location and crew could be potential issues although Loren assured us that locations change each year by popular vote amongst the owners. One of the drawbacks that we discussed is the fact that these Hargraves are very "plain jane" and are almost identical to each other one in Monocles fleet. Now if the Hargraves aren't your cup of tea, Monocle has had some success selling shares on all types and sizes of vessels for owners all over the world. Overall - Loren comes from a business background and can provide good information on tax benefits and the like. One interesting thing to note is that two vessels which are in Monocle's fleet are on the market: Perfect Harmony 100' and Vitesse 68'. I know they are also planning on brining that new Hargrave 136' to the fractional market and are actively pursuing interested parties. All-in-all, for the value, this business model makes good sense if the right management team is behind it.
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    This I know for a fact, on the 1 that I am familiar with. You have 20 2week blocks of owner usage....... 3 days turnaround between each 2 week block (60 days or 9 weeks), in my math, that works out to 49 weeks of work for the crew. Then there is a 2 week yard period, so you have 51 weeks of usage out of a 52 week year. The only downtime the crew gets is if an owner does not use his entire 2 week block for whatever reason. The boat also does a lot of anchoring to save money which is difficult on the crew as well.

    From an owner standpoint it works out very well. Where else can you have 4 weeks use of a 100' fully crewed for around $40k a year in maintanence. You can't charter one for more than a week for that price. The other issue is the boat spends 6 months in 2 locations.....a majority vote can change the locations, but only 2 locations so all owners have their weeks at the same place......... well 6 months is too long for the Carribbean season and part of that is too cold, or too far into Hurricane season.......and the other 6 months is too early and late into the season if they bring the boat to say Martha's vineyard......

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