The idea to simplify the yacht charter process is not new: last year Itboat wrote about the Yachtster service, which allows to rent a boat directly from its owner, bypassing a long chain of agents. The startup could not boast an extensive geography: at the start it covered only the French Riviera and the Boleary Islands.
The creators promised to launch Yachtster in Florida, Greece and the Caribbean, but a year has passed, and now it is there: the geography of the service has not expanded, but narrowed to France alone.
Perhaps the reason for this sad state of affairs is that Yachtster has a competitor who plays in all of the abovementioned markets.
Like Yachtster, Sailo works directly with boat owners and allows tenants to communicate with them directly through the built-in Sailo messenger.
As is almost always the case, Sailo appeared in response to the negative experience of its founder. Adrian Granidar encountered difficulties in renting a yacht in Greece and decided to remedy this situation by launching his own service. He quickly managed to persuade his friends - Silicon Valley technoguru Magda Marcu, engineer Bogdan Batog and Columbia Business School graduate Delphine Braas - to invest in the project and become its cofounders.
Sailo was launched in September 2014. Originally the service operated in the USA: Miami, New York, Florida, California, Virgin Islands. Now its geography is much wider: in addition to the USA, the British Virgin Islands, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Turkey and the Bahamas are quite well represented.
The project has two headquarters in New York and Miami and a base of more than 5,000 boats from 40 countries, ranging from 25-foot spibots, sailboats and catamarans to 150-foot megayachts available for charter for an hour to several weeks, with or without a captain. Russia is still presented sparingly: five offers in Moscow.
The calculator can be configured to show fuel costs for a specific trip. The program makes calculations based on the power of the yacht, her type, size, fuel consumption and current gasoline prices.
In order to post their offer in the Sailo system, the boat owner needs to register and fill out a profile with information about the yacht in as much detail as possible. Sailo charges a 14% commission, which increases to 29% if the owner wishes to take advantage of the insurance offer of the service. For this purpose the yacht must be younger than 10 years and its cost must not exceed $500 thousand.
Sailo insurance covers the hull, engines, materials and all onboard content, including works of art and tenders. In the event of an accident or collision, the insurer undertakes to indemnify up to $10 million each of the injured parties. In case of property damage or injury during water sports (diving, swimming) or use of water toys - wakeboards, water skis, tubing or aquaplaners, the maximum indemnity payment will be $100,000. Medical expenses are limited to $50,000 per person.
The tenant pays the full amount of the rental plus a $500 security deposit which is returned to the tenant's account 18 hours after the end of the charter if the boat owner has no claims against him. In the event of loss or damage to the boat's equipment through the fault of the charterer, the money will go to the charterer's account.
The owner undertakes to deliver a fully filled yacht to the tenant and the tenant will return the boat with a full tank at the end of the trip. Failure by the tenant to meet his or her obligations is punishable by a fine of $35. The rest of the fuel cost is withheld from the insurance deposit. However, the owner and the tenant may agree with each other on other conditions for reimbursement of fuel costs.
Sailo offers tenants real time support by phone or live chat on the website. In addition to the web version, the startup has a mobile application - so far only for iPhone.
By turning over the traditional model of yacht charter, Sailo is helping yacht owners make money from their unused assets while at the same time helping to shape new consumer behavior, says David Hsu, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Time will tell us how well this is working out.