Sunsail Makes a Worldwide Promise and Grows a Fleet in OZ

Just in time for the peak sailing season Down Under, Sunsail has added 14 new sailboats to its Whitsunday fleet and says it will beat any charter rate offered by competitors, an offer that applies to the company's bases worldwide.

Fourteen new monohulls and catamarans arrived in the Whitsundays in mid-December 2003 and are available for charter for the summer sailing season, which runs through April. Sunsail guarantees it will beat any similar Whitsunday charter-holiday rate by 10 percent. Greg Boller, Australia director for Sunsail, says the discount is a way to invite sailors to experience the company's new fleet at affordable rates. The additions include two Gib'Sea 33s, three Jeanneau 35s, a Jeanneau 37, two Beneteau 423s, two Jeanneau 45s, a Beneteau 473, a Lagoon 380 catamaran, and two Lagoon 410 catamarans.

The Lagoon catamarans are the first of their type in the Sunsail Australia fleet and are renowned throughout the industry as one of the world's premier charter vessels. The new boats will bring Sunsail's total 2004 Whitsunday fleet to 28 yachts and catamarans, including 22 Premier Class yachts, which are all less than 2 years old, and six yachts in the Classic Fleet, which are all less than 5 years old.

Boats in the fleet range in size from 32 to 50 feet. The offer is valid until April 2004; conditions apply. For details on Sunsail's Price-Beating Guarantee or the new fleet additions in the Whitsundays, contact the company (800-327-2276, www.sunsail.com and e-mail susailusa@ sunsail.com).

Fractional Sailing Program
Problem: You live near the water, but without a sailboat, you've got no way to get out on it. Neither a windfall of money nor time is at your disposal, either.

Solution: Sailtime, say George Bonelli and Grant Headifen, who are overseeing its growth from one boat out of Austin, Texas, in 2001 to a growing licensing group partnered with Hunter Marine with boats in San Francisco, San Diego, and California's Channel Islands; Tampa, Florida; Houston; Hampton, Virginia; Boston; Havre de Grace, Maryland; and Marbella, Spain.

The company relies on an online software program to govern members' sailing schedules and boat care, and it allows each boat, from 32 to 36 feet in length, to be owned and used by no more than eight individuals, seven of them members and one of them the owner/member. Members pays a security deposit, a training fee, and a monthly fee; the owner/member, who buys the boat, also pays an initial franchising fee as well as an annual fee. The eight users are guaranteed a minimum of seven monthly sailing sessions in half-day increments, more if the boat's free. The owner, who receives a guaranteed monthly income, is free of operational duties.

"With Sailtime," says Grant, a New Zealander, "the guy who wants to buy a boat but can't afford it can buy it, and the dreamer who wants to go sailing can have time aboard. It's a great way to get more people involved in the sport."

For details, contact Sailtime (512-892-8678, www.sailtime.com and e-mails george@sail time.com and grant@sailtime.com).