Dream Yacht Charter has arrived in Grenada in a big way, opening their Grenada base in 2013 at Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina, they started that season with just 3 boats. BusinessGrenada Magazine had a chat with Base Manager, Richard Johnson, to find out more about the company, past present and future. “I’ve gone from 3 boats to 23 so that’s an increase of 700% in 2 years.” The base has been such a success that they are opening a sister operation base in Blue Lagoon, St Vincent.

He got the call to create the base in Grenada arriving on Aug 31 2013. He shares,  “I opened the doors on Oct 1st 2013,”  I collected the first boat, a Catana 47, and then a Sun Odyessy 36. By Christmas they had 3 boats, and 5 in January.

His start in the Caribbean came from another phone call when he was running a Sunseeker Charter boat and doing refit work on the 75’ motor yacht to set her up for charter in the South of France – he tells us “I got the call to come to St Lucia in Rodney Bay to work with a charter company there. After that I bought an Albin 43 Trawler Yacht in Antigua and took off up north and ended up doing charters in the BVI’ and delivieries. It was the base manager at the marina in the BVI’s that introduced him to Dream Yacht Charter and they said they wanted him to open a base in Grenada.

Previous to landing his ‘dream job’ Johnson was a high-end interior designer in London. In the 90’s he switched gears and got into lucrative corporate entertainment. His company held high profile events for big companies such as BP, Mobil OIl, Smirnoff, Guinness; culminating in their biggest triumph, his company did the launch party of the London Eye.

It was after this he decided to get into a yachting career and he now carries a 200 ton commercially endorsed Captain’s License.

DREAMY BEGINNINGS

Currently the second largest charter company in the world, Dream Yacht Charter began life in the Seychelles in 2001 with only 6 yachts. Director/Prinicipal Owner, Loic Bonnet, from here expanded to over 36 bases throughout the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Australia, Pacific, North America and the Bahamas. Now boasting fleet operations in excess of 700 boats, Mr Bonnet continues to acquire charter companies and charter brokerages to add to his fleet. A critical strategy for getting quality bookings, the purchase of brokerages worldwide is proving to be an important part of the successful running and expansion of the business. One such shrewd acquisition was the purchase of ‘Late Sail’ one of the biggest yacht brokers in the world, which ensures that boats within the fleet all find bookings. Recent purchases also include the ‘Sparkling Charter’ fleet of 25 boats which helps maintain the companies expansion policy of acquiring up to 3 – 4 charter companies and major brokers per year. Johnson shares,

“Loic looks at ways of expanding his fleets. He saw where the market was best being served for the Grenadines, and as quick as he could he sent me boats.”

Owner Loic Bonnet came down to Grenada a few years ago, and he was tempted with Camper & Nicholson Port Louis Marina, then he knew he wanted to be here at some point. “Grenada was the buzz – now, we bring a new boat down, and it’s booked, back to back.”

A key to Dream Yacht Charters’ success, is clearly its 5 thousand charter brokers worldwide that internally feed business into charter companies. “Typically these brokers have their own marketing and websites and access to our booking engines.” Potential customers will contact a broker much like a travel agent and inquire about a certain kind of boat in this area, on these dates, and they would see what charter company has the best offering. In Grenada, it could be Horizon Yacht Charters, Moorings/Sunsail, or Dream Yacht Charter. “They are the driving force really, and that’s predominantly where the majority of the business comes from.” With bases all around the world, it’s a marketing machine  24/7 ’ promoting boat charters and boat sales.

Working similar ownership/maintenance models that some of the other companies like Moorings offer, owners have a choice of programs to choose from:

THE GUARANTEED INCOME PROGRAM

The Guaranteed Income Program is Dream Yacht Charter’s easiest and most trouble free ownership program. “You’ll own a luxurious sailboat at one of our select bases worldwide, collect a 9% guaranteed payment with no risk, and sail the world for up to 12 weeks with our reciprocal owner use program.” – See more at: www.dreamyachtcharter.com/english/yacht-ownership/#sthash.C1x8cpIw.dpuf

THE PERFORMANCE / ACTIVE YACHT
OWNERSHIP PROGRAM

The Performance / Active Yacht Ownership Program can dramatically lower costs over a short time by simply applying these tax laws. An owner can legitimately benefit from substantial tax benefits to create equity in their new yacht. We urge potential buyers to seek the advice of qualified tax advisors. – See more at: www.dreamyachtcharter.com/english/yacht-ownership/#sthash.C1x8cpIw.dpuf

THE DREAM EASY PROGRAM

Dream Yacht Charter has purchased from Lagoon and Beneteau about 70 luxury sailboats, which will be placed in charter around the world. Own one of these luxury yachts with only 35 percent down and a balloon payment of 25 percent at the end of the 5 year term. There is no expense to the owner and worldwide reciprocal owner use is available. – See more at: www.dreamyachtcharter.com/english/yacht-ownership/#sthash.C1x8cpIw.dpuf

PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM

The Partnership Program is an opportunity for owners to own a yacht for only 55% with no further costs for the duration of the program. You own a luxurious sailboat at one of our worldwide bases and may sail for 12 weeks through our reciprocal owner use program (This program is available only in certain locations- please inquire).

– See more at: www.dreamyachtcharter.com/english/yacht-ownership/#sthash.C1x8cpIw.dpuf

FORWARD SALE AGREEMENT

The Forward Sale Agreement Program exists through a French tax incentive. A buyer receives an up-front 45 to 55 percent discount on the purchase price of a brand new Catana, Lagoon, Beneteau or Jeanneau. Consequently, only the 45 to 55 percent balance is due at closing. Under this program, owners may enjoy 4 to 6 weeks of sailing per year at no expense, yet still earn 3 to 4 percent annual guaranteed income based on the 45 to 55 percent owner’s investment. The yacht must be operated for 7 years in a French territory such as Martinique, Guadeloupe or Tahiti. There is no early exit possible. – See more at: www.dreamyachtcharter.com/english/yacht-ownership/#sthash.C1x8cpIw.dpuf

Johnson is quick to point out that these programs are “double ended, we’re inviting investors to put their boat to work, and at the end of the phase out period there is a buy out program available sometimes as little as a dollar.” However one main difference between Dream Yacht Charter and other companies is the fact that about 50% of the fleet is company owned.

Here in Grenada, Johnson’s team of 7 employees cover the technical, maintenance and cleaning aspects of the boats.

In 2015 gross sales revenues were an outstanding 1.5 million Euro. The Grenada operation is a net spend; meaning the charters are pre-paid for in a different location. The exception is equipment for hire like kayaks, paddle boards, coolers, and provisioning services which are all  paid for on island.

Because this business is based abroad Dream Yacht Charter Grenada Ltd is funded externally therefore, it’s understood tax revenue of that 1.5 million is a service level agreement instead of corporation tax. The contribution is done through a stamp tax.

“The contribution to Grenada is massive annually – we have 20 boats and if we calculate at 50% occupancy for 6 months then basically thats 240 charter weeks at 6 people per boat, so that’s about 1440 people coming to Grenada as a direct result of our company and futhermore, our charter season for 2015 was 10 months, and not the 6 months we are estimating, so people were coming in October and they didn’t stop till August.”

“Market forces drive this, you’ve got people in Europe fed up with the weather or whatever, and they can come here for great sailing because you’ve got in the Caribbean a much longer season than the Med.

“I’ve worked for 3 charter companies in the region, DYC is price competitive, there are cheaper companies out there, but they tend to use older boats – there’s a balance you have to strike. People don’t want to struggle with an old boat. We see it as let’s have the newest boats possible and keep them in excellent condition. I’ve got 7 brand new boats coming in the next few weeks.”

Maintaining a modern fleet is what appears to keep this company in demand. The smallest boat they operate anywhere in the world is a 36ft, 3 cabin Sun Odyssey. The smallest boat in Grenada is a Harmony 38 – off season that charters roughly at $1700.00 US per week.

The largest bareboat offering is a 56’ Dufour monohull and a 48 foot Fontaine Pajot Catamaran which, in peak season is roughly $8,000US per week.

At the very top end is their flagship the Lagoon 620 a crewed private charter boat that starts at around $34,000 US per week or  a ‘by the cabin’ package which is a new product for Grenada – allowing customers to book single cabins on a big boat. “That product has been operating in Martinique and that model ignores the seasons, you don’t know who you’ll end up sharing the cruise with and that’s the fun of it. You have full board, a Captain and Chef also.” Cabin crewed charters out of Grenada will be known as ‘The Tobago Keys Dream’ Johnson continues, “we’re basically a French company so we have very close relationships with Catana, Beneteau, Dufour and other French boat manufacturers, so as you can imagine, our buying power is phenomenal. We boost new boat sales significantly so we do get great deals on buying new yachts.”

“We have a very special brand, Dream yacht Charter stands apart as being a quality brand, we invest heavily in our fleets and we offer an excellent service with great maintenance.”

Customers that are interested, by special arrangement, can charter boats for racing in Grenada’s regatta held in January. Dream Yachts is a sponsor of Grenada Sailing Week, providing in the past a Catana 47 Catamaran for the race officials.

CHARTERING

“It’s all about expectation – I’ve learned what their expectations are going to be – every client is valuable. We suggest a 7 day itinerary of the Tobago Keys and back, if they really want to shoot for Blue Lagoon (St Vincent) and  Bequia they can do so.  They can make it. Some aren’t as ambitious and prefer to cruise the South Coast of Grenada and Hog Island. Additionally with a Dream Yacht Charter base opening in Blue Lagoon, St Vincent, the company will now be offering one way deals.” for those preferring to sail down to the Grenadines and Grenada and fly back up.

All yachts are equipped with a pre-arrival kit containing a bottle of rum, 6 cokes, limes, sugar, water, toilet paper, matches, sponge, etc.; all the towels in the cabin are made into swans, and if guests arrive late we switch on the AC to make sure they are greeted with the utmost of comfort. We also provide a full meet and greet service from the Airport.

Johnson is of the opinion that “Grenada is by far and away the most friendly vibe and one of the nicest mixes of the Caribbean. Even competitors are friendly. We all help each other (other charter companies): by the way. we have to. It’s the equivalent of borrowing a pound of sugar from your neighbours, its usual practice to lend and borrow from each other when supplies are scarce.”

With over 200 Charter starts for the season there is a big spend and big impact on the local economy. Docking spend alone is roughly $60,000EC per month with Camper & Nicholson. We have a contract for 17 berths on the basis of 60% occupancy so not all of the boats are here, if I have overspill that’s an additional spend on our part.” states the base manager.

With a growing team within a growing company, Dream Yacht Charter are trying to do things right and Johnson is of the opinion that “to get the best out of them, you gotta treat them right. My staff here are amazing, The company is on an upward trend and the country is an amazing location to live the dream, that is Dream Yacht Charter.”

Contact Dream Yacht Charter on
1 473 440 8800 or email: richardj@dreamyachtcharter.com
www.dreamyachtcharter.com

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