After learning how to sail during a round the world yacht race, Kim Bangel came back to Sydney a changed woman. She learned so much while overseas and didn’t want to lose her newfound skills. So Kim decided to get her skipper’s license and quickly progressed to doing weekly twilight races.

“I was new to sailing and I thought I would never buy a boat. I assumed it was dead money sitting there doing nothing. It seemed like such a waste.”

A friend introduced Kim to Flagstaff Marine’s Graham Raspass, through a SailTime event. He explained how the SailTime memberships work. Members pay a subscription fee, allowing them to use the SailTime fleet. Yachts in the fleet needed to be less than six years old and are kept in pristine condition by the SailTime team. The owner is invoiced for the maintenance and mooring but receives payments from the membership fee which offsets the invoices.

Working in real estate, Kim got it. She knew how lucrative rental properties are and could immediately see that buying a boat was suddenly within her reach. She spoke with her accountant and the figures added up. The SailTime payments would make her yacht completely cost-neutral. And it meant Kim wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of ongoing maintenance and mooring … bonus!

“I’m a champagne sailor. I love nice days out on the water – not roughing it at sea. In my head, I get a beautiful boat without the cost attached. I always get the first choice for major events and use the boat whenever I want.”

A front-row view of the Sydney Fireworks

Kim’s first New Year’s Eve as a boat owner was a night she will remember forever. Naturally, she was really nervous going out on such a busy night. Graham worked with her to plan the night and gave plenty of great tips like getting there early to save your spot and avoid sailing in the overcrowded harbour.

“We invited a group of friends on the boat. We moored early and had lunch, played cards and games, enjoying the day. When the time came we sipped on champagne while enjoying front row seats to the best fireworks in the world. It was an incredible experience. The best New Year’s Eve I have ever had.”

SailTime Owner wins Beneteau CupA win in the Pittwater Beneteau Regatta

In someone else’s boat, you become a competent crew member. In your own boat, you need to park it, sail it and drive it. Kim needed to learn these skills fast. Graham stepped in and taught Kim everything she needed to know.

The Oceanis was commissioned just before the Pittwater Beneteau Regatta. It was Kim’s first time skippering a race and she was terrified! Graham helped her find an experienced crew, including a racing veteran who acted as the tactician on the boat.

“I was really nervous because I had never done this before. But there was no need, in the end, we won the race!”

Kim has gone on to skipper many races and loves being involved in the SailTime and Flagstaff Marine communities.

Steve Smith is the walking definition of a salt of the earth sailor – humble, generous, with a cracking sense of humour. His love of the water has helped him through some rough times. Now the proud new owner of the Beneteau Oceanis 41.1P ‘Freedom’; he’s ready to embark on his next sailing journey and this one is about sharing his passion with others. Steve was hooked on sailing after answering an offer for a free lesson. After a few more courses and lots of social sailing, his then-wife joined in the fun. As Steve says, life was good, the couple was raising three children, running a successful business and loving the sailing life. Then things got tough…

Sailing towards Freedom

Steve’s business suffered some heavy financial losses but sailing turned out to be the perfect stress relief.

“I’d invited about 14 or 15 people onto a yacht which I hired. It was only three days after I’d lost $96,000 on a bad debt. That was a lot of money back then in 1985. Anyway, we went out and had a sail that day and I never thought another thing about losing the money … it was relieving and freeing us of all the problems associated with it.”

A nice new yacht

Steve’s bank balance had taken a big hit but his love of sailing was so strong he and his wife decided to buy a yacht.

“We went and spent $50,000 on a yacht … We had the boat on the water for Australia Day and then we did a renovation on it.

After the renovations, we had ourselves a beautiful 45-foot yacht. We put that into business and I did a lot of chartering around the harbor and continued with the racing.”

Then when their fourth child came along the couple decided to sell the yacht to focus on raising the kids.

Thinking of Dave

Fast forward about twenty years, give or take, and life delivers another one its blows. A good friend of Steve’s passes away but it’s this loss that leads him back to sailing.

“A friend of mine, Dave, passed away and a few years later his brother said, ‘You know, Dave and I had this pact to go around the world on a yacht.’ I said, ‘Yes.’

He said, ‘Well, I’ve bought the yacht.’ I said, ‘What? You’re kidding me!’ He said, ‘We’ve already named the boat.’ I said ‘What’s it called?’ He said, ‘Well, ‘Thinking of Dave’.’”

There was just one catch – ‘Thinking of Dave’ was in Barbados so that’s where they’d be starting off from.

Beneteau in BarbadosBeneteau in Barbados

“I said, ‘You’re kidding me. What did you buy a boat over there for?’ and he said, ‘Oh, it was cheap.’ I said, ‘How cheap?’ He said, ‘Well, $160 000 for a 50-foot yacht.’ I said, ‘Turn it up. It can’t be. What sort of a rust bucket is it?’”

The rust bucket turned out to be a beautiful 50-foot Beneteau with four cabins. Steve acted as Sail Master and they started the sail around the world via Cuba, Venezuela, through the Panama Canal and The Galapagos Islands.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing and after getting knocked over in 37-knot winds and battling rough weather, Steve ended his leg at the Matisse Islands.

Twilight sailing

After that adventure, Steve sailed closer to home enjoying Twilight Sailing through SailTime where he met Flagstaff’s Graham Raspass. His love of racing was reignited.

“With 6,000 nautical miles under my belt and being later on in life, it’s certainly gone a long way to invigorating me.”

But it’s the connection to other sailors that Steve really loves.

“Just camaraderie and all that. They’re nice people and now that I’m at a different age I read things a whole lot differently to being in your twenties. The competitive nature and the juices are not there to the same extent. But the other juices are running thick and fast. The cloud over the body and they sink in like beetroot through the fabric and it’s just lovely.”

Dancing with the Wind

Beetroot stains aside, there is definitely still some very healthy competition going on especially with the skipper of ‘Dancing with the Wind’, Kim Bangel.

“I can hardly wait to call starboard on her!” says Steve, “Kim’s a good soul and I’m looking forward to racing again with her on Wednesday nights. She promoted the idea of share boating to me and said it was the best idea that she’s had for a long time. Kim wanted to go and learn how to sail, so she went and bought the boat instead!”

SailTime Australia

SailTime caters for all levels of sailor with its unique membership as well as providing a boat ownership program and its own sailing school.

“One of the smartest things that Graham does is to educate people about sailing … I understand he’s got about six people in line for me already. Which will just be just like a full boat complement of members…”

SailTime provides a surprisingly affordable and practical approach to sailing without all the hassles, headaches, long-term commitment and expenses that can be associated with traditional ownership.

“Graham’s been the most enjoyable character to work with – nothing’s been too much of a problem and everything that he said would be, has come about to be. I guess that’s enough to be said about him. So far so good but I’ll ring you back on this in six months!”

Beneteau Oceanis 41.1PFinding Freedom

After hearing Steve’s story, it makes perfect sense that ‘Freedom’ is the name he’s chosen for his new Oceanis 41.1P. Freedom is very much what sailing has given him throughout his life. But the motivating factor for buying Freedom was not owning another yacht, in fact, he’d sworn he’d never buy one again. And it was not just for his own pleasure, he really loves the opportunity to share his passion for sailing.

“I’m looking forward to sharing a vessel with a lot of people who have not got the opportunity to buy a yacht. That sounds a bit crazy to a lot of people, but I really enjoy watching other people grow and enjoy themselves with whatever’s in front of them. I’ve seen that with other people on Kim’s boat. Teaching these youngsters how to go about things and enjoy their sail. It’s good making them aware of things, watching them become more confident. That’s terrific.”

There are also two people in Steve’s crew who mean the world to him and they are a big part of why he bought Freedom.

“Part of the reason I bought this vessel was that Clive, my manager who works for me, has been a very solid man in my life for a long time. He’s a master mariner and no funding to do what he’d like to do, and I have the funding, so he’s going to take over my share of the sailing. We call him ‘Araldite Clive’. Once his hands get around that wheel we can’t get them off it!”

And there’s First Mate Fernando aka Inspector Gadget who’s got his nickname because he is meticulous and keeps everything in such good order. With Fernando on board, Steve knows Freedom is in the best hands.

Why the Oceanis 41.1P

When we asked Steve why he chose the Oceanis 41.1P his answer was quick, “Because it’s quicker than Kim’s boat – Make sure that hits the print, will you?” We’re good to our word Steve!

Apart from being able to beat ‘Dancing With The Wind’ around the cans, Steve chose the Oceanis 41.1P because he loved the layout on deck and felt it was a perfect boat for a bigger crew to sail.

“One of the things that are outstanding is that the center console on this vessel is minimalist. It doesn’t have the bulk of the cruising size yacht table but it’s offset and allows coming and going easily down the port side. And the way it’s set up on the starboard side is where we’re going to have the main winch for the halyard and also for the mainsheet, you see. It’s got the German rig on it at the moment, but I think it’s a little complicated for a crew of people all coming back to two winches. When there are four winches to play with, let them play with them.

That spreads the team out a little bit – doesn’t box them all into one spot. We’re thinking of getting a bow spirit. We’re looking around for a very buxom woman to tie to it. So, we’re going to advertise on – actually in today’s age, I’m not sure if that’s allowed?”

Freedom Found

When Freedom is not out beating everyone else around the cans, Steve plans to use her as a place to just sit and be.

“I’m looking forward to the vessel being at Middle Harbour. I live at Manly, work at Lidcombe and I can just see myself stopping on the way home and having a book to read on the transom. Just the idleness of being away from home and being on the yacht without any care in the world. Pull a beer up and have a sip before I pack up for the night and go home.”

Sounds pretty good to us Steve; we know you’ll make the most of your new-found Freedom.

The mystery of the sea has been calling to sailors for thousands of years. These dreams are fueled by watching sailing races, hearing stories of friends’ sailing adventures, catching a glimpse of sailboats in the background of a movie, driving over a bridge on your way to work while seeing sails gliding in the breeze, and, of course, from your first time on a sailboat!

#1 Work with a trusted guide

So, how do you learn to sail? The best place to start is by allowing a trusted guide to show you the ropes… literally! Future sailors can learn with friends or family while taking sailing lessons. Many sailing lessons come with a certification that teaches a structured set of skills. These lessons build as the new sailor learns on-water-skills combined with a written test to demonstrate their knowledge as they progress through the levels. Sailing certifications are a badge of honour! Most people learn to sail with a combination of certification classes and practising with friends. Don’t forget to keep a log of your sailing time.

#2 Learn new skills every time you sail

The best tip for new sailors is to realize that you should learn something new every time you sail! Remember learning to drive? You first learned to drive around the neighbourhood, and built on those skills, practicing along the way until you could drive in snow. Sailing is a smart sport that includes learning about wind science, math, weather, knots (the rope and speed kind), navigation, and fluid dynamics. Sailors must also learn a whole new language to communicate on the VHF radio, with flags, and between their crew sometimes at a distance. The best sailor is the prudent dreamer who knows to continuously fine-hone their skills while seeking and learning new lessons along their journey.

#3 Take sailing lessons

RYA Competent Crew course is for those new to sailing who would like to learn to sail and become active crew members rather than just passengers. You’ll learn to sail while living onboard and getting to know the boat. Virtually all the course is hands-on. You are the competent crew – without you, the sails won’t go up and the boat won’t be steered. The course is 5 days but is often run over 3 weekends or 3 days plus a weekend. If you have done the Start Yachting course, this course can be completed in 3 or 4 days.

As sailors are passionate about learning, you can always find great learning tools. These include excellent books, intriguing videos, interesting community lectures, fun group sailing trips, and a sailing friend to help teach you new things. As you study and learn, make sure to challenge yourself to learn new skills. Below is a list of skills to slowly add to your skill set:

  • Docking in new locations
  • Single handing
  • Sailing at night
  • Navigating to a new destination
  • Racing
  • Sailing offshore
  • Anchoring overnight
  • Cooking and barbecuing aboard
  • Sailing for a long weekend
  • Using the VHF radio
  • Chartering in a new county
When people first learn about SailTime, they may have been sailing for years or their family had a boat growing up. Sometimes they are brand new to sailing. We listen to your sailing dreams and share our knowledge about sailing. We help you have a boat owner-like experience without having to make the commitment of buying a boat.
Joining SailTime for a year is as easy as selecting a sailboat from our fleet, choosing a membership level, and signing up – your membership includes a 2-day induction for starters and our Sailing School will help you to quickly develop the skills you need.
There’s no need to spend years trying to pick the perfect boat before you even know what the perfect boat is for you!

SailTime was founded on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, 19 years ago. Sharing assets like boats, cars, and second homes was unheard of at the time. Today, however, sharing is not only mainstream, it is the biggest shift in the economy since the dot-com boom. Known as “The Sharing Economy,” it is the fastest-growing segment of the economy today.

Sharing companies, like Airbnb, UBER, Zipcar, and SailTime, have changed the way goods and services are provided and consumed. These platforms bring in a new market of owners who plan to share their assets to generate revenue. They also provide consumers a first-class, ownership-like experience for less cost than the traditional buy-it-to-use-it norm.

Take UBER, for example. When the client requests a ride, it is quite possible that the UBER driver will arrive in a luxury new model sedan with a complimentary bottle of water. That used to be an expensive service provided by a limousine company.

However, with UBER, you can get the same first-class experience for a cost that is less than a taxi fare.

SailTime is changing boat usage the way UBER has changed car usage. SailTime members enjoy all the benefits of ownership, getting regular usage of a very well-equipped new model sailboat all season long. Members can go out for short day-sails or take the boat out for a full week of cruising. They also get access to SailTime boats at 39 locations worldwide.

This shift in consumer behavior is just in the early stages and is a generational event. For the past 30 years, baby boomers made up the main demographic of boat buyers. Three decades ago, the boomers were buying 30-foot boats. A decade later the trend was 40-foot boats, and in the last decade, the boomers have been buying 50-foot boats. The same client has been upgrading and driving the boat market as we know it, but they are making way for future generations.

Over the next decade, Generation Xers and millennials will be buying and using sailboats. Millennials are sharers and not typically buyers like boomers.

They prefer to rent, or even subscribe, rather than own and invest in tangible assets. Gen Xers are both buyers and sharers, depending on a few factors. Gen Xers will buy, but typically they make their decisions on two factors. First, will they use it enough? If not, then they will rent rather than own. Second, is the purchase a good investment? If there is a way to own and perhaps earn income, Gen Xers will be more inclined to buy.

Platforms like SailTime are perfect for combining the two generations. While millennials prefer to share, Gen Xers will own if they can get utilization and a return on the investment. SailTime provides millennials an opportunity to purchase “the experience” without ownership. SailTime provides Gen Xers the ability to maximize their ownership and give them a return on their investment.

As the economy evolves and consumer behaviors change, industries must adapt and innovate.

The SailTime boat-sharing program is just one of the innovations that will keep boating a thriving industry in the new sharing economy. Other sharing platforms such as boat clubs, fractional ownership programs, and peer-to-peer boat sharing have all emerged to meet the new consumer behavior driven by the sharing economy. This is just the beginning.