SailTime’s fractional boating membership climbs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Fractional boating provider SailTime Group LLC is seeing steady increases in membership and boats offered through its programs, “despite the significant drop in boat sales occurring across the industry,” said CEO and President Wayne Diviney in a recent statement.

Diviney attributed the growth to boaters looking for “innovative and affordable ways to keep their boating dreams alive during uncertain economic times.”

SailTime reported more than 100 new members worldwide in 2008, which increased its overall membership to more than 1,100 members globally. The company pointed out that while the NMMA estimates a 30-percent decline in boat sales for 2008 as compared to 2007, SailTime has added 21 new boats to its fleet through its owner-member program.

Five new European bases were also added during 2008 (in Poole, Portsmouth and Medway, England; Pwllheli, Wales; and Dublin, Ireland), giving SailTime more than 50 bases in North America and Europe.

This growth allowed the company to increase its support staff in 2008 with the addition of sales and marketing positions at the corporate level to bolster sales, services and brand awareness, according to the company. These included Matt Leduc as national sales director, Jim Steadman for member sales and customer service, Jennifer Devlin for public relations, Intertwine for Web site design and development, and Grafik for marketing and communications support.

Additionally, SailTime expanded its services, adding SailTime PLUS, which allows members who travel access to boats at SailTime bases worldwide, where they can take advantage of up to seven days of sailing at each desired location, depending on availability, according to the company.

SailTime anticipates additional expansion in 2009 as it launches SailTime Power, a similar program to its fractional sailing memberships but with mid-sized, luxury power yachts. Power boats have already been introduced to its fleet in some markets.

SailTime started in 2001 with a concept similar to airplane sharing, offering the shared use of a sailboat owned by one individual with seven other non-equity members. Each member pays a fee for access to the boats and is guaranteed at least seven sail times every month as well as unlimited "as-available" use on a 24-hour notice at no extra cost, according to the company.

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