Stranded in Greece.
She Paid For a Charter Yacht That Was Impounded for Drug Trafficking.
Let me tell you a true story of woe about a woman who chose to bypass using a professional yacht broker to deal directly with the captain of a yacht in Greece. For disclosure purposes the stranded woman’s name is not “Bella Parsons”, we changed it so we would not embarrass her. There is no yacht in Greece named “Catchain”.
The true story you are about to read it what happened in Greece July 2010. It all began when in early January of 2010 when Mrs. Bella Parsons called me and wanted to reserve a private yacht charter on board a Greek catamaran sailboat.
“Andrew, we have never been to Greece in the past so your guidance will be much appreciate”, she said. So we spoke numerous times over the next week or so discussing the island locations and the best way to get to Greece as well as what were the most convenient airports to travel in and out of. There were to be 6 guests in her party, they wanted to see various Greek Islands and spend about a week on charter.
As we always like to narrow down the best available boats available and having done so we submitted 5 choices for catamarans from which she could chose. As we always do, we followed up by sending color brochures and a contract for her to review.
I know that these vacation decisions can’t be made on the spot and not being a pushy person I set my calendar to call her in a few weeks, if I had not heard from her in the meanwhile. So after 2 weeks, I called as we had not heard back from her only to be told that she booked “Catchain” directly, a Greek catamaran with a price tag of about Euro 2,500 less than any of our catamarans. I said that there is no catamaran in the Greek industry with that name, so may I ask what yacht agent she was dealing with? She could not remember. I wished her well and forgot about this incident.
It wasn’t until that July in 2010 when I received a distress call from a Mrs. Bella Parsons that jarred my memory. “Andrew, we are on the dock in Greece for our charter and the boat we paid for, Catchain, is locked and its sitting on blocks on the dock with police signs plastered all over it. She continued “It’s written in Greek so I asked a young man to tell me what the signs say and it was advising all people that the vessel has been impounded for drug trafficking and is under protection of the police”.
You can only imagine her anguish. She and her 5 companions had traveled 1,000s of miles to a foreign country only to find out that their vacation plans were in ruins. What’s worse is they had already paid for their charter and were facing the loss of not only their holiday but the 1,000s of dollars.
This certainly was not the time to ask her why she was calling me and what was I supposed to do about it, as a lady in distress needs help and not someone telling her “I told you so”.
I asked her if she could find an Athens address where the yacht owner’s office was located, and fortunately she did. It was my suggestion that she go see them in person and tell them of her plight. She ran around for several hours before finding the office and when she did she asked for her money back.
Their response was not one anybody wants to hear “Oh, we cannot do that”, although did finally manage to get half their money back.
Not to be deterred and not to be deprived of their holiday they resorted to walking along the docks asking catamaran captains to take them out for a 1-week charter. Sadly, by now they had already lost a day and a half of their vacation and half their money as well.
At last they did find one captain who said, “Certainly we can do this catamaran yacht charter for you, but our catamaran has to be provisioned for your week charter and they will be an extra charge for short notice”. Plus there was cleaning up to do to get the catamaran charter ready.” And as such, could not be ready until the next day.
So now she had to pay for a hotel for 2 extra nights, and it is 32 hours after she walked onto this dock and into the Catchain nightmare and she’s still not on her vacation.
After she got back to the US, she called me to finish her tale. Yet, there was still a little more to her story. The gentleman that we spoke with on the docks regarding the catamaran charter sailing vacation was the owner, spoke English well. But he neglected to tell us that his captain did not speak English making communications very difficult.
Although delayed, they eventually got to have a shortened version of their charter vacation and were delighted to have their sailing vacation move ahead.
“Andrew, she said “I can guarantee you that we certainly lost four times as much as the 2,500 Euro we thought we were going to save”. At the end, it wasn’t about the money saved it was the time vacation almost lost and all the frustration that came along with it!
She finished her tale of woe by assuring me that next time she will work with me and take my advice when it comes to planning a yacht charter vacation. So far there has been no next time.
Sadly, these types of incidents give our sailing yacht charter industry a bad name, but in this case it is Mrs. Bella Parsons and her party who created their own problem by trying to get cheap. I’ve found that 95% of the time, cheap is cheap for reasons guests do not always understand.
When offering various vessels for our clients to consider for their vacations, we offer guests the very best crew and the very best vessel to serve their particular needs.
We are not influenced by the rate the private yacht charter charges in order to earn a higher commission by selling the client a charter that does not meet his or her wants. Sure, most people have a budget (even millionaires) so we offer our guests various vessels based on their wants but generally only those yachts that we are intimately familiar.
We travel to all the international boat shows for brokers in order to see each vessel we offer for charter so we can tour the yacht. We also take internal pictures of all the featured vessels.
It is vitally important for charter guests to work with a professional yacht broker when planning their vacations on private yachts in order to avoid the problems Mrs. Parsons experienced. We have enough stress in our lives already and don’t need more by having your plans go awry.
You can rest assured that by choosing Barrington Hall Yacht Charters that we have met the yachts’ captain and crew on board.
It is our company with its 20 year success record of being a broker plus of 5 years captaining our own catamaran on yacht charters in the British Virgin Islands that can assist you in having the best vacation you have ever experienced.
As a professional yacht broker we are in business to work for you (our guests); we are not biased because it is the owner of the yacht who pays our commission. We work for you for free and only earn our commission after you have booked a yacht charter. We are motivated to provide you with the highest level of service, personal attention and the highest quality boats and crews to ensure that you become a satisfied and hopefully; a repeat customer.
Barrington-Hall definitely has the edge on 95% of all of our competitors, because very few professional yacht brokers have actually been captains in the Caribbean. Our company representatives have spent weeks visiting various islands on different routes to get to know Greece and her sister islands.
When guests look at professional charter yachts on the internet, they can select 3-4 vessels, but then they need to come to Barrington-Hall for answers. Why is one catamaran charging $15,000 for 10 guests for a 1-week yacht charter while another catamaran costs $27,500 and they are the same length? Why are the rates so different?
Beware, the rate is low for many good reasons. To provide an example, I have provided 2 catamarans in the Caribbean fleet which are the same size, but they are yards apart in quality and manufacture date. This is relatively easy to see why, but when there is $8,000 or even $10,000 difference, how do guests work that one out? Barrington-Hall has these answers as well.
Here is the answer to the first question. The sailing vacation catamaran for 10 guests with a rate of $15,000 is a trimaran hand-built in someone’s back yard during the 1975-1986 period. These came in kit form, and the back yard handyman set up his catamaran-trimaran at his leisure. But these trimarans were designed with a different mindset than the modern day luxury sailing catamaran, which first appeared in 1990.
Those trimarans were designed with the thought in mind to have as few holes (for windows) as possible, making the trimaran stronger, so what did that do? It made trimarans dark and not well-planned inside.
Barrington-Hall does not book these ancient trimarans; we try to educate our guests to enjoy the modern, bright luxury catamaran charter vessel.
The catamaran with a price tag for $27,500 for 1 week is brand new and has a modern fly bridge whose concept was only introduced into the charter industry 4 years ago and makes for unique views and added enjoyment for all the guests. Plus, it is these same luxury catamarans which now have walk-around beds in all cabins and are only found in the modern catamaran of today.
Here is an example of a fly bridge catamaran sailboat with her walk-around beds. Her name is ‘Flow‘ and is 59′ long by 33’ wide. You may enjoy watching this 3 minute video tour of her to get a real feel of what a modern catamaran sailing vacation will be for you.
At the end of the day, when it comes to price, you get what you pay for. Barrington-Hall gets overwhelmed with special rates by various vessel owners, and 90% of all of those special lowered rates turn out not to be anything special at all – just smoke and mirrors. The top catamarans in our industry have no need to drop their rates as they provide an excellent sailing experience, great food and fun as as such they get booked pretty full every year.
So call Andrew Buys at Barrington-Hall and ask him for guidance regarding any “Special” lowered rate. There is one major decision that all guests need to make when considering a private yacht vacation: Work with the best charter yacht broker.
We at Barrington Hall Yachts have over 20 years of yacht charter experience and are able to guide you in undertaking this extraordinary vacation on board the 196′ Relentless V.
Private luxury yachts are available in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mediterranean, Greece and other exotic destinations around the globe. Not sure where you want to go for the charter locations? Kindly contact us on 800-478-2029 / (954) 720-0475 or email us with all your questions.