This is the incredibly story of one of our clients who booked with us last week. Lea & Charles Maxwell chartered a Lagoon 39 in the Bahamas with us and then the most incredible thing happened. To say thank you, Lea wrote a blog post about us and how she experienced the Boataffair journey. Read her authentic & kind article below. Thank you so much Lea!
My friend Dana told me about the matchmaking site months ago, but I hadn’t done anything about it until last week. Oh sure, I’d gone to the website and clicked through the tantalizing photos and bios, and I’d secretly stalked my favorites. She was right, it was addicting. But still, I was loyal. Not ready to put myself out there.
That all changed a little over a week ago. An unforeseen event had me thinking more and more about moving in a different direction, away from the predictable comfort zone that my husband and I had settled into for the past 7 years.
I never thought I’d cheat.
But last Tuesday, I poured a glass of wine, took a deep breath, logged on, and clicked “profile”. I added the most flattering shot I could find, I carefully filled out the “about me” section, making sure to include the pertinent details. I already knew who I would reach out to first. And just like that, I clicked send on my first connection. The next day we emailed back and forth with questions and a match was made. We meet for the first time on Saturday.
How in the world did I get here? What am I doing?
I’m just going to stop you right there if you think somehow Charles doesn’t know about this. After all it was his photo I loaded to the profile on Boataffair.com, the premiere quality matchmaking site for boat owners and boat renters.
The background is important here. Charles and I have been sailing since 2012 and except for one time (and believe me we tried then) we chartered with a very large, well-known, international charter company who we had grown to rely on. They’ve supported us in new lands, they made our entry into the sailing world easy, they have been our sailing security blanket. We’ve been very loyal to this company and we adore them still.
But they don’t sail everywhere, and I am not going to lie, they can be pricey. When our plans to sail on a friend’s boat in the Bahamas beginning President’s Day weekend fell through and we found ourselves looking for another option at the last minute, our standby charter company only had sailboats that were far too expensive.
Enter Boataffair. It was the perfect solution, and I’m going to tell you right now, I am madly in love with them already. It is, as they say, a perfect match for me and Charles.
The Boataffair.com website is easy to use, their customer service is outstanding, and their business model speaks to my soul. If you know me at all, you know I am a connector. I love making introductions, sharing services I use, helping people when I can. In fact, this whole website project is intended to help brand new sailors learn about and connect with the services and information they need.
Boataffair is all about connection.
The premise is that if you own a boat, it might be sitting idle much of the year. You might want to rent it, but how do you find other capable, credentialed sailors? People you trust? That was the experience the founders Adrian and Natalya had with their boat and it was the motivation that ultimately led them to create this platform.
On the flip side, if you want to charter a boat, how can you be sure you are getting the boat in the picture and that it will measure up to the quality you expect? Or possibly best yet, what if you own a boat in Croatia but want to sail in Brazil? What if you just want to swap?
Boataffair seamlessly bridges these gaps. The peer-to-peer trend that has taken off for on-land rentals and driving services is now available on the water. It is a brilliant, innovative concept that is rapidly capturing the attention of sailors and boaters worldwide.
In 2017 when the platform was launched, Boataffair featured boats in five countries. Today, the platform shares rental opportunities for boats in 65 countries. Renters sign up daily and boat owners are joining and being vetted at increasing rates, including some charter companies that see Boataffair as a booking option that complements their own efforts.
This vetting process is one that the owners are proud of. Quality, not quantity, is the goal. They want to make sure the experience of boat owners and boat renters exceeds expectations, and that starts with taking the time to carefully examine the quality of the boat’s pictures, the age of the vessel, the communication process with the owner, the insurance status, and other elements that will ensure the boat owner and their boat are a good partner fit. Boataffair takes pride in its partnerships and they don’t accept just any boat. They have turned away boat owners and entire fleets from the platform in cases where they did not meet Boataffair’s values of trust, transparency, and quality.
I am going to just put this out there. Boataffair has completely changed the conversation around my dinner table. Charles and I talk a lot about sailing and these days we are only talking about Boataffair. Why? Because it opens the door to possibilities we hadn’t considered.
We’ve always thought a boat purchase of our own was so far in the future and truthfully, when talking about buying a boat we struggled with “where”. We didn’t want to be pinned down to a single location.
Boataffair solves that problem. We can buy a boat, sail when we want, and rent to help cover the costs. Best part? We can swap our boat with other likeminded owners. The ability to sail in beautiful spots around the world is wide open.
The overwhelming success of the boat swapping service is arguably the biggest surprise owners Adrian and Natalya have experienced. This feature was launched just 10 months ago after surveys and feedback from owners suggested that this was a service they were craving. Today about 40% of Boataffair’s site traffic is related to swapping, including allowing sailors to share their sailing experiences as a way of aiding others who plan to navigate new waters for the first time. The yachting industry is abuzz with how meaningful this is for members of their community.
Sold? Why wouldn’t you be. Check them out at https://boataffair.com or at @boataffair on all social media channels. Even you folks who haven’t quite got your sailing certification yet should check it out. No, they will not let you rent a boat by yourself without proper credentials, that would be silly. But many boat rentals offer the option of hiring a skipper to sail the boat and give you a taste of what sailing and being on the water is all about.
Be careful though, once you book your first trip you will be hooked. There will be no turning back. That’s ok. We’ve got your back here at escapeundersail.com, and with service providers like Boataffair, making sailing part of your life is more accessible than ever.
Lea Maxwell is the sailor and scribe behind Escape Under Sail, a web|blog project that connects new and future bareboat sailors with the resources, information, and motivation they need to competently and confidently sail beautiful destinations around the world.