Almost a month ago we asked online on YACHT which defective crews found on board during their last voyage. The result should help you to take a particularly close look at the vulnerable systems the next time you check in, so that you save yourself trouble and lost time for repairs later on the way. This also reduces the risk of accepting a mistake, which the skipper will then chalk up upon return and which may be charged dearly.
Damage on charter yachts
Almost 700 readers took part in the survey and reported on a surprising number of charter companies who wanted to hand over defective yachts and first had to be made aware of the problems by the skipper. This unattractive and probably very short-sighted way of shifting quality management onto customers is likely to backfire for some companies in the long term. Such practices actually always get around among agencies and sailors and ultimately lead to agencies booking these partners less and then simply not having customers. Then the fleet operator does not have to fill his gaps with price reductions very rarely, which often enough triggers a spiral to increasingly poor quality.
Surprisingly in first place as the most frequently mentioned problem were the toilets and the holding tank system on board. In fact, crews are naturally annoyed when there are defects in this area, even if the causes are usually rather marginal from a technical point of view. If the problem is bad smells or backward sewage in the bowl, the basis is often sloppy in the regular replacement of the wearing parts of the toilet and the change of the pipes every few years. If this is heeded, problems arise much, much less often. This area should be the main focus of the bases and skippers.
Problems with the sails immediately followed in second place. However, it is often not about obvious damage such as cracks or defective clamps for little ones, but the poor state of the cloakroom is criticized. This problem is as old as the charter industry: A set of furling sails often doesn't look good in windy areas by the middle of the second season: Much too deep and "wandered" profiles, worn out leeches, chafing points on the spreaders. Admittedly, this has a lot to do with the mistreatment caused by incorrect handling of customers, but just as often with the inferior cloths that some shipyards supply as standard. It is very surprising that crews no longer tend to batten main sails, they are usually still in an acceptable shape even in the second or third year and, thanks to good lazyjack systems, are not much more complex to operate than roller sails. Maybe crews just try it out.
Also surprising when it comes to fourth place: leaking or poorly closing hatches and windows. One would think that it is in the interests of the charter company if no salt water drips onto bunk cushions or, even worse, runs behind fixtures and cladding in the salon or kitchen. The problem is that such defects are often only noticed when it is too late, i.e. with the first downpour or plenty of spray on deck. As a skipper, it only helps to check the windows and hatches for tightness exactly when these conditions first occur - so as not to be surprised by the wet bunk in the evening.
Another classic is certainly the poor condition of the on-board batteries, which after a brief period of use of the refrigerator or use of the on-board electronics while sailing, can go so far that it takes hours to run the engine or a night on shore power. It is incomprehensible why acoustic battery monitors are still not standard on charter yachts today, warning crews of deep discharge. One possible solution for the skipper: before signing the contract, ask whether the fleet uses solar panels over the bimini as standard. Good fleet operators now do this quite often. So the Kühli can run almost non-stop, at least the few hours of sailing don't bother it.