Bruno Voisard tries an alternative to boat rental

Bruno Voisard and Bruno Lescher, founders of the Boat Club de France

Bruno Voisard launches the Boat Club de France, a new concept for the use of boats, halfway between rental and co-ownership. A new economic model that foreshadows the future of the yachting market?

Operation of the Boat Club de France

Bruno Voisard, former director of Nautitech and Bruno Lescher launched the Boat Club de France in April 2017. This is a private sailing club that allows boat licence holders to sail on boats owned by the Boat Club de France.

Once paid an entrance fee of 4,000 euros for 5 years and a monthly contribution of 200 euros, the member is granted credits. He can then sail on any boat, from any base in the network, spending the accumulated points. The"rate" in credits depends on the size of the boat and the season. The boats are prepared by the club before each outing and the member is accompanied before each departure (weather, VHF use, safety instructions...)

The club also organizes events for its members, such as conferences, fishing parties...

Small motor boats to start

The Boat Club de France starts the 2017 season with three bases in La Baule, Piriac and Pornic. Members may borrow small motor boats, semi-rigid or rigid.

"The starting angle is small boats that are easy to use. There will surely be small sailing ships from 2018. There is no reason why the fleet of the Boat Club de France should not then follow the use and diversify like the French pleasure fleet. We're in start-up mode and adapting to demand."

New bases in Brittany and the Mediterranean should see the light of day soon.

A concept from the United States

Boat clubs have existed in the United States for many years and have met with great success. "I had been observing the phenomenon across the Atlantic for a long time, particularly in my role on the new uses of yachting within the Fédération des Industries Nautiques" explains Bruno Voisard"But Europe was not yet mature. This is now the case with the development of the shared economy. Smartphones allow good responsiveness."

Asked about the potential difficulties related to the difference between the ways of sailing in the USA and in France, less focused on fishing and water skiing, the founder believes that the model will adapt to the way the French navigate.

"We're not a rental company."

For Bruno Voisard, it is important to understand that the Boat Club de France is not a boat rental company with a subscription. With a boat for 4 to 5 members, the boats will be used less intensively than for rental and will be less damaged, with recurrent users, therefore more respectful. This ratio will also ensure availability to members. Territorial networking will ensure alternatives in nearby ports.

An open business model

For each of its first 3 bases, the Boat Club de France has chosen a different operating model. In Piriac, he will directly manage fleet maintenance and customer management. In La Baule, a professional boat dealer will provide services on behalf of the club, with the club fleet. In Pornic, a mixed solution will be tested. The company has the choice to adapt the operating model to the port and the local nautical ecosystem.

Appointment is taken for a first assessment at the end of the season.

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