I see a variety of issues with syndicate ownership, but for many it works well. When I first bought a keel
boat I was joint owner with a friend. We sailed together much of the time too. Sailing a big boat is easier with more than a single
pair of hands. So to have a friend to go sailing with was awesome (often with our families too), especially in the early days when we were learning
. We shared the maintenance
too, although that became an issue. But typically, and unfortunately, a syndicate isnít based around friendship.
All though I have seen a very good example where half a dozen families came together themselves and bought and managed a serious racing
yacht. But they agreed amongst themselves and I understand were all friends to begin with. They enjoyed fantastic experiences for several years. And most of the owners would sail together. The boat was moored locally to them all, so convenient. But they also raced the boat internationally and on occasion hired delivery
All boats break of course, plus we all want to make improvements. So who decides what, how much and who does the actual work
In reality under what is proposed you donít enjoy one of the most pleasurable aspects of boat ownership. This being buying
stuff for your boat, and possibly even installing same one day. Most owners have a bunch of new gear
sitting in a locker that theyíll install one day, but it was on sale
and so they bought it. To me and I know to many, which is nicer to buy for, you spouse or your boat? And often the boat comes first as youíd expect.
Also I want to choose the colours, the dťcor, the artwork and nick nacks on show. You just donít gain these pleasures from syndicate ownership. But that's just my opinion.
Another issue might be location. The OP hasn't said where he/she lives in relation to the boat, but it may matter. The issue is that the boat will have a base. So where he and his family
start their cruise
will be wherever that base is. And at the end of their time the boat will need to be back at its base. So trip distance is very limited. And what if someone is late sailing back?
For me, that's one of the drawbacks with charters, shared ownership and syndicate boats. I want to decide where I go, when I go and what I do when I get there. I don't want to have to share that decision or be mindful of getting somewhere on a certain date because my time will be up then and the boat has to be at X spot for the next 'owner'. That's just me and this isn't about me.
There may also be restrictions about the boatís use, for example:
- must be on a mooring
or in a marina, rather than at anchor
or rafted up,
- canít be sailed at night,
- number of people on the boat limited,
- no parties,
- canít leave your stuff on the boat at the end of your time.
Canít leave any foodstuffs on board and so always provisioning
, and all that stuff, food
and clothes needs to be lugged on and off the boat, stowed, retrieved etc for each and every trip. And if you don't o it yourself the boat manager will hire someone and you'll pay, same for cleaning
Where as I know I can go down to my boat Friday after work, jump on and sail off for at least a weekend without a thought to food
, clothes, towels, bedding, gear etc because I can and do keep the boat stocked. As an aside the boat is also my familyís emergency
home in the event of a serious earthquake in Wellington.
Typically too, such boats have a very limited sail wardrobe. They donít need to as most owners just motor
everywhere. They mostly donít sail. Itís the same for general boating
But the OP needs to appreciate boats arenít real assets, boats are potential liabilities. In my view only fools borrow money
to buy boats or percentages of boats (unless to live on) as boats are toys we acquire and use from our discretionary spending money.
What is the liability if the syndicate manager canít sell all shares? What if an owner drops out, dies, runs away, down the track; who pays that share. There has to be an exit strategy too.
If one syndicate member
has a relationship breakdown (or dies) then presumably their half share of the boat may become disputed matrimonial property or a part of an estate. It may be tied up for months or more in dispute, and perhaps no monthly fees being paid. Perhaps a smart lawyer gets a lien on the boat and it can't leave the dock
till the Court resolves the dispute. Perhaps the syndicate manager goes broke, runs off with all the money or sells an empty paper bag. Do the other syndicate members all have their installment increased to meet any shortfall. If not who pays?
And some people too just never get to grips with being sailors. You see them at most marinas
. They just don't learn and so bash their boat in to pilings, try to go on the wrong tide, do all the stupid things we hear about here many times, damaging their own and other's boats in the process. So maintenance
potential for such boats is high and factored so in the monthly charges. And the syndicate manager has to make a profit.
What if one of the partners is a useless yachtie and every time you pick up the boat there's another little bit of damage? Maybe too the other families isn't as tidy and clean as yours. And how do you sort out food and other stores? I want to be able to leave whatever stuff I want to leave on my boat. The wrong owner may be blamed.
And will friends and family
members be allowed to sail? Will the kids
when old enough be able to take the boat out for a few days? Will that include on their own with their own friends? I trusted my kids
once they hit about 18 to use the boat.
Will that include when no owners are on board? Who are the owners anyway?
Here's some common newbie mistakes
- Fill the diesel
or fill the water
. How would that be resolved?
jams so use the winch
and rips the sail.
- Forgets to check the engine
water is open (or it blocks) and fails to hear the alarm
- Relies on GPS
the boat on to a rock.
- Doesn't tie up the $5K dinghy
properly and so it just disappears with the tide (of course no one ever does this, everyone blames a thief).
- The yacht itself comes away from the dock
in the marina doing millions of dollars damage to other boats there. As a result of the last 'owner' not making fast the mooring
There are hundreds of examples of course.
So hypothetically your brother Harry, a very competent sailor asks to use Ďyourí boat for a week and no one is using it. If it were you're own boat then it's a simple decision. But not so a syndicate boat.
Covering all these issues and the many I've not pointed out are going to mean a serious legal contract
and consequential fees too.
In reality this 'deal' is put together by a charter company that uses other peoples money to fund a charter yacht, at the same time selling charter weeks for years in advance. Potentially it reduces the typical cost of a charter, but liability now passes to the charterer through their shared ownership.
Sorry but this is a bad deal in my view.