I see a variety of issues with joint ownership, but for many it works well. When I first bought a keel
boat I was joint owner with a friend (although we never shared houses). 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 someone 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.
All boats break, plus we all want to make improvements. So who decides what, how much and who does the actual work?
Another issue might be location. The OP hasn't said which part of the big wide world the two families live, but it matters little to the issue. The issue is the distance that they all will be to the boat. I note some posters have assumed the Caribbean is a close option. But that's a very big place when travelling at 10 knots and will each family just get to leave the boat anywhere they want for the other family when their allotted time is up? Perhaps the OP and his friend are Mexican and that the other family decides to cruise Cuba
. So where he and his family start their cruise will be wherever the other family leaves the boat.
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 is up then and the boat has to be at X spot for the other owner. That's just me and this isn't about me.
But seriously I also wouldn't want to give up my house to go sailing either. Like cars, boats aren't really assets. That suggests a lack of available funds and that may become a real issue with maintenance too. If selling a house to buy a boat (and many do) to live and travel on that's a rather different objective.
But what seems to be a happening here is that a house is being sold
to buy a boat that will essentially be a toy for two families. I would never do that. I would buy a boat I could actually afford with cash from my savings. Real estate is a real asset, boats aren't
In my own case of joint ownership, my friend actually turned out to have some financial issues. He talked the talk but often times he could not walk the walk and so many months I had to fund both our monthly cost shares. Or one partner decides to pull out; there has to be an exit strategy.
If one family 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.
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.
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 family 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. And some of it I wouldn't want anybody else using. Some of my stuff is private. These are all surmountable issues, but need to be discussed.
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
with water or fill the water with diesel
. 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).
There are hundreds of examples of course.
So hypothetically your brother Harry, a very competent sailor asks to borrow the boat for a week and no one is using it. If it were you're own boat then it's a simpler decision. But what if your boat partner's brother is said Harry; what decision will he make? Would you expect you're consulted? Other partner's week, then surely he/she can decide what happens with the boat. Would you be comfortable with a complete stranger, so far you're concerned, sailing around on your boat?
And with such large families what's the backup plan when some of the kids hate sailing, or living together in a confined place. There are no details on age/genders of the children
. But when they're little they have no choice, but as we all know kids eventually all express their feelings.
Covering all these issues and the many I've not pointed out are going to mean a serious legal contract
and consequential fees
On a positive, if I were wanting to follow the OPs intent then I would first be looking at a syndicate type arrangement. Typically limited to 4-6 owners, fixed purchase price
and monthly or annual maintenance. The issues of mooring
, insurance, cleaning
etc are all taken care of by the syndicate manager. Plus there are clear rules as to when each owner will have access to the boat and where the boat will be. Click here for an example of a syndicate currently being put together for an Isla 40
in New Zealand
. I am NOT in anyway way endorsing this package. I am suggesting it because it gives an example of an alternative ownership option along the lines of what the OP is proposing. There are syndicates like this all over the world.