Join Date: Jul 2002
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 14
Fractional Yacht Ownership
You''re right, the idea does initially sound intriguing. And yes, share ownership in a variety of aircraft (especially jets because of the huge purchase but also operating costs) has been successful. Since it sounds like you''re asking for a critique of the concept, I''ll offer you some initial questios to chew on, altho'' my first thought is ''wouldn''t it be great if there was a track record to answer these questions!?''
1. Is there a contract between you joint owners and the operator? What does it obligate you to...and allow you the freedom to do on your own? (I''ll bet all shares can only be subsequently sold thru the operators. Bet they also retain decision making authority to repair/replace marginal equipment despite you funding it. How does that feel to you?)
2. Is the concept as appealing if it takes off in your area (e.g. Annapolis, with its seasonal climate) but not in Florida (where you may hope to vacation in winter)? If your answer is ''yes'', why wouldn''t a conventional partnership be worth considering, allowing you to retain lots more control in a variety of areas. If your answer is ''no'', what guarantees or back-out clause applies?
3. Biz Jets are about status, preferred treatment for time sensitive execs, reduced (tho'' still egregious) cost and absence of all admin hassles. These aren''t relevant to boat ownership for most of us; are they prime drivers for you?
4. You''ve described a ''closed system'' in which each owner is highly effected by all the others but between whom there is no affiliation, allegiance or emotional investment. How ''they'' run ''your'' boat''s engine or handle ''your'' boat''s sails, e.g. doesn''t seem to be influenced at all by your preferences and their respect of them. In the extreme, you could describe this system as inviting ''Ride it hard, put it away wet'' behavior, as the abuse Owner 1 causes only effects his/her pocketbook by 1/4th. (Note how this is very different from the business model with the jets, where FAA regs mandate how the jet is maintained and operator-employed pilots actually put ''use'' on the plane).
These thoughts surfaced in the first 10 mins; I''m sure many more lurk in the dirty details. Will it take off? Don''t know. Does it suit you? Only you can say. But in times of economic struggle with an uncertain future, would you invest in shares in this untried business model in the absence of a track record? If not, why would you fund it via another method?
Sorry this turned out sounding more negative than I''d expected as I began writing it. Hate to squash innovation, but I see lots of uncertainty here along with a biz model funded not by the biz owners but by the ''investors'' (aka: boat owners).