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  #1  
Old 03-30-2013
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To Share or Not to Share...

That is the question.

I am considering purchasing a substantial sized boat within the next year (46-50ft). My sailing friend and co-owner on the little boat and I have always talked about 'the big one'. As the time to pull the trigger begins to slowly approach I am now reconsidering the co-ownership idea. The challenges of scheduling use time, personal choices on the boat location, equipment,less flexibility on quick access begin to weigh on my mind. Obviously, financially it would fantastic to have a 50/50 partner, but is it worth the trouble?
I would love to hear from others who have done the co-ownership approach and those that have considered it and changed their minds.
Thank you in advance.
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: To Share or Not to Share...

I believe as long as you can both put it all down in writing before hand i think you'll be all right. In addition; have a mechanism in place for dispute resolution, so it will be less personal if something comes up.
The difference between $1k and $100k is a mental thing. If you two have survived this long; then what changes will there be? As far as scheduling time; i think in the first year or so it may be tight, but, after you two settle in, the schedule will begin to flow.

Normally i wouldn't recommend co-ownership to anyone, just reading your thread it seems that you two seem to be able to pull it off.

Will you both be happy with this purchase 5 years from now??
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: To Share or Not to Share...

Making a written agreement that covers the important stuff is a good idea.

Most boats are used to little. I co own the boat togehter with my brother and it works fine (without much written down - but I recomend having a written agreement).
We use this a an oportunity to extend the range of the summer cruise.

So this summer we are going to change crew away from home extending the range we can cover in a normal summer holliday

Based on experience from me and a friend of mine, some inputs.
Rememeber that making this agreement in advance is not a sign of mistrust.

In the agreement have these points (feel free to add more)
  • Have an exit clause (things can change)
  • Make a plan on dividing time (most popular week alternating years?)
  • Maintenance (money & time)
  • Upgrades (more & better sails?, ambitions, funding)
  • Ambitions - race or cruise or both
  • Location
  • Storing personal equipment on the boat?
  • Form of ownership (where I live it's not uncomon to establish a corporation to own the boat, each owner has equal shares, and the agreement is a share holders agreement)
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: To Share or Not to Share...

I had a partnership agreement ( friends) in the past. It worked out great for us. But, I realize it's not for everyone and there can be pitfalls.

I think you've received good advice above.

We did have a pretty well written agreement, an LLC, and a whole section dedicated to exit. The exit terms could be the most challenging part on a larger more expensive vessel. We had 1st right of refusal to purchase the each others share if one of us wanted out. So if/when you or your partner wanted out you'd have a few options: put the boat up for sale divide the proceeds, purchase their share, or allow them to sell their share to someone else ( who you may not know). In my case, I purchased their share. ( valuation was agreed to..but that could get tricky for you)


You should be able to work out many of the questions that you've mentioned prior to the actual purchase. If you can't agree on those things before the purchase then you've got your answer.

It worked for me because we were friends that sailed together, and most of our friends were mutual friends anyway. So scheduling " exclusive use" time was never a problem
( even though we wrote it up for the sake of the agreement)

We set up a seperate checking account, and all required expenses were divided equally.
Any " optional" expenses/ improvements were agreed to in advance and shared.
Work was shared..like bottom painting and winterizing etc.

The only disagreement that came up was re: treatment of the brightwork. I liked to treat it, my partner didn't want to invest the time or money into it and preferred to let it gray. But didn't care if I treated it. So I did. I had the time, and the money was inconsequential.

Re: use. Are you going to sail a 46'-50' boat by yourself if you don't do a partnership? If not your current partner, who would you sail with? Or would you purchase a smaller vessel as an individual/family?

What are yours/their sailing ambitions for this vessel. 50' is not exactly my idea of a daysailor..dividing exclusive time for extended trips could be done.

Good luck with your decision and your purchase!
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Re: To Share or Not to Share...

Shared a boat with a fellow doc. Before doing it had cruised together and did a Bermuda. Knew for certainty we could get along for long periods in the confined space of a boat and had the same atitude toward safety,sailing and maintenance. Alternated who was "captain" weekly but set up times for long cruising ahead of the season. Captain got to pick his crew. Ended up we did a lot of double handed sailing and it was great that we rarely had to tell the other what to do. ( Start a tack the other would wordlessly handle the jib etc.). Paper agreement was done but never referred to. Both had slightly different skills sets. Learned alot. Go for it if it's the right person but remember it's really just like a marriage and should be done for love not lust.
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: To Share or Not to Share...

This is one of those "it depends" questions. I have a friend who has been in partnerships all his life - from a T-Bird with a friend in college all the way to a quarter mill Hunter with a group of 3 or 4 couples. They all worked well for three main reasons - no slobs leaving the boat in a mess, they paid for all the heavy work so no problems with people not showing up on bottom sanding days and so forth and they had detailed agreements in place with a web based schedule calendar. The summers were rigidly divided but the rest of the time they just logged on and signed the boat out.

For exit strategy, the remaining owners had first refusal and they would get the boat appraised at exit time to determine value.

When it gets to 6 figures, I'd have a lawyer at least vet the agreement. A marine lawyer might even have a stock agreement that is known to work.
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