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jimbob88

Syndicates, Thoughts

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Really simple one this, I've been hoping for a long time that more syndicate boats started to appear on the broads as I've been an owner on one for a few years now and on a whole if you like boating and can afford the initial outlay it's a great route to go down. 

 My only issue there isn't much variety to choose from and I'd like to be part of one where say maybe there was half the number of owners and no management company as this would allow more flexibility on weeks and should be cheaper with no management fees. 

 

My choice of boat to syndicate if enough people were interested would be an aquafibre lowliner 38. Are there many other like myself that are as fond of this design and would you be interested getting involved in this syndicate if one were to appear ?

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I love the Aquafibre Lowliner 38 Jimbo, having hired Soprano from Richardsons 2 years ago. I like dual steers and I like fitting under Wroxham and Beccles also so it's a spot on design without a more recently built equivalent in my view. 

Regarding syndicates, potentially I would be interested because as a very regular hirer it would make a lot of sense. Alas I'm not a fan of the 'lottery' week allocation system favoured by many syndicates. However, I like the fixed rotation systems used by Lightning and Ranworth Breeze and the fixed week system for Southern Crusader. 

Annual budget contribution is also important in my view. These vary considerably from what I've seen - anything from a relatively measly £700-£800 for 4 weeks to a (over the top in my view) £1600 for a boat of similar value. 

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Hello Jimbob88,

If you wish to talk to me regarding syndicates and how to set one up please get in touch.

Regards

Alan 

Chairman & Trustee

Ranworth Breeze Boat Syndicate 

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The AF 38 is a nice boat indeed but personally I'd rather see more smaller syndicate boats. I'm also not keen on the draw/week in each season approach many syndicates seem to adopt. Just my humble opinion of course :default_icon_e_biggrin:

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Although the AFLowliner 38 is a nice design I would agree with Norfolk Nog that the number of craft available around this size is somewhat saturated and that it would be nice to see more 2 - 4 berth craft.

The draw system works well for me. I already know what weeks I have in 2020 and some swapping did take place post the draw. Also, at least on Silver Cloud the system is flexible enough to allow an owner who is a school teacher to have first shout at the school holiday weeks.

Simon mentioned annual running costs. On Silver Cloud we keep the annual running costs separate from the the winter maintenance costs, the program for being decided at the AGM. We also have a contingency fund for emergencies.

Fred

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Glad to know there's someone else who's a fan of the lowliner and I agree with you on how week allocation should be done in my opinion I also think it's possible to run for a much lower amount in my opinion. 

 

Yeah it would be good to hear Alan how you go about setting a syndicate up also how you deal with maintenance and problems. I'm not going to go out and buy a boat tomorrow as this was more to gauge if there would be an interest in this style of boat. 

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Hi Jimbob88,

There are several issues with running a syndicate with fewer members. First, the initial cost of the share would be that much greater. Second,  the very costs you wish to keep down, Running costs etc, with fewer members these would also be that much greater. Third, with people like us who are fully employed, we have a maximum number of weeks holiday, so any increase in available weeks may not be able to be used, so waisted. We have 4 weeks in the Lightning syndicate, but my wife and i rarely use more than 2, as we like to holiday elsewhere too, and only get 5 weeks per year, one of which has to be reserved for Christmas.

The big problem with trying to keep running cost low would be investment in keeping your boat up to scratch. We in the Lightning syndicate continually pay around £1,300+ per year in running costs, and that`s because we have to replace things that ware out, or break down, batteries that get killed through continuous use of inverters,  Upgrading of things like flooring, upholstery, bedding, galley equipment and fittings such as cookers and fridges etc etc etc, the list goes on. Without investment, in a few years, your boat will look tired thus reducing the value of each share. A syndicate boat should NEVER be thought of as a cheap form of boating. Although it`s much cheaper than hiring, it still needs ongoing costs and investment, and anybody considering buying a share should always consider that. Engines don`t pay for themselves. It`s also worth remembering that Syndicate boats get nearly double the use of hire boats, where the average hire boat gets around 22 weeks per year, yet Syndicate boats are often out for at least 40 weeks per year, which means nearly double the use on anything, even over double on things like heaters, lights etc, as they`re in use a lot more during the darker and cooler spring and autumn months.

As for the AF 38 Lowliner, i totally agree, they`re probably the best design for the Broads, as are the 44ft version, and Lightning and Thunder, being AF Diamond 43s.

As for your comment re smaller Syndicate boats, again, i totally agree, Gooseander is an amazing boat for 2, yet with so much demand for smaller ones, i`m supprised there are`nt more boats for 2, and more for 4 (like Silver Cloud). The big problem is to find an investor who can afford to finance the boats in question, not an easy task. Also, the Lowliner 38s have been around for many years, and with no chance of new ones being built, or even affordable as a Syndicate boat,  you will more than likely have to completely refurbish the boat and all its fixtures and fittings, again not a cheap task, and would it make the boat worth all the extra outlay?.

As for running a private Syndicate, yes, it`s a great idea, and savings can be made with no management fees, or those management fees being spent on the boat via investments in upgrading fixtures and fittingsetc.

There is a Syndicate boat which has only 8 share owners called Blue Mist (i think?) which is an AF 38 ctr ckpt, but the running costs are only devided between 8, but you do get 5 weeks in every year, and the boat is out of the water for 3 months.

Regarding the allocation system, we in Lightning now have an automated system, where we have a block of weeks (week 1, 2, 3, etc) of each season which automatically rolls on to a later week in the season the following year. This means everybody gets a week every 12 or 13 weeks, depending on when the 4% share falls. Swaps are always allowed

There are a great many benefits to Syndicate ownership,  that`s why i bought a share in Lightning. But the big problem is people still treat it with suspicion In fact, with Syndicate boats often being in over the colder Winter periods, thos who prefer to cruise out of season (like a certain Mr NOG and his good lady), you can use other weeks that are not used by other members.

My final point, if anybody is considering buying into a Syndicate, then i`m sure, like me, Alan (Ranworth Breeze) and any other members of any of the Syndicates would be more than happy to help and guide you in your decision?.

Happy New Year all ........................ Neil.

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Well that is a very well put reply and I agree you don't get into a syndicate as a cheap form of boating but I do think money could be saved in some straight forward areas, management fees but also moorings. All syndicates on the broads seem to be moored in the most expensive areas and considering I spend as long as it takes to pack, repack and clean the boat out I'd much rather that money went towards the boat. 

The point about refurbing a boat inside I'm not too sure on, take emerald emblem or even lady Pamela on the thames. I wouldn't say either would need much doing to get them to syndicate standard and to be honest of all syndicate boats on the broads I doubt any if they were in a hire fleet would get into an elite range or be classed as a top of the range boat. 

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I'd say that the benefit of a smaller syndicate would be that it's easier to self-manage and to reach decisions about the running so the costs might not actually be that high if a management company isn't required.

If you take the management costs out of a typical syndicate then it reduces the price significantly, however it's probably required for a larger syndicate because of the number of people involved. A smaller syndicate without a management company would give each owner more time aboard for much the same cost, but obviously there would need to be some structure in place.

Personally I think 35-40ft is about the perfect size for a Broads cruiser as they're a lot easier to find mooring spots for at that sort of size, and to manoeuvre at some of the tighter spots on the system. The lowliner style is a good compromise between the versatility of a dual steer and the go-anywhere ability of a bathtub or centre-cockpit.

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app

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I find with a lowliner as it uses up every bit of space you end up with a lot of boat for the size yet to handle and moor they are probably my favourite boat to use as they feel very nimble. 

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I`m not sure i made it very clear, but we in the Lightning Syndicate are a private Syndicate, yet because of our fee`s being what you would call high, we have benefitted in the last couple of years by a new engine, gearbox, central heating system, flooring, batteries and other continuous upgrades, the reason being is Lightning is around 20 years old, with a lot of use under her keel. When i first bought a share, with some of the owners we had back then (2014), she was pretty much run on the basis "if it aint broke, don`t fix it". While i can understand this, she was looking a bit tired in some areas, so if you don`t carry out a regular, sometimes annual programme of updates and upgrading, the boat will soon look tired, and any potential purchaser of a share will be concerned about the possibility of a sudden major expense having outlayed a large sum of money, maybe a new engine, or stern gear etc etc. That`s why we keep our annual charges for maintainance and running cost up to a certain level. As a result, Lightning is better than ever, and this year, we are looking to have new flooring fitted throughout, again, not cheap, but necessary to keep her in top condition.

It`s well worth remembering, anything to do with boats is overly expensive, yet has to be had, including furnishings etc. Imagine the costs of a simple thing like a set of curtains. Around £2,000 or more for a set, especially when you consider how many there are on a large boat. That same figure again (or probably even more) will be needed to re-trim upholstery, and that would be in the salloon alone. 

As for moorings, being a Syndicate boat, it`s not essential to be moored in an expensive yard, but those yards have ALL facilities, and offer emergency breakdown facilities etc, facilities you would have to pay handsomely extra for, if you had a mooring at the end of a boat dyke, or bankside mooring, again with no facilities.  Also, you may wish to do Syndicate boating on the cheap, BUT, you MUST remember, you are in a Syndicate, and have to go along with the majority.

In no way would i discourage anybody from buying into a Syndicate, but i will always stress that you are buying into an investment and should be prepared to pay to maintaine that investments value.

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I think most of any points that I would have made have been made.

Syndicate ownership is far more aligned to that of hiring as opposed to sole private ownership and so should be compared cost wise to that.

I think the only other point to make is that I reckon starting a self managed “stranger” syndicates from nothing would be bloody difficult. I assume that most current stranger self managed syndicates came about following a split from a management company?


Sent from my iPhone using Norfolk Broads Network

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15 hours ago, Matt said:



I think the only other point to make is that I reckon starting a self managed “stranger” syndicates from nothing would be bloody difficult. I assume that most current stranger self managed syndicates came about following a split from a management company?


Sent from my iPhone using Norfolk Broads Network

Hiya Matt,

That`s a point i was trying to make re investment. It would need someone, or some established company to put up the initial outlay be it for a very expensive brand new boat, or an existing boat, plus any possible refurbishment costs, and then be prepared to either run it, or see if it can be incorperated into an existing management company, such as BCBM. It all cost money, and who can afford to stump up the cash?. 

Yes, i believe both Gooseander and Lightning were originally managed by BCBM, but were (before my time) withdrawn because of the increasing costs of management, and that`s the management fee`s, not the overall costs including maintainance etc. 

Something else that would be a problem with a new Syndicate, even if you did get the project funded, you would then have to find moorings, preferably with all facilities, insurance and toll, breakdown and diver, cover etc etc etc. All costs necessary after funding the purchase of the boat itself.

With all that above, i still say there is a market for smaller 2 berth, and medium sized 4 berth Syndicate boats, but as we say above, who will be prepared to fund the initial outlay?.

Happy new year to all foruites, ....................... Neil.

 

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Hi speedtriple Neill ,sorry but Blue Mist does not come out of the water for 3 months,or at least she hasnt for the last 4 years whilst we have been moored next to her.

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38 minutes ago, Aboattime said:

Hi speedtriple Neill ,sorry but Blue Mist does not come out of the water for 3 months,or at least she hasnt for the last 4 years whilst we have been moored next to her.

Hiya Aboattime,

When they moored ahead of us at Reedham last year,  the guy on board said she did, but i willfully stand corrected. He may have meant she does`nt get used for 3 months or something like that. Either way, he definitely said there were 8 shareholders who get 5 weeks each per year, which totals up to 40 weeks, leaving 12 weeks laying idle. Maybe they`ve changed their operational structure?.

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56 minutes ago, Aboattime said:

Hi speedtriple Neill ,sorry but Blue Mist does not come out of the water for 3 months,or at least she hasnt for the last 4 years whilst we have been moored next to her.

Hi again,

Yes, you`re right, i`ve just checked their website, and it states they "overwinter" the boat for 3 months. It DOES`NT say she`s out of the water, so i must have misunderstood what he said, or maybe just "assumed" he meant out ashore.

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 Hi Speedtriple, yes im sure thats the case, its a winter lay up, for service, repairs and to avoid the risk of ice damage to the hull. Regards Kevin:594c04f0e761f_default_AnimatedGifVehiclessaily:

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On 31/12/2018 at 15:19, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

Hiya Matt,

That`s a point i was trying to make re investment. It would need someone, or some established company to put up the initial outlay be it for a very expensive brand new boat, or an existing boat, plus any possible refurbishment costs, and then be prepared to either run it, or see if it can be incorperated into an existing management company, such as BCBM. It all cost money, and who can afford to stump up the cash?. 

Yes, i believe both Gooseander and Lightning were originally managed by BCBM, but were (before my time) withdrawn because of the increasing costs of management, and that`s the management fee`s, not the overall costs including maintainance etc. 

 

 

Neil has the problem of new syndicate boats spot on. The modern equivalent of Silver Cloud, the Heritage 39, costs nearly £250.000. Taking the BCBM method of 12.5 shares per boat, that is an initial outlay of £20,000 per full share. A lot of money for most people and an amount that makes many of the  advantages of the syndicate approach to boating less desirable. This problem is reduced significantly on the canals due to new canal boats costing far less and where this type of ownership seems much more popular.

Goosander, Lightning, all the BCBM managed boats and I believe the Freedom hire boat Absolute Freedom were all part of the ill-fated Challenger Syndicate Broads operations which included it's own dedicated yard (did it ever open ) at Brundall Gardens.

As to using a management company or the owners doing their own thing is very much up to the talents and the time members of the ownership group have. At BCBM /owners AGMs. BCBM retire while the owners decide to carry on with their services or to go independent. As for the Silver Cloud group, while I have been a member there has never been a single voice of dissent against their continuation and my personal opinion is that although they need the occasional nudging (like keeping the web site up to date) on the big issues they are very competent and also very nice people to work with. An example was this year when our 1996 engine eventually expired. BCBM (and Richardson's) gave the owners a choice of options to vote on and the boat was ready to sail again within a week. No hassle or fuss, it was just done. In my opinion, peace of mind worth paying for.

Fred

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I don't think a brand new boat with a buy in price in excess of 20k would ever take off but there have been plenty on diamond 35s for sale over the years for around 60_70k so the buy in price would be no different to current syndicate boats now. Like you say getting everyone to agree on everything before a boat has been bought is probably the biggest challenge. 

Seems there is a market for smaller boats so fingers crossed more come up. I know I've been tempted by silver cloud but no dogs allowed has put me off. 

 

 

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First bone (so to speak! ) of contention which would affect at least half the available people interested, is that I cannot imagine a syndicate without a no dog policy!!

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Many of the syndicates do allow small pets, one of our previous owners used to bring his parrot and its cage onto the boat.

Well behaved pets and owners are welcomed.

Regards

Alan

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It's surely up to syndicate owners whether they have a dog or no dog policy but as much as I like most dogs I wouldn't wish to hire from a yard or syndicate that allows dogs. Doesn't effect me, thankfully, but a sniff of a flea and I know folk that immediately start scratching! 

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From my own personal experience as a syndicate owner very rarely have dogs been an issue amongst owners.

More moans and groans about how owners tie the ropes on the home mooring :-)


Sent from my iPhone using Norfolk Broads Network

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What about the private sort of syndicate?  A small group of like minded individuals, purchase, maintain and run the boat between you.

We have a four man syndicate running 'B.A' (With a fifth share option).  It has worked for us since 2002

Griff

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7 hours ago, BroadAmbition said:

What about the private sort of syndicate?  A small group of like minded individuals, purchase, maintain and run the boat between you.

We have a four man syndicate running 'B.A' (With a fifth share option).  It has worked for us since 2002

Griff

That's what I would go for if I could raise the capital. It would be people you would have to know and trust and be committed. Couple of school teachers would be ideal for me or people who hate the cold! 

You do have the advantage of considerable technical skill to maintain BA but I think it is a very viable and attractive option. 

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