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Boat Syndicate Shares, Specifically Evening Shadow


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Good Morning, Hope everybody is well?

I’m Karen (complete newbie here so Hello!) my family and I have enjoyed lots of holidays on the Norfolk Broads, its our favourite place to be and we would love to be there more.

We are currently at the process of looking into buying shares into a syndicate boat. We came down to see last week and just loved Evening shadow. We are just about at the stage of saying yes and Dee from BCBM has been fantastic answering all our enquiries but just wanted to asked a few questions from people that are actually part of that syndicate if anybody is around and you don’t mind?? So here goes........

  • Are life jackets included or do we have to purchase our own?
  • We are a family of 4 with two secondary age children, the dates that are with the share we are considering are ok, 1 week being in a school half term which is perfect but ideally it would be nice to have another week with the children in the summer as the weeks seem to be 2 in spring and 2 in autumn, so 2 weeks for us a couple and 2 for us as a family. Is there a swapping system that is used? Obviously I’m realistic and understand we would be coming in at the bottom of the queue so to speak so can imagine that it can be tricky to get the right weeks 
  • Is there a private forum or group that the syndicate people discuss things etc?
  • Any positives/negatives from this particular boat that anybody has a share, is everybody happy??

Thank you for getting this far down my post and for any replies we get thank you in advance. 

Kind regards 

Karen

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Firstly, welcome to the forum.

I can't tell you about that boat specifically but have been involved with a couple of syndicates. 

Lifejackets, the syndicates we belonged to both had life jackets on board, the second being sea going was a condition of the insurance however they were basic life defenders and we chose to buy our own especially for the children to ensure a good comfortable fit. 

Many syndicates offer "school" shares which either offer fixed weeks within school holidays or priority ranking in the selection system if weeks are "bagged" each year. these shares are usually more expensive to purchase but on most broads boats I have seen pay the same annual fees. If you are school dependent I would not advise buying non school shares on a boat which does offer them as you will find the availability of school weeks very limited. 

Most forums have their own website with a closed members area, or a closed user group on social media. These can be used to exchange weeks if you have a date you cannot use, some even have unallocated dates which you might be able to use for a small extra fee. 

There are a number of syndicate holders on the forum who I'm sure can offer more advice. 

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I've been on a BCBM syndicate so have some familiarity with this.

You'll need to buy your own lifejackets usually, and usually the boat will only have basic bedding (ie the actual pillows and duvets) so all of the linen you'd need to bring yourself. Not a biggie but with a family it's obviously another thing that you've got to pack.

Evening Shadow is quite a nice boat, yeah, it's a good layout and the syndicate have been making improvements to her over the last few years.

Her base is in a good location and Horning Pleasurecraft's labour rates are pretty reasonable too, which is an important consideration. When our boat moved from Broom to Richardson's (as it was called at the time), the drop in running costs was considerable.

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Hello Karen,

Welcome to the forum.

You will find that the Broads based syndicate boats operate differently from each other with regards to contracts, payments, sinking funds etc.

As already stated most syndicates offer bedding, you do have to provide duvet covers and pillows cases, towels & tea towels. Some will include all cleaning materials, toilet & kitchen rolls etc.  Most include life jackets and other safety equipment.

Before making a decision always check out the contracts you will have to sign. if there is an option to buy only two weeks allocation it might be an idea if you are still working or take other holidays.

If you need any advice by all means contact me.

Regards

Alan

Chairman & Trustee Ranworth Breeze Boat Syndicate

 

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4 hours ago, Karenrobos said:

Good Morning, Hope everybody is well?

I’m Karen (complete newbie here so Hello!) my family and I have enjoyed lots of holidays on the Norfolk Broads, its our favourite place to be and we would love to be there more.

We are currently at the process of looking into buying shares into a syndicate boat. We came down to see last week and just loved Evening shadow. We are just about at the stage of saying yes and Dee from BCBM has been fantastic answering all our enquiries but just wanted to asked a few questions from people that are actually part of that syndicate if anybody is around and you don’t mind?? So here goes........

  • Are life jackets included or do we have to purchase our own?
  • We are a family of 4 with two secondary age children, the dates that are with the share we are considering are ok, 1 week being in a school half term which is perfect but ideally it would be nice to have another week with the children in the summer as the weeks seem to be 2 in spring and 2 in autumn, so 2 weeks for us a couple and 2 for us as a family. Is there a swapping system that is used? Obviously I’m realistic and understand we would be coming in at the bottom of the queue so to speak so can imagine that it can be tricky to get the right weeks 
  • Is there a private forum or group that the syndicate people discuss things etc?
  • Any positives/negatives from this particular boat that anybody has a share, is everybody happy??

Hi Karen

Im not a member of the Evening Shadow syndicate, but still a member of the Moonlight Shadow syndicate, however both are managed by BCBM, with Moonlight Shadow being based at Brundall.

Lifejackets are each owners responsibility on our boat.  The reason is simply that they are yours to look after, take care of and maintain.

There will usually be members in each syndicate who have a preference for school holiday weeks and some who would rather have their breaks outside of those periods.  The ability to swap is not dependent on your seniority within the group, but finding someone with whom you can agree mutually to swap with.  If the ES syndicate operates in the same way as ours, if a member is not using a week, it will be offered out to other members as an extra (on a first come, first served basis) at no extra cost.

I’m not aware of a FB group or forum for Evening Shadow (there certainly isn’t one for Moonlight Shadow), but we have other members contact details and any subjects for discussion are dealt with by email.

Both Evening Shadow and Moonlight Shadow are similar craft and of a similar age.  Improvements are generally discussed at the AGM, along with costs and are agreed with the members before being actioned.
Syndicate membership can be a cost effective way of taking holidays on The Broads.  It will be cheaper than taking separate holidays on hire craft, but you may not always get the weeks you’d prefer.  That is the compromise.  However, should you try it and not like it, you will always be able to sell your share on and shouldn’t lose too much money in the process.  Probably due to the pandemic, syndicate boat shares have been in high demand this year and whatever have been available, appear to have sold very quickly.

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Just a final point I'd make about school holidays - if you are working and have kids of school age then a special / school share or a share with a nominated week number each year is going to be better for you. 

You will generally have to wait (potentially quite a while) for one to become available and it will cost you more than a regular share, but the ability to choose your weeks is extremely useful.

There is the ability to swap weeks within a syndicate, but the majority of owners will not want November-March weeks so you do have to be realistic about what you can change.

A lot of the syndicate boats run a 50-week season so you will always end up with at least one week that's not preferable. I personally wouldn't go back into a syndicate where I have the chance of picking winter weeks. Ex-hire Broads boats can be very cold when it's snowing outside.

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I'm also a member on Moonlight Shadow, my wife works at a school and we have 3 children so want school holiday dates.  I know Thunder has school holiday shares but I believe it's the only BCBM broads boat that does.

All the members of our syndicate have been very friendly, helpful and willing to swap dates, I'm sure Evening Shadow and others are the same but I would check how many owners require school holiday dates.  Don't forget, some may have grandkids as well.  We have managed to secure school dates for all our allocation but understood when we purchased the share this may not always be the case.

Don't be concerned over winter weeks either, the days are shorter but you'll be able to visit moorings like Horning and Ranworth without the crowds.  We'll be onboard from Boxing Day and we're really looking forward to it.

I think one downside, although only a minor one, is you will be classed as a private boat which can restrict your mooring choices a little.  You can still moor in most hire boatyards but it won't be for free - Barnes charge £15 plus £2 for electric - Herbert Woods advertise £20 on their sign but only charged me £10 including electric and I think Faircraft don't like private boats at all !  On the plus side I did hear Richardson's were free to anyone.

You will also develop an attachment to the boat and do things you wouldn't on a hire boat, like scrubbing the waterline clean - or is that just me?  :default_biggrin:

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8 minutes ago, NeilB said:

Faircraft don't like private boats at all

I don't think faircraft like visiting boats full stop, they tolerate hire boats only when they can't find an excuse not to. 

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A question about syndicates - for the boats where 4 week shares are the norm, am I right in thinking 2 week shares rarely come up and it's unlikely a 4 week share would ever be split? The reason I ask is I think I'd be more inclined to go for a syndicate share if it was 2 weeks as it would give me more flexibility with my remaining work leave. I know you don't have to use your full allocation but I don't like the idea of paying for weeks I'm not going to use. Alan, I know Ranworth Breeze has 2 week shares and Southern Crusader single weeks but unfortunately I'd find the air draft for either too restrictive. 

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48 minutes ago, Broads01 said:

A question about syndicates - for the boats where 4 week shares are the norm, am I right in thinking 2 week shares rarely come up and it's unlikely a 4 week share would ever be split? The reason I ask is I think I'd be more inclined to go for a syndicate share if it was 2 weeks as it would give me more flexibility with my remaining work leave. I know you don't have to use your full allocation but I don't like the idea of paying for weeks I'm not going to use. . . . . . .

Hi Simon.  When we bought our own boat, we put our four week (8%) share up for sale, but bought the two week share when it became available.  We get one week in spring and the other in summer.  My son is named on the share, so he will usually use the boat with his family, but it does give us the option of taking them with us to holiday as a family.

You could look for someone to buy a four week share with, share the costs and the allotted weeks, perhaps one year taking winter and summer and spring and autumn the following year.  As long as he or she is named on the share, it would be acceptable, certainly on the BCBM run craft.

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1 hour ago, Broads01 said:

A question about syndicates - for the boats where 4 week shares are the norm, am I right in thinking 2 week shares rarely come up and it's unlikely a 4 week share would ever be split? The reason I ask is I think I'd be more inclined to go for a syndicate share if it was 2 weeks as it would give me more flexibility with my remaining work leave. I know you don't have to use your full allocation but I don't like the idea of paying for weeks I'm not going to use. Alan, I know Ranworth Breeze has 2 week shares and Southern Crusader single weeks but unfortunately I'd find the air draft for either too restrictive.

Goosander has just one two week share, all the others being four weeks, Naturally enough it is very sought after.

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On 06/11/2020 at 19:09, Broads01 said:

A question about syndicates - for the boats where 4 week shares are the norm, am I right in thinking 2 week shares rarely come up and it's unlikely a 4 week share would ever be split? 

Having got the t-shirt on this one, I would say you're better to get a 4-week share and think of it in terms of getting perhaps 3 reasonable weeks and one you may not use.

You're right in that most syndicates don't want their 4-week shares split further. Most have probably slightly more owners than they'd prefer as it gets complicated making decisions etc so wouldn't want to increase that.

With a two-week share you have to look at it as getting one good week and anything else is a bonus. For the money you pay when you consider the size of the boat, the mooring location and flexibility around arrival time then it does have advantages.

Do your calculations on that basis and you won't be too disappointed, I think. And I can't think of a syndicate boat which doesn't have shore power, which obviously is a plus as you don't have to do that 4+ hours a day running to keep the batteries in condition.

For a retired or partially-retired person then it's a very different proposition. A fair few unused weeks will come up during the season and if you have the ability to just drop everything and go then it works well. I've picked up weeks in the Summer and been able to use the weekend, but because of work have never been able to do more than that.

For me, hiring works better for now as I can pick the dates I want and plan stuff a long way ahead. And it allows me to do more canal boating... Or it would if COVID hadn't happened!

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12 hours ago, oldgregg said:

For me, hiring works better for now as I can pick the dates I want and plan stuff a long way ahead. And it allows me to do more canal boating... Or it would if COVID hadn't happened!

That actually sums up my current position also. I value being able to pick the exact week I want plus next year although I have two Broads bookings I also have one on the Caledonian Canal (for the first time) as well. The trouble is, I know I'm paying through the nose in comparison to syndicate folk and I do like the idea of ownership. What you're saying about "3 weeks you can use" makes sense. 

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