So, what is all this shared ownership of boats all about?
Below you can find the experiences of the owner of this web site's first steps in to shared ownership. But really I want to read your experiences, and post them here. So why not send them to me?
September 1982 Cowley
Philip (BS) - My introduction to boating and shared ownership.....1977
I remember getting the call like it were yesterday, a friend called me up and said "What are you doing next week?" Not a lot, I responded, being off work with a broken leg "Fancy coming on holiday on a narrow boat with me, I have been let down and have nobody to go with?"
I then spent a good 15 minutes protesting. I have never been on a boat, I am using crutches so can't walk and thus can't help with locks, can't steer one, not sure I can afford it etc. etc. All of these "problems" were rebuffed, he would do the locks, all I had to do was steer in and out of them as required........
So it was that one week later Lee (my friend) and I climbed in his car and headed up the M1 towards Leicester and Mr Ian Goode's yard at the bottom of Foxton Locks.
On arrival we were shown over the boat and Lee was given all the information on what to check etc. We were told not to worry too much about the leak to the hot water tank and then sent on our way, well almost, for although Lee could steer one I could not and so, as I was to do most of the "driving", a member of the yard staff was to come with us up the cut for 20 minutes or so.
I took to it like a duck to concrete and the rest is history. We hit everything! Anyway, with the thought of a 10 mile hike back to the yard out of the question our helper waved us off in to the bulrushes having I am sure thought that he would have to spend a week with me and, no doubt, reassured that at least one of the crew knew what he was doing.
Next we rounded the corner and were faced with our first lock, or should that be locks - Foxton. I am amazed they are still standing......
Another boating holiday a year later on Savoy Hill, the boat owned by the BBC, and I was beginning to get hooked. So Lee and I decided to look in to buying a boat together. Shared ownership.
As luck would have it a friend of his was selling one, well half of one. Kathleen was a 20' Headline cruiser, an ironically named maker considering that you could only be bent double inside the cabin. She was not in great condition and somebody had nicked the engine off her about a year earlier, but we parted with out hard earned and now she was ours. At this point fate lent a hand and I chanced upon a virtually brand new Suzuki 9.9 outboard engine and having then acquired fuel tanks pipes etc we were ready for the off.
At this point I think I should mention that this business called shared ownership has a problem, for it seems that although shared ownership was all there in spirit shared workmanship was not. It seemed that no matter what Lee always seemed to be busy when "engines needed fitting", "lockers need cleaning" etc. Anyway, now were were ready to take her on her first trip, but he could not make that either so I went with another mate up to, as I recall, Stoke Bruerne from Harefield, taking a week to do the return trip. Everything performed well (I confess it took us three days to find the stop button for the engine relying on stalling it by applying the choke to stop it up until this point) and now I was a boat builder.....
However, for the boat to be anything like worth having it needed a cooker (there was no gas on her), new windows, decent curtains, painting inside, polishing out and guess what, I did the lot! Well just about all of it, Lee was nowhere to be seen. He did manage to turn up for one holiday with me on the River Lee, reminding me that this is the correct spelling as it was named after him, something of an unfortunate boast as when he fell in it I told him I thought he had died and gone to meet his maker.
Lee in the Lee (or is is the Lea?)
Is it cold?
We had Kathleen for about three years and during that period I managed....
The Lee and Stort
The whole of the Thames including the London ring (yes with a 9.9 outboard!)
The K & A to the then limit of navigation, Towny Lock
The South Oxford
The Grand Union as far as Braunston
The North Oxford
The Shropshire Union
and the bits in between.
Looking back on it it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed doing all the work, but the lack of help was most infuriating. If you decide to go in to such an arrangement make sure there are either clear ground rules or you go into it as I did - for the fun of it all.
Kathleen was sold in a blizzard. The last I heard the owner had failed to pay his moorings and she was hauled out of the water and broken up.
Having done all the work.......