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Do ‘Partner-ships’ Float?

"Perhaps like many sailors in the Bay Area, I don’t get out on my Catalina 30 Hana Ho  as much as I’d like too," writes Berkeley’s Peter O’Connor. "My sailing days have been further reduced by the addition of a new crewmember — a beautiful baby girl — a trade-off I’m all too happy to make.

Peter’s new crewmember looks pretty excited to be behind the wheel but it may be a few years before she can trim the mainsail. In the meantime, he wonders about taking on a boat partner.

Hana Ho
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"But it seems a shame to have the boat at dock more than it already is and I’m thinking about offering it up as a boat-share opportunity, where I would share the costs with another party. I’m wondering what Latitude 38 readers and editors think of this, and would love to hear from anyone who has tried this themselves. The reasons for going this route are that I don’t want to give up my hard-won (though increasingly expensive) berth, nor do I want to join a charter program. I’ve cleared this with my insurance company and I would not be offering an ownership share, just a usage share.  

"One big question is how to handle the differences between normal wear-and-tear and actual damage as repairs on a sailboat can get expensive fast. Did the gooseneck fail because it’s 10 years old or because of a hard jibe? Did the main tear because it’s old or because it wasn’t reefed in 40 knots? Another question is scheduling. Since I’m a 9-5’er, ideally I could find someone who would be willing to use the boat mostly on weekdays and leave most weekends to me, though that might be a pipe dream. So what’s a good way to divide the weekends and special events between myself and the other party?"

Boat partnerships can be tricky but Managing Editor Andy Turpin has had some experience with boat partners and suggests that the most important thing to do is get everyone’s expectations written down on paper — as in a contract. Be sure to cover the way you expect the boat to be put away after use (fresh water rinse down, garbage thrown away, etc.), how much time the non-equity partner will spend working on it, and what expenses they’ll pay. Andy says the best idea he and his partners had was to create a slush fund — a separate checking account — to which each partner contributed monthly. The fund paid for small repairs and expenses without having to go to each partner for permission or money. Eventually the fund will build up, which will help defray the costs of a haul-out. As for scheduling, they broke it down into weeks — each of the four partners got one week per month. If they wanted to switch days, all they had to do was call the partner whose week it was.

Do you have experience with non-equity partnerships? If so, send us your thoughts and suggestions for Peter.

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It’s been such a mellow hurricane season to date in both the Eastern Pacific (Mexico and Hawaii) and the Atlantic-Carribean, that we hadn’t given it much thought.
As reported Friday, the American sailing yacht Ri Ri was blown onto a reef last week at Palmerston Island, in the Cook Islands, and was unable to be refloated despite a massive effort from islanders and other visiting cruisers.