Use the internal scroll bar on the right to scroll through news items >>

Search posts

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Boat Share Show next April will break the mould

The Boat Share Show at Braunston Marina on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April 2014 will be the first ever to have all four major professional boat management companies taking part.

The idea of a combined event was first publicly floated on this website earlier this year.  The decision to join forces to provide a broadly based shop window for shared narrowboat ownership was taken at a meeting this week between the heads of the four main shared ownership management and share brokerage companies – Ed Helps (ABC Boat Share), Andrew Barton (BCBM), Artie and Ruth Chalmers (Carefree Cruising) and Phil Capp (Ownashare Cruising).

The show will provide a unique opportunity for prospective owners to talk to all four companies about their services and to compare many different styles of boat.  It will also offer those self managed syndicates thinking about using a management company the chance to see all four of them in one place. Suppliers of other services will have the chance to 'talk shop' with existing and future owners.  Admission and car parking will be free, and the show will be open from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 12th April and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 13th.

Any boat that is managed by one of these companies will be able to take part in the show, subject only to the availability of space. will also be at the show, so visitors will be able to go online and use the combined share listing on this site, showing all the narrowboat shares available from the four companies.  The listing – of around 100 shares – consolidates the latest details from the websites of each of the companies into a single table that can be searched and sorted to help prospective owners pinpoint their 'perfect share.'

"I'm delighted that this idea is coming to fruition," said Andrew Cooley.  "Shared narrowboat ownership is an important sector of the inland waterways economy and it deserves an event that can present the whole picture.  Each of these companies has its own strengths, but all now offer a comprehensive and professional management service, with a degree of transparency that could only have been dreamt of a few years ago."

Monday, October 28, 2013

New share search facility on

A new facility to search all the shares available from the main shared ownership management and share brokerage companies has been launched on

The list - currently including nearly 100 shares for sale - collects the latest information from the websites of ABC Boat Share, BCBM Boat Share, Carefree Cruising's Boat Share Shop (Boats2Share) and Ownashare Cruising.  It includes self-managed boats offered for sale by any of these companies.

The list can be searched by a range of criteria, such as price, length, type of stern and age.  Boat layouts are listed, as well as whether or not a syndicate allows pets or smoking. The selection can then be sorted by any of the details listed.

"This is the first time a composite listing of shares has been available to prospective share owners," says Andrew Cooley, who runs as an independent source of informaton on shared ownership narrowboats. "It means that prospective owners can now concentrate their attention on just a few boats that meet their criteria and arrange viewings on those, rather than having to visit several different websites with the information presented in a different way on each one.  It has only been possible with the full support and co-operation of the management and brokerage companies."

The search facility can be found on the site menu or by clicking here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Ownashare launch new boat

Heartsease, the new 4/5 berth semi-trad boat from Ownashare was launched last Saturday 26th October by Ken Knowles, the Lichfield Town Crier in great style - enjoyed by visitors and staff alike.

Ownashare's new boat Heartsease
(Ownashare photo)
The launch took place at Fradley Junction near Alrewas and the new boat was available for viewing there on both Saturday and Sunday.

Phil Capp, Ownashare's MD said, “We were delighted to see so many visitors who came along to view Heartsease, resulting in a number of shares being sold - everyone was very impressed by the workmanship of Drayton Boat Services Ltd.,  who did the fit-out, and the sheer value for money that Heartsease offers.”

Heartsease will be moored at the Ownashare base at Bromley Wharf until the end of 2014, when the owners making up the new syndicate will decide on future locations.  She features a 24ft 'open plan' living space.

Shares in the 12-member syndicate are priced at £6,950, with running costs set at £475 a year and management fees at £400 - both payable monthly.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BCBM moves to Audlem

BCBM has moved its north west office from Nantwich to a spot near the canal in Audlem.  Full details are here.

BCBM's new office in Audlem (BCBM photo)
"Everyone knows the Shroppie Fly Pub on the flight, and if you moor up outside the Audlem Mill and Shroppie Fly, then walk up the path to the main road (Shropshire Street) and turn left, we’re just across the road on the right hand side," says BCBM's MD Andrew Barton.

"We're almost opposite the Co-Op store; So,if you're calling there to replenish supplies do call in - the kettle is always on!"

Monday, June 3, 2013

Temporary glitch

There seems to be a bit of a glitch on the exOwnerships forum making it almost impossible to log on or post a message at the moment.  

I've reported the problem and it should be resolved at the weekend - when the administrator returns from his boating trip!

Sign of things to come?

Visitors enjoy the June sunshine at the RNLI Festival at Overwater
When I went to the RNLI Festival at Overwater this afternoon, I didn't expect to find the bosses of two of the main shared ownership management companies both giving short talks in the marquee.

Andrew Barton (left) of BCBM and
Artie Chalmers of Carefree Cruising
at Overwater.  Both companies were
supporting the RNLI Festival there.
But both Andrew Barton, MD of BCBM and Artie Chalmers, MD of Carefree Cruising were there and took the opportunity to discuss some aspects of shared ownership and the market for shares.

It made me wonder whether a suggestion made to me a few days ago might actually be a realistic proposition for the future.  

The suggestion was that, now we're three years on from the demise of Ownerships, things have settled down and there is much more stability and confidence in the sector, might it be the time to look at a more general Shared Ownership Festival and Rally?

A marina like Overwater might be an ideal location. The costs to the boat management companies could be a small fraction of mounting an individual show. It costs these companies a four figure sum to take even a single boat to a show like Crick. And there could be an opportunity for self-managed boats with shares for sale to take part.

These companies are, of course, in competition - but it's not world war III.  In reality, someone who wants to buy a share in Oakmere from BCBM is probably not a potential customer for a share in Carefree Cruising's Solace, and vice versa.

Ownashare decided against taking a boat to Crick
this year, using the busy Fradley Junction
location to show some of the boats they
manage, with shares selling in Forget Me Knot,
pictured here, and older boats.
A Shared Ownership Rally could also make an ideal showcase for the many companies who provide goods and services to a wide range of syndicates, both managed and self-managed.  It could also highlight the importance of the shared ownership sector - with more than 220 shared ownership narrowboats, whose owners collectively contribute at least £3,500,000 a year to the waterways economy.

When this idea was suggested to me, someone with wide experience of the sector said, "Can you imagine the bosses of those companies actually being involved in a show together?"  I can now.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Crick sun warms up share sales

It may not have been the weather at Crick on Saturday and Sunday that made the difference, but sales of shares in new shared ownership narrowboats were clearly warming up.

Visitors pick up their overshoes
before viewing Oakmere
First to report this surge of interest was BCBM, who had their new tug style boat Oakmere on show - and available for share purchase for the first time.  During the first two days of the show, 7½ shares were sold and there was a relentless stream of visitors wanting to view her.

Andrew Barton, BCBM's MD, told me, "Never in a million years would we have expected to sell so many shares in such a unique boat in the first two days of the show.  The comments we've received have just blown us away and, as the shares are priced at £10,950, it just goes to show that there is a strong market for such a special boat.  Previously owned shares were also in demand."

Some of the new owners of
Harmonia celebrate the launch
with Julia Bradbury
When I spoke to ABC, the story was the same.  Their new boat Harmonia, launched at the show by TV presenter Julia Bradbury, had only three shares left by midday on Sunday.

Solace, the latest shared ownership boat
from Carefree Cruising, is due to be
launched at the end of the show
Also reporting a very successful show was Carefree Cruising, whose new boat Solace was in the static display section.  Carefree Cruising does not have a fixed syndicate size, but 38 of the 48 available weeks had already been taken by Sunday afternoon.

This is all a very welcome change from shows earlier in the year, which were blighted by poor weather.

Friday, May 24, 2013

New shared ownership boats at Crick

ABC's new shared ownership boat Harmonia will be formally launched at the Crick Boat Show by TV presenter Julia Bradbury on Sunday.  The show runs from Saturday 25th to Monday 27th May.

Harmonia will be officially launched at Crick (ABC photo)
Harmonia is a 65ft 6 berth semi-trad featuring hydraulic drive, led lights throughout and self tracking satellite system with shares being offered for £9,750.  She will be in the marina (stand F12) for the whole weekend and ABC will give you a warm welcome both before and after the official launch.

Originallybuilt to a private owner's specification,
the award winning Oakmere was bought in by BCBM
recently to be offered for shared ownership. (BCBM photo)
Also new to Crick is BCBM's recent acquisition Oakmere.  She is a 59ft replica tug with 'Josher' bow, making her unique amongst shared ownership narrowboats.  Shares in Oakmere are offered at £10,950 and she will be inside the 'poly tunnel' in the marina.

If you can't get to Crick to see these new boats, there are virtual tours available on the respective websites.

Ownashare will not have a boat at Crick, but are holding their own open day at Fradley Junction over the weekend of 31st May to 2nd June, where they will be showing Forget Me Knot (£6,600) and a 2009 reverse layout boat with 3 weeks holiday booked for this year for a 1/12 share offered at a very special price of £3,000.

I shall be at the show on Sunday and Monday, so I may see you there.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Trophy winner boosts BCBM offering

BCBM has acquired narrowboat Oakmere to offer for shared ownership.  Oakmere won the Lionel Munk Trophy for the best new commercial boat at the Inland Waterways Association Festival in 2011 and is the current holder as there was no IWA Festival in 2012.

Oakmere was fitted out by the Navigation Narrowboat Company at Nantwich who also fit out the new boats commissioned by BCBM.  They also won the Lionel Munk Trophy in 2010 with BCBM's first new boat, First Dawn.

Oakmere is a 59 ft Josher style tug with trad stern, engine room and tug fore-deck originally built for a private owner to a very high specification.  There are very few shared ownership narrowboats with trad sterns and this will be the only one that I know of that is a Josher style tug.  The new syndicate will have twelve 8% shares and one 4% share, and a full share will cost £10,950.

Full details of Oakmere with pictures and specification should be on the BCBM Boat Share website very soon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Two more new websites

Hard on the heels of ABC Boat Share, both BCBM and Ownashare have launched new websites.  These also include separate owner's areas to provide much of the syndicate management information owners need during the year and for their AGM's.

The new sites are easier to use and provide links to all the services offered by the respective companies.

We have also made some alterations to this site, which should be helpful for anyone looking for a share.  We have added a 'Find a share' form to allow a prospective owner to set a specification for the perfect share and to have this forwarded to all three of the main brokers.

We have also separated out the menu options so that it's easier for prospective owners to distinguish between the 'big three' brokerage and management companies and other sources of share information.

Monday, April 22, 2013

ABC Boat Share's new website looks good

When we went to ABC's open day recently, we were given a full insight into the new Members' Area, which looks very comprehensive and useful.

Pippa admires the solid wood
worktops and 'magic' cupboard
system being installed on
ABC's new
shared ownership boat that
is expected to be completed
in time for the Crick Show.
Each syndicate has its own Members' area, and every owner has a distinct secure log in. This means that all the syndicate documentation can be made available to owners on line - technical details, AGM minutes, accounts and - perhaps most important - the holiday booking chart.

On line bookings can be made for syndicates using the list system.  ABC are very well aware of the variations between syndicates, so this works with a combination of user input and office management to ensure the syndicate rules are followed.  It's a practical and common sense solution to what would be a very complex problem if done entirely by computer.

For syndicates using the draw system for bookings, a virtual draw is done instead of physically drawing slips of paper from a hat.

The new site has been produced for ABC by 'Get Me' of Worcester in about three months - a very impressive performance!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ownashare has a successful Easter event

Ownashare had boats on show at Fradley junction over the Easter weekend.  MD Phil Capp tells me that 5 shares found new owners.
The sun shone on last year's Ownashare event.

Although it was still cold, the weather was a definite improvement on the previous weekend's snowy BCBM show at Braunston, although even under those conditions several shares changed hands - including several in new boats.  

Boat share shows continue to provide prospective owners with the best opportunities to compare what's available.  You can find details of upcoming shows here.

New website for ABC Boat Management

ABC Boat Management has a new dedicated website at  The site provides lots of useful information on the company's shared ownership facilities, with links to available shares and other details.

Home page of the new site
The most significant development, though, is a secure Members' area, which, I'm told, contains information exclusive to each syndicate and will provide for making holiday bookings on line.

I haven't been able to see the details of this yet - as I don't own a share in a boat managed by ABC - but ABC's MD, Edward Helps, has offered to show me how it all works when I go down to Alvechurch for the company's next open day, this coming Sunday 14th April.

I'll be particularly interested in the online booking arrangements for ex-Ownerships boats - with so many variations from syndicate to syndicate, this poses quite a challenge!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Snow reaches Braunston

Some overnight snow at Braunston meant that the first job of the day was clearing it away - from the sterns of the boats and the access ways at least.

The forecast was for almost continuous snow or rain all day, but fortunately it proved to be not that much.  During the day the temperature must have risen, as the snow that had fallen turned to slush.
There was interest in the Friends of Raymond
and the volunteers providing refreshments to
support Macmillan Nurses took
£537.50 on the first day!

Attendance at the BCBM boat share show was certainly not as high as last year, when the weather was mostly dry and sunny, but there were still some seriously interested visitors.  I was able to answer quite a few questions in the marquee.

The main roads around Braunston are certainly well cleared at present and,for the time being at least, the snow has stopped.  Hopefully more people who are interested in shared ownership boating will be able to get to see the boats here tomorrow.  If you can make it, a warm welcome awaits you as the stoves on most of the boats are alight.  Please be aware, though, that these stoves do get hot!

Friday, March 22, 2013

What snow?

When I arrived at Braunston this afternoon in preparation for the show tomorrow, you wouldn't have known there had been any snow.  There was still plenty when I left Staffordshire, but little sign of it round Braunston.

It was very cold, though - and there has been some fine wet snow since - so hopefully it won't have settled much by the morning.  I'll be 'on duty' at our table in the marquee, which does have some heating and where, I'm told, there will be some refreshments available.  If I'm not there when you come along, please look for me on Sundowner.

Sundowner is in place along with around a dozen other boats, so if you can brave the elements, there should be plenty to see - and I'll do my best to answer any questions on shared ownership you may have after talking to other owners on the boats.

One thing will be very obvious tomorrow and Sunday, and that's just how effective the solid fuel (and diesel) stoves are at keeping the boats warm and snug inside - a good opportunity to sit and chat with owners while warming up!

I hope to see you there.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Come and see us at Braunston

We've booked a table in the marquee at the Braunston Boat Share Show this weekend.

So, whether you're already an owner or you're thinking of becoming one, we would be delighted to see you there.  We'll do our best to answer any questions you have - especially if something you want to know isn't covered on this website.  We are happy to add your question - and the answer - to our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Our shared ownership boat Sundowner will also be at Braunston, and - as with other boats there.  All of the boats at the show have shares on offer and there will be owners on board who can also answer questions for you and show you round.

Most of the boats will have had more done during the winter than just routine maintenance.  Sundowner, for example, had her roof completely stripped back to metal and repainted at Aston Marina and a new hob and fridge were fitted.

The original steel toilet tank had been showing signs of corrosion, so owners agreed to replace that with a and a new plastic one.  A failed toilet tank can really spoil a holiday, so it's important to take care of everything on a boat, not just the cosmetic appearance.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Part exchange your shared narrowboat?

A part exchange scheme has been launched by ABC Boat Management.  The idea is to offer a way of trading in an old syndicate boat in part exchange for a new one, commissioned to the syndicate's requirements.

Having battled with liquidators over the shares that Ownerships 'bought back' using owners money, my initial reaction to this was a bit cautious.  Our syndicate agreement on Sundowner has a safeguarding clause in it that specifically forbids any company or organization from owning an individual share.

But the key difference between this offer from ABC and any of the old buy back schemes is that it relates to the whole boat, not individual shares.

A couple of syndicates I know of have reached the end of the road and decided to sell their boat rather than face escalating maintenance costs.  This has resulted in the break up of the syndicate, with some owners finding shares in other boats and others giving up the shares altogether.

Extensive rust was the problem faced by the owners
of this 'mature' syndicate boat - not just on the hull,
but under the rubbing strakes that were just
tack welded in place.  Selling the boat
was the only realistic option.
This scheme, if adopted by a syndicate in the difficult position of needing to sell their boat, would give continuity to the syndicate and enable it to stay together to commission the new boat.  I think it's a welcome development that should strengthen the position of shared ownership in the marketplace.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Promising start to 2013 for shared ownership

Shared ownership of narrowboats has received a boost to start 2013 with announcements by two of the major management companies that they are building new boats for shared ownership - that will be at least another 25 families enjoying their own shared narrowboat.

ABC's new shared ownership boat Harmonia
made a snow covered debut at the
company's first 2013 open day in February
First to announce their new 12 owner boat Harmonia were ABC.  It is a 'sister ship' to Isis.

Edward Helps, MD of ABC, tells me that shares are selling well and prospective owners braved the snow to attend ABC's first open day of the year and see her in build as pictured here.

The shell of Dawn Mist, BCBM's fourth new boat,
is craned into Nantwich canal basin before the
start of the show there at the beginning of March
BCBM have also announced a new 4 berth, 12½ share boat, Dawn Mist, which has a similar configuration to Dawn Treader.  I was at Nantwich helping to get Sundowner ready for the show there when the shell for Dawn Mist was craned into the basin alongside us, as pictured here.

BCBM have also introduced a staged payment scheme for the new owners of Dawn Mist, so that they can 'own' the boat as she is fitted out.   

Plans are in hand for both these new boats to be on view at the Crick Show on 25th - 27th May.