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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.