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Friday, September 14, 2018

Thanks to everyone who supported the Boat Share Shows

Despite the rain on the Saturday, the Autumn Boat Share Show at Overwater last weekend proved successful.  As always, it attracted a good number of people with a serious interest in boatshare.

The RNLI Festival, running from Saturday evening amd through the Sunday, was also another great success.  The raft race around the marina was very popular with visitors.
The shared ownership boats provided a grandstand view
for the start and finish of the raft race at Overwater

This was the last Boat Share Show for which I will be directly involved in the organisation - I've handed that role over to the boat management companies.  Hopefully we will know soon about the dates and arrangements for next year's shows.

Management company
stands at Overwater
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped to make the Shows in which I've been involved successful - particularly the management companies, our hosts at Braunston and Overwater and, of course, the many visitors who have come to the Shows to find out about the benefits of boatshare and have gone away as owners.

This website will continue - and I have offered the management companies any support I can give in publicising the Shows here.  We will continue to maintain our comprehensive list of narrowboat shares on offer by monitoring the BCBM,, Carefree Cruising, J D Boat Services and Ownashare websites.  Many of our Show visitors have commented on how useful they've found this site, and I'm delighted that so many are now enjoying their boating as share owners.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ready for action

Setting up for the Boat Share Show went well today so we're ready to welcome visitors from 10am tomorrow (Saturday 8th Sept and on Sunday).

The first five boats lined up ready for the Show
Some slight changes to the site layout have been made, so we're not exactly as shown on the plan.  You'll find us in the blue RNLI gazebo alongside the entrance to the main marquee as the first bit of the Show you come to.  Pop in and pick up your 'Show Guide' which lists the boats on view.  If you want any other information about boatshare and how it all works, we're there to help.  we ddon't sell anything, so you won't be under any pressure - and there are no silly questions!

There's more good news in that Harmonia, managed for her owners by BCBM, will now be on view for both days of the Show, not just the Sunday.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

It's set up day

It's set up day for the Autumn Boat Share at Overwater tomorrow (Friday).  We'll be getting the Welcome Tent sorted outin the morning and getting the boats on view in position during the afternoon.  The boats should be clearly visible on the marina's webcam.

Skylark, managed for her owners by Carefree Cruising, is the newest
of the boats on view at the Autumn Boat Share Show at Overwater Marina
on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September.  The Show opens at 10 am
each day, finishing at 5pm on the Saturday and 4pm on the Sunday.
Admission is free and parking is by donation to the RNLI.
It looks as though the rain will hold off while we're getting ready, but the afternoon promises to be a bit breezy, which may make moving the boats a bit more tricky.

The forecast for the Show days is that will be some rain on Saturday but not on Sunday - but what's a bit of rain when there are boats to look at!  The RNLI Festival runs from Saturday evening and through Sunday - a full programme is here.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Show breakfasts

The 'Cafe at Bridge 80' at Overwater Marina will again be serving cooked breakfasts from 8.30am on both days of the Boat Share Show this coming weekend - Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September.

The Audlem Lass will be operating a shuttle service between the marina and Audlem bottom lock throughout the weekend.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Management company trailers arrive at Overwater

The Carefree Cruising, BCBM and Ownashare exhibition trailers have arrived at Overwater and are parked up ready to be moved into position tomorrow (Monday)  for the Boat Share Show this coming weekend - 8th & 9th September.

Keep an eye on the webcam at Overwater and you can see preparations for the Show under way, with the boats being moved into view on Friday afternoon.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Show preview in Towpath Talk

There's this nice little preview of this year's Autumn Boat Share Show in the current edition of Towpath Talk (here) on page 42.  Thanks to Janet Richardson, who edits TT.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Autumn Boat Share Show is nearly here!

It's only just over a fortnight to go before the Autumn Boat Share Show at Overwater Marina on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September.  Overwater Marina is on the Shroppie just north of Audlem - information on how to get there is here - or set the satnav to CW5 8AY.  The Show runs in conjunction with the RNLI Festival and is open from 10am on both days, closing at 5pm on the Saturday and 4pm on the Sunday.  Admission is free and parking is by donation to the RNLI.

Adderbury, managed for her owners by Ownashare, is
the oldest boat on view at the Autumn Boat Share Show.
She was launched in 2001 and has both a school holiday
share and a standard share available,
priced at £2,750 and £1,750 respectively.
Eight boats are currently booked in to be on view.  They offer a wide range of age, price and layout:

Black Watch (Saturday only)
Happy Days
Harmonia (Sunday only)
Phoenix (Saturday only)
Water Lily 

A full list of the shares available in these boats, together with information about size, age, share asking price and how they're managed can be found here.  

Skylark was launched at this year's Braunston Boat Share Show
in April and is the newest boat on view at Overwater.
She is managed for her owners by Carefree Cruising and
shares are available priced from £3,875 to £7,245
depending on the size of share and the time of year
when holidays can be taken.
With a range of share prices from £900 to £8,250, ages from 19 years old to a 2018 launch and all four management companies represented, there is something at the Show for nearly every preference.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Innovations at Boat Share Show

The last sunny weekend in April saw the National Boat Share Show return to Braunston Marina.  Visitors were able to get on board 17 different shared ownership boats and talk to existing owners of shares.
All four of the companies which manage boats for their owners' syndicates were at the Show - BCBM, Carefree Cruising, J D Boat Services and Ownashare - so anyone looking for a share had a full range of management styles to select from.  Over 25 shares were bought by new owners either at the Show or immediately following it.  They will join the 2,500 families who already share narrowboats and get the most boating for their holiday pounds.

Most syndicates advise new share owners to get some formal training and two of the leading trainers of shared ownership boaters were at the Show - T R Boat Handling and Willow WrenTraining.  "Training can make all the difference to owners competence, confidence and enjoyment of their boating holidays," comments Andrew Cooley of, organiser of the Show.  "Even people who have been on hire boat holidays for many years will benefit from training."

Making its debut at the Show was a new system for creating 3D virtual tours of narrowboats offered by Vaccine Media.  This new system offers not just a virtual walk through of the boat but also a photographic floor plan and a "doll's house view" that generated lots of "Wow!" comments from visitors who looked at it.  The first boat to be photographed this way was the newly launched Sky Lark, commissioned and managed by Carefree Cruising.  The results can be seen here.

News also broke at the Show of a new boat from BCBM - Liberté - to be launched next year.  This will be the first boat built by BCBM to use the popular list booking system, originally introduced by Ownerships and used by at least 100 of the 240 shared ownership narrowboats on the waterways.

The Autumn Boat Share Show will be at OverwaterMarina on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September in conjunction with the RNLI Festival.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Getting ready for the Boat Share Show

Most of the boats taking part in the Boat Share Show this coming weekend (Sat 21st & Sun 22nd) at Braunston Marina are now well on their way.

There will be at least 16 boats on view plus information on others from syndicates using display space in the marquee and from the boat management companies - BCBM, Carefree Cruising, J D Boat Services and Ownashare

Rowington is a 58ft semi-trad boat originally commissioned
by Ownerships and launched in 2000.  She has a
conventional forward saloon and dinette but with
a rear galley.  Shares are available from £1,950.
Shares on offer range in price from just £500 for a 1/24th share in the 58ft semi-trad Spellbound (BCBM) - celebrating her 21st birthday this year - to a 1/12th peak time share in Happy Days (Carefree Cruising), launched at the Boat Share Show in 2016.
Kallista is a 58ft boat commissioned by Carefree Cruisingand launched in 2012.  She has the 'reverse layout,
with the main bedroom near the bow and saloon at the stern.
Shares are on offer from £1,750

Most of the boats in the Show have semi-trad sterns but Minuet (Ownashare, 2011) has a cruiser stern and, at 54ft, is a little shorter than most of the others on view, which are between 58ft and 62ft.

Forget Me Knot is managed for her owners by Ownashare.
She is 58ft long with a semi-trad stern and forward saloon.
A share is available at £3,750.
There is also a full range of layouts to see and compare, from the 'conventional' Forward saloon/dinette/galley/bathroom/bedroom/ensuite to what is commonly referred to as 'reverse layout' of Forward bedroom/bathroom/galley/dinette and stern saloon.  There are also some stern galley boats to see. 

All of the syndicates with boats in the Show do not allow smoking inside their boats.  Most allow pets to go on holiday with their owners but there is one pet free boat in the Show - Jenny Wren (Carefree Cruising, 2008).

Heron is the only boat in the Show to offer a
fixed week share scheme.  She is managed for her
owners by
J D Boat Services.  She is a 59ft long
semi-trad boat with a forward saloon and two bedrooms.
Shares are available at £6,499.
There is also a full range of holiday booking schemes on offer, including the 'fixed week' scheme (Heron, J D Boat Services), the red (premium time) and yellow share scheme offered by Carefree Cruising, the list system available on all the Ownashare-managed boats and some boats managed by BCBM and the draw system also offered on other BCBM-managed boats.  A fuller explanation of these systems is available here (under 'How are the holiday weeks chosen) - and, of course, from the management companies at the Show.

You are welcome to go on to any of the boats in the Show and you will get a welcome from either existing share owners or a member of staff of the relevant management company.  Please remember, though, that these are private boats owned by a group of enthusiastic boaters - so please arrange to leave dogs and rucksacks on shore if possible.

There's a full list of shares available in boats on view at the Show here.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I need help!

I have problem for the Boat Share Show on the weekend of 21st & 22nd April at Braunston Marina.  The field that the Marina usually lets us use for car parking is simply too wet to drive on.

I'm trying to locate some alternative car parking nearby, but I will need some help during the Show to direct visitors to what's available.

Please can you help?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Cruiser stern boat to view at Boat Share Show

Only about 1 in 10 shared ownership narrowboats have cruiser sterns, most being semi-trads, so shares in cruiser stern boats come on to the market less often.

The only cruiser stern boat so far booked in to attend the National Boat Share Show at Braunston Marina on 21st & 22nd April is Minuet, managed for her owners by Ownashare Cruising.

Launched in 2011, Minuet is a 54ft boat offering comfortable 4-berth accommodation and powered by a Nanni diesel engine.  She is currently based at Dunchurch Pools Marina.

If you want to get on board Minuet and talk to owners and the management company, then be sure to come to the Show on Saturday 21st - she will only be at the Show for the one day, as the owners on board are keen to start their holiday cruise.

Monday, March 26, 2018


The boats trapped on the Wardle lock side of the breach in the Middlewich Canal have been released.

Canal & River Trust pumped water up from the Trent & Mersey to refill this section of the pound and were able to get the boats out through the lock and on to the T&M. 

One of those released was Jenny Wren, managed for her owners by Carefree Cruising.  She was back at her base at Kings Lock on Friday afternoon.

Carefree Cruising commented, "C&RT were brilliant in getting the boats out so quickly." 

The 58ft, semi-trad stern Jenny Wren is one of the boats booked in to be on view at the National Boat Share Show at Braunston Marina on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April.  Admission and car parking for the Show are free.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Update on the Middlewich Canal breach

Portadam' in place ready to take water.
(Photo Ruth Chalmers, Carefree Cruising)

There's a new video report on what C&RT have been doing at the Middlewich Canal breach here but there is no more information about getting the stranded boats re-floated and out onto the T&M.

The plan was to pump water from the T&M, starting on Thursday, with the hope that the boats could be re-floated today. 

The picture shows pipes laid out alongside Wardle lock in preparation for pumping water up to refill the section immediately above the lock.  (Phote: Ruth Chalmers, Carefree Cruising)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

£500 could be the first step into shared ownership

Spellbound has a 1/24th share available
for just £500. (BCBM photo)
The 58ft narrowboat Spellbound has a 1/24th share on offer for just £500 and will be available to view and get on board at the National Boat Share Show at Braunston Marina on 21st & 22nd April. A full list of shares available on boats at the Show is here

The Show opens at 10am on both days.  Admission and car parking are free.

Spellbound is also the oldest boat in the Show having been originally commissioned by Ownerships in 1997.  She is currently managed for her owners by BCBM, who will have a number of other boats on view at Braunston. 

View from Spellbound's galley
towards the bow. (BCBM photo)
With a semi-trad stern, Spellbound offers 6 berths with a conventional configuration having the main saloon near the bow, a central galley and the fixed double bedroom at the stern.  The bed can be pulled out to kingsize.  The saloon has a solid fuel stove and the central heating is powered by an Alde 2928 Comfort boiler. 

Spellbound had a new Nanni 4200he engine fitted in 2008. Monthly contribution to costs for a 1/24th share is about £70.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Consequences of the Middlewich breach

It is inevitable that some owners of shares in boats stuck on the drained section of the Middlewich Canal will lose part of their planned boating holiday following the breach there.  That may be less of a problem for a managed boat, as the management company may be able to make special arrangements, such as using weeks allocated to unsold shares on another boat.  I'm sure many syndicates would also be happy to help with that in these circumstances.

Ownerships used to have a scheme whereby 'spare weeks' on most of the boats they managed could be used to cope with such emergencies and allow owners to have their holiday even if their own boat was out of commission.  When this possibility was raised at syndicate meetings following the collapse of Ownerships, most of the ones I attended did not support the continuation of such an arrangement.  Some boat insurance policies may provide for the cost of a hire boat in such circumstances.

Picture from Canal & River Trust website.
There is no quick fix for the Middlewich breach, so some share owners are going to have to re-think their trips to avoid it.  Of the 240 shared ownership narrowboats on the canal network, more than a third have their bases on or near the Four Counties Ring and they will be the ones most directly affected.

Changing the planned trip may well be easier for shared ownership boats, as a 'remote exchange'  - handing over the boat to the next owners somewhere other than at their base mooring - is quite a common occurrence anyway.  It's one of the ways share owners can extend their trips and avoid having to turn round and come back over the same stretch in order to reach their base.  It involves reaching an agreement with the owners on board immediately before and after and it requires moving cars from base to base, but it is not difficult to find a boatyard or marina that's used to doing turnround checks on shared boats.  It's always best to arrange this in advance - and it may be necessary to do the handover on a different day, especially if the marina is already helping to facilitate turnrounds for hire boat fleets affected by the breach, as we know some are.

The latest updates from the Canal & River Trust are here.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Another casualty of the breach photo
Kinver - a self-managed shared ownership boat - has also been caught in the Middlewich breach.  I've heard that C&RT are looking at daming the pound near the breach in order to float boats out, but I can't find anything about that on the C&RT website.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Breach on the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie

There has been a serious canal breach on the Middlewich branch which will prevent any boats from using it for some time.  There are more details on the C&RT website here.  There are 15-20 boats trapped in the drained section and one of them is Jenny Wren, managed by Carefree Cruising. She is due to be at the Boat Share Show in Braunston in 5 weeks time, so hopefully she can be rescued and make the trip south.

Jenny Wren in happier times
We've also heard that Rowington (BCBM) and Kingfisher (Carefree Cruising) are stuck the wrong side of the breach, so will have to take the long route home.  There are likely to be a few more remote handovers as a result of the breach.

If your holiday is yet to come and you had intended cruising the Four Counties Ring, that's definitely a non-starter at the moment. The Trent and Mersey and the main line of the Shroppie are not affected, but the only link between the two is along the Staffs & Worcs from Great Haywood to Autherley Junction.  You may need to alter your plans.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Can you help fill in the blanks?

Have you come across - or do you own a share in - any of these boats:

Beaufort, Charlton No2, Co-Operation, Copperkins II, Damsel, Dream Weaver, Great Escape, Greenberfield, Indomitable or Valour?

We know they are - or were - self-managed shared ownership narrowboats, but we haven't heard anything about them for quite a while and our database has hardly any details of them.   We would love to hear what's happened to them and where they are now.

There are a number of others for which we have incomplete information in our database.  They're all shown in our list of shared ownership narrowboats.  It's easy to send us an update to fill in the blanks - just click on the name of the boat in the list, and you will get an update form which will be emailed to us - with a copy to whoever sent in the update.  Your email address remains confidential and all updates will be acknowledged.

If you know that the boat is no longer in shared ownership, please just drop me an email to let me know - - and I'll remove the boat from our list.

We don't want the details for any other reason than to provide the best possible information for anyone interested in shared ownership narrowboats. If you're able to help - thanks  lot.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

New boat to be launched at Braunston

Carefree Cruising will again be launching a new boat at the National Boat Share Show in Braunston Marina on Saturday & Sunday 21st & 22nd April.  The boat has yet to be named and members of the new syndicate are currently voting to choose the name they want for their boat.

Otter being craned into the basin at Braunston Marina
ready for the 2017 Boat Share Show.
The new boat will be craned into the Marina basin a couple of days before the Show.  Carefree Cruising have launched new boats at the last two Shows. The  2017 boat (Otter) and 2016 boat (Happy Days) were craned into the basin in the same way.  Happy Days will be at the Show again this year.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Jolly boating weather!

Thank goodness this isn't the Boat Share Show weekend.  We would have had a repeat of the 2013 event*, when people were advised not to travel because of the weather and most heeded that advice.

As I recall we got just a dozen or so visitors over the whole weekend - and we all got very cold indeed!

The only places to get warm were on boats with their stoves going or in the marquee.  This year's Show is at Braunston Marina on Sat and Sunday 21st & 22nd April - and we've booked a heater for the marquee just in case.

(*The event then was the BCBM Show.  This was later replaced by the National Boat Share Show with all the management companies participating.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How long will the engine last?

One of the questions we are often asked by prospective owners is how long an engine can be expected to last.  There's no simple answer - apart from the proverbial 'piece of string.'  It's a sensible question, though, as a new owner does not really want to be immediately confronted with the need to replace the engine, particularly if the syndicate has not built up a fund to pay for it.

Because we hold details of 240 shared ownership narrowboats on the inland waterways of the UK, we can get some information from our database.  We know that at least 53 of those boats have had an engine replacement, and the chart below plots the number of engines that have been replaced against the number of years since the boat was launched. 

About half the replacements were made between 10 and 14 years into the life of the boats.  The very long 'lives' to the right of the chart should be treated with some caution, as there may have been more than one replacement in that time - our database only holds the most recent replacement date. 

We also have information about the numbers of various makes of engine used as replacements, and these are listed here:  

Engine make
Barrus/Shire 4
Beta Marine 22
Canaline 6
Gardner 1
Isuzu 5
Mermaid 1
Nanni 7
Thorneycroft 2

Some makes of engine have not been available for the whole period for which we have replacement data.  These numbers simply reflect the choices made by owners and should not be taken as endorsement or otherwise of any particular make of engine by

Sunday, February 11, 2018

First boat booked in for National Boat Share Show

The first boat has been booked in to attend the National Boat Share Show at Braunston Marina on 21st & 22nd of April.

She is Heron, originally built in 2010 by J D Boat Services.  She has been fully refurbished for shared ownership and a new syndicate is being formed.

Heron at the 2017 National Boat Share Show
Heron has a less common arrangement for allocating holiday times in which the shares are linked to fixed weeks in the year, which some owners find helps their forward holiday planning.

A 59ft semi-trad narrowboat with a forward saloon, Heron is also unusual in having two dedicated bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with two singles that can be configured as a double if required.  The saloon seating can also be re-arranged to provide an additional double bed.

Powered by a Shire 40 engine, Heron is currently based at Gailey on the Staffs and Worcester Canal just south of Stafford.  A few 1/12th shares are still available at £6,499.