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Boat Partnership Stories (Horror and Otherwise)


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#1 MR.CLEAN

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 08:43 PM

As I was discussing the potential partnership between me and a friend to own a new OD raceboat, I realized that the only real boat partner story I know is the only partnership I've had- and it ended with a Cal 25 disappearing in 80 feet of water off of Pt. Loma as one of the partners and a former friend paddled in on his longboard.

Who wants to ante up with some good stories about either their own boat partnerships or partnerships on boats they crewed? Good stories and bad are welcome.

-Clean (ish)

#2 Scarecrow

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 08:59 PM

My current boat is a partnership deal. So far only good stories and it means I can race a better boat than I could afford to own myself.

#3 JSoup

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:12 PM

It's been a great experience for me. I also owned a boat solo, and I greatly prefer the partnership. Aside from the obvious financial benefit, it's extremely nice to share the mainenance duties, crew recruitment, and decision making processes with another. In our case we were good friends before the partnership, and remain so. You really have to consider the personalities involved though. I have several very good friends that just wouldn't make good boat partners.

This partnership is a non-equity agreement where my partner actually owns the boat, but I pay a monthly amount during the season, and we split major purchases (sails mostly) evenly. It works out very well for me and I think for him also.

#4 sailthebay26

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:12 PM

i race on a j24 that is co owned and it is horrible. one of the owners is prolly going to buy the other out because the other owner will not listen to him or the crew. Plus he is way to over weight making it impossible for the boat to make weight even with 4 people. i think if you are going in on some one who has owned a boat before it is ok. i have seen another boat at the yacht club have the same problem our boat is having. these decent sailors buy and boat and all of a sudden believe they know everything and stop listening to every one.

#5 MR.CLEAN

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:13 PM

It's been a great experience for me. I also owned a boat solo, and I greatly prefer the partnership. Aside from the obvious financial benefit, it's extremely nice to share the mainenance duties, crew recruitment, and decision making processes with another. In our case we were good friends before the partnership, and remain so. You really have to consider the personalities involved though. I have several very good friends that just wouldn't make good boat partners.

This partnership is a non-equity agreement where my partner actually owns the boat, but I pay a monthly amount during the season, and we split major purchases (sails mostly) evenly. It works out very well for me and I think for him also.



So if he sells the boat would you recoup any of your capital expenditures?

#6 Betty's Boy

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:35 PM

We were three friends who bought what is now my boat together. At first it was great, a third of the expenses and three times the enthusiasm and manpower to keep her tidy. Then our priorities changed, my friends wanted more family time and didn't want to practise for championships and spend the money needed. I wanted to and got tired of every decision having to go through a comittee, so I spent the money and did the races with other people. I ended up buying them out, and except for the money part I'm happy being my own boss now. Still great friends with the other two and they're welcome to race with me anytime they decide to come back.

I guess this shows that as people change with age the foundations for a co-ownership also changes. A written contract about the intentions of the venture might be handy.

We didn't do a very good job with our contracy, but we agreed to freeze the value of the boat after we bought it, as the prizes fluctuated a bit. This way no one could speculate. When the second guy wanted out he told me we would have to sell or I would have to buy him out so I did. I can't imagine not having boat anymore.

Who owns the boat
Why do you have it (race, cruise, booze?)
What level do you aspire to (racing, money, level of polishing)
How do you share responsibilities (how many transport sails compensate how many hours of bottom work)
Can work and money interchange? (I can't find the time to do the antifouling this weekend, is it Ok if I pay for the paint?)
How many races do we want to do?
How far are we willing to travel?
Who does what on board (best suited guy in each position, do we change positions)
Make a budget, stick to it or at least agree when you have to exceed it


The more points like these that are agreed upon, the better the friendship will be.


BB



Shite! That last post made me an anarchist!

Clean, when my last partner left we had a suit of brand new OD sails on board that he hadn't even used. They cost about 25% of the boats's value without them. The decision to buy them was made shortly before he decided he wanted out. We agreed I would pay him back half of what he had spent on them. We were both happy with this, and as we're still friends today I think it was thr right decision. But if someone is contributing towrards running a program without owning the boat there would have to be a way to check if this has increased resale value in a way that wouldn't have taken place without him. Then I think there should be some compensationd due.

BB

#7 JSoup

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 10:11 PM

Mr. Clean - In a word no, I'm not expecting any return from this other than the years of enjoyment I am getting out of it. If we were to make such an investment that would warrant wanting to recoup part of it, we would work that out at purchase time. Sails certainly don't qualify.

#8 Geezer47

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 10:38 PM

Had an opportunity to purchase a 29 foot race boat with 4 others. Contract was drawn up stating that the intent was to race and races were blocked for that purpose. If no racing, the boat was available for family time. If you died, the remaining partners paid your estate what your initial cost was, period. Operating cost per person was $100/mo. That included 2 sails per yr (in 1987), slip, insurance, botttom jobs, entry fees, sandwiches, drinks and replacement of misc hardware. I think we were all going to pony up 2k to purchase (it was a steal). Boat sold a couple of days prior to getting the agreement typed. Probably a good thing.

#9 SPORTSCAR

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 11:05 PM

Sportscar has operated as a 6-man syndicate for over twenty three years and four boats. We don't have a lot to do with each other away from the boat and that seems to be a strong factor in the successof the syndicate. We share the costs, not always equally but as much as each member is able to contribute at the time toward a particular sum required. There have been a few changes of personnel over the years but the core is still the same and we are fussy who we let in. For the entire 23 years and 4 boats there has NEVER been anything put down in writing which, incidentally,. has proved to be a blessing in the case of a couple of acrimonious divorces. We still love to sail together when we can but not every syndicate member can make it every week these days. Certainly we have had some memorable on-board brawls but it is always left on the boat and we can always have a drink and a laugh about it afterwards.

Pick your boat partners more carefully than you would pick your wife, don't get too close other than when sailing and share your sailing goals and it can all work out beautifully.

Get it wrong and you will probably burn a lot of dollars.

In a former life I was a yacht broker for over twenty years and sold a shitload of boats at silly crash and burn prices due to syndicate (and marriage!) bust ups. More partnerships fail than succeed but if you follow the above guidelines it can certainly get you sailing in more boat than you may otherwise be able to afford or manage.

Good luck!

#10 Corny Shields

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 01:18 AM

Sportscar has operated as a 6-man syndicate for over twenty three years and four boats. We don't have a lot to do with each other away from the boat and that seems to be a strong factor in the successof the syndicate. We share the costs, not always equally but as much as each member is able to contribute at the time toward a particular sum required. There have been a few changes of personnel over the years but the core is still the same and we are fussy who we let in. For the entire 23 years and 4 boats there has NEVER been anything put down in writing which, incidentally,. has proved to be a blessing in the case of a couple of acrimonious divorces. We still love to sail together when we can but not every syndicate member can make it every week these days. Certainly we have had some memorable on-board brawls but it is always left on the boat and we can always have a drink and a laugh about it afterwards.

Pick your boat partners more carefully than you would pick your wife, don't get too close other than when sailing and share your sailing goals and it can all work out beautifully.

Get it wrong and you will probably burn a lot of dollars.

In a former life I was a yacht broker for over twenty years and sold a shitload of boats at silly crash and burn prices due to syndicate (and marriage!) bust ups. More partnerships fail than succeed but if you follow the above guidelines it can certainly get you sailing in more boat than you may otherwise be able to afford or manage.

Good luck!


With a 6-person syndicate, how do you determine who drives, who calls the tactics, and who has final say on the race course? I can see making campaign and boat decisions by committee but not racing decisions. Do you rotate? or just fall into the rolls that you're all comfortable with?

#11 SPORTSCAR

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 02:24 AM

With a 6-person syndicate, how do you determine who drives, who calls the tactics, and who has final say on the race course? I can see making campaign and boat decisions by committee but not racing decisions. Do you rotate? or just fall into the rolls that you're all comfortable with?



We have pretty much just fallen into roles that we are comfortable with / experienced at- in terms of the physical aspects of sailing the boat. Tactics and strategy are a different matter and probably not our strongest suit. There are a couple of more experienced guys who assume that role but it does get testy from time to time when we all chime in with an opinion. 23 years and a few shelves full of pickle dishes would indicate it hasn't been too much of a problem though. We aren't campaigning for anything too serious these days and have all mellowed over the years.

#12 Yachtsman

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 02:41 AM

I had a partner on a J/24 that paid half the bills and only used the boat 3-4 times a year. It was great, I wish he would have come along when I got the 30fter, something about the wife did not think they used the boat enough to justify geting a bigger one. Oh well

J

#13 dash34

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 03:14 AM

I have had two partnerships, and while neither was perfect they were overall a great experience. I would do it again in a minute, in fact, I'm looking right now. My ideal situation: partners with another couple with kids on a comfy cruiser for family weekends (hey, we only get to cruise 2-3 weekends a year and 2 weeks in the summer), partners also with someone on a smaller racing boat, maybe a miniTransat or a Melges (something fast and fun and cheap to put sails on).

In the meantime, I have a great boat and I'm happy lugging all the shit up and down the dock switching from race mode to cruise mode for a few more years......

#14 spicoli

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 04:03 AM

Mr Clean,

I sold half my boat to a friend 6 years ago, it has been good. But we were life long friends long before being partners. If you know you can get along with the other person, and you know the style and habits of the other person, it will be fine.

It can be a win, win.

Call me, lets meet for a beer next week.

"Spicoli"

#15 Willsail4food

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 05:38 AM

Assassin has been owned by a corporation "Dude, Where's Your Boat Inc." for years now. Partners buy into and get bought out of it. I'm not sure if there are any financial benefits, but I'm sure there are from a liability standpoint. I don't have all the details, but Loucifer(he's rarely on SA) is one of the owners. I can get you in touch with him or one of the previous owners if you like.

#16 razorback

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 05:47 AM

Nothing but good here. We had same goals/commitment to the program. 4 great years. That's the key I think.

I moved, had kids, do dah do dah, but we settled up on the boat without any problem at all. That was 10 years ago and we only argue about football now.

#17 justasailer

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 05:20 PM

Would never do it again. Partner developed DNLTSM (Did Not Like To Spend Money). But not to worry his wife knew EVERY F%#%ING THING THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT SAILING!!!!

#18 MR.CLEAN

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 07:34 PM

Assassin has been owned by a corporation "Dude, Where's Your Boat Inc." for years now. Partners buy into and get bought out of it. I'm not sure if there are any financial benefits, but I'm sure there are from a liability standpoint. I don't have all the details, but Loucifer(he's rarely on SA) is one of the owners. I can get you in touch with him or one of the previous owners if you like.


Another question brought up by this in general- what business entity have people had success with from a tax standpoint and a liability perspective?
(and thanks for that, food)

#19 J24Soup

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 09:32 PM

Mr. Clean - In a word no, I'm not expecting any return from this other than the years of enjoyment I am getting out of it. If we were to make such an investment that would warrant wanting to recoup part of it, we would work that out at purchase time. Sails certainly don't qualify.


Glad you answered that first... :) As the other half of this equation, agree with all the points made. When/if it ever comes to selling it, and/or big expenses, we would work it out to be fair. Also helps that we have consistent priorities/goals, and luckily he's lost (almost) as much weight as I've gained over the course over the partnership so the crew can't bitch too much...

#20 Delta Blues

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 09:37 PM


Assassin has been owned by a corporation "Dude, Where's Your Boat Inc." for years now. Partners buy into and get bought out of it. I'm not sure if there are any financial benefits, but I'm sure there are from a liability standpoint. I don't have all the details, but Loucifer(he's rarely on SA) is one of the owners. I can get you in touch with him or one of the previous owners if you like.


Another question brought up by this in general- what business entity have people had success with from a tax standpoint and a liability perspective?
(and thanks for that, food)



Most boats are owned privately. The next group are owned by a corporation. Usually the boat owners business. That way his business pays all of the bills, and he is shielded from the liability. The smallest group are those who set up a corporation specifically for the boat. You see the corporation set-up more often on the mega-yachts that have full time hands, payroll, major expenses, etc.

#21 Blackbeard

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 01:05 AM

Who wants to ante up with some good stories about either their own boat partnerships or partnerships on boats they crewed? Good stories and bad are welcome.

-Clean (ish)
[/quote]

Mr Clean

Been in a boat (some race, mostly cruise) partnership with the same guy for 14 years and 3 boats. It has all been good. Both partners are comfortable with different contributions to the upkeep and operation of the boat. We have also been friends for the same time with a few off the boat family events.

One of the things that works for us is to schedule a casual race or a day sail once a month to encourage regular use and maintenance checks. I do much more of the maintenance, but I also use the boat more and enjoy just mess'in about. Big expenditures are discussed and agreed upon. Often smaller purchases are given as a gift to the boat.

We use a limited partnership agreement (similar to an investment property type agreement) to help define ownership and financial responsibilities. The partnership has a checking account that the monthly contribution is made into. The general partner manages the account and pays the recurring bills. Scheduling is rarely a problem with each partner having prime time priority on alternate years.

As another post indicated, pick your partners very carefully, for example, would you sail offshore for a week with that person.

Good luck

#22 Black Jack

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:49 PM

Bump - lots of dust on this one.

I am thinking of buying and developing a partnership on a keel boat that has an active keel boat racing class for the bay. as I get older and mellowed, I like a good race as well as doing the upkeep and haul out. I am a cheap bastard but am really fair. just want to mixed it on a boat that has good class support and open international acceptance.
What solutions have worked for you? would you find an non-equity partnership as good as holding half? thoughts and experiences?

#23 Bulbhunter

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:56 PM

Just a tip. All potential co-owners agree to a fixed amount of money each month put into a boat account that money is used to pay insurance - slip fees etc - and the additional funds are used to cover repairs - gear etc. If any of the co-owners has major issues putting X money in every month chances are they can't afford the boat to start with and will be the non paying co-owner that really rubs you the wrong way.

For a race program and low cost gig like say the 20footers - J/24 etc have in the original contract that a co-owner can buy others out of their share based on the original purchase price ie investment that owner put in. This makes it clear from the start that a co-owner who is more gun ho can simply buy out others who have found them selves in over their head on commitments regarding race program etc.

Also highly Highly advisable that all co-owners go into a partner ship with the funding ability to purchase the whole enchilada if they had to. Makes things FAR FAR easier and far less contentious.

#24 Black Jack

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:36 PM

good points. A buy out clause is essential as is a scheduled direct deposit - pay to play monthly model make good partners.
I am seeking a social boat that will get us out with the Knarrs or like. I think a one month buy in, a fixed low monthly and some shared boat keeping duties is really all I am looking for. I have no ego where it comes to being the skipper of the day or deck crew. I really just want to share dock fees with a commited crew. I travel a bit but want the boat used and even raced when I am away.. I am willing to cover the insurance. Picking a nice person who has an open point of veiw is ideal with a month to month courtship where we can cancel the partnership with a months notice if damage without responsability, personal negligence, mixed feelings or lack of funds could result in termination of the mutually consentual agreement.

#25 LarryE

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:55 PM

Remember that if your partner is married you might have 2 partners.
I got along great with my partener, his wife was unreal. Finally had him buy me out.

#26 Black Jack

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:28 PM

1330030558[/url]' post='3597509']
Remember that if your partner is married you might have 2 partners.
I got along great with my partener, his wife was unreal. Finally had him buy me out.



Never thought about spouses as my wife does not sail much....
Hate to be questioned in the circumstances of a wood boat that did not float.
Posted Image

#27 Schnick

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:03 PM

My family had a partnership going for 15 years. Two families, 3 kids between them all similar ages. We had a 24' race boat, and a 28' cruising boat that was later upgraded to a 40'er. It worked well, I think for the following reasons:

1. Both a race and cruising boat in the mix prevented conflicts of the 'buy cruising gear' vs 'buy new sails' sort
2. Both families were from similar economic circumstances (my dad and the other guy worked together in a pulp mill)
3. The families got along well enough that with the bigger boat we could all go away on holidays together - so really never any scheduling conflicts. Kids' age was key here, along with a long-standing friendship between partners.
4. Similar goals for the race boat, ie. Wednesday nights, Winter Snowflake series, and 1-2 major local regattas per year, all understood before setting out.

Really the deal only dissolved when all us kids grew up and moved out, and my folks moved an hour away from the boat.



Most of the other 'partner' deals I have seen (I can think of 3) were either parent/son or brother/sister partner groups. When family is the only tie between the partners, it seems highly likely that the spending levels and goals of the partners will not match that well. One boat the '1/2 owner/bro-in-law' lived in the prairies and only came out to sail one weekend per year during which he expected to be the skipper, the other partner wanted to race every weekend. Messy, and hard for the crew to take when the Albertan started telling us how to do our jobs.

#28 By the lee

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:06 AM

I once listened to a dude who went to high school with my older brother telling him about the ChrisCraft he went halvers on w/some other dude and how he was so continually rude and obnoxious the other partners wife couldn't stand him and they had almost stopped spending time on the boat he had it mostly to himself yada yada.........

What a douche-bag!

#29 Flying Fish

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:05 PM

My partner and I have a different type of agreement but one that has worked extremely well. Each of us contributes a boat. We enjoy deep sea fishing and racing sailboats and during our partnership each has had a boat they individually own. As the owner that person is responsible for the major bills but each contributes as they can. I cannot afford the fishing boat we currently run but purchase what I can when I can. When either boat goes out we both try to be on it. If we cannot make it the boat still goes as long as one of us is there.

the benefit of this partnership is that as things change (and they do change) you can adapt easily. As my buddies kids got older and started to take over the fishing boat I did not mind as he had spent the money to buy it. When his son stopped sailing with us it was no big deal as most of the money and effort was on my end.

Partnerships start with good intentions but needs and interests change over time. Our partnership has survived 4 sailboats and three fishing boats due to low obligation and expenditures that are determined by each. Neither of us has done much sailing or fishing this past year due to family obligations and the boats have sat. My buddy will probably not sail with me this year but I will continue to fish.

This has allowed us to fish from LI to OBX and race Wednesday nights and what weekends we could get away with.

#30 Hoff27

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:16 PM

We own a dynamic 2000 with tree friends, its great. Me and one guy do most of the races, while the other guy is more of a cruiser. She is fully outfitted to race, but the cruiser likes that. Officialy we split all of the cost, I problably do most of the sailing, so i pay for some extra's each year.

During sailing we change roles, somtimes i'm skipper, somtimes the other. Normally we change in between races. It sounds stupid, but i've experienced that its good to keep ego's and shouting off the boat. We all make mistakes, and learn from eachother. We also need very few words between the fordeck and aft, because we know how that roll is. If there is doubt, the skipper at time always decides. Crew may make suggestion, but no more.
Beiing honest and sensible towards eachother is the best recepe. You don't even need the same goals i believe.

We all worked for years at the same sailingschool, so we have the same standards about boat management.
To enlage the racebudget, we wil do some lessons and charters this season. Flying the old spare sails off course.
The charters wil have a social element. We will take groups of homeless minors, autistic kids and so on out for a day. That way, we make some cash, and do some good in this city. Its great.

#31 WarBird

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 01:41 AM

Tallyed up first year expenses. These were off the cuff and between brothers/partners. We race vigorously but do have slightly different priorities in what is important on the boat. Our expenses differed by $36 over the course of the season. Example, he picked up launch and haul, I picked up insurance and race fees. I was pretty sure when we finally did an informal or formal tally I would owe a couple hundred. We kept discretionary spemnding to absolutely minimum, thinking "race the boat for a year", then decide what add ons or mods we might need.

#32 Becalmed

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 01:37 PM

Had 2 over the years. First was a od race boat. Both sailed together before, both owned other boats, wanted to try it out. Tried it, had fun for a few years. I paid out his half and he went on to another class. We both put in time and money and had the same mind set of sailing with nice stuff; worked well. Second partnership was a racer/cruiser. He owned it and paid the bills, I did the upgrades and man hours. Perfect arrangement. Needs to be the right partner, I've been lucky.

#33 Murphness

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:31 PM

Own a boat with a buddy and it works out great. We're both pretty young (late 20's) and it wouldn't be possible without a partnership for financial reasons. The trick is to find someone with similar interests. We mostly sailed and raced together anyways, so knew each others on the water personalities well. We alternate skippering each race which works fine, and each have things they're better at.

I think the biggest thing is that neither of us are cheap skates. If we need something for the boat we talk about it briefly and decide whether to buy it. This seems like the single most important thing for boat partnerships. If one owner is cheap and doesn't like paying for stuff and the other wants to and does, it creates a void. The other factor for us is that the boat is relatively low end. It's a stripped out OD racer, so we're not taking it cruising. Ever. A few times we've had groups of friends that wanted rides and the schedules conflicted, but that's going to happen no matter what. If it's a nice day, who doesn't want to sail?

If you're laid back and don't keep a daily budget spreadsheet on your phone, find someone similar and you'll get along in a boat partnership....If you're fighting over who gets to buy the beers every time you go out, it's a good sign....If you're picking up the tab every night, find another friend.

#34 FINS

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:27 PM

I put the same question out three years ago regarding a partnership. Well the boat was restored by us, used for one season and has been sitting in storage for over a year. We are finally talking about having him purchase us out at a good loss to me but I just want out from under the boat and dealing with him. We use to be best friends and our families travelled together. The boat did not end our friendship but really pushed it over the top.

JUST SAY NO!!!!!!

Clean email me I have a good partnership agreement, somewhere, I can send you. My partner is a lawyer and never wanted to sign it "because we will never need it". yea right I would have been done with thios boat last year.

#35 echak

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:48 PM

My folks owned a 30' racer/cruiser in partnership for 22 seasons... Can definitely be done, and done well. I grew up on that boat. Technically, it was owned by an LLC registered in Delaware, even though the boat rarely left Eastern LIS.

My father and the other owner typically played odds/evens to determine who would drive for the day when headed out to the line. Both guys are still close friends, and are quick to offer that "counting the tools in your toolbox before you leave from a workday" was the most important part in keeping the arrangement together longer than most marriages... I'm sure that mentality applied to other parts of the ownership that I don't remember.




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