Yes, I’m sure you have heard horror stories where things didn’t work out but let me share my experience :

I joined RBYC purely by chance about 7 years ago when I purchased my Hanse 445 (Mersea) and the broker just happened to have it moored at the club for the final inspection prior to purchase. Everything then just seemed to fall into place!

For the next 5 years I fully embraced the keelboat training journey with ORCV; Beyond the Bay, Sea survival etc… Two pens away I would often chat with Greg Clinnick who was prepping his Sydney 38 for sale.

So things evolved: one new boat owner needing crew and one very competent crew needing a boat.
We enjoyed many adventures over the next few years – Bass strait cruises, passage up to Pittwater, ORCV offshore races and regular club racing. Then I decided to sell !!!

Having “no boat” didn’t sit well so I went back to my roots of OTB and had a year of exhilaration and free swimming lessons in an Aero7 – but that’s a story for another time .
Greg had also navigated his “no boat” scenario by buying a hobby farm and a herd of goats in Kyneton.
Anyway, half way through the year a conversation started. A number of us who knew each other well on and off the water floated the idea of joint ownership in the purchase of racer cruiser or was it to be a cruiser racer?

An important early step was to draw up an ownership agreement with a fixed term, (5 years in our case). Also important was having a very honest early conversation on how everyone saw the boat being used, but at the same time understanding that things would evolve

Once that was done and signed, we were off and running, scanning all the used boat ads plus a few inspections.
We explored the two extremes from an DK46 for sale in Geelong to an ex RBYC Bavaria 46.

Sanity prevailed and eventually we settled on a carbon rigged Beneteau First 44.7 (formally Christine) from Hobart. Greg, Julie and I then enjoyed (well most of the time) the challenge of a mid winter delivery back to Melb

Initial syndicate funding resulted in a buffer that enabled us to upgrade equipment. We then have regular monthly direct debits from each owner into a dedicated “boat account” for ongoing running costs

We also set up a boat “What’s App” page which has proven to be the best way for quick comms on immediate activities or decisions, saving emails for the more serious stuff.

Then there are regular member meetings, usually over dinner with a formal agenda which addresses key items and future planning as well a being a useful forum for checking in with everyone regarding their views and aspirations going forward.
If push comes to shove (and we don’t expect it to) voting on proposals can occur if consensus can’t be reached

For me having owned my own keelboat for a period, our current syndicate arrangement is far, far superior not only from the obvious cost sharing aspect but most importantly that we share the organising load:
Each member plays to their strengths by owning a specific area of responsibility resulting in everything being covered from Safety to Maintenance to Race entry to Accounting to Sailing schedule to Provisioning etc..etc…

Finally the best bit is that we all get on famously with each other – similar mindsets, sense of humour etc… I RECKON WE’VE BEEN LUCKY !!!

Please feel free to contact me should you be considering similar and want to know more


Neil Sargeant (General Committee)