Initial teething problems solved, Dave and Angelika finally reap the rewards of their boat share investment, enjoying a level of cruising luxury they could only dream of affording on their own…
Despite lying on the foredeck of our Azimut 58 ploughing into the teeth of a Force 6 my wife and I were whooping with delight. For a brief moment my thoughts turned back to my dreams of boating; calm seas, hot weather and definitely no ploughing.
So why did we both have huge smiles on our faces; why did we love every minute of it and why were we slightly disappointed to arrive in the lee of Alcudia marina?
I’ll tell you later. But first let me remind you that in our last article I waxed lyrical about the highs and occasional lows of life as a 1/8th shareholder of a boat share syndicate.
The lows nearly all centred around trying to get things fixed on the hoof rather than getting everything sorted before the season started. Pandemic restrictions had meant Freedom went largely unused for two years and as we all know, boats do not like being left stationary.
Our major issues – unreliable air-con, smoky engines, poor soundproofing – could not be looked at while the season was under way. The people required to fix them were too busy and none of the shareholders wanted their precious time aboard interrupted. So our first season went by with mixed results.
Just about everyone had a problem at some point – us with air-con, others with anchor issues, toilet troubles and tender unreliability. But the lack of a bimini was an issue for all of us as temperatures often hit 40°C during the Mallorcan summer.
Article continues below…
If you find the costs of running a boat prohibitive, why not think outside the box and consider shared ownership?
My wife and I spent four weeks on the boat over the season and began to love our new life. Other than ongoing issues with the noisy air-con, it was superb. However, our final week in September did not start quite so well. We arrived on board on 22 September and all seemed fine.
Our cleaner had done a superb job but my wife and I were still unsure about sleeping on board and had booked a nearby hotel for the week, as we still didn’t trust the boat not to bowl us another googly. How right we were!
On our second day I opened up my local weather app to be greeted by yellow storm warnings, rising to red later in the day. It seemed that the entire week would be windy and wet so I cancelled our hired Captain, Gavin, who gave me a credit for his time, and reminded me that I was making the right choice.
We divided our time between the boat and the hotel for the next few days but on day five we had a break in the weather. I was like an excited schoolboy as we made our way down to the boat with plans for a trip out to a nice restaurant for lunch followed by a lazy afternoon and a few drinks at anchor in the bay.
We walked on board at 9am and went to the master cabin to plonk our kit on the bed. The first thing that hit me was the smell. The second was the damp thud as I tossed my briefcase on to the mattress. I placed my hand onto the bed and pressed down. A squelch of water formed around my fingers. The whole bed was sopping wet.
My gaze turned towards the hatch, directly above it. It wasn’t in the best shape but had been repaired earlier in the season and had been rained on many times, with no leaks. But when it came to our turn to be on board…
Roll with it
I chose to ignore this latest problem until after our outing. So, there we were, leaving our restaurant in Colonia De Sant Pere. The F4 wind hadn’t caused us any trouble on the way there, as it was on our stern and the wave height was minimal. But it was now an F6 and directly on our nose.
Captain Gavin was happy to proceed but only if we left straight away and went directly back to our home berth – those drinks in the bay would have to wait.
Our boat took the conditions in its stride and felt so secure that my wife and I went to sit on the foredeck sunbeds to make the most of it. The bow parted the waves like a giant plough, sending spray cascading out on either side but leaving the boat itself perfectly dry.
The breeze forced us to peer through narrowed eyes but the wind was still warm and I trusted the boat completely. Gavin pushed the speed up to 15 knots and a broad smile spread across both of our faces – we were loving every minute of it.
This was what it was all about, all those years of dreaming about owning not just any old boat but a thoroughbred motoryacht with the style, comfort and quality to keep us safe, warm and dry in any weather.
We were, of course, merely the latest recipients of Azimut’s enduring design brilliance and build quality but at last, I was part of it because the boat share syndicate allowed me to afford the type and size of boat I wanted.
It hasn’t all been perfect, we’ve had our fair share of issues over the last few months, but I am now confident it will all come good. And if we look after it as well as we can, our time on board will get better and better and we will have the confidence to go out on the water on our own and start exploring this fabulous island.
However, at the moment I am back in the UK, writing this. I’ve just returned from my first boat share syndicate AGM and what a pleasure it was. It was a joy to spend time with like-minded people wanting the best for themselves and each other. Everything to do with the boat is now planned out and costed to our mutual satisfaction.
There is always a degree of risk for a part-owner when entering a syndicate like this but the vast majority of the time everyone is looking for the same thing – to own and enjoy a safe, secure and comfortable boat that each member could never afford to buy and run on their own.
It’s not always easy, as I’ve documented here, but I hope I’ve shown the honesty this subject requires because going into something like this must be done with realistic expectations.
It is in the nature of boats to need attention. It is in their character to want to drain money from your bank account. But if you accept this and also take time to look after your boat as a group, it will reward you and your co-owners with an endless supply of exceptional experiences on the water.
As yet we have only had a handful of days on Freedom when we’ve been out on the water but every one of those has earned a place in my top 100 best days out.
There will be many more experiences to look forward to and even thinking about them sends a shiver of excitement through me. I’m therefore happy to commit the time and money on looking after this craft with the help of my other like-minded owners.
Because when I’m old and staring at my impending demise, I won’t be thinking about what I could or should have done, I’ll be thinking about the great times I’ve had on my boat in the Med. I may even whoop with delight at the memories.
First published in the October 2023 issue of MBY.
If you enjoyed this…
Be first to all the latest boats, gadgets, cruising ideas, buying advice and readers’ adventures with a subscription to Motor Boat & Yachting. Available in both print and digital formats, our monthly magazine will be sent directly to your home or device at a substantial discount to the usual cover price. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.