During this time of economic challenges, it's hard to imagine that many of you out there are in a position to buy a new boat any time soon. But there is one good solution for acquiring a boat, new or used, and that's by simply sharing the cost with a partner. Over the years, I have owned a variety of racing and cruising boats with partners, and without the benefit of sharing costs, it would have been extremely difficult for me to actually own a boat. In my experiences, a partnership is a good solution to help spread expenses, build fleets, keep boats in use, and create teams and camaraderie. With a clear set of goals and careful planning, a partnership is easy to set up, and once you do so, I guarantee you'll get out on the water more often, and the boat will certainly enjoy more use-it doesn't do anyone any good (except, perhaps, your local diver) to have a boat sit idle at its dock or on its mooring.
The most important element of this is joining into a partnership with someone you trust and know well. Work out how each partner plans to use the boat. This can range from regatta to regatta (I prefer this), or month to month, and would include any weekend cruises or weeknight races. When two or more partners are on the boat at the same time, I've learned that only one person can be the skipper, and this needs to be agreed upon before leaving the dock. Once this is established, partners will naturally accept their roles and embrace them-they have to . . . it's what they agreed upon in the first place.