If you want regular boating holidays on the Thames there are several options:
The simplest way is to hire a boat from one of the holiday companies based along the Thames such as Caversham Boats or Le Boat. This is great way to get a feel for things without making a big commitment and is a great way to start off. For something a bit more individual than a typical hire boat you could go to Hobbs of Henley who have recently added a couple of Dutch steel cruisers to their fleet - these are a similar style to Shimmering Steel but are brand new and priced accordingly. Even with a more modest hire boat if you're spending a few weeks a year on the river the costs will mount up quickly, with just a couple of weeks in low season costing more than four weeks on Shimmering Steel.
For regular hirers another option could be to join a club which has a fleet of boats available for members to use in return for a fixed yearly payment. Pure Latitude mostly offers sailing boats at coastal locations but has a slightly smaller version of Shimmering Steel based at Windsor, and could be a good choice particularly if you are also interested in their other boats. It is a lot more expensive though, and you won't own any equity in the boats.
Many people aspire to own their own boat of course, which brings the obvious benefits of ultimate flexibility and unlimited use. On the downside you would need to meet all the purchase and running costs yourself, and make all the arrangements for any repairs and maintenance. In our experience it costs in the region of £10,000 a year to run and maintain a boat like Shimmering Steel.
Membership of the Shimmering Steel syndicate brings many of the benefits of boat ownership, at a much lower cost along with the support of an experienced and friendly team to make sure that your boating runs as smoothly as possible. The cost of a place in the syndicate includes a 12.5% share of the ownership of Shimmering Steel which can be sold if you decide to leave the syndicate in the future, and the low running costs mean that even if you only manage to use two weeks of your allocation in a year, it's still cheaper than the alternatives!
|Capital||Asset||4 weeks||2 weeks
|Hobbs of Henley
Linssen Grand Sturdy 36.9
Prices correct as of February 2016. Four week cost is based on 1 week in each of April, June, August and October. Two week high season cost is based on two weeks at highest cost, two week low season is based on two weeks at lowest cost. Pure Latitude prices are based on Freedom, Peak and Off-peak boat memberships for the Stevens 34. Only the highest level actually allows whole weeks, with other levels being weekend or midweek only and each giving one period each 2 months.