This page last updated by KW on 10th November, 2019.
'Special' or 'Ordinary' share?
'School Holiday' or 'Special' shares are primarily aimed at people who can only take a full week if it is in school holiday times, such as those working in schools or who have school age children. Given that we can only have 3 special shares, they are very rarely available for sale.
With a special share, you have priority in the allocation of the 13 designated weeks of school holiday dates (including winter), effectively competing with just two other shareholders for those weeks. Because most of the school holidays occur during the 'unrestricted cruising' or 'summer time' season you would also get 3 of your 4 weeks during this time and 2 of them during peak time (May to August inclusive). To reflect this considerable advantage over holders of ordinary shares, Special shares carry a surcharge of 25% on monthly/annual subscriptions.
Owners of a special share aren't restricted to school holiday weeks but we would expect those owners to book school holiday weeks most of the time.
With a 'non school holiday' or 'Ordinary' share, you have no entitlement to school holiday weeks but may get a chance if (as is likely) the people with special shares don't book them all. If a special share owner books a term-time week they release a school holiday week that subsequently becomes available to ordinary share owners (from round 3).
At the beginning of the allocations, there is only one 'surplus' school holiday week but there is usually more by round 3.
If you are grandparents, perhaps there is a slight dilemma? You may want to accommodate grandchildren from time to time but also to have holidays on your own or with other adults, when the waterways are less busy. So which type of share will suit you best? While we only rarely have special shares available, most shared ownership boats have very similar arrangements.
Other considerations to help you decide:
Even with an ordinary share you can have the grandkids/family from Friday evening to Sunday evening: that might well be enough?
Having multiple shares with each type is another option.
Special shares are not 'locked in' as such. They can be converted to ordinary shares and vice versa (as long as we never have more than 3 specials).