This page last updated by KW 15th November, 2020

A.O.C. Time Allocation Scheme

Terminology that we use:

Special Share:- there is a single, protected special share that has 'school holiday' priority for owners who can only take their holidays outside school terms.

Ordinary Shares:- these have no automatic entitlement to school holidays but can choose them subject to availability.

Summertime:- this is defined as April to October inclusive (effectively British Summer Time).

Peak Time:- this is defined as June to August inclusive.

Wider Summertime:- summertime that isn't in Peak Time i.e. April, May, September & October.

Winter:- this is defined as November to March (effectively Greenwich Mean Time).

Bidding for Time Allocation – How it works

Members are normally entitled to have at least four weeks time on board during a complete year. This will of course be affected by any periods that the boat may be 'out of commission' for painting or repairs.

One share is designated 'School Holiday' priority: it's called a 'Special' share as that's the name most other schemes use. Given that most school holiday weeks fall in summertime, the owners of the special share will get two weeks in May to August, a third week in summertime (BST) and a week in winter.

The other nine shares are 'non School Holiday': we call them 'Ordinary' shares. Owners of these shares will normally get one week in peak time (June to August inclusive) plus two more weeks within the wider April to October period and further weeks in winter.

Given that most members are likely to be interested in the seven months of British Summer Time, with even greater demand for midsummer and school holidays in particular, it is important to be realistic in your expectations. British Summer Time usually coincides with the 'unrestricted cruising' season (i.e. emergency stoppages and restrictions only).

Demand for winter weeks in the 'planned canal maintenance' period (November to March) is likely to be lower but weeks during this period are available if required. Andante will normally be back on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between November and March.

Members bid, in stages through the autumn, for their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices for weeks in the following year - see full details below.

Making it work for you.

Probably the most important thing is to be clear about what you are trying to achieve rather than simply bidding for weeks when the weather prospects should be good.

Questions to ask yourself might be:-

“Do I prefer midsummer madness or the peaceful serenity of the quieter periods?”

“Do I want to gather time together for extended cruising or split time into frequent short breaks?”


The Practicalities

Experience shows that with our system most owners will be allocated either first or second choice most of the time. It avoids most of the disadvantages of the more widely used arrangements.

Where there are joint owners of a share, they will need to agree among themselves and submit their requests via the 'lead' owner.

N.B. The notes below assume ownership of a single share: owners of multiple shares would submit separate requests for each share and would have some priority for adjacent weeks (one from each share owned).

Mid September:

A Chart is circulated, showing week numbers for the following year, weeks that are designated as school holidays and weeks already allocated to the special share.

Round 1 requests due by the end of September.

End of September Round 1 deadline:

Owners submit requests for a single ‘Main holiday week’. At least 3 options (on the basis of 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices if there is a preference)

1st Week October:

Main weeks are allocated and an updated chart is circulated, showing all allocated weeks and availability for round 2. 

Round 2 requests are invited by mid October.

Mid October Round 2 deadline:

Requests are submitted for a ‘second week’. At least 3 options (as before 1st, 2nd & 3rd choices if there is a preference).

3rd Week October:

‘Second weeks’ are allocated and an updated chart is circulated. Round 3 requests are invited by a clearly stated deadline date.

Subsequent rounds follow at approximately 14 day intervals. In practice, people would probably start to 'drop out' after round 2 or 3 but would still be able to 'opt in' to vacant weeks nearer the time, eventually on a 'first come, first served basis'.

The REQUEST itself:

At each Round:- Members would be asked to specify, by week no. (from the chart), at least 3 weeks that would be acceptable, with an order of preference if applicable. Any additional flexibility such as "any of the following…." or "any week in June" would be welcomed and certainly makes the allocation process simpler.

Anyone specifying less than 3 acceptable weeks would be reducing rather than enhancing their chance of an acceptable offer.

Anyone getting their 3rd choice is given higher priority in the next round.

As far as I am aware, the only disadvantage of this system is that it takes several weeks from start to finish but it works really well in practice.