If you are dreaming of, or already own a yacht, the question to ask yourself is “Am I the 100% owner?” You might have a royal partner that you did not know about. Europa Marine Consultants reports on several theories as to the historical reasons on why there are only 64 shares of ownership for yachts
While we may not all be millionaires, everyone at some stage has dreamed of owning a yacht. The transfer of ownership (or sale) of a yacht is usually documented with a Bill of Sale and refers to ownership in shares. Most maritime nations follow the custom of dividing ownership of a vessel into 64 registrable shares (the United States being an exception). But why not 100 shares? Where have the other 36 shares gone?

There are a variety of theories as to why there are only 64 shares. We list the three most popular theories below.

The Wooden Ribs Theory
In the early days of sea exploration wooden sea vessels were built with a hull made up of ribs. Ribs are the frames or timbers of the vessel. These ribs constituted 64 wooden parts of the vessel, and in theory, the vessel could be divided up as such.

The Medieval Venice Theory
During the medieval times in Venice, the concept of shares in ships was very common. The shares were used to raise funds for the construction of large ships and to share the risks of voyages. During this time, there were no decimals or percentages. Shares in ships were therefore divided by issuing the shares as a half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth and so on, up to 64 shares. This practice soon began spreading throughout Europe as more nations began expanding their empires.

The Royal Partner Theory
This historical theory states that all vessels do in fact have 100 shares. However, 36 shares are automatically vested in the Crown, leaving 64 registrable shares for the owner or owners. This practice was to enable the Sovereign to requisition any vessel in time of war.

The real reason vessels only have 64 shares has been long lost to history. Which theory do you believe to be true? Let us know by replying to our newsletter or share your own theory with us.