Inspecting Surfaces & Package Options at Handover
This is part of the series of blogs on the owner inspection at handover, please check out hull inspection and major systems blogs for more information on those topics. This blog covers surfaces and living areas.
Gelcoat & Surface Scratches
Once the boat exits the factory and makes its way to the marina, the Fountaine Pajot team and the commissioning team (Uchimata) mark all the gelcoat areas that need to be fixed in different colors of tape. In some of the initial pictures that we received remotely, it looked like there were a lot of gelcoat items that needed to be fixed. At that point our commissioning agent had sent over about 100 photos or so for us to also see visually.
In the galley at the stairs there was a weird calking job that just wasn't right. In the end it got fixed so it was fine but in other areas you just sort of have to live with the little dings that only your OCD brain will see (speaking for myself of course).
After handover and during commissioning its the owner’s responsibility to manage the condition of the boat because at that point it's officially yours. The workers come on and off the boat for some period of time and they really are respectful and do their best but things happen. The workers from all the vendors, FP, commissioning, electronics, engines, etc. all are coming on and off with their toolboxes and tools so the advice we got was to try to protect all the counters with cardboard and blankets. This probably works fine if you are there in person but at the time we were back in the US on lockdown.
Keys, Remotes & Spares
Check everything here, we were short a key at one point so we were able to request another one. We were also advised to get the number on the key for the sliding door and to write it down somewhere. This way if you lose the keys, you can at least get one made somewhere.
Package & Options
When you select the boat you select what kind of package you want, oceanic, comfort or Grande Large is what they were called when we bought our boat. And you may or may not have selected various safety or charter packages with other things like life vests and galley equipment. My suggestion would be to make a spreadsheet with every single little item that was committed to you in the contract within these packages and make sure it’s all there at handover. The big things like a Bose upgrade or an extra electric winch are obvious but smaller things that you need or make your life easier should not be overlooked. For example, for whatever reason our boat didn’t come with cooktop pot restraints. These aren’t something you can just go to any store and buy and have them fit right but if you don’t have them on a passage it’s a problem.
This also helps you think through extra things you might want to buy while you can, like the suction cup things to pull up the floorboards, a real bummer if you lost them. There was only one store in La Rochelle that sold them and they were rationed, you could only buy two. Or winch handles as another example.
Count things like fire extinguishers and flares that were supposed to come, is the manual bilge pump there with all the parts, etc. Make sure you have all your fenders, channels blocks and dock lines that come with FP and any items from the sail packages you ordered. We ordered the bow sprit package, but there wasn't documentation on what was supposed to be included for example, so it's important to get all that detail as early as possible so you are prepared at handover. We have heard people often find things missing and it’s not a matter of anyone trying to have one over on you, it’s just a complex process and supply chain if you really sit and think about it.
Did you order spare kits for the engines, generator, watermaker, etc. Also a good time to think about other things you need to have aboard like extra screws or the little sticker caps that go over the screws to hide them on the paneling. I ended up discovering a missing magnetic ring over one of the cabin lights later and contacted our broker. FP wouldn’t give us a new ring unless we bought the whole light kit but maybe it would have been different if I found it at the handover.
Furnishings & Appliances
Check that all the drawers and tables and cabinets all open and close properly, and that doors don’t stick and that they secure properly. Especially check the sliding door, does it smoothly close, stay on the rail, does it leak? All the cushions sort of come stacked and in plastic for the most part so double check you have all of them, if you ordered the slats for the beds make sure they are there.
If you ordered the cockpit tent from the factory, check that everything is secure and everything fastens correctly. If there is something you don’t like about it, contact someone locally and have it fixed before you leave. We found a missing fastener for the seat cushion in the weather deck (the uppermost deck) which is absolutely NOT where you would want to have a missing fastener so we were able to get another one provided to us.
Check that all the appliances in new condition. We had a scratch on our outside fridge that somehow they managed to fix or buff out.
Seals, Hatches & Leaks
It's hard to do unless it's pouring down rain but check all hatches and seals for leaks. There have been reports of leaks at the mast where it enters the boat at the inside nav station. It's not clear how to test this but important to try to if you can.
I know a lot of this seems really tedious and tactical, but we wanted to share just a snapshot of all the considerations during the handover and things to be looking for.