The Upgrade List
10 May 2008 | Dartmouth, UK
the new bimini extension fits beautifully
The equipment and work list is included in full here to show just how many things needed to be done to a boat that was in excellent condition but had rarely left the marina.
Phil and I shipped a number of items from Australia but needed to purchase many small and large items on location. Having a project manager run all the purchasing was invaluable.
New equipment and work included:
Fischer Panda Generator 4500 FCB
Catalina 300 47LPH MPC Auto Watermaker
Navionics Gold Charts
Supply & Fit Freezer into cool box compartment
Convert 12v Fridge to Sea Water Cooled
Jackstay to run between hull across the foredeck
Door lock keep for main door
Auto GTFE Fire extinguishers for engine space
1 Kg Dry Powder Fire extinguisher each
4 Kg Dry powder Fire extinguisher
Ocean Safety Ocean ISO 9650 Liferaft (6 man canister)
Webbing strap for liferaft fixing
Lifejackets (Auto inflation with harness)
Kru Safety Line 2 Hook
Fire Blanket 1.8mtr x 1.1 mtr
ACR Global Fix 406 EPIRB (cat 1)
IKAROS Offshore Flare Pack
Softwood bungs Lge per set
Gas Fog horn & canister
Black motoring cone
Rapid Ditch bag
Dentanurse Dental kit
Fender Line and Splice
Red Ensign UK Courtesy Flag
Various Courtesy Flags - France, Spain, Portugal
Garmin GPS 60 - back up GPS
SeaSure folding bike 20" with gears
Materials for liferaft fixings
Fold away directors chairs
Fit Skin fittings to take deck wash pump at a later date
Cushion for cockpit table so as to convert into a double berth
Make cushion for saloon double berth conversion
Extended Bimini sides
Victron 12v 3000w 120 amp Inverter Charger c/w 30A Remote
Gyro upgrade for existing auto pilot
Covers for Raymarine Equipment
Plug in MMSI number to VHF
Check VHF aerial
Link VHF to GPS
Raymarine AIS 250
Fix 240v socket by galley
Icom IC-M33 handheld VHF (Charger Base Fitted and Wired to Ships Supply)
Set up Gas for Propane and provide gas line to pushpit for BBQ
Jib Sheets 12mm LSP
100m 12mm LSP
100m 10mm LSP
100m 8mm LSP
100m 3mm Signal Halyard
50m Double Braid Dockline
Fit docking station for Iridium Phone
Wire protector for front of mast
Snake chart table light
ST60 Graphic Display
Sea Me Active Radar Enhancer fitted to mast
Replace engine and domestic ships batteries
Short legs for cockpit table
Short Legs for saloon double berth conversion
Sheet cooker cover with stainless steel for fire protection
Change engine inlet water pipes
Tylaska H12 main halyard shackle
60m 14mm Octoplait Anchor warp with eye splice to attach with shackle to chain
Replace bow sprit strops
Crutch strap for lifejacket
10 m 8 mm chain
Cone and nuts for prop
Supply & Fit Hull Logo's
Sail repair kit
and the list goes on....
Making the Aussie dollar go further
10 May 2008 | Dartmouth, UK
Chris applies our new name to the hulls
In Christmas 2007 we decided it was finally practical to convert our cruising dreams into reality. We decided on a cruising catamaran and started a search on the east coast of Australia looking for our own 'pre loved" cat. We looked at a number of craft in our price range, but none particularly grabbed our attention... nowhere did we get the sense that "yes, this could be us." At the same time, hours on the internet troubling the problem gave us some interesting insights. Firstly, it seemed a sensible move to obtain a well known production boat of sufficient production volume to have an established reputation and an established second hand market- we could be sure we were getting fair value for our dollar, and a reasonable chance of the boat holding its value over time. With that in mind, after lots of reading and discussion, we settled on a Lagoon 410 S2 Owner's Version. There could be pages written on the rights and wrongs of that decision, but we don't want to go there- that's a debate for another day. Let's just go with that decision and see where it led us.
Second, we looked at several Lagoons in eastern Australia, and did an internet search worldwide. It quickly became apparent that there is an absolute gulf between Australian prices and the prices of similar boats in Europe, the US and the Caribbean... even after taking into account Australian duty and the costs of positioning a boat to Australia. Put that down mostly to a strengthening Aussie dollar, tough times in the UK and the US... people are selling their boats... and a seeming unwillingness of Australian vendors to understand that boats depreciate, and are a movable international commodity.
We pressed on and narrowed the selection down to four essentially identical boats in varying locations; Mexico, Venice, Martinique and England. The trip home from any of those options was enticing but the thought of installing new electronics and safety equipment in a foreign language and location remained a daunting prospect.
So after lots of internet searching, late nights on the phone, agonizing, and a last minute surge on the Aussie dollar which narrowed the 'gap' sufficiently, we made an offer on a Lagoon lying at Lymington on the south coast of England, and to our delight and surprise, it was accepted.
But what about the risks involved? Sailing a new yacht back home from an exotic port sounded exciting but lack of local knowledge in the inevitable upgrade of any boat purchase was almost a show stopper. Expensive mistakes could easily erode the value we gained buying overseas...who are the better engineers, riggers, marine electricians; what is a reasonable price to pay in an unfamiliar location; what is the best way to source equipment; who do we believe. Neither of us have an engineering or technical background, and could easily become targets or worse, we could attempt complex installations ourselves.
During discussions, the broker, Ancasta introduced us to the idea of a local 'project manager' who could assist us with the upgrades we wanted on the yacht. A decision to fly over and view the survey rather than relying on the marine surveyor's report proved extremely worthwhile. We were able to make some instant decisions and have work done to the keels whilst she was out of the water for survey...a considerable saving. More importantly, we were also able to sit down and discuss our requirements for upgrading the boat with our (then) proposed project manager, Chris Warwick of Universal Yachting, and get an understanding of his role and how he thought he could assist us.
In a previous role Chris was the commissioning manager for Ancasta and had worked on commissioning thousands of yachts in various locations over many years, including many Lagoons. He knew our boat intimately and he understands the vagaries of boat owners and their requirements, and the ways of marine contractors. He is also a vastly experienced sailor. More importantly, he is also well known and well regarded by the local marine suppliers and marine contractors.
Whilst our new boat was less than two years old it had rarely left the marina. We put together a wish list of everything we would like on a boat fitted out for long distance cruising. The list was pages long. Chris listened to all our ideas, discussed the type of sailing and cruising we envisaged, made innumerable suggestions, discouraged our more fanciful ideas and then went away to put together a works program and preliminary costings.
Many emails and long distance phone calls later we had shortlisted the most important items, and work got underway whilst we were still in Australia packing and putting our Australian lives into hibernation. By the time we arrived in the UK the work was well advanced.
Like many yachtsmen we realise the requirement to be able to 'do it yourself' and the value in fully understanding all aspects of the gear put onto the boat. Our intensive research into generators, water makers, inverters, navigation equipment, sat. phones, safety equipment, EPIRB, bimini extensions, washing machines, bar-b-ques and so on, included advice and pricing both locally and overseas. Yes, we even looked at buying gear on eBay. Every time Chris came up with the better advice and the best prices. His prices meant that we have been able to pay his management fee, have professionals install the equipment on the boat and come out far ahead of anything we found ourselves. His advice certainly meant we now have an incomparably better set up boat than we had initially envisaged.
As Spring proceeds in southern England the pleasure boating industry is frantically busy getting ready for the summer sailing season. Marine tradesmen and marine engineers of all types are booked out far in advance. April is not the best month there to plan a marine upgrade. We cannot pretend that there were not delays, but everybody seemed keen to "fit us in." because of the professional way in which Chris had arranged our program, and because he knew 'which buttons to press when.'
As we write this we are in picture postcard perfect Dartmouth on a shakedown cruise along the south west English coast. The boat and the equipment are performing wonderfully. Yes, there have been the inevitable problems we expected would emerge on a shakedown. Chris is available by phone, organising replacement bits and servicemen to fix whatever we might have broken so we'll be ready to head off to the Mediterranean sooner than expected. In the months and years ahead, we expect we'll be ringing Chris from the other side of wherever looking for that broken bit or the name of the best local widget installer.
Purchasing a yacht overseas is as attractive as the numbers suggest, but the consequent and inevitable fit out in a foreign environment is a 'deal breaker' for most people. Consider spending time to find a reliable project manager, and depend on your project manager to make it happen. We did, and never for one moment have we questioned the decision.