Sea trials, handover and delivery in many ways feel like the end of the buyer journey, although in reality it truly represents the beginning. Having (hopefully) followed the sage advice provided by lawyers, brokers, designers, managers, flag states, class societies and the various other stakeholders required throughout the buyer journey, the client should now be ready to take delivery of a vessel that is the embodiment of their original vision. However, before reaching the final milestone, there is one more hurdle to overcome – delivery.
“To ensure a positive outcome to a sea trial period and the best protection of the owner’s interests we would suggest that the trial’s regime is worked out and agreed with the yacht’s builder well before they are due to take place,” explains Piers Flood, fleet technical manager at Döhle. “A good owner’s build team or project manager should be able to develop, with the shipyard, the trial’s protocol early and adjust, as required, prior to trials if equipment or the yacht are modified during the build.
“As a sea trial (or set of trials) is usually the one opportunity a crew has to check the yacht’s operation prior to her delivery, and as it signals the owner making final payment, it is essential that they should be of sufficient length to test equipment and the yacht adequately – just turning equipment on and back off again is not a good enough test!”
Once sea trials are completed, a vessel will typically undergo a period of tweaking and finishing prior to handover and delivery. However, even once sea trials are completed there are still a number of hoops to jump through before the owner is ready to use the vessel in earnest, especially where documentation is concerned.
“Having completed a successful set of trials, followed by a structure and organised pre-delivery period to get all the documentation delivered and, finally, a happy delivery event, the yacht (and her owner) should be able to enjoy their first and many subsequent cruises on a yacht that gives them please and minimal problems.”
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