There’s this strange time in the handover process where we are supposed to take possession of the boat but we still won’t have control of the boat. On the day the boat comes out of the factory and gets to the marina they want us to have the entire underwater area inspected. There’s a limited time between the arrival at the La Rochelle Marina and the splash into the water so the timing and logistics are important when inspecting and accepting the condition of the hull and everything below the waterline.
The rub is that at this point the owner owns the boat and if you have ‘signed off’ on anything below the waterline, then it gets put in the water and the commissioning agent does something wrong or forgets something, you have already approved it. It’s not a fully sequential process so there's this weird gray area. While it's officially your boat, it’s not in your control and it's not really the commissioning agents yet, but they are at the same time doing work, take pictures and lots of video.
Below are some items related to the hull that we were advised to pay particular attention to and why.
The first thing is to inspect all the edges of the keels, particularly where the keels have rested on the support blocks at any point in the manufacturing process. This has been an issue because more than one owner has seen cracks in the keels or even separated pieces over time as the boat was in the water and then hauled out after the first year.
It will also be important to check the hull treatment and any bottom paint that would have been done at the factory, prior to any antifouling treatment that is done by the commissioning agent. Owners have reported antifouling quality issues and not just with Coppercoat, which we cover fully in another blog. Typically the boat is resting on wooden blocks so when all the bottom paint is applied, sometimes they forget to move the blocks and finish the job. We’ve heard of an example where the boat was taken out of the water and where the blocks were under the keels no paint or primer had been applied at all.
With regards to the propellers, we have heard there’s a pin which locks the propeller in place that also needs to be double checked as it has been reported as being problematic. This is tricky because the line cutters would not yet have been installed by the commissioning agent, who will need to take the prop apart and reattach it after the line cutters are put on. We aren’t sure if they do this before they put the boat in the water or take it back out to install the line cutters or underwater lights for example.
The application of Propspeed instead of bottom paint should also be checked. It seems impossible for a new owner to look at it cold and know what’s been applied, especially after it’s been put in the water, so it will be important to ask. All we know is it’s sort of yellow.
Thru-Hull Holes & Seals
As a general rule, no one wants too many holes in the bottom but depending on your setup you might have more than you initially imagined, like us. We have heard of owners finding thru-hull holes that were initially drilled then glassed over from the outside to redrill due to the initial bad placement, but not finished off or filled on the inside, compromising its ability to stay watertight over time or if you hit something in the exact wrong spot.
For us, there will be holes drilled for the combination fresh/saltwater heads so there will be intakes for each head, adding three more holes. We had initially decided on just freshwater everywhere as it is the trend for everybody because it takes care of the smell and any buildup in the tubes for the head, then we minimize the holes. We decided it’s important to not just rely on that because if the watermaker stops functioning when you're on a passage, then you have a problem. So initially we thought we would just do one head, but then decided to just do them all because you would use them on a passage, which is also when you would have additional crew and monitoring freshwater altogether would be important.
We also added four Aqualuma Underwater Lights. We kept it simple and just went with the blue but you can also get the ones that change to any color you want. We doubt we would ever use anything else, like do you want the water under your boat to be red? Anyway, checking all these extra holes and the seals is a priority.
Capsize ring and drainage.
Below the emergency hatch in the cockpit.
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