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Old 02-18-2019, 03:25 PM   #1
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How (best) to build a boat?

I know some folks here have been through this process (some multiple times) so..

Assume you want to have a new semi-custom trawler built by an established builder whose facilities are offshore (think Krogen, Nordhavn, Selene, etc). What is are best-practices for managing this $1M+ process? For example:

There are attorneys who specialize in yacht purchasing (and I presume building). Do you engage one of these folks? During contract negotiation or for the length of the build? What specific value do they bring?

I assume the payment schedule is based on the progress of the build. How detailed should the progress definitions be? ("Hull out of mould" or "Main and get-home propulsion systems installed and tested under simulated load"?) How is the progress verified? Pics sent by the builder or an on-site inspection?

Are there periodic on-site inspections during the build, ranging from a vacation for the owner-to-be to a detailed progress and standards inspection by a qualified party hired by the owner?

When is a surveyor or marine engineer involved? During the build to monitor progress and contract/standard compliance or only at delivery time? Or never?

How are punch-list items handled? Is there a final 10% or so withheld until the boat absolutely, completely 100%? (Yeah, like one ever is.) Or is is taken on faith that immediate punch-list items and things identified during the warranty period will be addressed? Is there any contract language specifying that they will be addressed in a timely manor, what that means, and specified damages?

Again, this is in the context of a builder with a decent track record. That should bring a degree of comfort to the process but not remove the need for due diligence throughout.

Thanks.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:10 PM   #2
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You probably need to start with a well known design and builder and add the stuff specifically for your requirements. If 80% or so of the boat is stock, then the builder should be able to provide a fixed price for the boat with your additions.

But also consider installing expensive electronic systems once it gets to the states and you have paid the builder for their part of the work. These systems are almost always better if installed by a local pro.

If I were spending $1+MM for a semi-custom built boat, I would have a detailed schedule of payments based on verifiable progress, a contract that holds back 10% until the owner is fully satisfied that it has been delivered to spec and engage a surveyor to travel to Taiwan or wherever and inspect the build quality every other month and communicate with the owner any changes that come up.

I suspect that there are American surveyors who live in the east and do this type of work routinely.

I know a thing or two about such contracts in western jurisdictions and they work out quite well. Don't know how it would be with an Asian built boat. You probably do need to find an attorney who can help you with this.

David
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:15 PM   #3
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I'm on my second build with Nordhavn. What David described is pretty typical, though I'm sure each builder has their nuances. Many people, myself included, hire Steve D'Antonio both for advice on the build specs, as well as for inspection along the way.


Each builder is different too. Nordhavn will build a great boat for you, but it will likely take a long time. I started the same time as Bob on Mahala, and his boat was delivered before mine even molded. Then Corkey Row contracted for a similar boat around when mine started, and his will be delivered close to a year before mine. Now circumstances for my boat are a bit unusual with a backlog of 4 boats ahead of me. And now there are 5 more behind me. New orders wouldn't start until 2021 at the earliest. But that's just for the 68. Lead time on other models is likely much shorter.
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