Following our previous look at buying a boat we near the end of the voyage as you come to the moment of change of ownership. The actual procedure should be in the initial contract but in case it has not been specified in detail the major points to look out for here are firstly to ensure that you have clear title to the boat and secondly to work out a way to pass over the money in exchange for the title documents – and of course the actual boat – having the assurance that the boat is in the same condition as at the time of survey and that everything you think you are buying is on board or available to you. And there are logistics in this to assure a smooth transfer which again the broker will help with.
In a private deal hand-over can be tricky and you will have to do your own due diligence. Modern banking methods can make for almost instant transfer of cleared funds while you sit in the pub ready to pass the papers across the table but anything else could require a degree of trust. We hate being asked to clear up the mess after a private sale.
The broker will have a Client Account to hold your funds in the exchange interval so that the seller can meet you and hand over the boat knowing the money is there in cleared funds. The broker will also take on the work of due diligence bringing a degree of knowledge and expertise to the job so that when the moment comes both parties can proceed with confidence.
Finally comes the moment of hand-over. Although surprisingly it does not always happen we strongly encourage you and seller to meet on board and examine the yacht and we may well be there to umpire. You have probably met at your early inspection but this is the moment to ask all the operational questions – where are the sea-cocks, how does the engine work, how she handles at sea and any special tricks the seller may have like what he does when the mainsail sticks in the track, which way does she kick in astern, what points to put the slings for lifting her, will she dry out on the beach or against a wall, how to unblock the heads or the cock-pit drains, how to stop the fore hatch leaking, what antifouling and other coatings are on her, what work might the seller contemplate if he was keeping her and no doubt a few tales of adventure and mishap will come out. A good hand-over will ensure that you have a relationship which will allow you to ask more questions at a later date.
With all this in mind you should be able to go into a boat purchase with some confidence but remember your broker is there to help so never be afraid to ask even years later.