Gordon and Louise Coates are currently sailing The Mediterranean after picking up their brand new Fountaine Pajot Hélia 44 ex-factory in April.
Here are some great, first-hand tips following their ex-factory pick-up experience.
Gordon and Lou’s Helpful tips when picking up a new boat ex-factory:
- Get advice from Multihull Solutions as to the pros and cons of paying in Ausie dollars or Euro.
- Consider carefully your OPTIONS LIST. Ask for advice from others and talk it through with the staff at Multihull Solutions – they have knowledge of current trends and lots of firsthand experience.
- Taking the factory options will result in most of the work being completed before you take delivery of your boat. Our experience was that the factory options were quality products at the right price and all items were installed well. By going with factory fitted items any warranty issues are more easily processed.
Things to consider when leaving Australia for a long period of time include:
- Personal/legal things such as wills and power of attorney papers.
- Electoral office – notify how long you intend to be overseas (to avoid fines if an election occurs while you are away).
- Notify bank – if they know you are going to be in Europe they will not block/question credit card with increased activity.
- Additional credit cards.
- Insurance options for boat and personal travel/health.
- Have a full health check and get advice on vaccinations as well as possible need for purchasing enough medication to take with you for the period away.
- Communication options for while you are travelling. Mobile phone, laptop, tablet for internet, Facebook, Viber, Skype, Heytell, Whatsapp….etc – ways to keep in touch with family and friends while you are away.
- If leaving a home make arrangements to cover all incoming bills by setting up auto payment methods.
Other miscellaneous things to organise/consider:
- You must obtain a Radio Operators’ Certificate in Australia in order to then register for an MMSI number for the AIS system on the boat. Get advice through MHS as to what is required. REGISTRATION of your new boat, E PIRB, INSURANCE and MMSI will all happen LAST MINUTE ****** Be prepared for a frantic last minute rush for these things before you leave Oz, it is just the way it all has to happen, so be prepared! FOLLOW THE ADVICE GIVEN BY MULTIHULL SOLUTIONS.
- We would strongly recommend that you book accommodation for at least one week when you first arrive in La Rochelle. This will give you time to shop for items to outfit the boat – if in April, it is cold at that time of the year and you need to be comfortable on board. We rented an apartment located between La Rochelle old town and the Marina. It was inexpensive and convenient. MHS can advise you on where to shop etc. We found Leroy Merlin for general hardware; Eurodif and Monoprix for galley items and bedding and soft furnishings; Bolengers for electrical and galley items; Carefour and HyperU for grocery and almost any item you can think of!
- UCHIMATA SAILING SERVICE has a great relationship with Fountaine Pajot and Multihull Solutions. We highly recommend getting advice and service from them for after factory items. They can source products and help by obtaining many of the items VAT free. Talk to Pierre Menardon and his team.
HAVE A REALISTIC EXPECTATION:
- How long it will take to get things organised in La Rochelle before departing with your new boat.
- How long it takes to sail the Atlantic coast when heading for the Mediterranean (factor in possibility of delays due to weather).
- The need for taking time out for 1st service on engines ( at 50HRS ) – plan ahead.
- The need for charts and pilot books of the regions you intend to visit. These can be purchased from home (but take up luggage allowance) or they can be pre ordered on line and delivered to La Rochelle. Again, get advice from MHS.
We experienced a very well planned and executed handover, and as more boats are commissioned in La Rochelle I am sure this will continue to be the case. It is important to understand the French approach as their work hours and ethics are different to our expectations in Australia. For example they will shut up shop/chandlery and down tools between 12noon and 2PM every day.
Pierre at Uchimata has a wealth of knowledge regarding all things boats and sailing. Take the time to get to know him and he can be of great help. Nod and Patrick are you vital support team on the ground in La Rochelle, and they can make this a rewarding and fun experience. There will be times of frustration, but by allowing time, and with the right attitude the end result is worth it!
La Rochelle is a beautiful city, so do take the time to explore. We purchased folding bikes whilst in La Rochelle, and did just that!
Gordon and Lou