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July '04: We have a Yacht - an Amel Maramu

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 As it always happens – it usually comes unexpected. On my discovery trip along the south England coast I actually did NOT concretely search for a boat – one boat caught my eye nevertheless. Do we have already now our sailing yacht? Much too early?!

Pictures at this stage: First Pictures before the Desicion at Southampton / UK

 It is a very  good yacht by AMEL, which stands for very good (rather expensive) sailing boats (similar to Hallberg Rassy, Swan, etc.). An Amel Maramu: a ketch with center cockpit, a roomy masters berth, nearly without exception ‚standing height’ for Marc (with his 186cm usually a problem). The yacht is with just below 15m somewhat longer than we intended – but this offers two persons more living space for long periods living together, also under deck. The price which the owner demanded is still somewhat too high for us. But usually there is some space for negotiation. Why did this boat not sell along time ago? With the first impression, especially the outside deck, many will turn away quickly: the boat needs much „TLC“ (tender loving care) like the Englishman says. In our case it will be necessary to treat the entire deck surface (to sand everything off and to put on new protection layer / paint). Also inside it needs a lot of cosmetic work. But did we not look and hope for exactly this kind of ship?

 Now we need to take a decision. Pro and cons need to be looked at and how does it look financially? Marc drags Melanie spontaneously to Southampton at the end of May. She also needs to get an impression of the ship as she will also live aboard. Together first thoughts are exchanged, ideas grow, lists are established. Finally we decide to submit an offer to the broker for the Amel. To our surprise it is accepted without much comment – it seems that the owner wants to sell the ship as soon as possible!

 Now the organization begins. Directly after the offer has been accepted in England one signs the treaty system for the purchase, subject to a ship's survey. Now we need to read the small print very carefully and action some safety clarifications like 'is the ship correctly registered' (no obligation in England to do so!), are there debts on the boat, etc. The English RYA publishes a very good brochure which offered me very good help while carrying out the sale - it gave me some security in an area completely new to me. Now the next step is to organize the boat's survey (assessment of an expert). The boat must be lifted out of the water. Janie from the broker office helps to guarantee a quick and smooth operation of all steps this assessment will involve.

 Besides all this we begin to sort out and consider under which flag we will sail. The Swiss are very strict and detailed – are there no other options (perhaps also connected with more favorable insurance possibilities)? It turns out that the individual countries do not permit its flag to be led by a person with another nationality. Thus we will have our Swiss flag flying at the stern.

 Beginning June I travel again back to Southampton (fortunately I always find a seat on the SWISS planes with my standby tickets) to sign the contract after requesting some changes to it. Now for the first time money is due: 10% of the purchase price is handed over as a deposit. The next step is up to the current owner now. Since he is only back in England mid of June we need to wait for his signature.

 Our surveyor who will examine the Amel has done this already once before, about 4 years ago. Nevertheless with this size of sailing yacht he needs nearly a whole day for the examination. Last thing on Friday the boat will be lifted out of the water and then the underwater line will be cleaned. The ship hangs in the loops of the crane the whole weekend for the survey. Early Monday morning it's lowered into the water again.

 The big moment is then, when the survey is finished and released. What is wrong with the ship or is everything in order? After studying the 20-page document we know it exactly. There are no major issues, nothing is wrong. Our biggest concern was that (due to the long time in the water) the boat could have osmosis (chemical reaction of the GRP with saltwater - treatment is possible but very expensive) which it has not. Even better. The boat has had already an osmosis treatment with epoxy! Most probably we will not have to worry about it anymore. But the survey also shows that there are many small items which have to be corrected to have the Amel up and ready. That could easily take some months hard working.

 For us there is no reason to step back from buying the boat. So we continue with the purchase: the rest of the money is transferred, we keep a small amount to exchange in cash against the important boat papers (without them the whole boat is worthless, we will not be able to register it). Marc flies one more time to England to close the deal and takes over the papers - now the Amel belongs to us!

 For the registration of a yacht under Swiss flag a whole catalog of conditions must be fulfilled (equipment, survey, etc.). As the Amel has only part of the required installations / equipment on board we are forced to equip our ship in South England. Fortunately there are many good chandlers for yachts...

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