Taking delivery of a new Privilege catamaran is understandably a thrilling event. For many it can also be very stressful. Rob and his captain Brett, however, arrived better prepared than most.
The owner of ‘Wild Rose II’ is Rob Sissons from Alberta, Canada. His previous boat was a 65′ trawler, but the Privilege 500 is his first sailboat. At Privilege Catamarans America, we understand that the delivery process should start well before the new boat is ready. For that reason, we consider our Privilege Academy program to be the first phase of the delivery experience. We believe the new owner should already understand the mechanical and electrical systems of the new boat and be comfortable sailing the vessel well before it’s even splashed. This will assure the delivery is more ‘joy’ and less ‘stress’.
Because Rob plans to sail extensively as well as continue running a business, he hired a full-time captain for Wild Rose II. Rob and his captain, Brett, both attended our Privilege Academy program at Nanny Cay this past April.
Arriving at the boat yard.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at the boatyard in Les Sables d’Olonnes is your home country flag flying above the Privilege administration building.
Your new Privilege will be located right next to the boatyard on the commissioning dock.
Boat Inspection and Orientation
Privilege Marine provides a well organized delivery process that includes a dedicated point man for all aspects of inspection and testing of the new yacht. Xavier Serra, who will be your link to everything and everyone else at Privilege, is himself a long-distance sailor and has been working with sailboats for over 20 years.
Xavier will start the review process by running all equipment on board to make sure everything is functioning and to demonstrate the operation at the same time. Again, this is why Privilege Academy is such an important part of the delivery as there is a lot of information to absorb in a few days.
In addition to the review and testing provided by Xavier, Privilege also invites someone from ECCS Marine, who install the boat’s electrical systems, to provide a detailed review and explanation of what can be the most complex part of the boat.
During the testing process, it’s normal to find a few issues that need to be corrected. After a day or two, we will assist you in moving aboard your boat, as actually using and living with the systems will better identify any deficiencies. Once a ‘fix list’ has been created, you will be introduced to Jacky Genard. Jacky will not only co-ordinate the fixes required, but he is also the service manager at Privilege Marine and your long-term warranty contact.
Privilege is also happy to assist with other small projects such as the installation of fire extinguishers and tool brackets. For example, Rob brought along a steak knife tray that didn’t fit inside the galley drawer, so the woodshop was glad to trim it to size.
Rob’s previous boat was a 65’ trawler, so he loaded tools, cutlery, tableware, etc. into a large crate and shipped it to the boatyard. Safety items such as flares and fire extinguishers can’t be easily shipped, so needed to be sourced locally. The Privilege boatyard is located within walking distance of several chandleries. This part of France is a major player in the recreational marine industry and any product or service is locally available.
This is a photo I took last December during the commissioning of our demo Privilege 500 and you can see the row of chandleries in the background.
We found that Eric Marine was able to offer a method to avoid paying the VAT. This is only available for large purchases and worked well for Rob as he bought a life raft, fire extinguishers as well as life jackets.
The purchase of a dinghy and outboard is best done through Privilege Marine.
I think it goes without saying that food provisioning in France is not a challenge. I participate in all our deliveries, so you need not worry about shopping if you don’t speak French.
The sea trial is ,of course, the best part of any delivery and everyone was excited to go sailing aboard ‘Wild Rose II’.
Privilege does conduct sea trials prior to your arrival in order to test the new sails and running rigging as well as engines, genset and electronics.
The day at sea with the customer is a chance to test everything again and to provide additional training.
The vessel is sailed at various wind angles and all 3 reefs are set and shaken out. The winds and sea condition started out light in the morning, but winds increased to 18-19 knots and the sea grew to over a meter by mid-afternoon (which is why we lost our chase boat and any additional photos that go with it)
The sea trial included a chance to test the ground tackle and so we decided to anchor near the beaches of Les Sables d’Olonnes and enjoy a lunch break.
A toast to a successful sea trial and a good excuse to drink a local wine. Seated next to Rob Sissons is Eric Darni, who is the go-to delivery captain at Privilege. Rob invited Eric to sail the first passage to Portugal aboard Wild Rose II. To the far right is the CEO of Privilege Marine and captain of the chase boat, Gilles Wagner.
Time to Depart
Gilles is a great host and is always anxious to introduce his guests to the best the Vendee region has to offer. Before leaving Les Sables, Gilles treated us to an evening at a friend’s restaurant in the old port. Fantastic.
On a clear morning, all systems tested and working well, Rob, Brett and Eric wave goodbye and Rob begins his plans to sail the Med this summer before crossing to the Caribbean this fall. We look forward to receiving him at our home base in Nanny Cay, BVI and hearing all the stories.
Rob, it has been a sincere pleasure getting to know you this past year and a half and I look forward to crossing wakes with you soon.
Wild Rose II is now in Portugal. We hope they stay in touch.