The Handover Process

The handover is a process intended to demonstrate to the owner, that the boat includes all that was ordered, the location/installation of the major components and that all the systems operate correctly. In so doing it will also inform the customer how the boat works and how to operate the systems at the switch on/off level. If like me you get really excited by the handover and the prospect of sailing the new boat into the sunset, it pays to take a few notes of want you want to achieve, to remind yourself to focus!

Discovery will agree an agenda for the process whihc is 3 days for our boat. In our case we had been very close to the build, and had previously owned a very similar Southerly 47, so we opted for a lighter approach. Either way you will at least be familiar with the new boat at the end of the process, and clued up sufficiently for the shakedown cruise.

At the end of the handover a snag list may have emerged, this is not going to be the final list you are likely to have from any new yacht, more will arise as the boat gets some miles under the keel, and the systems have to start doing their job. I felt no pressure during the handover process to seek out issues with the boat, there is an ample warranty period to cover any faults that emerge as the boat goes into regular use (which from past experience I know will happen). Simply living on board and using the boat is the best way to test all the systems. It was repeated several times during the process that Discovery will look after us as needed and I don’t doubt it, so I didn’t treat the handover as a snagging deadline. We will do a decent shakedown before we go too far from base though……

So here’s what I did which may differ from the norm for the reasons described. Leading up to this exercise I had made a mental note of the differences between our old and new boat during the build. I also had the benefit of a sneak preview of the boat at the Dusseldorf boat show, and had been for a sail aboard when the new sails were delivered. Since Discoverys’ own commissioning and quality approach is pretty thorough It was interesting to see that virtually everything of fault had been dealt with prior to handover as you would expect it was pretty much spot on. I also had a copy of the order form with standard spec and extras/options ordered so I could check it off, again no issues.

Discovery had arranged for each of the personnel responsible for building the boat to take me through their area of expertise. Including the deck gear, sails, running and standing rigging, electrical, mechanical and finally the test sail with the commissioning manager. Essentially four people were involved from the company to take me through their discipline.

As an example for the electrical installation we went through the AC circuits, noting where the main components were physically installed including MCB/RCD, Isolation transformer the Mastervolt Ultra and the AC breaker panel and the generator changeover in the Ultra which incidentally favours the Genset over shorepower if both are available. After the AC came the DC system, from the batteries (domestic, engine, generator and thrusters) through the main breakers and fuses, how the 24v to 12v dropdown is acheived (Mastervolt DC Master), and which components were 12v vs 24v. The charging circuits were next for each of the battery banks, including the two alternators, location of the AlphaPro regulator for the 24v Mastervolt alternator, Mastervolt Combi Ultra for the domestic bank of Mastervolt Lithiums, the wiring for the inverter side of the Ultra and finally the Mastervolt Magic DC DC chargers for the thrusters. We also reviewed the main cable runs, and how the cockpit emergency kill switch is wired and the Mastervolt Easy 5 panel (which I will “personalise” at some point, although the settings for the system are fine and warranty sensitive).

Its also interesting to talk through the failure modes, for instance what to do if either the engine or generator batteries fail. I also wanted to know that whilst the 12v circuit is currently limited to 50amps which blocks on the panel could be used for additional 12v kit we may install, and the limits of the 12v sockets in the nav area and cockpit.

This may be more detailed than you want and it’s a lot to remember, but the point is you have the guy that put it together, and who is able to properly discuss the thing if you so wish.

This approach was repeated for the engine, genset, plumbing and heating installations, including the 2 fuel tanks and their respective changeover valves, 3 water tanks and the relevant valves and pumps, saltwater circuit and fresh/salt changeover for the toilets, water filter etc etc

Safety gear such as Gas alarms, fire extinguisher and extinguisher port for the engine were items not installed during the build so these “new to me” items were also pointed out.

Suddenly it’s over, and perhaps for the first time it really comes home to you that the boat is now yours, and it is time to move all your stuff onboard and make her your home! The bottle of fizz helps too…