top of page

A Shipyard and a Contract

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

There is a word I like to reference, "empathy," which is often ignored or used as a bandaid. My wife, Sebrina, spent several years teaching me its value before I fully got it. An ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

A Change in Build Specification

So where is this Blog going, you think? I have a purpose, even if it takes time to get to the point. I had a conversation recently with our Yard, Naval Yachts. The reason for that conversation was a change in our steering system layout. We need to order a new Steering System control unit as design changes mean they require additional functionality. We also need to increase the scope of supply to incorporate two CAN BUS Gateways to provide a steering signal for Praxis from a single set of rudder angle transducers and two FFU wheels. The bill for this is north of $9000, ooch. We mitigate this with a return of the initial unit, but it still represents in $$ "a lot of hangovers."

Naval Yachts contacted us and said they would need to add a 10% fee per our Contract. The outcome: claws already sharpened by the shock of the first invoice; up goes the blood pressure, and I'm about to launch forth in my most authoritarian vitriol. Then this little "Fairy" on my shoulder whispers empathy in my ear. I wouldn't say I like it when that happens.

I was going to demand the Yard organize importation for free. I expected them to pay the local fees on my behalf for free storage, craneage, and messing with their documentation systems. Well, that's maybe not unreasonable, but there is always a flip side. I never heard a complaint from our Yard about inflation (currently 87% in Turkey), global commodity prices, staff retention, or cost increases in components that we agreed upon 20 months ago.

I'll not wax lyrical but state that we have honest guys on the other end of our yacht-building project. We do not always agree, but neither do I let my inclination to dominate get in the way of a good outcome. Empathy rules in this respect.


Contracts have meaning regardless of the legal jurisdiction. Perhaps less so after the shells start flying. We live in the USA; it's litigation central and expert and turning black/white into grey at the flip of a comma. Before we engage in legalities, a Contract is a moral bargain setting in words the agreement the parties struck. I know the legal Devil lies in the detail, but at a higher level, it lies in the judgment of our morals. This should not be a Zero-Sum game; both parties can win something.

Here is the prize:

I recently looked at the details of 2 FPBs for sale, 78's — two excellent vessels designed by a couple at the zenith of their considerable experience.

FPB 78 Yacht Price

Even with the years under their keels, they sell for a circa $2 million premium on the product Naval builds with a similar ethos. It's not going to all be harmonious, there will be fractious moments, but the judicious application of empathy in our dealings will be instrumental in getting to our intended launch and remaining friends along the way.

Chris Leigh-Jones

Looking for an explorer yacht of your own?

Berthon International represents the FPB fleet. Berthon has an enviable reputation for the scope and breadth of their services. Anyone interested in owning an iconic FPB should start by looking look HERE. For those with more time and patience or looking for new, consider the number of yards that make Artnautica designs from LRC to XPM.

127 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page