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Weekly Update - Marine Insurance - A Difficult Ask for an Explorer Yacht

Updated: Jan 21

A rattle bag of reporting today as we wrap up the week. The big story has been insurance within the Yard for sea trials and the first year of voyaging. There has also been progress with commissioning systems. Finally, as we are temporarily in the USA, I decided to make the young boys in my family a model boat to glean their early interest.  As we age, smarts are generally replaced by native cunning!

Locating Marine Insurance Proves Problematic

Firstly, we start with the sometimes sticky subject of insurance. It is tempting to rely on cognoscente dissonance when building a yacht in the belief that everything will be alright in the end. Certainly, you can help that strategy by not being a US Citizen and, secondly, not registering her under the US Flag. Both will cause you a great deal of difficulty in one way or another, especially as the value of the hull increases, as is our case. Add to that the insurance companies invariably ask for experience owning vessels of similar size or, at a minimum, their operation, and the whole issue becomes, in its way, a self-defeating pursuit.

Believe me when I state that this is a challenging task. We initially obtained a good quotation from Pantaenius and relied on that going forward. In the interim, they stopped underwriting anything related to the USA; we can blame a mixture of hurricane claims and litigious proclivity for that one. Back to the drawing board, we reached out to a number of companies directly and also to two local specialist brokers. We have an acceptable offer, with terms as always, but given some effort, we will be insured by the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic, crossing to the USA through 2024. It is not much fun of a process, to be honest; this is the man who saved the day:

Garrison Rudisill

Maritime Insurance International

843.606.5270 Office ◆ 888.482.6844 Fax

Naval Yachts have also had to obtain coverage under a refit policy to continue to progress sea trails past the year's end. Please don't ask me why, but that has caused a short delay. Happily, sea trails will begin again on Monday next week—more on that in a later blog. 

Systems commissioning

Work on Vanguard has continued to progress commissioning systems and equipment. Webasto Blue Cool HVAC and potable hot water system is now functioning. Praxis Automation connected the Radar and began to calibrate the tank gauges. Wills Ridley steering has progressed, but we are waiting on a new interface board to connect rudder signals to the autopilot and DP system. No one knows why the original failed; it may be an installation error or static. Either way, once installed and working, we would not envisage a repeat of the issue. 

Outfitting the Tender for our Explorer Yacht

Hebbeke Shipyard duly delivered our new waterjet tender for Vanguard. It's not a cheap exercise. However, to balance this, the final price came in very similar to buying a commercially available one of similar specification, and we have exactly what we want without the usual compromises. The Furuno navigation and associated instrumentation will be fitted in Antalya, Enclosed is the installations schematic to include sonar for safety in those less explored locations.


Naval Yachts ran their stability calculations, having established a baseline from physical testing. This new work has indicated we will need some 2.5T of permanent ballast to maintain the required stability in the "arrival" trim. This will fit within the forepeak bilge, the twin aft skegs, and potentially under the cabin access, where we can also correct a permanent list due to the tender being on the port side. Lead was duly ordered and will be installed before undertaking official stability tests for UK MCA Category (0) designation.  

Chris Leigh-Jones

Meanwhile, back home - Model Boat Antics

Lastly, I started a project with some time to capture the imagination of two young boys in my US-based family. As a child, there were many model boats, some better than others, but it taught me the process. I have six weeks in the USA, so I set about a repeat. A really nice YouTube channel run by a father and son out of the West Coast offers some beautiful semi-scale sailboat plans. Off we went, building a facsimile pilot boat cutter. Six weeks is tight, but I think we can do it.

Photos of progress are in the Blog below. Link to the Web Site HERE

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