Saturday, November 24, 2018

La Rochelle - Update

Friday November 23, 2018

Today (Friday) has been a rainy day.  We have now been in France just over a week.  No boat as yet - we were warned of this and it is true - things simply happen at their own pace.

We are loving the town and location, but communication from our broker and commissioning team has been awful at best....well actually, more like "non-existent" from our local agent.

The boat has apparently been in the "commercial boatyard" which cannot be accessed by the public.  Yes, we tried, but it is a gated industrial area with no access through the security gates.  Our commissioning agent with Dream Yacht Charters has been elusive at best.  His office is a lockbox in a storage facility.  Maybe he has another physical location, but we have not found it, nor been given that location.  He seems to return phone calls after 2-3 days.  He did tell us when we arrived that we were delayed until Nov 26, but could not provide a reason (today is Nov 23, and we were promised the boat 7-10 days after it exited the factory; we understand it came out of the factory Nov 12).  Needless to say, I have made calls and emails back to our broker in the US and and to our local agent, but it has to date made no difference.   I've just been told its not reasonable to expect a boat to be ready within the range of dates promised.  Seriously!  I did talk with a person from the company that is commissioning the boat and they have apparently installed through hulls that I need for my water maker.....and they told me the boat would  launch today.  But then the english/french communication broke down - maybe it was my excitement!.....and I could not figure out if it would be launched at the commercial yard or here in La Rochelle.  Its amazing that we are getting the best info on the QT from a guy we should probably not be speaking with!

We have been watching all the other Lagoon 40s being commissioned in among the plethora of boats here, I can tell you where Hull No 41, 42,43, and 44 are - and that's where the track goes cold as we have not found Midnight Sun III - Hull no 45 as of writing this.  We spent a couple of hours checking on all likely locations today in the rain - but to no avail.  This IS just like waiting for your first-born to enter the world.......and (Helen), this one is as stubborn as you were!

So we wait.  And if that's not enough we have been wrestling with our shipping agent to get the pallet of equipment we shipped from the US released from customs.  It is apparently in Le Havre where the container ship was unloaded.  So I have spent the last 24 hours trying to  research EU regulations on "ships supplies for a vessel in transit", as they relate to import tax, VAT, etc.  Our shipping agent says that there are only 3 conditions for being tax exempt, adn these are: I am accepting a job in France; relocating to France; or a union with a French person.........so after several drinks last night I proposed to our barmaid (it turns out she was from Wales but speaks French).  She accepted subject to me buying her a new dress and shoes.  So that may prove to be the solution!  Our shipping agent is at least trying - he returns my emails within a couple hours and takes my phone calls.
La Rochelle by night

So that's my update!  We will see what happens Monday as it is now 5pm on Friday, and I don't expect anything to happen of significance over the weekend.  Its a rainy day today - but at least the bars and Irish Pub are open.










Update - Saturday, Nov 24

There was a late-breaking update on the pallet last night.  I did get an email saying "confirmation of Discharge".......but this was not from customs.

The plan today is to go for another walk around the docks and see if there's any sign.  Leave a message for our commissioning agent - but I expect no reply.  He didn't reply yesterday.  On  a brighter note, we met friends from Pensacola the other day (Annie Dike of "Have wind Will Travel").  the sailing community is a small one!  Annie and Phil are crewing on a 42 Lagoon that is also going into charter with Dream Yacht and alo in the BVI.  So we have been able to compare notes with them.  It seems their new boat owner Syrus and Kate have had a similar experience with delays and limited to no communication.  They just got their  boat - about a week after it was promised.  Hopefully we will find them in the marina today so we can compare notes!

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