NW Yachting June 2018

Page 92



“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” — Pablo Picasso The days of summer may be lengthening and the memories of last winter’s Seattle Boat Show fading, but now is a time of excitement for those of us lucky enough to take the plunge and put ink on a new boat from the event. A few months have passed since the excited handshake between new owner and seasoned broker, and the boat is set to arrive any day, just in time to enjoy the summer! But wait, the broker says, we still must commission. We absorb the news. It’ll be six weeks after the boat arrives to the yard until we get to turn the key and leave the dock for the first time. “Six weeks?! Why can’t I just take it off the truck and GO?” we want to shout, that upcoming salmon opener or sailboat regatta glaring at us from the calendar. Although the let’s-go attitude will serve us well as boaters, commissioning a new boat is a critical step that mustn’t be shortcutted. With exception of a few companies, all new boats are shipped in a semi-


Nigel Barron Nigel Barron has lived in the Puget Sound area since he was a child and his family moved to America from England when his father went to work at Boeing. Always sailing, he stayed in the area and taught at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma until he got fed up with academia and made his passion for sailing and boats his livelihood. He got a call from CSR 13 years ago to help commission a flurry of new sailboats during a busy season and the rest is history. He enjoys an informal “Solver of Problems” title and a lead managerial role at CSR. He is out sailing, usually on the Reichel-Pugh 52 Crossfire, in every regatta he can.


completed state and require professional craftspeople to assemble properly. What’s more, all those great custom options we meticulously opted for are often locally sourced and installed during the commission process as well. What does the commission of a new boat look like? How involved should we be as customers in the process? For the sake of the new owners eyeing the 2018 season as well as the dreamers, we sat down with Nigel Barron of CSR Marine Services in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Barron and the company have decades of experience working with brokers and boaters across the region to commission all manner of new boats from power to sail. We were lucky enough to catch him between the many projects he juggles during the busy season. NWY: Let’s start at step one; a person buys a new boat for the first time and is new to the commissioning process. Can you walk us through the process and explain what it is exactly? Certainly. First off, commissioning a new boat is a symbiotic partnership between broker, who is paying for the invoice, and boatyard. We [CSR] commission a lot of new boats every year, exclusively for some dealers. Whether we’re

talking about sail or power boats, they all come in the same way; partially completed. There’s a few brands that are sending over complete builds, but obviously it’s very hard to ship a completed sailboat because you have to ship the mast. The process depends on sail vs. power. It also depends on where the boat is coming from. Many Jeanneau and Beneteau sailboats are built in South Carolina, for example. Formula is built in Wisconsin, Catalinas in Florida. Many boats are built in Europe or Asia. The process depends on where the boat is coming from, and the big factor is if the boat is coming with the keel on or off. Consequently, the rudders are on or off. For the most part, boats coming from abroad like Europe are coming with the keel off because it’s easier to transport the boat on the cradles that way. We just offloaded a Beneteau like that today; just came off the truck. The typical process is that the boat arrives, and the dealer, whoever sold the boat or is bringing it in for stock, is paying the truck driver. The dealer always inspects the boat on the truck before they offload it to make sure there’s no shipping damage, damage to the mast, hull, etc.