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Out now: Clyde & Co podcast series 2.3

John Leonida discusses the role of a superyacht surveyor…

Clyde & Co has a leading yacht and superyacht team with over 20 years of experience. This second series of the Clyde & Co podcast seeks to demystify the process of buying a superyacht. Yacht brokers, family office advisers and bankers, as well as senior Clyde & Co lawyers join superyacht industry commentator John Leonida to discuss every aspect of buying a superyacht. In episode 3 John Leonida speaks to Dan Robsham, US Coast Guard licensed Chief Engineer of Mariner Technical Services. We hope you enjoy listening.

Arguably the most important part of any superyacht sale and purchase process is the superyacht survey. The survey of a superyacht in the purchase process does two things, firstly it confirms that the vessel being surveyed has no defects that go to her operational integrity, and which might trigger a price reduction or a termination of the sale and purchase contract; and secondly it gives the presumptive buyer clear vision of the yacht that is being bought. 

An 1862 famed yachtsman William Cooper in his Treatise on Practical Yachtsmanship wrote ‘you have seen a craft that pleases you a point today with the party who has bona fide sale of her and let her be laid up in dock or on a shore that will be high and dry at low water where you can walk around and examine her.  I would always prefer examining the hull first as no matter what may be the excellence of spars, canvas and gear nothing to my mind will compensate for a rotten or patched up vessel.’

One hundred and sixty years after William Cooper begged the Victorian yachtsman to survey the hull of a yacht, 21st century surveyor Dan Robsham talks to John Leonida about the importance of hauling the yacht out for a dry docking. Both in 1862 and 2022 the principles are just the same. But unlike his 19th Century predecessor, the modern surveyor does more than show up with strong bladed knife to check the flooring timbers for dry or wet rot (although a pocketknife is still part of the surveyors toolkit), the modern surveyor is checking the regulatory and physical well being of a modern superyacht. 

Dan Robsham of Mariner Technical Services is a US Coast Guard licensed Chief Engineer with 38 years full time international experience in large vessel operations including construction and survey, including a stint as an American Bureau of Shipping Surveyor. The 21st century survey is a feat of logistical brilliance with the many moving parts underpin the operation of a modern superyacht.  In advance there is the examination of the statutory certificates and as many of the engineering and technical drawings as is possible. This produces a detailed report and its importance to the contractual process is not underestimated. A good survey report will draw a clear distinction between those defects which will affect the operational integrity of the yacht being surveyed, indeed Dan will sometimes include in his surveys "a fact which is an interesting point for a purchaser to know".  Dan shares his wisdom on truthfully reporting to an owner the condition of a yacht. 

Please click here to access the third episode of season two of the Clyde & Co podcast, and the full back catalogue from season one.

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