Flying the Flag

But which flag?

Now that its not an option to have an Australian Flag with the name of my Footy team (Fremantle) on the back on the boat, we need to have a good think about where to register our new Saba 50. Australia is not an option as Dee and I will be jointly owning the boat and for it to be an Australian boat it needs to be majority owned by an Australian. 

So we need to look around for an alternative. And there are a few that spring to mind. 

But there’s a few factors to consider: 

  • Cost – Initial and Ongoing Year to Year
  • Risk – Can we use a US Limited Lability Company or do we need to set up a Company in Country. And how much does that cost?
  • Radio License and EPIRB Registration
  • Insurance options for the various flags. 
  • Reputation and Coverage.  
  • And finally….Do we like the actual flag? Does it have an annoying Union Jack in the corner?

USA Flag out of Delaware is the easiest and cheapest solution – we can set up a jointly owned Limited Liability Company in Delaware and have Wilmington as our home port all for $947USD (using http://www.boatandyachtregistration.com). However, I’m not so sure I want people to think I’m from the USA. 

As far as a homeport goes, Bikini from the Marshall Islands sounds rather cool. However, we would need to set up a Marshall Islands company. Every Marshall Islands LLC must appoint a registered agent and maintain a local office address. Not 100% sold on either an LLC in a far-off land; or the flag for that matter, but at least it doesn’t have that annoying little Union Jack in the corner.  Interestingly, the Marshall Islands Registry permits private yachts to be chartered out for up to 84 days per calendar year, provided that some additional requirements are satisfied. Fees are: $2800.00 Year 1 (Company setup and Boat Registration) and then $1800.00 (Year 2 and onward – Company and boat renewal).

A good looking flag is important and we really like the Maltese Flag. However there is a requirement to set up a Maltese Company that would own the yacht. Registration Fees are 115 Euros, plus an annual fee of 425 Euros plus VAT. To this we need to add costs for a Radio license and an MMSI number. Plus the cost of setting up and maintaining a Maltese company and local representation. 

Multihulls Solutions are very experienced with registering boats in the Cook Islands and Captain Cook is pretty much up there when it comes to sailors. Fees are $800 for one year, $2100 for 3 years. The easiest way to register a boat in the Cook Islands is to join The Cook Islands Yacht Squadron (CIYS).  Members of the Cook Islands Yacht Squadron (CIYS) are eligible to have their yacht registered in the Cook Islands without having to register a company. The definition of person includes companies and trusts as well as individuals or partnerships of individuals. In this way foreign corporation can become a member of CIYS without having to register that corporation in the Cook Islands. However the Cook Islands flag has that annoying little Union Jack in the corner. Cook Islands is the only option that my current insurer, Topsail Australia (who I am very comfortable with) will cover, however interestingly they can’t provide cover when we actually sail into the Cook Islands because of some strange licensing quirk.   

We saw a lot of boats with Jamaican flags and again Montego Bay has an air of the exotic as a home port. Jamaica also has a Private Limited Charter option where the yacht may charter up to 84 days per calendar year where permitted. Ownership can be with any legal entity in good standing or an individual.  There is no requirement to create a new owning entity in Jamaica. Fees are The Private Yacht Only (PYO) option is $1950.  The Private with Limited Charter (PYLC) option is $2500 (plus $4100 for a survey).  Ongoing annual fees are $750, and if chartering an annual charter survey is $3,575.   These fees include vessel registration, radio license, tonnage, registered agent, all documentation, and a flag.

Quest, a fellow Saba 50, went with a Cayman Islands flag and that’s not a bad choice (except for that annoying little Union Jack in the corner once again).   A USA LLC can own a Cayman Islands Registered Vessel so that’s a tick. However, a foreign LLC must appoint a representative in the Cayman Islands (at an additional annual cost no doubt). Like the Marshall Islands, the Caymans also have a Yacht Engaged in Trade (YET) program for yacht operated privately that provides the option to charter their yacht for up to 84 days per year. Costs are $1200USD for initial registration and $530USD for each year after that (according to https://www.cishipping.com/feesandcalculators).

Having digested all this, I’m not sure there is a clear cut option for us, so some more thought is required. Once again, all suggestions and further information will be gratefully received. 

Music to Our Ears

Listening to music is a really important part of our boat life. On our old boat we used to download music to our phones or tablets using Google Play Music so that we could access it offline …internet or no internet. We also had an old iPod with music downloaded on it that was connected to our Fusion Stereo. But most of the time we would connect up our phones or tablets and play the downloaded Google Play music.

The biggest problem with this was bluetooth’s short range. Quite often we would sit out the back and suffer poor or no bluetooth connectivity. With the Saba being a lot bigger this was going to be even more of a problem.

Enter Sonos with its capacity to play music over a much better (than bluetooth) Wifi connection (provided by our Pepwave router). Our Saba comes with the same Fusion Marine Stereo as before and our plan is to hook up a Sonos Port unit to the Fusion and voila…we can use Sonos to play all our Google Play music over Wifi from ANYWHERE on the boat. Likewise our guests will also be able to download the Sonos app and hook into our system so we can listen to their music as well. And finally, we can download all our music that sits on our hard drives to a NAS that sits on our boat network so we can access this from Sonos as well.

I loved my previous Sonos system from my time as a dirt dweller, and I’m keen to use it once again.

The Sonos Port is an upgrade from the Sonos Connect and I should now be able to turn the Fusion Stereo on and off from the Sonos system – how cool is that. And it will also control the volume of the Fusion as a whole, but I don’t think it will control the volumes of the individual Fusion Zones.

The other purchase will be a Sonos Move, the new Sonos outdoor battery powered speaker, that has got rave reviews. The Fusion System that comes with the boat only comes with speakers in the saloon and the cockpit. The Sonos Move (or maybe two for proper stereo) will fill in the sound gaps – the upstairs lounge and the front deck in particular. And we won’t have to drill holes in the boat to provide for additional wired speakers. As the Sonos Move uses both Wifi and Bluetooth we can also take it to the beach where there is no Wifi.

The final piece of the puzzle is a Sonos soundbar for the TV downstairs. Upstairs in the saloon, we will have a Bose system (same as before) and I need to think about whether I hook this into the Sonos system via another Sonos Port or just leave the Bose as a standalone movie and TV system. Kim suggested that Music sounds so much better with a subwoofer, which the Bose system has, or is our money better spent just buying a Sonos Sub? And do I need a Sonos Playbar upstairs with the Bose system for watching movies? Ummm. A little bit more to think about. Especially since I need to consider battery draw in the equation.

Even with the Bose System upstairs, TV sound was always a problem downstairs and a good soundbar will make movies much more enjoyable. Plus we can use Google Assistant or Alexa for voice controls.

The beauty of using an all Sonos solution is that we can play the same music throughout the boat across both the Fusion stereo, the Sonos Playbar and Sonos Moves.

I’ve just ordered a Sonos Move to use at home so it will be interesting to see how the first piece of the puzzle goes. The rest of the Sonos components will be sourced from the Sonos dealer in La Rochelle.

Update from the Factory

For those of you who are wondering what’s happening with regards to the delivery of our new Saba 50, which was due to roll out of the Factory in June, here is the latest update from Multihull Solutions, our Fountaine Pajot agent in Australia….

Dear Client 

I hope you have had a good week since my last update. The situation overseas is as follows:

  • France is still in lock down. They are reviewing the situation and renewing the isolation in fortnightly increments. I have been told they are likely to extend again, following the fortnight they are currently in. They are optimistic the work force will start to come back from the 4th of May. This ties in with the schools in France returning following the Easter Holiday.
  • The Fountaine Pajot factory is in the Charente-Maritime department of the region Poitou-Charentes, in the north west of France. Romain is in lock down in Quimper in Brittany, further north. The west/north-west of France is the least affected by the COVID-19 virus. The east being worst affected, as it is connected to the rest of mainland Europe. The yard Managers are optimistic that the region is contained and they will be one of the first back to work……. We will have to wait and see?

Please call me or e mail me if you have any questions regarding your order.

(Note. I will not have any updates on delivery times until such time that the French Government allows the production lines to start work again)