When Is The Best Time To Order My Catamaran?

Question #1: When Do You Want Your Yacht?

The lead time depends on the model. In terms of delivery – you need to talk to us when you’re about 18-24 months from wanting to take delivery. If you’re placing your boat in our Business Yacht Ownership Program®, tax advantages start from the date you title the boat; typically this is the X-factory date, which is the day your boat exits the factory doors. Here’s what happens before, during, and after your order:

Question #2: Who Should You Trust For Reliable Information?

The internet is full of chatter, noise, and inaccurate information. Yet, it all comes through with at the same volume. I suggest you do your research and find a source who earns your trust with their industry knowledge and expertise. I believe I am the most experienced, continuously operating yacht consultant in the U.S., and probably in the world. I’ve pretty much seen it all. I act as a yacht consultant because I enjoy it. I’m way past being a typical “salesman” – not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that. I believe in discovering my clients’ needs and providing useful and reliable information so that they can make their own informed decision.

The only agenda that’s important is yours, not mine. This is not to say I don’t have my own prejudices for certain models, I do. But, they’re based on extensive experience with detailed feedback from owners, charterers, delivery captains, designers, and builders. If I ever say something that doesn’t make sense, I urge you to fire me as your yacht consultant!

Question #3: What Does The Overall Timeline Look Like?

Let’s look at Fountaine Pajot as an example. Fountaine Pajot has an on-going manufacturer production schedule during which they’ll build about 350 boats or so a year.

They allow dealers, such as Atlantic Cruising Yachts, to block out certain production slots for their clients. So if the Fountaine Pajot “next available” says 24 months out, that might not be the case if you’re working with us. Atlantic Cruising Yachts, as the largest Fountaine Pajot dealer in the world, proportionally has a number of earlier slots available to us. Having said this, as the most successful dealer, we generally sell these early. Then, we immediately order replacements. Fountaine Pajot limits how many reservations we can make for unassigned slots. So if, for example, their next slot is 24 months out, we might have one that is only 18 months out. In addition, because we have so many boats on order, and most are so far out, people’s plans change. They start a new career. Sell or don’t sell a house, boat, farm, car, etc. There’s always a chance that an earlier position might become available. When I order a boat for one of my clients I always include the right of first refusal if an earlier hull becomes available.

Fountaine Pajot is very straightforward and honest about maintaining their schedule. The delivery dates we establish at the time of order are generally very accurate.

Because of the nature of the industry, everything is in flux so you may hear different stories from different dealers or people that have come into contact with various dealers – it’s a very dynamic situation. Here, for example, is a recent production schedule. This is adjusted continuously as people decide to take a later boat or drop out. It gives you a good sense of the schedule. (This is only a sample and not completely up to date as of right now.)

New models are continuously introduced. The information is confidential and often not yet public. Often these models will come out before some existing models can be assigned, so be sure to ask me for the latest information. Many of the new changes revolve around updates to the main saloon and galley—making these models, like the New 45, even more appropriate for living aboard.

Contact me for a link to the walkthrough video I did on the New 45 to get a sense of it. This video was a part of a recorded webinar I did for a number of clients when the New 45 first came out. As a result, I sold three before anyone even saw the first one. I also sold another still unannounced boat based on this video. More information on it will be coming out in January 2019. The video talks about features common to most Fountaine Pajot’s. It’s not short, but it contains all the information for anyone looking for the ideal, live-aboard cruiser. I recommend adding it to your repertoire of study materials.

Question #4: What Happens After My Boat is X-Factory?

As a reminder, X-factory is the day the boat rolls out the door onto the staging parking lot. From there, it takes approximately three months to accomplish the following:

  • Schedule and deliver the boat to the commissioning yard in La Rochelle where she is checked over, bottom painted, rigged, and last minute adjustments are made. Our full-time team member in La Rochelle does the final checks to ensure all is working and that the equipment matches our order.
  • A delivery crew we arrange is welcomed aboard and they do their own check. They then either ocean deliver the boat or take it to be shipped, based on your preference.
  • We track the boat as it makes it’s way to the U.S. where it will typically arrive in either Annapolis, MD or Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
  • Upon arrival:
    • Our commissioning team debriefs the delivery crew and reviews any issues or punch-lists created by them.
    • We meet with you to walk through the boat. You’ll decide where the fans go and review equipment that we will install locally, such as solar cells (cheaper and higher output for the same cost in America), additional electrical and USB outlets, installation of live-aboard equipment (like washer-dryers, water-maker, dive compressors, custom cabinetry, lights etc. – or anything else you have in mind.
    • Then we go to work finishing up commissioning—typically another 3-6 weeks.
  • After completion we schedule check out and sea-trials with our commissioning manager. Typically, this lasts two days. One day is spent explaining and reviewing your boat and equipment (sometimes my Suzy can make a video of this for your file to help remember all that you go through). The second day, we go sailing, again with a rigging/sail expert and commissioning manager to test and explain everything under load, at sea.

All of this is typically planned and scheduled by Atlantic Cruising Yachts – the costs for all of this will be included in your AY quote. We also will have commissioning meetings prior to all of this to go over and explain all of the options. Please read below.

Question #5: What Happens Before The X-Factory Date?

While your boat is on order we will most likely:

  1. Have 1-3 commissioning meetings to review, explain, and suggest the right equipment for your boat. This will typically be done with Ken Krasco, our Commissioning Director, and an electrical engineer. This can be done at one of our service centers or via GoToMeeting (an online meeting tool). We have files with option pictures and technical drawings of virtually any option you might imagine—already installed. We will provide you with both the knowledge and follow up materials. This will be followed up with any change orders that result from these meetings. Around the time of your order or within approximately six months of your X-factory date, which is the last date for factory changes.
  2. Create a business plan and go over all of the details of the Business Yacht Ownership® Program plan.
  3. Arrange financing and insurance. All of this, including the federal documentation will be coordinated with your settlement, which will occur just before the completion date of your boat.
  4. Set up an LLC for your business and a meeting with our tax strategist and financial planner to make sure you have a prudent, well-planned business model prior to getting started.
  5. We often arrange sailing lessons, or a free try-before-you-buy experience so you can actually experience the boat you’re considering at any of one of our Waypoints® locations.

Right now for the 42-50′ models—any of these, if ordered, would be X-factory October-December 2020 with three months commissioning and delivery, and I can offer the right of first refusal for a possible earlier date.

Contact us for reliable timelines and realistic pricing.


A story from our customer, Barry Slifstein, who re-evaluated his priorities and got back into boating after his father passed. Barry is a knowledgeable and experienced boater who just finished delivering his new Jeanneau 54 from Annapolis to the Virgin Islands.

In this video interview, Barry describes how and why he got back into sailing after a long absence. He also describes his rewarding experience with our Atlantic Cruising Yachts team, and how he, like many others, had grown skeptical of other dealers performance. Enjoy the full article here, with video link.

Or, just watch the video.


Eric  Smith, Senior Sales Consultant, Partner410-703-5655
More from Eric >> DisclaimerThe information, viewsopinions, and conclusions expressed in any article, blog, video, or other form of media posted or linked herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Atlantic Cruising Yachts, LLC.  Nothing contained herein has been approved or otherwise endorsed by Atlantic Cruising Yachts, LLC and such company shall have no liability for any content.ESE, LLC is totally responsible for the content of this article. We are not tax advisers. You should obtain tax advice from a professional tax adviser for any matters relating to setting up a business, or tax implications.