Thursday, 7 June 2012

Zephyr of Nantes is Spray of Vannes !


It’s official, at least as far as the French administration is concerned.  Zephyr of Nantes has been replaced by Spray of Vannes !

From Er Gwennick to Zephyr to Spray, and the new proud owner.

The process was Kafkaesque as expected, but we managed to get it done in just under 7 hours.  Last night, we went to “The Official Web Site of the French Administration” to learn what steps we had to take to register the boat, to change the home port, and to change the name of the boat.  Let’s just forget the fact that many of the steps outlined by the web site had links to important information on other pages that told you the same stuff that was on the first page, but with the helpful suggestion that if you wanted the really important information, you should go to the following link, which took you right back where you were in the first place.

Here are the official instructions:

The seller must deliver to the Customs Office of the home port of the boat :

·         The sales contract, including all information concerning the boat and its administrative situation.  It must be signed by the Maritime Administration.
·         The acte de francisation (proof of registration and annual duties paid)
·         The “pleasure craft form” filled out in the name of the buyer, in 2 copies
·         2 identity photos of the buyer
·         1 original photo identification of the buyer.

If you want to change the home port,  you must:
·         Fill out the form requesting the change of home port ; present this request to the Customs Offices of  both the current home port and the new home port.

Here, as we discovered, is the reality:

The seller  (the buyer does this now) must deliver to the Customs Office of the home port of the boat :

·         The sales contract, including all information concerning the boat and its administrative situation.  It must be signed by the Maritime Administration.  (They don’t do this anymore, which cuts out one step if you actually know about it, which of course, you can’t know about until you present yourself at the Maritime Administration office.)
·         The acte de francisation (proof of registration and annual duties paid).
·         The “pleasure craft form” filled out in the name of the buyer, in 2 copies.  The Customs Office said that this was for the Maritime Administration. The Maritime Administration officer said she didn’t want it.
·         2 identity photos of the buyer.
·         1 original photo identification of the buyer.

On calling the Customs Office, we are also told that we must include the following information:

·         Bank account information required for wire transfers.
·         A document proving your current address, dated not more than 3 months from present date (e.g., and electricity bill usually works).
·         A handwritten request to change the name of the boat.

When we asked about changing the home port, we were informed that there was a home port for the Customs Office and a home port for the Maritime Administration and they are not necessarily the same.  The Maritime Administration suggested we change the home port for the Maritime Administration but leave the Customs Office home port as it was, since that service will soon be restructured to have a central service anyway.  This then gives us:

·         Fill out the form requesting the change of home port ; present this request to the Customs Offices  Maritime Administration of  both the current home port and the new home port.

To be honest, everyone was very kind, efficient, and helpful, despite that daft web site that is clearly maintained by some pin head bureaucrat in an office in Paris who has little or no contact with the services for whom he is the sole information provider.  The Maritime Administration even accepted our file at 16h32 when the sign on the door clearly said they closed at 16h00. And it didn’t cost us anything, unless you count the 3 hours of driving between Vannes and Nantes.  It could have been much worse.

But it’s too early for champagne.  We still have to contact the Radio Frequency Administration to register the VHF radio under the name of the new owner and boat name (Patrick is looking that one up on “The Official Web Site of the French Administration” as I type … heh, heh, heh) and we have to notify our port authorities of the changes, which undoubtedly requires forms and photos.

After these last few steps, Spray will be fully registered with the French authorities.  Then we’ve just got Neptune and that creepy sea serpent to deal with (see earlier posts).

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