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Shipping vs. Sailing across the ocean?

Discussion in 'Yacht Transport Ships & Dockwise' started by squatter2, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. squatter2

    squatter2 New Member

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    I have heard (but know little about) that at a certain size or below, if you want to move your boat say from the US to Europe, it pays to ship it aboard a giant ship rather than have your crew sail it.

    Is that true? What would be the cut-off? Any other down/up-sides?

    I'd really appreciate any education you can give me on this, thanks!

    If it helps I'm thinking about a boat in the 150' range or so.
  2. CTdave

    CTdave Senior Member

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    Hi Squatter. I see you are also from Greenwich. Which yacht are you thinking about shipping? I don't have first hands experience but have heard alot of people discuss the pros/cons about running vs shipping.
    First I would start thinking about the number of days it would take running in "normal" conditions then add a couple of days for bad weather. How much fuel would you burn along the way? Is the vessel in excellent mechanical condition? I would be thinking about the "what if" situations like mechanical failure, extreme weather etc.
    I have heard alot of things about Dockwise Transport. They used to have a rather scary video on their web site from the bridge of a (180-200' i remember) yacht crossing in bad weather. I wouldn't do that for all the tea in china. Check them out & read the testimonials.
    I only have a 50' Bertram so I can't tell you too much about crossings. There are plenty of people on this site with vast information. I'm sure they will chime in right away.
    David
  3. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Pardon the dumb question, squatter2, but why would you entertain the thought of procuring such a large vessel and not using it for what would be assumed it's intended purpose? :confused:
  4. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I'm sorry Loren, but I have to disagree with you on this one (maybe a first :eek: ).
    Squatter 2, I have read your previous posts and gather that you are considering the Westport 164'. I know that it isn't the same hull design as the 130', but I'm sure that it will be of similar construction. Please don't get me wrong as the Westport is a GREAT coastal cruiser built for maximum luxury and speed. It is not, however, built for heavy weather cruising. I took a 130' from Florida to the Caribbean and then through the Panama Canal and up the west coast, and I would NEVER consider taking it across the Atlantic. They are built to be light, so they aren't terribly comfortable in heavy seas. Also, the stabilizers fins are rather small and meant to operate at high speed. In order to obtain the range for a crossing, the boat would have to run at reduced speed thus reducing the effectiveness of the stabilizers.
    Additionally, the wear factor of crossing the ocean on a motor yacht is tremendous. You will put almost as many hours on your main engines as most people put on them for a whole season, while subecting the boat to a great deal of stress if you should happen to be caught in a mid-ocean storm. At the very least, you might consider shipping your boat uphill from the US to Europe (heading into the prevailing weather) and then running it back on it's own bottom.
    Another added bonus of shipping the boat is that you can then offer your crew that time for vacation. It is a rare occassion that it is convenient to have the entire crew vacation at once, so you have to constantly hire temporary labor throughout the year.
    Good luck on your research.
    Ken
  5. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Ken, while I was not espousing crashing around in the North Atlantic during wintertime, and otherwise beating up the equipment--heck, when Biscayne Bay whips up to two-foot seas, I keep the kayak in drydock--you make an interesting point about, ahem, some builder's oceangoing prowess or lack thereof.
    I went to their literature and perused the magazine reprints as well and found...
    nothing about how they handle a seaway.
    With pros like Don Starkey & Bill Garden, who have been around long enough to 'get it right', like I said...

    Very interesting.
  6. squatter2

    squatter2 New Member

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    Hey, I started this by saying I know very little! I don't know what size this applies at (the cross yourself vs. ship decision) that's why I'm asking!
  7. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Squatter2
    You have a 2nd PM
  8. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Fair question, squatter2. And any answers have to go through knowledgeable folks such as Ken Bracewell and others who devote time to this forum, and who have a lot more sea time than I do.
    There are, I suppose, quite a few large (150' as you mentioned) vessels that might not be intended for transatlantic crossings, but let's look at this a bit.
    Many small--heck, much smaller vessels--routinely cross the pond.

    Ken's point is to save on engine hours ( very important with, say, MTUs) and minimize beating up the boat should you encounter seriously bad weather.
    I am in full agreement with Ken on this.

    Still, if you look at, say, the recent Nordhavn bunch who suffered an unfortunate stormy crossing, this was the trip of a lifetime, replete with stories that will be told to the grandkids.

    OK. This would be just your crew doing the crossing, or not, giving them a vacation ashore. I think you'd want some representation ( i.e., crew) during that crossing, especially at pick-up & launch phases. Typically, they do varnish work, paint bottoms, and all sort of off-time maintenance.

    The upshot, in my humble opinion, is this:

    A) One can be Daddy Warbucks who can afford a megayacht and can send it to the ends of the planet on Dockwise to minimize wear & tear

    --or--


    B) One can be a Yachtsman ( that's a capital 'Y')--within the purview of the Yacht Forum readership--
    who believes a boat is something to be used and be appreciated and loved for it's capabilities. Not to be a poseur who merely shows up at the latest Port du Jour showing off his new toy.

    My apologies to anyone who is upset with what I believe yachting is all about in the first place.
  9. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Loren,
    First off, the great thing about this forum is that we can express our opinions freely, as we are entitled, and many times is the catalyst for some dynamic dialogue.
    But for me, if you have a 150+footer then you are a bit of a Daddy Warbucks (or is that Morebucks) and probably could afford the cost of shipping over. Now I have never cruised across the pond, but I know enough about sea conditions locally to think that I would not want to be caught in the mid-Atlantic with potentially a worse situation. It's not worth putting crew or yacht at risk. Yes, we all like to lay claim to being "Y"achtsmen, and I don't think you have to cross the pond to earn the capital Y.
    Squatter2, Dockwise Yacht Transport is probably your best bet as they seem to have the most vessels and very active schedule to many ports.
    Capt Tom
  10. YachtForum

    YachtForum YachtForums Publisher

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    At the end of a long day, somewhere way north of Latitude 26 with a wireless connection that rivals two tin-cans and a string… I see Loren, in his inestimable way with words, has declared our creed. Nobody ever said yachtsmen are Dockwise… and we may not be SeaSmart… but there’s something about getting scared to all hell… and living to tell.

    That being said, if Ken makes the call… I trust his judgement. We’ll put the boat on a 20 knot, floating dry-dock. Otherwise, Loren & I are off to get drenched. ;)

    Back in a couple of days guys...
  11. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    The worse thing I have seen in transporting yachts on the dockwise is maybe some paint scratches that can be easily repaired later.
    I don't care what kind of yacht you are on, they are all like delicate little flowers prone to break downs. These transport ships are different animals. Transporting your yacht is a very cheap insurance policy. Although it sounds like a lot when you first recieve your quotes, it's nothing in the way of comperisms.
  12. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    There are many 150' boats that can cross the North Atlantic on their own bottoms quite safely and economically.

    There are also many that such a journey should never be attempted on.

    You should base your purchase on the type of cruising/voyaging you intend to undertake. Don't ever under estimate the seas ability to give you a rough ride no matter where on the planet you are. The Mediterranean can be as nasty as anywhere under certain conditions.

    I have crossed the Pacific from NZ to Panama on a 50' sailboat and been around the world on a 55m Motor Yacht. The all time roughest seas I have ever seen were north of Corsica.
  13. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    This has turned into a very intersting thread and that's the reason I try to check in at YachtForums every day!
    Sorry, but I'm off to bunker at some smelly fishing dock in the middle of MA, but I'll check in when we arrive later this evening.
    Keep the posts coming!
  14. CTdave

    CTdave Senior Member

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    Don't forget to keep the doors closed, A/C off and bilge blowers off. That stink will stick to everything
  15. YachtForum

    YachtForum YachtForums Publisher

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    Guys...

    Just got checked in to a roach motel in the middle of lost. I’ve been venturing off-the-beaten path in search of anything that would lend credence to Carlton Sheets. Land has become SO obscene. As far as I’m concerned… “if you THINK it’s worth that much, than YOU keep it”. I’ll just buy your tax deed when you’re in arrears.

    Getting back on course… I’ve played romp-a-wave with 90 tons of round-hull in 8 footers. Not looking to repeat that anytime soon. Would much prefer a light, fast boat so I can choose my water-wars and run with my tail between my legs as needed.

    What would I choose to confront relentless walls of nut-looseners? United or Virgin, thank you. I have no interest in subjecting my spinal alignment or my stringers to anything more than a bow ornament gone wild. For "practical" purposes, I’ll take a 98' Westport because they only built a couple of ‘em. That spells limited commodity in my book, which just might be a better investment then real estate!

    If I had Nike using me as an example, I might opt for another northwest builder, but no matter the boat, or the brawn of its crew... none of us really wants to board up, get beat up and fess up. Driving on 95 is enough abuse.

    Back in a day or two, and poorer by an acre or two.

    Carl
  16. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Carl,
    You're speaking in rhymes (reminds me of the movie "The Princess Bride"). Or perhaps it's a secret code. You'll have to clue us newbies in over a cold draft.
    Capt Tom
  17. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Ah, yes, a lively thread indeed.

    As I mentioned earlier, I am a first-class wimp when it comes to lumpy real estate.
    My only experience in crossing the Atlantic was in late September/early October on a blowboat crossing from Gibraltar to Barbados with such little wind & seas that we motored a good bit. I think we were on the same tack for over a week. It was borrrrrring. Our greatest fear was that we'd run out of beer which could have gotten ugly.:eek:

    Again, I defer to those who've spent time wishing they were somewhere else--- the 1986 Ft. Lauderdale-Key West race for me ( on a 33-footer we jokingly referred to as 'the submarine') is especially memorable---and I suppose as I get older, I would not like to revisit High Seas Anxiety.:(

    Still (jeez, what a hardhead), I maintain that, given modern weather forecasting, and --taken to extremes--an expedition-type vessel (and, I recall, we were talking about a one-hundred-and fifty-foot ship here) , if need be, we cross over to the Continent in June and jump off from the Med in October to head Stateside, all the time checking the computer screen for the latest pressure maps...

    If I can't accomplish this with my 'Morebucks', I'd take up darts instead.

    My humble opinion.
  18. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    You'd think that we could really predict the weather that well, but it is a fickle science. Sure you can always wait for the perfect weather window, but the fact of the matter is that "perfect" rarely happens in weather (unless you're George Clooney). We often times have to run on probablilites and, while that usually goes well, there have been times that an unexpected upper level low has come crashing down on top of me.

    Just last December (after an over-extended yard period in MA) we were heading down the east coast looking for reasonable weather. We were fairly certain that if we holed up in Norfolk for a week (7 whole days) there would be a good window. All of the sudden, on the first day, the magic computer screen (at our weather router's office) showed a good break in the weather. We high tailed it around Cape Hatteras looking like a backyard swimming pool. We then went around the mill-pond that was Cape Lookout before running, "smack", into the raging beast that was Cape Fear. Within a period of 3 hours the wind crept from 5 knots to 50 and the seas from 1ft. to 18ft.

    Luckily the Curt C is a real ship of a yacht (probably more along the lines of what you are thinking of in your references Loren), but if I were on one of the other boats that I've referenced in this thread, much damage would have ensued.
  19. bradp

    bradp New Member

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    yeah right!

    How many owner's actually cross the Atlantic on their megayacht's? I' would reckon zero, so ship the thing for a couple of dollar's (compared to the cost of the boat) and give the Crew a well deserved break.
  20. YachtForum

    YachtForum YachtForums Publisher

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    I'm meeting with Dockwise at FLIBS to discuss the possibility of an incentive program for YF members, captains, crews. If you guys are looking for a piggy-back ride over vast open spaces, post your thoughts here...

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