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Yacht transport...

Discussion in 'Yacht Transport Ships & Dockwise' started by olderboater, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I've seen Yacht transport as a topic here frequently and especially mention of Dockwise. So the question is "How do you see the sale of Dockwise to Sevenstar impacting things?"

    Also the article on the sale mentions that they acquired two vessels. I thought there were more vessels.

    In the past I've heard much better things about Dockwise than about Sevenstar. What has been the general impression?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Yacht Transport

    Don't know why I said "dock transport." Obviously referring to "Boat transport." Think the dockwise part scrambled my brain.
  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Thread title edited.
  4. Johngb24560

    Johngb24560 New Member

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    Sevenstar

    I have found Sevenstar to be highly professional and provided excellent service when we shipped a 40 metre yacht to Asia last year. I would have no hesitation in recommending them. There are quite a few sharks out there and it pays to stick with the more reputable companies. It may cost a little more but it is better than finding yourself out of pocket for hundreds of thousands of dollars due to a deal gone bad. IMHO I would only deal with Dockwise or Sevenstar and forget all the other fakers.
  5. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    That's great to hear. I have read some very negative stories but most of them appeared to be quite old. I am concerned if that reduces the fleet. Dockwise had a total of 22 units in their fleet but I don't know if only two were used for yachts or not. Certainly the Dockwise floating concept appears most attractive to me and I've not read of damage using that. Also, they appear to have a decent reputation of coming close to the schedule and communicating well. I don't have transport plans now but sure like to know there are good options.
  6. Johngb24560

    Johngb24560 New Member

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    There are definite advantages to the Dockwise system and if I had the luxury to choose I would have made that choice before all others but on our route we only had the choice of heavy lift ship.I would not recommend it if you have a bad heart as it is a frightening situation. Sevenstar did a thorough, professional job but there is always a chance of damage in the procedure of the lift. We got through unscathed but the other 45 metre did sustain damage more due to the difficult design of the hull and poor placement of the yachts bollards. Needless to say insurance is paramount. They are both Dutch based companies and they both are excellent in communication and customer relations.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I have done about at least 1,000 loadings and unloadings with a heavy lift ship.....Some on Sevenstar, most on Yachtpath and have never had an incident. I've heard of incidents, but never witnessed one and all of the boat's I've loaded or unloaded had no issues and I would not hesitate to do it with Sevenstar as they use professional/knowledgable loadmasters, divers, and crew. I've also done Dockwise and have had no issues there, but have had a lot of delay time loading/unloading in the 10 I've done with them over the years.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Now that's the kind of feedback I love to hear. 1,000 loadings. How in the world have you done so many?
  9. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I was one of 2 Captain's that did all of Yachtpath's since they started and a buddy of mine does most of sevenstars out of WPB. So any boat that was shipping to the MED from the NW would get unloaded here in Ft. Laud, then wait for the next ship at a marina, then get loaded on the next ship. Sometimes I'd run 6 different yachts a day to a ship or from a ship since about 2003. The largest I ran to a ship that got loaded was a 158' MY. I've also done about a dozen Dockwise and a dozen or so Sevenstars.....
  11. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    "Also the article on the sale mentions that they acquired two vessels. I thought there were more vessels."

    There had been others. I remember Super Servant 3 from one loading. It appears to have taken back into heavy lift operations. Last destination reported was Bonney, Nigeria, 10-10-2013.
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Obviously the biggest issue encountered was during the collapse of Yacht Path and all those having to double pay to get possession of their boats plus those who paid and didn't get serviced. Have you done any work for their successor, United Yacht Transport, or do you know their operational status? Certainly these moves have cut back on the competition which may be either good or bad. I know United doesn't actually own any ships, as Yacht Path didn't. Prior to the Dockwise acquisition, did Sevenstar own any or is their transportation part all contract?

    Also, do you have any advice for those considering using a Yacht Transport service to avoid potential problems or damage, based on your extensive experience? Advice on delivery to or retrieval from the transport company? Is Dockwise the only one where Captains are actually allowed to sail with the yacht? What is your opinion on doing that?

    To me, other than things like the final days of Yacht Path, the biggest concern I've had is the circumstances where there are intermediate stops and some yachts off loaded and reloaded at those locations. How common is that and what are your opinions on it?

    It's great to find someone like you with hands on experience in this area and look forward to any advice or knowledge you can share.
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    SevenStar does own their ships as well as Dockwise. Sevenstar generally carries other cargo in the hold of their ships which covers the ships expenses and the yachts are the profit or gravy. This can also cause them to get held up a little timewise. Not that Dockwise didn't have an episode in Mexico with not having enough draft to unload the yachts from the ship and many yachts ended up in Vancouver and got offloaded there. Things happen in shipping from time to time but I don't think you could go wrong with either of the 2 companies. Dockwise tends to run a tighter schedule, but also tends to run 10-20% more. You can also ride along on some of Sevenstars freighters if you ask. It may be a great ride, and you get to do a transatlantic.

    Offloading and loading is very common and on most routes, I wouldn't be concerned about it as they usually load them accordingly where the ones for the last stop aren't in the way to unload/load the intermediate ones. For example on the Ft. Laud to Vancouver route, general stops in between would be Ensanada and La Paz Mexico, and sometimes Costa Rica, and another one in between.

    Prepping your boat properly is key. Generally on the boats I manage and got shipped, I would insulator wax all of the metal before shipping, have the boat waxed, etc etc.....make sure EVERYTHING is secured inside. There was one issue where a 150lb shackle fell through the deck of one boat I shipped that happened in Asia and it went through the deck and landed on the salon floor. The company took care of it. Another one, a small bimini cockpit was lost and the bow cushions/covers.....but that is out of many many boats.

    I have never worked for United, but take a hard look at who the principle owners are. The Yachpath double paying incident was a tragic thing that happened, but they have always robbed peter to pay paul during their entire existence.

    I'm in the Fort Lauderdale area btw, if you want to email me instead of the forum.
  14. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    Interesting that United Yacht Transport adopted the name once used by the Dockwise arm that transported yachts on the Dockwise semi-submersible transports. Quite a few years ago, I received an email from Dockwise stating that they were renaming the UYT branch to Dockwise Yacht Transport because of some conformity issue with ISO 9000. Also interesting is that they're using photos of the Pac Athena on their site, which is a ship that Yachtpath chartered a few times and that I loaded boats onto. Maybe an old Yachtpath photo?
    I've delivered several yachts to Yacht Path, Dockwise, and Sevenstar; most recently two yachts to Ensenada, MX in the last month to Sevenstar.
    I've ridden aboard Dockwise from Nanaimo, Canada to Port Everglades, but never aboard Yachtpath or Sevenstar. In my experience, yacht shippers are subject to the vagaries of ship transport., such as weather and port berth availability, not to mention the financial dynamics of cargo maximization. On the DYT trip, the ship diverted to Long Beach, CA for an unscheduled cargo pick up. We stopped in the outer harbor in the middle of the night, sank the ship at the stern, and loaded a huge barge with a dredge on it that was going to the Bahamas. We also had to go 200 miles offshore before that to clear the ballast tanks. Then it was off to Golfito, Costa Rica to pick up 7 yachts that were scheduled. At both times, the two smaller yachts that were aboard with our 75' had to be floated and re secured. Our yacht was far enough forward and blocked high enough that we weren't affected. Also on that trip, the ship hove to and drifted for a full day in the Caribbean below Cuba to kill time pending berth arrangements. Even then, the ship anchored off Port Everglades for the night upon arrival until the berth became available.
    On another DYT trip, the ship was late getting to St. Thomas, USVI from Port Everglades because the seas and winds forced the ship to slow down, forcing us to change hotels for the extra two days. At the same time several large yachts over 100' had to anchor and wait in the Bahamas for the weather to ease.
    The yacht I just loaded on Sevenstar is going to Singapore from Ensenada, MX via Nanaimo, Canada, Vancouver, Canada, and Yokohama, Japan, and maybe more stops. That load was aboard a vessel named "Clipper Anne", which is owned by a large drybulk cargo shipping company operating "about 175" vessels. I saw no mention of Sevenstar on their site. Sevenstar states that they have access to their parent company's fleet, so it would seem that they charter outside of their company as well.
    Generally, I've found that the Yachtpath and Sevenstar ships are late getting to port by a couple of days, but maybe that's more prevalent here on the West Coast, with distance, weather, and the Panama Canal operations affecting things. Sometimes they're early! One time I had a phone call telling me to be in Ensenada the next morning to offload, two days earlier than announced. On another occasion, I had to fly my crew to Oakland, CA. to pick up a 78' Azimuth that was shipped from the factory. It was scheduled to be offloaded in Los Angeles, but the floating crane operators were on strike, so the ship just kept going to the next scheduled port of call. That was just cargo, though, not a yacht transport.
    The yacht shippers are very efficient at what they do. They own their cribbing, stands , slings, securing gear and use their own people to load. I saw the local Union Stevedores sitting and watching the Yachtpath guys loading and securing the yachts in New Orleans. They had to be there and had to be paid, but they had to stay out of the way. I believe that they use their own crane operators, as well. Confirmation, anyone? One aspect of shipping yachts is that it's your property and your problem. You must buy your own cargo insurance. If there is minor damage, the company may take care of the problem, but it's generally up to the Cargo Insurance. Even UPS and FedEx, to name just two, have a very limited responsibility for what they ship. I've heard that the laws governing cargo are as old as the Plimsole mark. I notice that the carriers don't go to great lengths to protect your cargo. I've seen fully shrink-wrapped boats on this last load as well as yachts with their canvas and isinglass up. How your vessel is prepared is up to you. Remember that these ships can travel at speeds up to 20 knots. A 25 knot headwind can send fabric flying at 45 knots apparent wind speed. Incidentally, the DYT ships provide much more cover and windbreak for the yachts then deck cargo shipping. When I deliver a yacht for transport, I attempt to conceal valuable portable goods like binoculars and small electronics, remove canvas and isinglass, pad and secure anything movable like artwork and loose furniture, secure things externally that can move like anchors or a sailboat boom, etc.
    Generally, the shipper will have a list of people they have worked with at each port.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Actually the company that acquired the assets of Yacht Path was Yacht Path Holdings LLC which then chose the United name. Interesting that one of the YP's other entity names was Unity Shipping. Now also the Cummings family is involved with the new company on a Consulting basis, per the available information.
  16. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Member

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    I used Yachpath from Ensenada up the coast to Victoria. My broker had a "friend" who was an indpendent broker for Yachtpath so it was not direct with them. The boat made it fine with no damage. However, the lack of information, constant schedule changes with last minute notice and mass last minute paperwork requirements was a huge hassle. If I ever do this again I will go direct to the shipper as i have heard that is a better appraoch.
  17. Rodger

    Rodger Senior Member

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    Sevenstar

    Going out tomorrow morning about two miles from Welland Canal into Lake Ontario to meet vessel Flevogracht that is down bound in canal now and it will go to anchor tonight, will load Tinker Toy a 72' Hatteras that is going to Florida. Will send pictuers tomorrow.
  18. Johngb24560

    Johngb24560 New Member

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    Dishonest Yacht Transport Companies

    From past experience and not off a favorable type, I would avoid any company that has any envolvement with the Cummings brothers. They are dishonest and play the bait and switch game. I caught them out lying while playing a role of pretending to be acting in our best wishes. My advise is with any yacht transport company is to NEVER ever pay a deposit or balance payment directly into their accounts but through an escrow account. It saves a huge amount of pain.

    I was contacted only a few days ago by a yacht owner that got scammed by a ft Lauderdale based transport company. He got taken for $80,000, we got scammed for $137,000 by the same company a little over a year ago. Beware of Yacht Export otherwise trading as Global Relogistics or Ocean Trade Lines.
  19. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Yes, they have a litany of complaints in all types of transport. They have an F bbb rating as well. Boats just a small part of their business.

    However, in looking them up I found the all time best title ever for a ripoff report. Now the actual complaint was sort of weak. But the lady named Carmelita, from Elk Grove California, titled her report, "You could have at least used vaseline."
  20. captmac44

    captmac44 New Member

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    I too had a bad experience with Yacht Path. Then along comes United-Yacht and I thought, "well here you go. Another shipper that might be able to assist me." Then, I heard that the Cummings were still involved. That settled it for me; I won't be going near U-Y!

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