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Old 03-23-2016, 12:10 PM   #1
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To Cruise or to truck?

Hi All,

We are looking a bit ahead and hoping to travel the Great Loop in two years. We have a 34 CHB and think that it would be the perfect size for the loop. Our dilemma is how to get it there. Time is not really a factor as we will (all going according to plan) will be retired by then.

We have priced having it trucked across Canada and across the US (roughly the same price $8,000 cnd) The other option we were looking at is having the boat trucked to San Diego (from Vancouver BC) and then sailing from there though the Panama Canal and then over to Florida to start the loop.

The biggest concern is that I am not sure if this boat is sufficient to do the trip from San Diego to Panama. We have read enough to think we do not want to cruise down the coast from Vancouver to San Diego, but are not sure about the rest of the trip.

Any input on any of the above would be greatly appreciated
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:25 PM   #2
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My opinion is that the easy part of the trip is the part from Washington to San Diego.

It's all US waters, reliable weather forecasting, excellent chars, plenty of known good places to stay along the way.

Once you leave the USA you are in someone elses country. If nothing else that brings the fear of the unknown.

I can't say if your boat is up to the trip south through the canal. It's probably possible, but if you are not anxious to traverse the US west coast, I cannot see how you would be willing to make the rest of that very long journey either.
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:56 PM   #3
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Why would you pass up northern BC and SE Alaska for the loop? Not to mention the $16K for boat transport.
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:59 PM   #4
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We are doing the BC Alaska trip as well
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Old 03-23-2016, 01:32 PM   #5
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I think I would truck the boat across Canada/United States if your goal is the loop. Have you considered selling your west-coast boat and purchasing another boat that's already on the loop? Might be less expensive in the long run (no pun intended).
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Old 03-23-2016, 01:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 34 Europa View Post
Hi All,

We have priced having it trucked across Canada and across the US (roughly the same price $8,000 cnd)
Depending on your goals, either way could be a good option. A 34 is a pretty small boat with limited fuel range, but if you have plenty of time and money, taking the boat through the canal would be a great trip, but expect to spend lots of time waiting for weather windows, doing repairs and maintenance, checking in and out of different countries, looking for fuel etc. You will probably eat up the better part of a season just getting positioned. Insurance could be expensive and harder to find too. Canal costs are high, along with long wait times, you will need to hire line handlers, you will probably have to rent acceptable lines, pay a surveyor to measure the boat, pay transit fees etc.

If your limited in funds or time, trucking would make much more sense. Moving the boat on it's own bottom is very expensive once you factor in canal costs, fuel, moorage, eating out, wear and tear, regular maintenance like oil changes, and lots more. $8K is pretty reasonable, the boat arrives with no additonal wear, it gets there pretty much on the date you want, you don't need cruising insurance, there are no problems with customs, currency, finding fuel, and the risks along the way are pretty nonexistant.

Best of luck...........Captain Jeff
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Old 03-23-2016, 02:09 PM   #7
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Wifey B: Do what turns you on. I'm serious. What is it you really want to do? Now the entire bit of not going to do WA to SD but then considering the rest of the trip isn't very logical. The roughest conditions we encountered doing this in 2014-15 was Washington and Oregon.

What is your range? I see that being the biggest challenge. There are some fuel challenged stretches, especially from Panama to Belize if my memory is right. As to boat size, there are lots of smaller and lots of bigger on the route, but there could be days or longer stretches you'll be stuck waiting for windows. Mostly good places to be stuck.

But if Panama is only a means to get to the loop in your mind, then no no no no no Do the Panama Canal bit only if that's what you're lusting for. Otherwise truck it or ship it east and loop from there.

Now if this is a one time loop, then don't miss the rivers. Take a pause before going down the TN Tom. Spend a season on the TN River and Cumberland and one on the Ohio and Missouri. Don't pass it all by. It'd be like cruising right past the Columbia River when you do Oregon and never going in it. Same thing on the East Coast. Spend time on the Chesapeake, go up the Potomac, check out the Delaware. And again if you're just there for the loop, don't miss out on New England. Cape Cod, Nantucket (the capital of limericks), Martha's Vineyard, Long Island Sound.

What's your range? Your speed? How long you think you can stay on the trip?
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Old 03-23-2016, 02:11 PM   #8
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How much time do you have, how are your mechanical skills and do you speak any Spanish? Services once you leave Mexcio can be a challenge.

Weather: The trip from San Diego to Panama and then Panama to Florida both take some seasonal considerations. From June 1 to Nov 1 is hurricane season both on the West Coast of MX and the Caribbean/Florida. You also have the Christmas winds (reinforced trades) in the Caribbean from sometime in December to February/March.

It took us 4 plus years from the time we left San Diego till we arrived in Florida. A great trip if your up for it and have patience.
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Old 03-23-2016, 02:16 PM   #9
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I'd vote for trucking, not that I think you/your vessel is not capable, just from what I have read of sailors going through the canal along with less the stellar southern regions of Mexico etc, that would not be my cup of tea, some people are up for the challenge, so it really comes down to how comfortable you are with it.
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:02 PM   #10
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I like the suggestion of buying a boat that is already on the East Coast, doing the loop, then selling it. It would be more expensive when you factor in sales tax, brokers fees, licensing etc... but probably not by a whole lot. $8,000 for trucking the boat is just part of the cost, there is the haul out and prep, then the recommissioning on the other end.

Another thought is that you have a PNW boat. It likely is setup great for deep water, cool and wet weather, and no low bridges. If you bought a boat on sight, it would be set up for skinny water, hot/humid weather, and lower air height. Maybe I am all wrong, but something to consider.
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:05 PM   #11
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For the OP, what is the water draft and the air draft of your boat?
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:14 PM   #12
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Looking at them in YW it looks like they draft 3 to 4 ft. Don't think draft would be an issue. Haven't seen air draft, but looking at the pics, they look like a fine boat to do the ICW as long as they have one with AC
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:26 PM   #13
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The water draft doesn't look like a problem. With the mast, the air draft definitely is so will require stepping it down.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:42 PM   #14
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Buy an east-coast boat and take a cruise ship through the betwixt-the-Americas canal.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:51 PM   #15
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Have you looked at the cost of going through the Panama Canal? According to an article in the current (April) issue of Sea magazine, you will have to pay:


Cruising Permit $200
72 hour Mariner's Visa $100 per person
Transit fee for boats under 50' LOA $800
If you do not have AIS installed you must rent the canal's portable AIS device which costs $161/day.


If it were me, I'd ship it. Have you considered shipping it to somewhere in Texas where you would have access to the Gulf? That would save you the Canal fees and might be cheaper than going to the Great Lakes.
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Buy an east-coast boat and take a cruise ship through the betwixt-the-Americas canal.
Based on the size of your boat and roundtrip shipping, throw in possible engine rebuild and such at completion VS buying someone's loop veteran of the same size you may not want to subject your boat to the whole process.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:36 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Buy an east-coast boat and take a cruise ship through the betwixt-the-Americas canal.
+1
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:35 AM   #18
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The passage from San Diego, down Baja and over to Panama, though the canal and then across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida is a serious blue water passage. I would not consider doing that on a CHB 34.


Buy a CHB on the east coast, do the loop and then sell it. Lot's cheaper and safer than what you are proposing.


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Old 03-24-2016, 01:46 PM   #19
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Shipping will be cheaper from southern Cali to south Texas. Brownsville is the end of the GICW, might be a good places to start.
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:47 PM   #20
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Truck it to the great lakes. Start from there.

Can you say, " Trent-Severn"? Sure you can.

Now try "Rideau canal", "Richelieu river" and "Chambly canal"

You are in for a great trip. And you have the right boat.
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