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Old 03-14-2013, 03:06 PM   #1
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One if by land, two if by sea

I have been investigating transportable trawlers (trawlers that could be shipped over land with an oversize load permit, but without a pilot car) for too many years with the intention of getting a boat that could be economically ship overland to the PNW for summer cruising and back to So Cal (where we live) for use the rest of the year. Now, my wife decided that she thinks we need/want a second stateroom for guests. I think she might be right (or I never miss an opportunity to make the boat bigger) so I started investigating double stateroom options. I quickly realized that it is had to get a transportable single stateroom trawler, but nearly impossible to find a transportable double stateroom boat. In other words you can have one stateroom is you ship it by land but to have two staterooms you have to ship it by sea. There are a couple exceptions to this rule, like the Midnight Lace and the Back Cove 37, but they are a significant compromise or very expensive.

So, how crazy is it to consider a two stateroom boat and sail it from LA to Washington every spring and back every fall? I'm not ready to retire yet and I don't want to burn all my (5 weeks of) vacation getting there and back, so I'd either hire a skipper to sail it up there for me or I'd get some watch standers and do it in a couple of extended marathon weekends. What boat options would you recommend? The requirements are two staterooms (second stateroom with at least a vee-berth), under $200K and capable of making the 1,117 NM trip from LA to Anacortes without too restrictive of a weather window.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:26 PM   #2
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The only thing I can tell you based on knowing several people who have done this, albeit just from SFO to Puget Sound, is that the weather and sea conditions can vary widely and you need to be prepared to put into one of the few ports along the way and wait for awhile for the conditions to improve. Weather forecasting is pretty good these days but while they can forecast the weather they can't change it.

A good friend bought a GB46 in Alameda three years or so ago and had a delivery crew run it up the coast. (The friend is a very experienced skipper but he didn't have the time to run the boat up himself.)

This was during the summer. The weather was such that the trip took a couple of months, most of it spent waiting in harbors along the way for the weather to improve. It turned into a logistical nightmare as skippers and crew members timed out and had to go home, replacements found, and so forth.

That's probably a worst-case scenario. Plenty of people make this run in both directions with no problems or delays at all. But the nature of the run and the conditions off the coast are such that you need to be prepared for significant delays. If you don't have a schedule it's no problem other than the inconvenience factor. If you do have a schedule due to work constraints it could conceivably wipe out your vacation plans.

What about the notion of chartering a boat in the PNW when you want to cruise here? There are plenty of good charter companies and the cost is probably no more and perhaps a lot less than the cost of running your own boat up and back plus moorage while you are here and so forth. And the potential delay issue goes away entirely.

Chartering would let you tailor the boat to each trip's specific needs in terms of the number of people on board, how fast you need to go to get where you want in the time you have, and so forth.

While I certainly agree that cruising in one's own boat is far superior to chartering someone else's bare-boat, there are times when chartering makes a whole lot of sense. This could be one of them.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:27 PM   #3
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Hiring a skipper to move the boat back and forth sounds a lot more realistic than the haul. Hauling, while doable in the following boats is not without its pains either. Plenty of 2 stateroom boats in your price range. Grand Banks 36 comes to mind off the top of my head. Monk 36 is another, with a great example of one in this forums classified section that I thought very long and very hard about buying and having shipped to California.

Good luck in your quest.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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We had our GB36 trucked from Alameda, CA to Tacoma, WA in 1998. The trip took three days and cost just under $4,000. At the time, it would have cost just as much to hire a delivery skipper to run the boat up on its own bottom, and our insurance company was WAY happier with the boat on a trailer than off the coast somewhere.

The trucking company we used, Associated, is an expert at marine hauling. They told us that the GB36 is the largest GB model that can be trucked along the west coast without removing the flying bridge. Everything above it--- mast, boom, venturi panels, antennas, bimini--- had to come off of course. A boat this size does require a pilot car.

But given the short time and the minimal risk factor, we would always choose to truck a boat like ours (or smaller) up or down the coast rather than run it on its own hull. The cost seems comparable or perhaps today even less given the price of fuel.

Unless, of course, one simply wants the experience of running a boat up or down the coast. I've done my open-ocean boating time already in Hawaii so have no interest in that kind of boating anymore. But other people do.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
A good friend bought a GB46 in Alameda three years or so ago and had a delivery crew run it up the coast. (The friend is a very experienced skipper but he didn't have the time to run the boat up himself.)

This was during the summer. The weather was such that the trip took a couple of months, most of it spent waiting in harbors along the way for the weather to improve. That's probably a worst-case scenario.

What about the notion of chartering a boat in the PNW when you want to cruise here? There are plenty of good charter companies and the cost is probably no more and perhaps a lot less than the cost of running your own boat up and back plus moorage while you are here and so forth. And the potential delay issue goes away entirely.
I have spent more time researching this question that I care to admit. I'm a SoCal resident who is in love with the PNW. (In the summer!) From a dollars & cents, time in the PNW for cruising, etc., you cannot beat chartering! Not to mention the variety of boats you have access to. Charter, more time on the water, less expensive, walk away. No captains, no tax, no maintenance, NO WORRIES!
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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To Walt's post I will add that the variety of boats one can charter here is pretty staggering. There are, of course, a zillion different kinds of sailboats for charter if one is into sailing.

But the range of powerboats is amazing. From little Ranger Tugs up through GB52s, just about every configuration and style of boat can be had for charter. The GB charter outfit in our marina has the whole range (although I'm not sure if they currently have a GB32 for charter). There are companies with Nordic Tugs and CHBs and Bayliners of all sizes, and American Tugs, and Mainships, and Sabres, and Selenes, and you name it.

There are charter companies in BC up toward Desolation Sound so if one has a limited amount of vacation time you don't even have to use some of it getting to and from.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:27 PM   #7
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I've done charters out of Anacortes and loved it. I hope to do another this summer. My last charter was on a 37' Trawler which cost $3,500 per week (we thought the stateroom in that boat was too cramped, so the next charter will probably cost more). The break even point is probably between 2 and 3 weeks. I would like to spend 4 to 5 weeks of vacation in the PNW per year so shipping the boat seams to make economic sense.

The other alternative would be to just leave the boat stored on the hard in the PNW all winter and only use it in the PNW. If I use the boat 1 weekend a month in So Cal (its a guess) that would be about 10 weekends a year not counting the summer in the PNW. Between shipping cost and So Cal slip fees, I could save ~$10K, which means those weekend trips would be costing about a boat unit each. Even at 2 weekends a month, the cost would be half a boat unit per weekend. OTOH, I'd prefer to have the boat where I could check on it and maintain it.

The problem with charters is most boats don't allow pets and they are never set up the way you want them. You spend the first week getting used to the boat and its needs.

I'm on a 9/80 work schedule so every other weekend is a 3 day weekend (except for uncompensated overtime). If I were going to drive it myself, I'd wait for a weather window that hopefully aligns with a 3 day weekend. I'd leave Thursday afternoon and I could get about 60 hours in by Sunday afternoon. If I take a day of vacation it would be 84 hours or 672 NM at 8 knots. The plan would be to get about halfway and leave the boat at a marina near an Airport. San Francisco would work well but that is only about 1/3rd of the way and the harbors in Oregon have sub optimal airport access. Crescent City is about the best (except for tsunami risk, have to see what the insurance company says about that) because it is just over halfway and has good airport access. Maybe by the time I get a boat Crescent City will have slips available?
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:50 PM   #8
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We had the same situation last year - charter or take our own boat. It was quite easy for us to calculate which was more economical. How many days chartering vs cost of hiring a captain, fuel and some added maintenance. Our break even was somewhere between 20 - 25 days of chartering.

We knew we wanted to be there longer than that, so we took our own. Ended up being there 71 days total. Well worth it economically, not to mention the comfort of having our familiar, and setup how we like it, boat.

Hoping to do it again this year. Although if we do, we'll probably leave it there over the winter this time.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:53 PM   #9
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Gotta remember to factor in for Murphy and his games....

I was going to recommend a Ranger R-31, so you could trailer the boat back and forth..then I saw your comment about the 37 having a tiny cabin.

A friend of mine trailers his Bayliner 38 from Jackson, WY to Puget Sound, and did so for a number of years. It can be done.....as crazy at it sounds!
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