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Old 04-22-2017, 08:39 AM   #1
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Yacht Transport Experiences

i have been getting some estimates to ship our Marlow 57E from Port Everglades to St. Thomas next November and have been gotten some wildly variable prices. We have never shipped a boat before and for that matter don't know anyone who has.

The price bit is easy to sort out, but I would love to hear from anyone who as actually done this and their experience with dependability, damage, scheduling and etc.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:04 AM   #2
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I would think hiring a delivery captain would be vastly cheaper than trying to ship it. Especially a Marlow. You will have people falling all over themselves to take such a nice boat on a delivery to St. Thomas.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:22 AM   #3
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You will find the dependability of the service very closely tied to the pricing. You start with the top yacht transporters such as Seven Stars and their price will be top. Then United will be next price wise. Their adherence to schedule will be far less dependable. Last you go the route of the many small brokers (they'd have you believe they're large) and anything resembling a schedule becomes doubtful.

That's why you have such a variance on pricing. At the top end, your boat is going on a ship with other boats only. At the bottom end, your boat is going on anything that hauls cargo and fit in wherever and however it fits.

Note also that Dockwise is owned by Seven Stars. Their rates are higher though due to the luxury of their float on services.

Personally, unless I had some regular connections (such as boat manufacturers who schedule their own ships), I'd only use Seven Stars or Dockwise. Otherwise your November might be February. Even Seven Stars and Dockwise schedules will change a little along the way.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:26 AM   #4
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I am too possessive to entrust the boat to a delivery captain over an infamous passage of water, the fuel bill along would be shocking and adding 150 hours to the engine run time is also not free.

Either we are shipping or not going.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:29 AM   #5
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Now, my choice, as generally the case, would be to take the boat on it's own bottom, to enjoy the incredible places to see along the way. A few weeks through the Bahamas, then jumping off from Long Island across to the Turks and Caicos. From there the longest ocean cruise to the Dominican Republic. Puerto Plata then Samana. From there to St. Thomas unless a Puerto Rico stop first.

The longest leg is from Leeward, Turks and Caicos, to Puerto Plata and it's just a little over 200 nm. A total trip easily made in less than 10 days to 2 weeks, but easily enjoyed for a much longer time.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:36 AM   #6
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I am too possessive to entrust the boat to a delivery captain over an infamous passage of water, the fuel bill along would be shocking and adding 150 hours to the engine run time is also not free.

Either we are shipping or not going.
On my other post, please note that Samana to USVI would be a bit longer. Was 280 nm for us.

Infamous passage of water? What?

No, no aspect of it is free. Boat ownership isn't. If you don't want to spend for gas or put hours on your engines, then I'd just charter in the Virgin Islands.

If 150 hours on your engines is a huge number, how much have you been using them?

If you decide to go from Port Everglades to Newport Rhode Island are you also going to say no to taking the boat on it's bottom?

Sorry, just trying to understand your perspective. Assuming you're very new to boating. If so, how are you planning on using it in the Virgin Islands?
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by WaterRat Pat;
I am too possessive to entrust the boat to a delivery captain over an infamous passage of water, the fuel bill along would be shocking and adding 150 hours to the engine run time is also not free. Either we are shipping or not going.
Any captain or shipper reading that will either double your price or say no thanks.

How is your prized possession any safer being slung off and on, travelling through who knows what weather and being watched over by a crew of minimum wagers?

Listen to what BandB and Tom B said, then captain shop and ride along various legs.

There are some good people right here I would entrust for that run, without having ever met them.
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Old 04-22-2017, 02:34 PM   #8
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I too don't get it. St Thomas is 1,200 NM from Port Everglades. A crew of three could make it in 10 days doing 2-3 legs going slow at about 9-10 kts burning 10 gph. Fuel will require about 1,300 gallons and will be a tiny fraction of the shipping bill. So what is 150 hours at low loads on those big Cats.

Where do I sign up

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Old 04-22-2017, 02:39 PM   #9
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Maybe we're all missing something. Riverrat, are you planning on keeping it in St. Thomas permanently? Moving there? What is your level of experience?
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Old 04-22-2017, 02:57 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the comments, but I would still like to hear from anyone that has actually had their boat shipped to anywhere.

Since you asked here is our cruising profile. We donít mind long passages. Just got back from a three month cruise to Mexico, 440 miles and 2.5 days both ways. But it took two weeks to find a weather window in December. This will be a theme you will hear again.

We have been to the Bahamas eleven times, each time leaving from Marathon and doing an overnight to Nassau, Harbor Island or Abacos. Finding a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream in November is not easy. In 2015 we waited in Marathon nine days and still found it so rough that we went to Nassau rather than slogging on to Harbor Island. I could go on, but the point is that each of the numerous passages from Florida to The Virgins require relatively settled weather and the windows are very short that time of year. Perhaps they could be knocked out quickly, but I also expect it could easily take six weeks. That and the return trip would certainly take a big chunk of our planned 4-5 month cruise.

We just are not going to do it.
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:25 PM   #11
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You obviously look for a better weather window than we do. However, you want to talk shipping, so what questions do you have? I gave you an explanation earlier of the wide variations in pricing. I would personally choose Seven Stars or Dockwise for that route. I have had boats shipped to South Florida. I also have a close friend who is a captain and deals daily with all the shippers including United and including smaller brokers.

Seven Stars runs a regular trip from West Palm to St. Thomas. The advantage of their greater frequency is you could ship in advance if desired to not risk it arriving late.

Dockwise has a November trip scheduled from Port Everglades to St. Thomas.

The advantage of shipping on regularly scheduled boats of yachts is that you're not alone and so it's far more likely to actually ship. If you find a broker who just puts you on a cargo ship, then you're just subject to a lot of things not happening when and how promised. You're not part of the priority.

United is the successor to Yacht Path. Their performance and dependability had been very inconsistent. Yacht Path went bankrupt after getting ships arrested for non-payment. United doesn't have regular ships to the Virgin Islands.
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by WaterRat Pat View Post
Thanks for all the comments, but I would still like to hear from anyone that has actually had their boat shipped to anywhere.



Since you asked here is our cruising profile. We donít mind long passages. Just got back from a three month cruise to Mexico, 440 miles and 2.5 days both ways. But it took two weeks to find a weather window in December. This will be a theme you will hear again.



We have been to the Bahamas eleven times, each time leaving from Marathon and doing an overnight to Nassau, Harbor Island or Abacos. Finding a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream in November is not easy. In 2015 we waited in Marathon nine days and still found it so rough that we went to Nassau rather than slogging on to Harbor Island. I could go on, but the point is that each of the numerous passages from Florida to The Virgins require relatively settled weather and the windows are very short that time of year. Perhaps they could be knocked out quickly, but I also expect it could easily take six weeks. That and the return trip would certainly take a big chunk of our planned 4-5 month cruise.



We just are not going to do it.


Not to drag this thru the darkness any more, but two things stand put here.

First is that delivery captains don't need nearly the weather window that you might. Yachts like yours can take far heavier seas than you can and delivery crews are much better with rougher sea states. Second is that you sound like you are on a tight schedule. We will take that at face value, but I guess that if nine days is going to break the schedule bank, based on what BandB said, I don't even know if shipping it will keep you in your window.

I called a shipping company once when we were seeing boats we liked that were not local, but I guess I didn't sound serious enough for the guy to really give me very good information about the process. I guess they get a ton of tire-kickers in that biz.

Good luck.
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Old 04-22-2017, 04:15 PM   #13
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I don't even know if shipping it will keep you in your window.

I called a shipping company once when we were seeing boats we liked that were not local, but I guess I didn't sound serious enough for the guy to really give me very good information about the process. I guess they get a ton of tire-kickers in that biz.

Good luck.
I'd strongly advise to ship it well before you plan on using it there. A week to two week delay is not unusual at all. 30 days late is always possible.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:56 PM   #14
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I shipped my boat from Manzanillo to Victoria, BC with United and it went perfectly. Picked up within a day of their load date and delivered on time and without damage. There are just some times when it isn't practical or even possible to move a boat on its own bottom. These guys are pros and as mentioned the others offering services are just buying space on a boat and can guarantee very little as they have no control.
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:32 AM   #15
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i have been getting some estimates to ship our Marlow 57E from Port Everglades to St. Thomas next November and have been gotten some wildly variable prices. We have never shipped a boat before and for that matter don't know anyone who has.

The price bit is easy to sort out, but I would love to hear from anyone who as actually done this and their experience with dependability, damage, scheduling and etc.
Used Dockwise to ship our 53' Hatteras from Port Everglades to Coal Harbor Vancouver BC, float-on float-off was seamless; and I didn't have to worry about her being dropped by a crane operator. Pricy, but would do it again
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