This is a topic dear to my heart.
A couple of years ago I decided to move my Hinckley50 yawl, CYGNUS, from Northeast Harbor, Maine
to Mallorca, Spain
(we have a home there). I considered single-handing her across, but the potential risks of a 72 year old man and a 40 year old boat seemed a bit sobering (falling overboard
, heart attacks, equipment failure, etc. etc) .
Then two attractive young ladies, recent graduates of the University of Florida
, touring Down-east, Maine
saw CYGNUS and I at the dock
and started a conversation and with great enthusiasm volunteered to come along as crew. And they claimed they were both good cooks - certainly better than Dinty Moore Beef Stew and Stag Chili for days on end. Now that sounded like a better alternative to a crew of a few smelly guys - until I told my wife!
"No way," she proclaimed
"Why not?," I asked.
"Think about it! Two 23 year old chicks with a 72 year old goat! What would our friends say?"
"Well, my friends would probably give me a high five!" I countered in retaliation for the "Old Goat" comment. But the icy silence that followed for the next few days showed me that I had not won that argument.
So let me get to the point! I started researching shipping by freighter. There were two major players: DOCKWISE Yacht Transport and SevenStar. Dockwise featured a ship that partially sunk and one simply sailed on, the crew secures the vessels and when fully loaded, they blow ballast and head
for the Med.
SevenStar's ships are basically freighters and yachts are loaded as deck cargo. I must say that the crew was very efficient and seemed to know what they were doing.
All I had to do was single-hand my boat from Northeast Harbor to Newport
(beat the hell out of a trans-Atlantic).
The cost? About $25,000 each way (smaller boats cost less; larger boats a bit more). CYGNUS went over on SevenStar and returned from Palma de Mallorca 14 months later on Dockwise. A total cost of $50,000. There are now other players in the yacht transport game
. I understand that there are some freighters that will take yacts on as deck cargo but there is the cost of building a cradle which cost a few thousand and you are on their schedule and may end up in Turkey instead of the, say, South of France
. All in all, the $50K seemed worth it - a professional operation, that drops you where they say they'll splash down and pretty much on schedule. However, it will take a day to clean up the boat of salt
Bottom-line; If I'd been 30-40 years younger, I would have probably sailed her over. But even then, it's not a bad deal on the deck of a freighter.
Sorry for the length of this Epistle!