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Old 24-01-2013, 09:59   #1
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Ship by land or by water?

I'm planning on purchasing a 1981 Stevens 47 sailboat in South Carolina and want to get it to my home port in Blaine Washington. The quotes for shipping by road transport are approximately $20k. My Dad has offered to sail it around through the canal and up the west coast. He would leave in March and need to be in Washington by June. Couple of quick questions:

- How difficult of sailing is that route? Especially up the west coast of central america, mexico and the USA in May/June?
- Is the wear and tear on the boat from sailing it worth any savings?
- What is the cost to go through the Panama Canal?
- How many hours of motoring would one expect to do on a trip like this? Wondering for diesel costs and wear-and-tear?
- How difficult is this route for an intermediate sailor?

Thank you in advance for any help or guidance on this?
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Old 24-01-2013, 10:17   #2
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Re: Ship by land or by water?

its one known vs thousands of unknowns.

20K and your boat is delivered in the condition you bought it in.

or 20k more or less in actual or wear and tear expenses and a bunch of possible surprises, not the pleasant ones.

last but not least is the relationship with your dad. if you want to keep it in good standing don't do it.
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Old 24-01-2013, 10:21   #3
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pirate Re: Ship by land or by water?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mctdog View Post
I'm planning on purchasing a 1981 Stevens 47 sailboat in South Carolina and want to get it to my home port in Blaine Washington. The quotes for shipping by road transport are approximately $20k. My Dad has offered to sail it around through the canal and up the west coast. He would leave in March and need to be in Washington by June. Couple of quick questions:

- How difficult of sailing is that route? Especially up the west coast of central america, mexico and the USA in May/June?
- Is the wear and tear on the boat from sailing it worth any savings?
- What is the cost to go through the Panama Canal?
- How many hours of motoring would one expect to do on a trip like this? Wondering for diesel costs and wear-and-tear?
- How difficult is this route for an intermediate sailor?
Thank you in advance for any help or guidance on this?
Getting down to Panama and through is no big deal... the transit will be around $2000 if you use an agent and he supplies line handlers, 20 car tyres and 120ft lines... Shelter Bay Marina will set you back around $500/week... there is an anchorage but folk have been boarded and robbed there. Best option is set things up with an agent, stay in the marina till measured up (2-3days) then head for the San Blas islands till the phone call giving you date and time of transit... then head into SB to pick up handlers etc.. average wait regardless of what they say is at least 3 weeks and a couple of false starts..
Arrange drop off for fenders, handlers etc at the Balboa YC... its a real pain getting them ashore at Las Brisas.. rough water and a shitty dinghy dock to land bulky stuff at.
From Panama north expect to use a lot of fuel... more than that I cannot say... never traveled north..
Recommend Erick at Centenario & co handled everything and the handlers were a great bunch of lads... tho' you can arrange your own handlers from cruisers in the marina..
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Old 24-01-2013, 10:52   #4
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Re: Ship by land or by water?

I just crossed the Panama Canal in my boat in November 2012. Using an agent, line handlers and rented line the total cost was about $2300, which included a sir charge becasue my boat was measured at 51.5 feet (Over 50 feet)

You should plan on motoring 80% of the Pacific coast... Which means in Panama about $4.25 a gallon for diesel and over $5 per gallon in Costa Rica. Once your in Mexico Diesel drops to about $3.25 per gallon, but bck in the US you are going to be paying over $5 per gallon again. SO you should probably budget between $5k and $6k for diesel.

Depending on how many countries check in and out of, you should probably budget another $2000 for check in/out fees and VISAs.

Two months worth of food... $3K

Marina Fees.... $3K

That is known figures... The unknowns, especially with a boat you don't know will be the mechanical breakdowns in foreign countries.

Just yesterday I paid almost $500 to ship an Alternator from Canada to Panama and that didn't include the price for part!

I would ship it by truck...
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Old 24-01-2013, 11:25   #5
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Re: Ship by land or by water?

Remember that it is an uphill voyage... once north of Z Town, you will spend a lot of time taking it on the nose. As an alternative, head out 600-1000 miles and turn right and you should end up between San Diego and Ensenada that time of year. Be assured, something will break... it will just depend on how expensive the failure is... plus normal wear and tear experienced off shore. you will run through $20k pretty quick, especially when you add in the transit costs of the Canal. Cheers, Phil
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Old 24-01-2013, 11:45   #6
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Re: Ship by land or by water?

Another option with better winds is to sail Panama to Hawaii then to the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Well, winds HI - WA are better in Feb, but it's colder. If sailing later, head due north from HI until westerly are found, then head east.
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Old 24-01-2013, 12:21   #7
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Re: Ship by land or by water?

Having never done this trip I can't speak from experience, but I know a number of people that have sailed down the California coast then sold the boat in Mexico to avoid having to sail it back.

Frankly I would guess that trucking it would be no more expensive than the delivery, plus you get the boat months sooner, and without a lot of wear and tear put on a new (to you) boat. If its about getting it home I would truck it, if you want to do the cruise, well that's different.
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Old 24-01-2013, 13:07   #8
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Re: Ship by land or by water?

Trucking is the way to go. The sailing trip as a delivery would be grueling and full of adventure. Not the fun type of adventure I suspect.

I recently had my 45' boat shipped 1200 miles and I found two things in the estimation process; there are lots and lots of trucking companies and as expected, lots of competition. My estimates varied between 6K and 12K. I used a company based near the boat but it turns out that didn't matter much.

Good luck with your new boat!
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Old 24-01-2013, 15:40   #9
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Re: Ship by land or by water?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
.......
Two months worth of food... $3K
......
3K in food? I spend $150 max. a month when landbased, and I am over 6'4". How could one possibly get to 10x a month more unless that includes some shares in a rum factory
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Old 10-03-2013, 23:44   #10
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Re: Ship by land or by water?

Hi mctdog

I am contemplating the same trip from Sint Martin to San Francisco, I have also looked at shipping .... What have you decided? It was not clear to me what are the best time of year to sail. Let me know what your thoughts and if you going to do it.

best. Serge
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