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Old 29-08-2012, 19:57   #1
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Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

I'm in the process of purchasing a 38' sailboat through a broker in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where the boat is located. If the purchase goes through, I will need to hire a delivery captain to sail her to the Chesapeake, (probably Deale, MD), towards the end of September. (I want to go along too for the learning experience) So my question is how best to choose a delivery captain?

I've read through several websites, (internet search of forum posts), and I've contacted several of the companies asking for cost estimates and scheduling availability. In the meantime I thought I would post here asking for;

1) Recommendations for what to look for when choosing a delivery captain?

2) Questions that should be asked of a prospective delivery captain?

3) For anyone who's had this done, approximate costs involved?

Finally, if you have a recommendation of someone you've hired, that information would be helpful too.



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Old 29-08-2012, 22:35   #2
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

Look for a licenced,experienced captain. Don't expect to do this on the cheep,you get what you pay for. Find out if this person has made this particular trip before. Ask about crew. Be sure to tell him the truth about your experience or the lack thereof. Most pros don't like the owner along, it can cause difficulties if the owner doesn't alow the skipper to maintain comand. Ask the prospective captain if he is comfortable having you abord. I can't stress this enough. It's best to get to know each other for a feu weeks before the trip. I've had some very good owners in this respect and more than a feu really bad ones. Ask if he is willing to give you instructions on the way, but remember this is a delivery and the idea is to get the boat there quickly and safely. Not every delivery skipper is a good teacher.

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Old 30-08-2012, 04:31   #3
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Choose someone who is recommended by someone you trust
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Old 30-08-2012, 04:45   #4
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

Here is who I used from my trip from Miami to the Chesapeake. He is also an offshore sailing instructor and does owner assisted deliveries. Also just a great easy going guy. Has my highest reccomendation. Arnstein Mustad of Mustad Marine Mustad Marine Yacht Delivery Service
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Old 30-08-2012, 05:11   #5
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

We went through this a few yrs ago when we bought our current boat. It was in Baltimore and we had to have it brought down to SC. We couldn't take time off work to do it all ourselves. We got recommendations from both brokers. I would talk to any you are considering, ask about experience. Also ask for references.

We ended up using Capt. Steve Weisbrod. Very highly recommend him. He's based in the upper Chesapeake. You'll have to pay either to bring the capt to the boat or back home afterwards. I think the going rate is about $250/day (more or less depending on experience) for an experienced capt. Capt Steve had no problems with us being along for part of the trip and was very helpful as he was familar with the boat. We asked a ton of questions and he was very open to us picking his brain. I have his contact info somewhere but I think he may still be on CF.

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Old 30-08-2012, 06:15   #6
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jason.
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Old 30-08-2012, 08:38   #7
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD


There best way to find a Delivery Captain is through recommendations...

There are a lot of people out there with limited experience passing themselves off as delivery skippers. Not to bash the USCG Licensing system, but it is an academic test, with no practical skills test. Passing the USCG Licensing Exam does not make you a Delivery Captain. Time on any boat over five tons quailifes as seatime towards a USCG license. So becareful and do not use someone based soley on them holding a USCG License.

Make sure they have a resume or CV that indicates they have good expereince in both deliveries and East Coast sailing. Also make sure they are qualified for the type and size vessel you are moving.

Another thing is make sure to get at least three references from prospective Delivery Captain and call them. If he can't provide them, walk away...

You do get what you pay for and so expect to pay between $3-$5 per mile when it is all said and done (Meals, return airfare, lay days, extra crew).

IMHO any professional Delivery Captain that doesn't want the owner on board during the delivery is not someone I would like to hire. A professional will adapt and should have no problem being a Captain for the owner while he is on board.

One resource to locate a deliver skipper would be the Yacht Broker you are dealing with in Florida.

One of the previous post recommended Arnsteen MUSTAD. He and I were fellow instructors at a sailing school in the San Francisco Bay.

I would highly recommend him. He is an active Delivery Capatin with Tens of 1000's of miles under his belt on both coasts.

Since I started cruising, we have met twice south of the border while he was delivering boats to Panama and yes he was traveling with the owners.
Tom Jeremiason
SV Camelot
Punta Gorda, Florida
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Old 30-08-2012, 08:41   #8
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

My delivery captain met all of the criteria mentioned in this thread. He was patient and knowledgable. We had a great 3 day delivery. He is credentialed and appreciated me asking him for the testominials and recommendations.

Capt Bill Crouch USCG Master
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Old 30-08-2012, 18:14   #9
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

As a delivery captain for many, many years, my advice is to go with a captain your broker recommends, period.
Brokers use delivery captains a great deal and they weed out the losers very quickly.
Just to let you know; owner accompanied deliveries were a buck a mile more and sometimes I should have charged $5.00 extra per mile!
No, really; good on ya, you are being smart making the trip with a pro, if you feel it's necessary.
Have a great trip.
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Old 30-08-2012, 18:40   #10
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

As a retired delivery skipper, my advice echos capta's... go with a local broker's recommendation. If you plan on accompanying him on the trip, meet with him first to make certain there are no major negatives, personality-wise, affirm he is the skipper and everyone else is subordinate to his authority, including you.
Cost will be dependent upon his experience... make sure he is familiar with the waters you will be travelling. If he/she has experience in teaching at a sailing school, all the better.
I charged $3.00/nm but that was 5 years ago. Occasionally, I had owners come along for the ride and were usually very interested in picking up a few rules of the road and some of the boathandling techniques I learned over 50 years at sea. No Biggie!!
Good luck... Capt Phil
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Old 31-08-2012, 09:20   #11
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Re: Help Choosing a Delivery Captain - FL to MD

Thank you ALL..

For the terrific welcome and valuable information you've all passed along. I'm definitely more prepared for this decision now. In the short term, I'm focused on the survey and sea trial coming up next week. (I figure it's important to actually buy a boat, before you hire someone to deliver it..) I've also found out that the selling broker does indeed have a recommendation for a delivery captain so I will speak with them about that next week.

Once the purchase is confirmed, in addition to vetting the broker's recommendation, I'm also going to consider some of the recommendations supplied here. I think this would be a perfect opportunity to accomplish both the delivery of the vessel, as well as have an expert go over the boat and either help make, or recommend, any system repairs, tweaks, or upgrades, she may need, prior to the delivery trip.

Finally I can appreciate that some delivery captains are focused on the delivery, and want to do it as expeditiously as possible. I also see the potential for frustration when you're being hired to deliver a boat, and the one hiring you insists on coming along and acting like they're Russell Crowe on the bridge of the H.M.S. Surprise. However, I'm under no illusion as to the task at hand, and my desire to be along for the delivery, would be to help out when asked, and to learn by observation, (and perhaps by some well timed questions). Frankly, I know it will be some, (learning), time before I can go to the open ocean in my boat, so I would be crazy to miss this opportunity. The more I think about this, the more I'm reminded of this scene from Jaws;

(Roy Scheider as) Chief Brody: You're not gonna do this aboard the ship, are you Mr. Quint?

(Robert Shaw as) Captain Quint: Maybe I should go alone..

Brody: Naahh.. It's my party. It's my charter.

Quint: Yeah it's your charter, it's your party. It's my vessel! When you're on board my vessel, I'm mate, master, pilot, and I'm captain. Take him for ballast Chief.

Brody: You got him.
Thanks again all..


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