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Old 30-05-2016, 09:25   #1
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Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

I am quite new to sailing (just got my RYA skipper) so excuse me if this sounds newbie.
I am looking at buying a small yacht to practice sailing in Phillip Bay (the bay around Melbourne) and I found my dream boat. It is a 24-foot Top Hat (1987) . The problem is that it is currently in Tasmania and winter is coming (not sure if it makes a difference)
Would it be easy to sail it back to Melbourne (with the help of an experienced skipper of course) or it is better to hire a boat transporter? Would love to have opinions.
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Old 30-05-2016, 10:16   #2
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Better talk to Snowpetrel about that one! Welcome here BTW!
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Old 30-05-2016, 10:55   #3
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Definitely a doable trip and lots of fun. You'll remember the trip for the rest of your life.
You don't say where the boat is in Tassy. Obviously study charts carefully and decide/plan your route, safe havens etc.

Once ready to go, pick you're weather window, as for any trip and go. You could assume an average speed of about 4 knots, assuming you have an engine.

Issues to consider:
Should have a survey, and tell surveyor what you're planning.
Get the motor checked and serviced. Get a couple of sets of spare filters and impellers.
Spend $100 to get a rigger to check too.

But before you spend money on those guys/gals, spend some time on the boat. Go over every nook and cranny. Hoist every sail whilst at the dock and look over them carefully. Poor quality sails with tears, broken threads etc are obvious. Check each and every electrical device, and run your eye over the electrics. Take a battery tester with you (a $10 Dick Smith one is fine). Go out for a decent day sail with the owner.

It's probably an overnight trip from Melbourne for to visit boat, so see if the owner will let you spend the night on the boat. If so that's a great chance to really have a good look, check everything works, etc.

You need to do all that anyways before you spend your money. But you certainly want to know the boat is sound. has a clean hull, and is up to the trip before you head out into the open ocean. And Bass Strait is certainly a serious piece of ocean.

I'd also ask the owner if he/she'll help you sail her to Melbourne. If so then it's probably a decent boat and also solves a crew problem. If not then I'd be thinking there's probably a boat closer to home that's a better choice.
And seriously, at the end of the day, every boat is for sale and there are a lot of boats in and around Melbourne.
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Old 30-05-2016, 21:25   #4
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Just what I wanted to hear! Thanks a lot for the tips on due diligence (didn't know that riggers existed...) . I found a few boats around Melbourne but I really like the one in Tassie, plus I need to get some experience at sea. Although I am not sure if I should start with Bass Straits.
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Old 30-05-2016, 22:27   #5
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

I think jumping in head first is an excellent idea. Sink or swim and swim almost always wins.
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Old 30-05-2016, 23:10   #6
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

G'Day cyrilg,

Well mate, here's an opinion that you probably don't want to hear:

The trip would be advisable if:
1. You were an experienced sailor.
2. If the boat was sound and you had lots of miles in her.
3. If it was not early winter.
4. If you had time to wait long periods for decent weather (perhaps you do, I dunno).

Speaking as one who has crossed the straits quite a few times, the cavalier suggestion that you just jump in head first seems a bit careless, but then, it isn't his life at stake. You might notice that his home waters are a long way from the Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, TAsman Sea and the Straits. That might explain his attitude.

The TopHat is a competent little boat, and in the right hands in the right weather can easily make the trip, but at your stage of learning and at this time of year, it is a bad call IMO.

Do tell us where the boat is located, for that will influence how you would shape the voyage should you undertake it. And if you do, there are several of us here who might help you in planning.

Jim
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Old 31-05-2016, 00:00   #7
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Top Hats are a great little boat to learn on. Very well respected sea boats as well.

Having done bass strait in winter, its not a nice place. Yes, the Top Hat can do it safely. But the long watches on very cold nights can take some toll on a tiny boat. But its definitely doable with the right people on board.

This site will give you ball park of what other Top Hats are being sold at.
Top hat - boats for sale - findads.com.au
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Old 31-05-2016, 00:17   #8
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Speaking as one who has crossed the straits quite a few times, the cavalier suggestion that you just jump in head first seems a bit careless, but then, it isn't his life at stake. You might notice that his home waters are a long way from the Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, TAsman Sea and the Straits. That might explain his attitude.
On a map it looks no worse than island hopping across the Aegean


Unless the OP and an experienced skipper has the time to wait for the right weather window, then it's better to keep it in Tassie for the winter or transport it.

Maybe as an alternative to paying for it to be transported, perhaps they can find a trailer for hire and move it them self. Perhaps go to some Top Hat forum and maybe there's a member can help or at least point in the right direction
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Old 31-05-2016, 05:19   #9
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

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Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
On a map it looks no worse than island hopping across the Aegean
Haha.. Yeh it does look nice and easy on the map lol. Winter storms in Bass Strait are not the place for a noob without the right boat and the right skipper.

Actually, one of those boats may just sneak onto J24 Trailer (with a few adjustments). Then all he needs is a good 4x4 to tow it and the car ferry. (disclaimer, I know nothing about the car ferry, other than it nearly ran me over once, and I assume trailers can be tied down.)
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Old 31-05-2016, 07:00   #10
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Cost of the car ferry would be prohibitive, they charge the same as a car for just a small trailer, so I can imagine a 24 ft one would be at least 3 times a car.
I have sailed Hobart to Sydney in a tiny 20 ft boat once, don't ask why, even I can't remember.
I would not hesitate doing the trip in a top hat, small is good sometimes anyway.
My check list would include excellent sails and rigging.
Enjoy the trip.



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Old 31-05-2016, 07:44   #11
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Is there any cell phone coverage for Deal Island and Refuge Cove?

When I sailed there, the only mobile phones came with a car attached to it or were in a briefcase.

Maybe to OP has to accept a distance relationship or arrange transport.


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Old 31-05-2016, 07:54   #12
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Ouch.... Just looked up the return price for a 4wd with a 10m trailer.

$2043

Maybe it would be cheaper to pay someone to transport it.

Or lots of weekend trips until spring


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Old 31-05-2016, 10:11   #13
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
G'Day cyrilg,

Well mate, here's an opinion that you probably don't want to hear:

The trip would be advisable if:
1. You were an experienced sailor.
2. If the boat was sound and you had lots of miles in her.
3. If it was not early winter.
4. If you had time to wait long periods for decent weather (perhaps you do, I dunno).

Speaking as one who has crossed the straits quite a few times, the cavalier suggestion that you just jump in head first seems a bit careless, but then, it isn't his life at stake. You might notice that his home waters are a long way from the Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, TAsman Sea and the Straits. That might explain his attitude.

The TopHat is a competent little boat, and in the right hands in the right weather can easily make the trip, but at your stage of learning and at this time of year, it is a bad call IMO.

Do tell us where the boat is located, for that will influence how you would shape the voyage should you undertake it. And if you do, there are several of us here who might help you in planning.

Jim
Gees Jim, your surprise me greatly with your conservative response
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Old 31-05-2016, 10:22   #14
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
Gees Jim, your surprise me greatly with your conservative response

You're an experienced strait hopper now, maybe you can do a delivery 😜


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Old 31-05-2016, 10:30   #15
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Re: Sailing or shipping a 24-foot from Tasmania to Melbourne?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilg View Post
I am quite new to sailing (just got my RYA skipper) so excuse me if this sounds newbie.
I am looking at buying a small yacht to practice sailing in Phillip Bay (the bay around Melbourne) and I found my dream boat. It is a 24-foot Top Hat (1987) . The problem is that it is currently in Tasmania and winter is coming (not sure if it makes a difference)
Would it be easy to sail it back to Melbourne (with the help of an experienced skipper of course) or it is better to hire a boat transporter? Would love to have opinions.
Cheers
Welcome to CF.

You really need to spell out 'where' in Tasmania this little Top Hat is?

'Winter' in my opinion makes little difference to 'weather' other than you need to be prepared for the cold. Look at your Weather Windows, you can easily wait and find a weather window that's four or five days. Especially in winter when Bass Strait can be at its quietest.

Crossing from Tasmania is at most an over nighter. That's if you travel the longest distance from the Tamar River to the town of Flinders (200 miles 40-48 hours). You can avoid doing an overnighter by island hopping in which case each leg is half a day in day light. E.g Deal Island to Refuge Bay is about 12 hours.

Your only real challenge, given where your home is, is navigating port Philip Heads. I did this just a few weeks ago for the first time and going in was as smooth as a baby's ass. But when I came out a week later on a solo I gave myself a fright and got a small taste of what it's like in a small boat. And mine is a 36 footer.

The most important thing is that you know your boat is seaworthy and you have your safety equipment. I'd recommend a radio with an AIS. Though for the past couple of years shipping across Bass Strait has really died.

That's my opinion. Bass Strait dangers are both over rated and under rated. Bottom line is it's simply not that far and weather forecasts are accurate enough that all your really going to be surprised with is the 'gusts'. I wouldn't recommend soloing if you are new either. My first solo a few weeks ago returning from Melbourne was exhausting. Didn't help in that my auto pilot was broken

Go for it, but do it safely. Safe boat, have your safety equipment, choose your weather
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