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Old 04-16-2007, 08:50 PM   #1
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http://www.noonsite.com/Members/doina/R2007-04-16-2

I know this kind-a goes against the grain of cruising, but is some regards it makes since if it is affordable. I was wondering what others thought of the idea and if anyone has experience using Dockwise?
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:02 PM   #2
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Most interesting.

It sounds like a ferry boat for cruisers, similar to taking ones' automobile on a train trip, if one were to accompany as a passenger.

Perhaps not for everyone, likely expensive, but may fit the needs of some, sometimes.

Competition for delivery skippers, but limited by route and time schedule.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:24 PM   #3
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We're putting MV Watermelon on a transport next month, from Florida to Finland, and then cruise the Baltic in company with several other PDQs like ours. This is a new experience for us, and we'll keep everybody informed of our adventure.

It isn't cheap, we're not going on Dockwise but rather a lesser-known outfit called Sevenstar Yacht Transport Agency B.V.

The boat goes without its owners or crew. They fly to meet the boat. I believe it's the same for Dockwise.

Cost. Final costs aren't in, but: FLorida to Finland, about $18,000, plus airfare and lodging for us to meet the boat. The transit time is approximately two weeks, with no guarantee of departure or arrival dates.

Our little MV Watermelon cannot cross the Atlantic on its own hulls, so for us it's the only way we could cruise the area on our own boat. We'll spend around 3 months cruising the area before the boats are all loaded back on the transport in the Netherlands and returned to the US.

I believe we are getting a bit of a discount, but I don't know for sure.

I've not said anything up til now because we weren't sure it was a true "go" until last week (and it might still fall apart, though not for lack of trying on the part of us and PDQ, which is organizing the trip). More as we get closer to the "go" date.

I am quite excited about this adventure.

I believe I read somewhere about somebody who had a bad experience with Dockwise, and significant damage to their boat. My memory is sketchy, though, so please don't give too much weight to these comments without verifying it for yourself.
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:46 AM   #4
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I've heard that Dockwise Yacht Transport will allow the captain / owners / crew of vessels "greater than a certain length" to stay on board during the transit... and I reckon you can do just about anything if you throw enough money at it.

I have not yet shipped my own vessel on Dockwise... but I have done several deliveries into their ships when they've dropped anchor at St Thomas. Most of them run up to Ft Lauderdale and some have gone to Ensenada & Vancouver.

The Dockwise ships are semi-submersible and you normally float in up their stern under your own power. There are always a few boats getting towed in. There are plenty of line handlers on the ship but it's a good idea to employ a few extra hands, too.

It's an incredibly well run operation and easy to manage but you have to be flexible as dates and times are always subject to change... so be sure to pack drinks & snacks. I had to stand off and kill six hours the last time they came to town.

Basically - you show up on the rendezvous date and hail the ship on VHF Ch 16. You'll go to a working channel and they'll give you instructions for loading. Once they're ready to begin, they'll call each vessel in order and will instruct you to enter. Have all your fenders out and lines ready to fly.

They've always had three or four parking "lanes" - mid, port & stbd. They'll instruct you to come in either bow or stern first and which lane to use. It's very similar to entering a canal lock.

There'll be a foreman in charge directing you. The deck crew all wear orange coveralls. As soon as you get settled into your position - you'll either be tieing to a wall or a vessel next to you - be ready to catch and secure any number of 2 inch nylon webbing straps which the crew will throw at you from the walkways. They'll have you attach their straps to cleats, winches, around the mast, through the rigging, through your neighbour's rigging, etc. Use your best boat senses and be careful.

Obviously, you'll have already emptied the fridge & freezer of perishables. Secure the boat as if you were going to leave it on the hard and un-attended durng huricane season - hatches shut, decks cleared, sails & canvas stowed. In this case - I always leave the engine seacock open, key in the ignition and a note to make it easy for the captain on the receiving end of the voyage.

Put the boat papers, a pen, hatch key and three bottles of booze in your bag and secure the vessel on the way out. Lock it up if you feel it necessary.

There'll be a lot going on all around you as more vessels enter and tie-up around you - so keep your eyes open as you make your way outboard. You may have to cross the deck of another boat. Everyone will be busy. Help with fendering your neighbors as best you can and be careful - everybody else is wearing hardhats!

You'll need to get the attention of one of the deck crew to bring a ladder over to help get you up onto the Dockwise deck. Once on deck - offer the cheaper bottle of booze to the guy who brought you the ladder.

You will then be directed up to the bridge where you'll meet the local agent and the ship's captain to whom you will give your boat papers and keys. You'll fill out some paperwork and (among other stuff) they'll want to know how much fuel is left on board as well as if there are any weapons, drugs, Hatians or other contraband stowed on board - to which I always enter "none to the best of my knowledge".

The captains are always very worldly & respectable and the local agents are always professional and nice. Offer the second bottle of booze to the captain.

When you get back down onto the main deck you'll notice local divers setting up their gear. They position chocks and monitor the vessels during the de-ballasting process.

Once you get your feet firmly planted back on solid ground - head for the nearest harbor pub and buy your crew lunch / dinner - you've all earned it.

Lastly - you'll need to arrange for a ride back to your homeport. Once safely home - pull out the third bottle of booze and celebrate another safe voyage with your family, friends and crew.

Dockwise ships call on St Thomas about once a month and I do local deliveries whenever I'm able. It's fun to get paid to drive somebody else's boat... but not always.

Dockwise Yacht Transport? It's not cheap. But I think it's the safest way to get your beloved boat from one ocean to another if you don't have the time to do it yourself. I bet it's less stressful and maybe even cheaper (in the long haul) than hiring a professional captain and crew do the delivery. Maybe not.

In closing - I personally know of several instances where boat owners were able to save a heap of money by arranging for their delivery at the last moment, through the local agent, just before the ship was about to sail away, half empty. Similar, I suppose, to those last minute deals on flights and cruise ship cabins.

To Life!

Kirk
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:46 PM   #5
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That last bit of information could be very useful! Thanks for all the details, sounds like loading could be more stressful than doing the locks in Panama.
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:03 PM   #6
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In my first post I wrote, "Most Intersting". After Gallivanters posting I say, MOST Educational. Thank you very much.

JeanneP,

I hope things work out well for you and Peter according to your plans.

Keep us posted. I am interested in how all works out.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post
We're putting MV Watermelon on a transport next month, from Florida to Finland, and then cruise the Baltic in company with several other PDQs like ours. This is a new experience for us, and we'll keep everybody informed of our adventure.

It isn't cheap, we're not going on Dockwise but rather a lesser-known outfit called Sevenstar Yacht Transport Agency B.V.

The boat goes without its owners or crew. They fly to meet the boat. I believe it's the same for Dockwise.

Cost. Final costs aren't in, but: FLorida to Finland, about $18,000, plus airfare and lodging for us to meet the boat. The transit time is approximately two weeks, with no guarantee of departure or arrival dates.

Our little MV Watermelon cannot cross the Atlantic on its own hulls, so for us it's the only way we could cruise the area on our own boat. We'll spend around 3 months cruising the area before the boats are all loaded back on the transport in the Netherlands and returned to the US.

I believe we are getting a bit of a discount, but I don't know for sure.

I've not said anything up til now because we weren't sure it was a true "go" until last week (and it might still fall apart, though not for lack of trying on the part of us and PDQ, which is organizing the trip). More as we get closer to the "go" date.

I am quite excited about this adventure.

I believe I read somewhere about somebody who had a bad experience with Dockwise, and significant damage to their boat. My memory is sketchy, though, so please don't give too much weight to these comments without verifying it for yourself.
--------------------------------------

Hello Jeanne,

I like the idea , missing out the boring part of the passage - sounds the way to go. I guess you took into consideration : - flying there , hiring a boat , flying back - vs - the dockwise charge.

What sort of process will you use to clear out of the US and clear in to the country you are dropped off in ? (do they drop you off shore ?) Interesting - keep in touch.

R
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Old 04-18-2007, 01:55 AM   #8
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R

We're going to be cruising there for about 10 or 11 weeks, Finland to Sweden to Denmark to Germany (canals) on to the Netherlands. I did a quick search of charter boats, and found one a lot smaller, not as nice as ours, for about USD $1,500. a week, but I doubt that they would agree to that kind of travel on it. So the transport and airfare will be pretty close. If we also factor in that our boat would have to be stored someplace here while we're gone for 3+ months, and the comfort of our own home rather than a sparsely supplied charter boat, I think that money-wise it's a hair cheaper to ship our boat over there.

The real attraction is that we will be cruising in company with several (up to 8) other PDQs like ours, and it's a friendly and congenial group, which makes it even more attractive. Our daughter lives in Denmark so we'll leave the group for a visit with her, and rejoin them before going through Germany, probably. And we'll be on our own boat which we know so well.

The transport company handles the customs entry and exit. Should be a lot of fun. Our only problem might be the 90-day Schengen limit. Still thinking about that one.
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Old 04-18-2007, 04:43 AM   #9
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Jeanne,

You wrote, "Our little MV Watermelon cannot cross the Atlantic on its own hulls, ..."

Why is that? Fuel capacity or expense, sea worthiness / safe passage or other reasons?
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Old 04-18-2007, 11:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbor_Pilot View Post
Jeanne,

Why is that? Fuel capacity or expense, sea worthiness / safe passage or other reasons?
A bit of all of that. The boat is 34' long, 17' wide, with a 2.5' draft and depending on what specs, under 6 tons. She has a range of only about 300 miles. Although a nice, quick, and comfortable coastal cruiser, big seas make it very uncomfortable, and a beam sea of even 6 feet makes it possible to capsize.

Two hulls can be a problem - one hull on the top of a wave, the other in the trough, can make for some violent motion.

On the other hand, the boat doesn't roll much in a swell, and a boat wake might start her rocking along with all the other boats in an anchorage, but it stops much faster.

A catamaran, power or sail, is quite different in motion from a monohull and takes some getting used to.
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Old 06-08-2007, 07:04 PM   #11
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Here's a photo of MV Watermelon and 5 other PDQs loaded onto the ship for transport to the Baltic. Scheduling was a nightmare, but once the ship arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the loading went smoothly and professionally.

In addition to Dockwise, which floats the boats on, there are two other transport companies that load them as deck cargo on various freighters using a crane. Watermelon is the forwardmost boat. All the boats are PDQ 34s except for the one directly behind Watermelon, which is the new PDQ 41. But Watermelon looks so much smaller, doesn't she? The tricks of perspective.

The freighter is Suomigracht, here's a link to a better photo of her with a couple sailboats on deck: http://www.maritimephoto.com/collect...l/9946/photo/0

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Old 06-08-2007, 07:12 PM   #12
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Jeanne

I'm happy that the loading went well. Please keep us updated.
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:08 PM   #13
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Just to add a bit to the knowledge base here. We used Dockwise from Martinique to Ft. Lauderdale a couple of years back when we had hurricane damage. We were MOST satisfied with the quality of the service and the ease of unloading and loading and the help we received. It was expensive but the insurance co. was paying so no worries! You CAN save 20% by booking months in advance and you may be able to cut your own deal if you wait till the last minute (we've heard as much as 50%)....BUT...there are no guarantees there will be space and in peak season many times the boat is full and there won't be another for several months.

As far as staying aboard...Dockwise limits it to 80' and up on most of their ships WHEN BOOKING...but our captain told us we could have stayed since they had room. It was too late to change our plans though. Check with the captain...not the booking office if you desire this option.

Hope this is helpful.
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