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View Poll Results: Do your cruising plans include passage between Indian Ocean & Mediterranean Sea?
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:59 PM   #29
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Short update:

Today I received a positive response from Blue Bell Shipping concerning an estimate for sea-transport of Spirit from Phuket to Port Said. Sent their offices in Dubai images of hull so that their estimate will include the cradle.

I’ve requested this quotation, as I expect that it will be the most realistic one I will ever receive for transport by sea and will use it as a reference when comparing overland prices for the Dubai – Aqaba route.

I also asked the general manager whether Blue Bell Shipping would be willing to consider alternative solutions towards moving yachts into the Mediterranean.

For the sake of argument, it would be interesting to compile a list of yachts in S.E. Asia currently waiting for a means of reaching the Mediterranean. Has a comprehensive listing of this kind ever been compiled? If not, how might one best go about getting it done?

I believe it will be necessary to have a list of potential or interested “customers” on hand, in order to convince transport companies that there really is a market there for the safe and economical transshipment of yachts over land into the Mediterranean.

In the end, NABRESCO’s sister company Naber & Co. International Forwarders received and read the queries I sent, but their offices have not yet replied. I think I will give them another 24 hours and then send a query to Raed Naber, the operations manager at NABRESCO, directly.

According to some rough calculations I’ve made, if 100 yachts were to take this route the total “official turnover” for the area would come to around $1.5 million. This does not include, however, any other living expenses or tourist expenditures made by their crews in Dubai or Jordan.

One might think that Dubai would be especially interested in seeing an increased influx of people, doing more than tax-free shopping for a few hours at their airport. Further, the UAE would also be seen as a major player and conductive element towards maintaining safe passage of ships into the Mediterranean. From a public relations viewpoint, it would be more than effective. More yachts, more visitors, money spent in the UAE, positive world-wide media attention – the whole shebang.

Further, the Dubai – Aqaba route would serve as one more method of undermining the “profitability” of piracy in the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, as fewer yachts would take that route, knowing there is an economically acceptable alternative. Those, taking this route upon themselves, would actually be “blockade busters” and doing the entire world a service.

So, that’s the theory. Now, it just needs to be lined up in such a way that not just one or two, but perhaps hundreds of yachts can be accommodated on what would become, essentially, an “underground railroad” for west-bound yachts.

It might also be interesting to learn what the position of the Saudi Arabian government to a project like this might be. There is a large Saudi Embassy/Consulate in Vienna (due to OPEC) and I believe that an appointment with them could be arranged.

Again, a comprehensive list of yachts awaiting transit to Europe would be helpful in stating our arguments. If the Saudis were willing to back such an endeavor, as the yachts would cross much of their territory, it might be that the costs could be even further reduced.

Tja, my “short update” has turned out to be a bit longer than envisioned. Nonetheless, it’s good to simply offer the ideas that come to mind and, perhaps, your feedback will bring forward further ideas.

Redbopeep has quoted Yoda as saying "Do or do not. There is no try."

I fully agree.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:18 PM   #30
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Regarding further developments, today has been a quiet day.

With regard to the estimate for sea-transport of Spirit from Phuket to Port Said, Egypt, Blue Bell Shipping informed me that as the length of the flat rack they intend to use is 12 meters, whereas my mast is 18 meters long, the shipping carriers will levy heavy additional charges, due to the overhang.

I asked Blue Bell to find out, whether the mast could be shipped separately on deck, thereby reducing the overall costs and was told that they would look into this option. It looks like it might be more economical to transport the boat and mast separately. It might be that many previous estimates have been based, at the end of the day, on the length of the mast and not on the actual length of the boat. Separating the two for the duration of transport could significantly reduce the transport fees.

Also asked Blue Bell Shipping to give me an estimate on transport from Phuket to Dubai.

I was also informed by Blue Bell that they are experienced in handling OOG cargo, which means “Out of Gauge Cargo”, defined as cargo with dimension which exceed standard container internal dimension. My next step is to inquire whether that expertise also applies to over-land transports as well.

As you may have noticed, I am taking this forward on a step-by-step basis because many “shipping companies” are in the business of doing just that: transporting goods by ship. What we need to find, however, is a “shipping company” willing to work together with a “transport company”, if they do not have the flatbed-trailers, required for getting yachts to Aqaba.

Ideally, the “shipping company” should deal with customs, the logistics of preparation for transport and all of the administrative details involved. The “transport company” should move the boat from Dubai to Aqaba. Upon arrival, there should be another “shipping company” on-site, overseeing the logistics of getting the boat back into the water, operational and all formalities concluded.

If one Dubai company can do this alone, then it’s fine. If it takes two companies that can, presumably, also be arranged. The purpose of the exercise now, is to find out which companies in Dubai would be willing to undertake these steps, in order to get our boats up to Aqaba. Perhaps the shipping company in Dubai could work better together with a company in Jordan like NABRESCO in Jordan, as opposed to each ship-owner having to reinvent the wheel for each transit.

What it comes down to is that we need professionals in Dubai to get our yachts prepared, we need professional transport to Aqaba and we need professionals in Aqaba to get our boats back into the water and ready to sail again. Essentially, it’s a three-step venture that shouldn’t cost more than $11.000.

I’m doing now what I can to see if this can be arranged. What it comes down to is finding companies interested in making money on this. It becomes really interesting if a good number of yachts take this route.

Further updates pending.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:44 PM   #31
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The logistics department of Naber & Co. International Forwarders in Jordan have responded to my email query concerning overland transport of S/Y Spirit from Dubai to Aqaba.

Preliminary negotiations are underway.

Update follows.
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:13 PM   #32
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I wonder how the price would be affected, and whether as a result it would be worth considering cutting the mast into two lengths, then fitting an internal sleeve to rejoin the spar when it is due to be restepped.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:15 PM   #33
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Sounds good in theory and this would certainly lower the costs as there would be no overhang.

However, although I’m no structural engineer, I would say that no matter how good the effort, that mast will never have the same physical strength as it did before it was cut in two. At the same time, can it ever be made as perfectly straight as it once was? Dunno.

I’d say, find a shipper willing to transport the mast separately as a courtesy to the customer and in the interest of more business to come.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:46 AM
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:48 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
I wonder how the price would be affected, and whether as a result it would be worth considering cutting the mast into two lengths, then fitting an internal sleeve to rejoin the spar when it is due to be restepped.


Did I say "eek!" ummmm... there are actually ways of trucking masts very inexpensively with a pickup and a special (low cost) trailer. Our masts are a good 20ft longer than our boat and the boat has moved overland 3 times, each time the masts required a separate hauler than the boat.

Ours were moved with a big mast-moving truck two of the times, one time it was with a nifty expanding trailer that could be hauled with a regular pickup truck. Low cost method, that.

Cutting the masts apart I dunno. Seems a bit extreme.

There are specialty trucks for just moving masts. The company that moved out boat all three times happens to specialize in big mast moves--here's one of theirs:



they've got other pics on their website here


Here's a picture of a mast being moved out (or in?) to a boatyard using one of those pickup truck trailer things. I've seen different ones--here's the smallest I've seen: This mast being moved in the pic was more than 70 ft long, I'm sure. If this is going to be a new business for an entity there, perhaps they'll invest in something like this. The trailer accordians up into something small.

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Old 03-17-2013, 09:43 PM   #35
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Things have been very quiet today, insofar as none of the quotes I am awaiting have materialized.

I’ve been hanging around the computer all day, although I know that these things take time to work out. Having learned, when doing business internationally, that there is the concept of “European time”, as opposed to how clocks tick in other parts of the world, it is best to simply let thing run their course with patience. I believe that anyone, who has ever conducted negotiations in Egypt, for instance, knows what I’m talking about. These are ancient negotiating rituals and in a way I’ve come to appreciate them. But, sometimes, finding that patience is difficult.

It certainly gives one time to think.

One thought that has been recurring today is something I read over the past few days concerning the Dubai – Aqaba solution, but cannot find again. A poster wrote (paraphrased here), “If one can successfully transport a yacht over the desert from Houston, Texas to Los Angeles, one can transport a yacht over the desert from Dubai to Aqaba.”

How right he is. Every time I think that, perhaps, this solution might really be “too far out”, I revert back to this observation and take heart again. Also, this thread begins with another simple but applicable statement: “Where there’s a will, there is a way”.

Accordingly, I’ve been giving the developments so far a bit of thought.

If Naber & Co. International Forwarders in Jordan are willing to accept transports such as this on a continuing basis, half the battle has been won. They have already transported a yacht from Aqaba to Dubai and thereby gained experience in managing such an undertaking. I certainly hope we can reach a mutually satisfactory business arrangement for further transports, albeit in the opposite direction.

However, should we not come to an agreement, other options remain open, that can be investigated.

The fact is, we are trying to set up this solution on the basis of “connections“ others have established and used, in order to conduct such a transport. It worked once, but might not work again.

Should this be the case, there are still several approaches that can be taken, in order to find overland shipping companies willing to undertake such transports. As we obviously do not have an extensive overview, of which companies might come into question, the next step will be to contact the commercial attachés of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and explain the situation to them, with a request for a list of the those companies operating in their countries, which have the capacity to make such transports.

This could easily be undertaken from a neutral country here in Europe (such as Austria) and might give the importance of such an endeavor a bit more weight in the above-mentioned countries. Let it be understood: we are not looking for a handout. We are paying customers, looking for a way to transport our yachts from Dubai to Aqaba and will pay well for that service.

In a post a bit further up-thread I mentioned that it might be interesting to learn what the position of the Saudi Arabian government could be towards an anti-piracy project such as this. When I wrote that thought, I had to laugh, because I immediately envisioned many reader’s reactions to my audacity with a, “Sure, CruisingSpirit is just gonna walk into the Saudi Arabian embassy in Vienna and tell ‘em like it is”.

Well, folks, that’s what it might come down to.

Anyone can visit the commercial attaché of an embassy, in order to discuss business. That’s what they are there for. Many commercial attachés are happy to be of assistance, especially if it means increased business opportunities (and great public relations opportunities) for their countries.

What I would like to achieve, thereby, is a complete waiver or at least a reduction of the usual “transit fees”, as these circumstances are for all sailors and yachts owners an “act of God” situation, as the insurers call it. No yacht, no crew member underway through the northern Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden or the Red Sea is in any way insured or insurable. It is a declared war zone. These are extraordinary circumstances and, perhaps therefore, the usual transit fees required could be reduced or entirely waived, as an act of solidarity.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I do not believe that those of us wishing to reach the Mediterranean should continue to “suffer in silence”. We need to make ourselves heard and we, very probably, find ourselves in the position we are in, because we have not spoken out sooner.

Time’s come to change that.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Your thoughts?
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:04 PM   #36
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I’m no structural engineer but I chatted with our local Rigger who is well and widely know with many years experience and he tells me that a mast cut and then sleeved properly when rejoining will be aligned correctly and loose no structural integrity. The correct size sleeve actually takes care of the alignment and the sleeved area tends to be slightly stronger than the rest.

Could be worth considering when thinking of the costs involved if the mast is required to be shipped separately.

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Old 03-17-2013, 10:27 PM   #37
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The word from the naval coalition managing the pirates of GOA and Red Sea is that private sailing vessels are warned not to attempt passage and that assistance in case of an emergency is not likely to arrive. Sailing vessels are too slow and freeboard too low to secure against piracy.

However, private armed guards are available for hire and pirates are known to retreat 100% of the time when fired upon...especially when rounds come near their outboards.
This mirrors my conjecture. Hire security and travel in caravan. Way less than trucking. You could even consider acquiring guns you would give up at the next port where they are not permitted (toss in the ocean)
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:35 PM
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:56 PM   #38
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Quote: February 2013

“The Maritime Shipping Centre-Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), NATO Shipping Centre, UK Maritime and Trade Organisation (UKMTO) and MARLO are united in their advice that sailing yachts should avoid transiting the High Risk Area (HRA) in the Indian Ocean for the foreseeable future.

To pirate groups, sailing yachts are an easy target and possible source of revenue. Sailing in large groups is unlikely to be a deterrent – groups of sailing yachts could be seen as a larger and more lucrative target.”

* * *

I understand where you are coming from, Nicholson58. Hiring “security” sounds great until it falls apart when the convoy comes under attack. How many yacht owners do you know, who are able to efficiently use automatic weapons when under fire themselves? How willing might they be to use them, knowing that their crews, wives and kids are either topsides or somewhere below deck with only 8mm of GRP to protect them?

And if only one of them are injured or killed, uninsured as they all are, would you be willing, as the skipper, to spend the rest of your life paying compensation for their injuries or even one death?

I don’t think so.

With all due respect, you won’t be one to be sailing Roxy through the Gulf of Aden anytime soon.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:59 AM   #39
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I am not advocating anything as I have no desire to transit to the Med. At this point in my life I am happy sailing the Australian Coast and exploring SouthEast Asia and could do so for the rest of my life without experiencing all there is to see and do. Spending a day or two somewhere just isn't enough time for me and think about all the interesting places we sail past every day without being aware of what we are missing. I decided to stop and smell the roses more frequently and am glad I did because it has resulted in many good friendships and experiences. Day hops and short 2 or 3 day passages work well for me.

Just a thought or two on the Gulf of Aden ...

When was the last private yacht attacked when transiting the Gulf of Aden ...

We hear all the bad news stories and generally never the good ... so ... how many yachts actually transit the Gulf of Aden each week or month ...

I would hazard a guess that some yachts we are not aware of have done so and are probably still doing so as we speak. While it may be advised not to do so, it is not illegal to travel in the area.

What value to a pirate is a private yacht. I understand that they mostly attack large commercial vessels and hold them to ransom from the boat owners and insurers.

The several incidents I heard about in detail, showed that any defence by fire hose or weapons fire resulted in the pirates breaking off the attack.

Draw your own conclusions.

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Old 03-18-2013, 10:08 AM   #40
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Contacting the commercial attaché at embassy is very reasonable. When I lived in Washington, DC I was part of a technology council there and frequently attended parties at a variety of embassies that were focused on getting new business partnerships/ventures for that country. It is reasonable if you're trying to set something up that will be a long-lasting business.

Here in the States, we also can contact the State Department and get in touch with the person (or people) who are expert on a particular country and with connections there--this will be dealing with government employees who are part of the diplomatic corps and work that county's issues. That way of reaching out to a country often leads to very nice connections which are more likely to lead to success for the final venture.

Good luck.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:14 AM   #41
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I’m no structural engineer but I chatted with our local Rigger who is well and widely know with many years experience and he tells me that a mast cut and then sleeved properly when rejoining will be aligned correctly and loose no structural integrity. The correct size sleeve actually takes care of the alignment and the sleeved area tends to be slightly stronger than the rest.

Could be worth considering when thinking of the costs involved if the mast is required to be shipped separately.

Lexx
I did spend 5 years working as a structural engineer (mechanical) for structures used in transportation. I wouldn't want to voluntarily cut my mast like that. No.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:06 PM   #42
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You have raised some interesting points in # 39.

From what I have garnered from reports regarding attacks on yachts in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea during 2012, the reported number of piracy incidents have been reduced dramatically because the number of sailing yachts attempting that route have also markedly fallen, presumably because the warnings issued are finally being taken seriously.

Conversely, I’ve been looking around for reports covering successful transits of sailing vessels through this area in 2012 and have not found any. It may be, that they are being kept quiet in order to avoid attention (which would make sense) but tend to believe, personally, that the last of the “unbelievers” have been convinced.

It certainly isn’t “illegal” to make that passage and, at the end of the day, it is a personal decision each skipper and crew must make for themselves. Essentially, it is an exercise in “risk assessment” and the final decision will be based on the overall sailing experience of the skipper in question.

The value of a captured yacht does not lie in the vessel itself, but in the ransom which is expected to be paid for the release of the crew. Many demands for ransom made so far have gone into seven $U.S. figures. I have one hose on my yacht, that I use to bunker water and another one, with which I can hose down my anchor-well and the deck. To contemplate using either, in order to ward off a pirate attack, is ludicrous, at best.

Anyone willing to play “Rambo” with automatic weapons and engage 4-6 skiffs and/or a mother ship in a firefight somewhere in the southern Red Sea is welcome to do so. It certainly ain’t gonna be me.

Sailboats are simply too slow and vulnerable in such a situation and actions like these have accounted for a good number of sailing ships, who’s crews have ended their passage through those waters thoroughly dead. I think that so many yachts were captured during the past years because these dangers have been completely underestimated.

I’ve therefore drawn my own conclusions and have come to my own decisions regarding this. In my life I’ve taken some incredible risks, rolled the dice and made it. This, however, is one risk I’m not willing to take at this time.

Thanks for your input, Lexx, and may you always encounter fair winds.
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