Join Date: Aug 2010
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Well, the story is more sad than interesting. My boat was in Key West, a very expensive place to truck from because of the limited hours when a truck can move and the need for an escort. Also, I really didn't want to deal with the hassle of having the boat decommissioned for trucking and then recommissioned on arrival. All told, it would have been an expensive trip. I've crewed on a few deliveries with a first rate captain, so I decided that a water delivery would be less hassle and less money. My friend was unavailable but he recommended a colleague very highly. Said colleague has a great resume and sounded great on the phone; said he'd delivered several 31s on extensive trips, so I hired him.
I knew it was not going to be fun from the first phone call I got from him when he arrived in Florida. First, this very experienced captain suddenly sounded like a constant whiner. He criticized the quality of the survey, the condition of the boat, etc., etc. But he set out nonetheless. The weather really wasn't all that good further up the coast and he probably never should have departed. Once a day, he called and began a tale of woe that made it sound like the boat was sinking. By the time he actually described the problem, it was usually something fairly easy to fix, or actually not broken. I grew to dread his calls, but did begin to realize that when he said the boat was sinking, he really meant that some minor line needed replacing. When he got to the north end of Florida, he basically said he wasn't going any further. He said he had a crew member with diarrhea and the head was broken (worked fine when I tested it) and a wheel pilot that was malfunctioning (there was a spare aboard). Plus, the weather was deteriorating and he would have had to do the whole trip on the ICW, which would have taken far longer than he planned (and he had capped his daily fee). Frankly, I couldn't wait to get home off my boat, so he found a decent marine on Amelia Island and did some decommissioning (some of which had to be redone). I hired one of the truckers I had previously contacted and arranged for them to pick the boat up and deliver her to Annapolis. Because of the weather, it took almost two weeks before she made it on a truck and to MD.
I ended up paying for most of a delivery by water (I'd already paid a deposit of about 60% and the captain sent me a bill for more; I told him I'd be glad to meet him in court), plus I paid for trucking and associated costs. It was an expensive lesson for me: everyone said to deliver by truck and I decided I didn't want the hassle. So I ended up with two sets of hassles and a bigger bill.
I'm sure there are good captains out there, since I've worked with one myself. But if I ever need to move a boat again, it will be by truck (unless a move by water is the only option, like to the Bahamas).
As I said, not so interesting.
s/v Ann West PSC 31 No. 55