Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: East Coast
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Re: Ship or Sail the New Boat
I bought my first sailboat last year in St. Augustine and brought her up the coast to New Jersey.
I considered both options: Plan A - having her shipped (expensive to disassemble and no fun factor) or Plan B - doing a minor refit and assembling a crew to sail her home which proved to be a totally awesome experience.
Shipping required I step the mast and remove everything above deck to clear the highway underpasses. In the end the cost to strip her down, ship her, and put her back together was quite substantial.
So instead I took two weeks vacation. Since Dream had been on the hard for 5 years I spent the first week going over as many systems as possible. I hired the boatyard to do any tasks that I either didn't know how to do or didn't have the time to complete myself. Primarily go over the engine and repair some blisters and paint her bottom.
I hired my sailing instructor to assist in the delivery and had two additional crew members. The entire trip took 8 days of which actual travel time was 128 hours.
We left early evening on a Saturday afternoon and spent our first night motor sailing up the coast to Beaufort, SC. A few hours into the trip we lost our house batteries which powered up our electronics (should have known to replace them). That night we navigated with a small red LED flashlight and a paper chart while being dazzled by the sight of the Milky Way that was painted across the sky. Fortunately we had just enough battery power for our LED nav lights.
Sunday we arrived late in the day in beautiful historic Beaufort, SC where we replaced 4) 6 volt deep cycle batteries. We also discovered the charging system wasn't working and that we didn't have the electronic charts for anything past Charleston. Since we couldn't upgrade the software underway for the Raymarine unit we had to use paper charts for the rest of the journey which made for a great navigation course.
The next 4 days were spent navigating the Intra-Coastal waterway with stops in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Morehead City to charge our batteries, we then crossed Pamlico, Albemarie, and Currituck Sounds on our way to Norfolk. The sights along the way were breathtaking.
We had a short two hour stop in Norfolk to pick up charts for the rest of the journey and charge our batteries before heading out to sea to complete our trip up the coast.
In the end the learning experience was priceless. I was able to cover everyone's travel costs, pay my instructor, and cover the cost of provisioning, upgrades, and even my summer slip rental for about the same costs it would have been to prep her, ship her north on land, and re-rig her.
Along the way we gave her a really good shake down, broke some things, stopped to fix things too, and had a sailing experience that will be remembered for a lifetime! I assure you the dolphins won't come to play in the wake of the tow vehicle.
Upon our arrival Dream was ready to sail for the summer instead of sitting on stands waiting for someone to reinstall the mast, rigging, stanchions, etc....
So my advice is take this as an opportunity to make a memorable experience from it, learn your boat's capabilities, and better your sailing skills. You won't regret it.
P.S. Having my instructor along proved invaluable! My only previous sailing experience was ASA 101, 103, and 104 which I took the previous summer with the New Jersey Sailing School.
Last edited by Il Pescatori; 05-09-2012 at 06:59 AM.
Reason: added info