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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a Cal 31 from my father, who has owned it for over a decade, has bought a larger boat, and made me a truly awesome deal (I think!).

I found the process of shipping my boat from Lake Erie (Meinke Marina in Curtis, OH, between Toledo and Sandusky) to Yorktown, Virginia, to be a rather intimidating process. I went through 3 different shippers before settling on the shipper who moved me. I want to add a bit of detail on how this process worked for me.

First, I never considered moving the boat by water. It had been out of the water for 2 years, and while I knew it to be generally in good shape, I didn't want to use a move like that as a shakedown event. Also, I didn't have the time and didn't want to look for someone else to do it.

So I started looking for a boat shipper. Google can be your friend. The first shipper that sounded promising was Sailors Moving Sailors. I think these guys are a quality operation. However, they were not responsive to my emails. I thought that perhaps they were on the road and only checking on weekends and gave them plenty of time to respond but nothing. Eventually I tried texting and got a fairly quick response. I honestly don't know if/when I tried calling, but I do know that email was not good. When I did reach them (via text) we talked about a timeline. The quote was good (in the ballpark of what I was seeing) but they couldn't nail down a date - they were very loose with whether they could fit me between other shipments and I would only know 3-4 days prior to the pickup. This wasn't going to work for me, so I moved on.

More to follow...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Continuing on with my boat shipping saga...

So I requested a quote from another internet source, Joule Transport. Very quick response, and a good email, but their quote was rather high, compared to what I was expecting, as it was about 25-30 % higher than the other quotes I saw. Still, a very professional website, and the email was very clear - just too pricy for me.

My next attempt was a website called uShip. I have previously used this to get folks to ship cars, and gave it a try. I got one name back, DWL Transport. When I looked up his USDOT number, I found he was 'out of service' and this was due to several failed inspections. I then googled his name and found a thread on thehulltruth.com, claiming he ripped some folks off. I took this as a clue and decided to look elsewhere.

A note on USDOT numbers - go to FMCSA.DOT.GOV and you can learn a lot. Look up the Department of Transportation 'number' of the shipper and see what issues he may have had and whether he is certified to move your type of load. I am no expert on interpreting fine legal print, but they make it easy to enter USDOT or MC numbers and check the driver's status and equipment type. If you have a heavy boat, you can find what he is using to haul the trailer. My boat is only 5 tons, so I wasn't too worried about HD pickup trucks being used as prime movers.

One last installment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My final try at shipping my 1984 Cal 31 was again off a google search. I found Bill West at A-1 Haul Your Boat or RV Transportation. I submitted a quote request and got a prompt response. I then spoke over the phone with Bill and worked out the details. Bill is a bit... brusque. He was generally professional, but his phone manners leave a bit to be desired. To his credit, his communications were good, both phone and email. If I didn't have a local contact, I would possibly use him again to find a subcontracted shipper.

So the actual shipper I got (thru Bill West) was Warren's Marine Service, based in Virginia Beach. Mr. Warren is a class act, and his wife was very helpful. Most of your initial communications is with his wife, Karen, and she would use both phone and email to ensure I was updated on the progress of the move. My dad, the more experienced boater in the family, was quite impressed with his attention to detail in prepping and securing the boat. His hydraulic trailer is pretty slick and my boat arrived in great shape. I would definitely use Warren's Marine Service again, if I was shipping anywhere on the east coast or Midwest. I know he recently was in Maine and Michigan and was on his way to Miami, so he gets around.

All in all, finding a local shipper by word-of-mouth would have saved me a bundle, but being new to the process, using a larger agency like A-1 gave me a bit of confidence in getting the process going. Research isn't hard to do, and definitely kept me away from any significant problems.

Tankersteve
 

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Nice write-up thanks.

What was included in the prep?
 

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good info, thanks for the write up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My dad had the dodger and bimini removed. He put the boom in the cabin, after wrapping it in carpet and shrinkwrap. The mast was on a wooden frame, and wrapped with the running rigging and headsail foil, again with carpet and shrinkwrap. He also removed the lifelines and stanchions.

That's all that comes to mind. Warren remarked that many folks still have the mast up when he shows up - wastes a lot of time.

Oh yeah, all electronics were pulled out and dropped off with me on a family trip, and the wheel is also down below.

The only issue was the shrinkwrap started to come undone on the mast. Warren wrapped it up with some tape to secure it. The instructions from Bill West specifically cautioned about shrinkwrap.

Tankersteve
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ah, should have added, Warren uses Styrofoam blocks to help secure the mast and prevent it from rubbing on the pulpit. Anything that could come undone was well secured. The ratchet straps were snugged nicely, then ziptied securely. Carpet was used to pad where the large straps crossed the fiberglass, from the trailer, up and around the winches, and back to the trailer.

Tankersteve
 

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Derek at Leslie Transport (aka Sailors Moving Sailors) is a nice enuf guy with a nifty homemade hydraulic trailer; even has a built-in mini crane that can unstep most masts. But the whole operation consists of him and his wife, he does things his own way, and he's quite busy in season. I spoke with him around this time two years ago and he politely declined the chance to move our 30'er. This is the period he like to wind down operations, perform deferred maintenance on truck and trailer, spend time with his family, and maybe hunt a little & watch some football. ;) The allure of hauling a boat from Chicago to Wyoming in late November somehow could not tempt him.:laugher

Also, there are some states (notably California) where his home-built trailer would not be welcome. I've heard this from a number of transporters. If Derek didn't get back to you, it's probably because he's booked solid for the next month.

We used Christine Transport out of FLA & were quite happy with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, he seems to have a professional, good reputation. He just never seemed to see my emails. He responded quickly to my texts.

Warren's Marine Service has a very nice, very expensive hydraulic 3 (stub) axle trailer that he will tell you all about if you let him :D No crane for stepping the mast, but I am leaving mine down at least until my survey is completed.

Tankersteve
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The lowest was from the shady guys - 2200 or 2300, I think. Joule was well over $3K. A-1 was 2640, but would have been significantly less if I had gone directly with Warren.

Sailor to Sailor was close to A-1.

Tankersteve
 
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