Cruising to the Caribbean either from the U.S. or Europe is certainly an adventure. Yet, an annual trek like this can take its toll on a yacht in areas such as engine hours, fuel costs, crew hire, and wear and tear. These are some of the reasons why owners and their skippers, such as Capt. Casey Fasciano, aboard the 1949-built and recently re-built 72ft Sparkman & Stephens yawl, Bolero, choose yacht delivery on a yacht transport ship.
“Bolero was completely re-built four years ago and is capable of crossing oceans, but she is a familiar museum piece and the owner likes to baby her,”
Fasciano explains. “Plus, shipping the yacht costs from half to two-thirds of the price of putting together and doing a delivery.”
Fasciano and his crew flew from Newport to St. Thomas in November to drive Bolero off one of Dockwise Yacht Transport’s (DYT) fleet of semi-submersible dedicated yacht delivery carriers that delivered the yacht in a five day trip.
Since 1987, explains Catalina Bujor, the Ft. Lauderdale, FL-based public relations and marketing officer for DYT, “the company has transported over 12,000 motor and sailing yachts to various destinations around the globe, offering owners and charterers safe and easy access to many of the world’s premier cruising grounds. For example, our sailing schedule caters to the popular sailing and charter season in the Caribbean (ports of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and La Marin, Martinique), which begins in November and runs through June. In addition, DYT’s year-round global routes for its semi-submersibles currently include the Mediterranean, East Coast USA, the Pacific West Coast and the South Pacific as well as the Caribbean. We’ve also expanded our service and expertise to include lift-on/lift-off operations with third-party carriers when there is an opportunity to service an additional port that has not been scheduled for access by a DYT ship.”
“There wasn’t much to do to prepare the yacht for transport,” says Fasciano. “However, even though Dockwise personnel rinse the decks every day, we still decided to shrink-wrap the charthouse because we had just had it Awlgripped before we left. We shrink-wrapped the sail cover too, just as a precaution against any soot. In addition, I would also recommend having flat rather than round fenders on the side of your yacht. Flat fenders are less likely to shimmy during transport.”
Other preparation tips published on DYT’s website include securing everything aboard the vessel as if crossing on the yacht’s own keel, delivering the boat as light as possible – meaning with empty fuel and water tanks – and powering down everything, unplugging batteries and storing cables to prevent any contact.
“For yachts 90ft and larger,” explains Bujor, “a rider can come aboard. Most often this person is the engineer, first mate or other crew member of the yacht. The yacht is supplied with electrical power and water hook-ups, which allows for light maintenance during transit such as bottom painting, detailing and work on the engine and parts. The crewmember is served three meals a day in the ship’s mess room, and if weather permits, they may even have a barbeque onboard the ship’s deck. With our newest yacht carrier, M/V Yacht Express, other amenities are offered such as an atrium with 180-degree views, a fitness room, a swimming pool with deck, large mess room and even a fifty-person theater.”
Once in St. Thomas, it took less than a day after arrival to unload the yacht, says Fasciano. “We flew down on Friday and the yacht arrived on Friday. The next morning we went over to Dockwise, drove her off by late morning and headed over to Yacht Haven Grande to take the shrink wrap off, wash her down, fuel and provision. We were all ready to take off and sail the next morning.”
For more information, visit: www.yacht-transport.com/homepage.html
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.