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Yacht delivery options



If you are buying a yacht and need it moved to your own sailing area, and cannot undertake the delivery passage yourself, there are two options for delivery. The boat can be sailed there by a paid delivery crew, or it can be loaded onto a trailer or truck and taken by road.

Sea delivery: Most professional sea delivery businesses supply a full crew - typically three, even if the owner elects to come along as crew. The reason for this is that experienced delivery crews will at times remain at sea and continue with the passage in conditions that might keep many leisure sailors in harbour, and the skipper has to have complete confidence that his crew will be able to cope with the conditions.

The fee is normally on a per-day basis, plus time and transport costs for the crew to and from the start point and destination. The owner must also insure the yacht for the passage, and pay for fuel used and any harbour dues incurred on passage. In the case of seriously bad weather, the skipper may have to delay, and the delay time is also charged by many delivery companies. For this reason, sea delivery is usually the more expensive option, except for short distances, or cross-channel or Irish Sea passages.

A delivery trip is often the longest open-water passage many yachts make in their lives - and such voyages often show up problems - particularly if the yacht has been laid up for a while, or used only very gently for a few years.

Road transport: Road transport is usually the preferred option, as it is fast, and the transporter will normally insure the yacht whilst in transit. Costs are known in advance, and it is not weather-dependent.

The transporter charges a fixed fee, normally to include insurance in transit. For larger yachts special flatbed articulated trucks are used, or a 4x4 plus trailer for smaller yachts. In addition to the transport cost, you will incur cranage charges at each end for loading and unloading, and also, if required, mast lowering/raising. Nevertheless, this is often the cheapest option, except for moves that involve expensive cross-channel ferry fares for the truck and yacht.

For small bilge-keelers, or smaller yachts with their own cradle, a flatbed truck with a HIAB crane (sometimes called a self-loading truck) can sometimes be a cheap option, as it avoids extra cranage charges. Some marinas and boatyards however will not allow the use of HIABS.

You can sometimes get a considerably better price by allowing the transporter extended flexibility in timing, so that he can book in a loaded 'return trip' to offset costs, rather than drive the return distance with an empty truck

For some deliveries, the cheapest option may be a combination of both road and sea transport: for example a yacht being taken from the Solent to the south of France might well be sailed across the English Channel to Cherbourg, and then be taken by road across France. This short sea passage would avoid the very expensive return ferry fare for a large articulated lorry.

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