It’s March and we just signed a purchase agreement on a sailboat which happens to weigh 45,000 pounds, is 47 plus feet long and is currently located over 1000 miles away.
Thus begins a flurry of research, phone calls and emails.
First order of business was to schedule a survey. This involved finding not only the person to conduct the survey but getting the boat hauled out. I would highly recommend any prospective owner be there for the survey/haul out, unfortunately, due to work schedules neither of us were able to get to Florida for it.
Once the survey was complete and final payment made, we had to figure out how to get this boat from Florida to Texas. We were very lucky that the sellers were willing to keep it docked behind their house until we could arrange the move.
There are really only a couple of options, one if by land or two if by sea.
To ship a boat that size over land involves various permits, restrictions and fees. It also would require decommissioning prior to being picked up by a crane and loaded onto a trailer. Since it would have been difficult for us to get to Florida to oversee the process, this wasn’t a very attractive option.
That leaves option two, by sea. This would involve hiring a delivery captain and crew. We spoke to a number of different captains and got widely varying quotes as to cost and routes. One captain said he would follow the shipping lanes across the Gulf, one would skirt the coastline and we even had one fellow say that the Gulf was too dangerous and it would need to be brought through the ICW. Of course he also didn’t want to stay on board but would expect us to pay for him to dock and stay in a hotel most of the twenty some odd nights he estimated the trip would take! My guess was most of those hotels would have casinos…
After much debate and many sleepless nights, we decided to hire a captain and crew. Once more our seller came through! He was a former delivery captain who had let his license lapse but knew a someone he trusted enough to recommend. Many more phone calls and emails later we had our captain. And as it turns out, our seller wanted a final sail so he signed on as one of the crew. He was also instrumental in helping us arrange for some repairs that needed to be done to prepare for an offshore voyage and with provisioning. I’m not sure how we would have gotten everything done without his help, especially with hurricane season fast approaching and our weather window for a gulf crossing narrowing, and was glad he had the opportunity for one last sail in honor of his son.
After a false start (mechanical difficulties 70 miles out that required a return to shore) they were on the way. Our stalwart captain and crew motor sailed along the shipping lanes and arrived in Galveston Bay four and a half (very stressful for me) days later.
Ddraig is a 40 year old boat that had been sitting idle for a number of years while the previous owner was stationed away in the service. Though structurally sound, everything else (electronics, hoses and fittings, fuel systems, rigging, etc.) needed lots of attention. We were very relieved when safely tied to our dock in Kemah!