Today was one of the most exciting days of the past months: Transportation time! As I have tried to lay down the delivery process of a new sailing yacht to the owner (read it here) the most “fun” part of it all – the yacht transportation to the marina – was still over. Now, as the fun hits me, I want to dive deeper into this topic and share my experience with you when it comes to moving your yacht overland.

The transporter arrives. It will be a tricky thing ti get my yacht out of there!

But first: Why leaving? I did have a perfect place for my boat for the past 2 years in a small family run yard downriver Elbe in a Hamburg suburb. The best of it was that there I did have the expertise of fellow craftsmen who would not always be glad for a small coffee break and a chatter but would always gladly share their expertise when I did have a question or was seeking a special tool. But private matters made me to move away from Hamburg to the City of Luebeck (some 60 km north of Hamburg) and now driving down to my boat takes more than 1.30 hours – one tour. That´s crazy, especially during weekend-time when the Autobahn is choking under heavy traffic.

Finding the right yacht transportation company

As I am now working at a yacht dealer for Beneteau-yachts right at the Baltic Sea shores in a great marina I asked for a dry berth to put my boat on to and the management agreed without hesitation. With my boat here, some 500 metres away from our office, it´s a great thing to go for 2 or 3 hours of work after paid work is done and driving time to here is reduced to mere 20 minutes. This will significantly speed up my yacht refit efforts and will hopefully enable me to bring my boat back to the water next year. So, how to find a good, skilled and professional yacht transportation company?

The purpose made trailer is a specialty of the pro-transporter. Always go for professionals!

I was happy having the phone number of Nico who runs a yacht transportation company that is in business for more than 40 years now. He was the one who was taking out my King´´s Cruiser of water two years ago as well and I was happy when he agreed to accept the job: Spring time is heyday in the transportation business and getting an appointment is a game of luck. I was lucky! So my first advice would be to plan well ahead to being able to choose a date – if you are too late, you will have to get what is left. Or get no date at all.

The keel is put on the massive frame – the ship´s sides are secured by four stamps.

The company I worked with is made up of pro transportation people who do nothing else than moving boats. They do it in a quick and swift manner, every move they make is with certain knowledge and I felt my yacht was is good hands. That would be my second advice: Choose a professional yacht mover, don´t go for a cheap “I´ll move every everything!”-offer because a yacht is a special thing for sure. The two guys had my boat – which was really boxed between two other boats – safely on their special purpose heavy duty trailer within two hours. I was excited to seeing them doing their stuff with so much determination.

A matter of 2 hours to get the boat safely to the trailer.

When my boat finally left the site I did have one eye crying for that I must leave this fantastic place and the nice people and one eye laughing for that I can now speed up refit work in the new marina and maybe have the boat faster back in the water. I jumped in my car and dashed to the Baltic shore to be there when the boat arrives. That´s the third hint: Plan the moving day well! Because at the marina where you will put the boat they usually have a very, very strict timing when it comes to craning and providing the necessary support like a stand for the boat and so on. That´s serious project management for sure!

Yacht transportation costs and some hints

One of the most asked questions is how much the whole thing costs. Well, that´s a very difficult question because it really depends. I think, the factors which have the most influence on costs are limited to: The size of your boat (the bigger, the more more expensive), the height of your boat (the higher, the more detours, the more hassle – the more expensive) and of course the distance (each single kilometre will cost you a certain price).

She leaves her place … a very emotional moment for me.

Speaking of my boat, of course, you can´t really reduce the distance as this is the only factor you can´t influence. Anyway, if your boat is delivered to be put in the water, it may be cost saving to choose a different marine and have the rest sailed by yourself – which will make for a nice shakedown cruise as well. As my boat wasn´t ready to be put into the water, I did have no choice. 33 feet is not that big so the price actually was considerably low – compared to what owners of really big boats pay. Why? Because up from a certain length (and height) it is customary in some countries too have a Police escorting the boat. And this is really raising the budget here!

Arriving to her new haven …

Also, if the boat is too high (in Germany there´s the magical 4-metres-mark) it´s going to get expensive because maybe traffic lights have to be disassembled or the transport has to make huge detours which are also costing money. In any case – if you seek a land transport, get a thorough quote by your transportation company and make sure you are working with professional yacht delivery companies solely.

Arriving at the new marina

Finally my King´s Cruiser 33 arrived in her new marina and this moment took a huge load off my shoulders. Because, before the transport was leaving we hade to take down the rear end of the mast from the wooden X-post as it was making the boat significantly higher than 4 metres. Now, both ends of the mast had been laying on the steel reelings of the boat and I new that the pulpit had already been welded after a collision I wasn´t so sure if the whole construction would hold. But it did and the boat arrived without any scratch.

Try no minimize crane-costs because this is expensive!

The marina boys immediately put the boat in the crane and down into her brand-new steel stand. I thanked Nico, the transportation guy, for his great work and followed the pallet transporter which was pulling my boat to her new place behind one of the big halls of the marina. Here she will have her new stand for – I hope – as less time as possible and when she finally stood still I was so relieved that I barely find words now.

She is put to her new stand …

Which brings me to my next hint: Brace yourself for a stressful day when you are moving your boat because at least that’s what I experienced today. Starting at 8 a.m. and finally being though the roller coaster ride at 3 p.m. was a pressing a lot of adrenalin and made my hands shake a couple of times. I forgot to eat, I forgot to drink and the first thing I had to do when driving home was to take the first roadhouse and get myself a huge hamburger, fries and lots of sugar to revive both my body and my brain.

The new haven for my King´s Cruiser 33

So, here we are. Back on the Baltic Sea, where I once got my boat from and not far from my working place. In the coming days I will get accustomed to this new location, find our where I can draw electric power from and where the nearest water-tap is located. Because this will be my first job: Getting the boat a bit cleaner because she is making a poor appearance after two years of constant sanding she is covered in a thick layer of dirt.

She looks awful, but she will receive a proper spring cleaning, I promise!

I am thinking of removing the mast from her deck (which is also a new source of costs but I think it´s worth it) and finally getting her covered up again by her – surprisingly well preserved – tarpaulin to have her protected against downpour and UV-radiation. I hope to start real work within the coming weeks and let´s see if I can increase working hours from now 6-8 per month (which is a shame!) to 6-8 per week.

Arrived. Finally!

For now I lay back and take a hot shower, trying to process this densely packed exciting day and look forward to meeting new people, new neighbours, new craftsmen and with this new prospect that comes with the new home of my boat, spirits of the whole refit project are high as ever and I can´t wait to resume work.

You may also be interested in reading:

Making your own big tarpaulin for your yacht´s winter storage

Delivery process of a sailing yacht

Second hand yacht buyer´s guide. Testrun with my King´s Cruiser 33