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Long-distance transport for a multihull: cargo ship or delivery

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For transport by cargo ship, by Mathieu Le Bihan 

Coming from the shipping world, Matthieu spent several years as an expatriate, between the Caribbean and South America. His role: to organize the merchant ships’ stopovers, on behalf of a French shipowner. In 2011, on returning to Brittany, he specialized in ocean racing logistics, and organized transport by freighter for the Transat AG2R, Mini Transat and Route du Rhum fleets. At the end of 2016, he joined the Sevenstar Yacht Transport group, the world leader in yacht transport.

Leisure sailing has entered directly into the plug-and-play era.For a good number of sailors, crossing an ocean is no longer a Grail in itself; it is even felt to be a time constraint and a not-inconsiderable risk factor (human and equipment). Maritime boat transport is logically in keeping with this search for immediate pleasure and cruising with no constraints. It allows fast, safe access to the ultramarine cruising areas that many leisure sailors only touch with their fingertips on the glossy pages of their specialized magazines. Few of them sail there. Thanks to transport by freighter, this dream becomes reality: the islands and lagoons are yours! Forget the dull winter weather, next season you will be cruising in the Adriatic, in Polynesia, or towards Phuket. The range of possibilities opens up to you; the only limit is your imagination!


Transport by freighter: The fast, reliable and accessible solution

Fast: Nowadays, in under 15 days, your catamaran, firmly secured to the deck of the freighter, will do the trip from La Rochelle to the West Indies or Florida, safely. After 35 days' transport, you will have the pleasure of dropping anchor at Papeete, Sydney, or Singapore. Allow 20 to 30 days extra for a crewed delivery, if there are no problems on the way…

Reliable and safe: transport by freighter frees you of the risks inherent in a crewed delivery trip: unfavorable winds, flat calm, and the ensuing delays. It also offers the undeniable advantage of protecting your multihull from the wear and tear of an ocean crossing: rig, sails, engines and structure will not be used during the voyage.

Accessible: contrary to received ideas, transport by cargo ship is not only reserved for superyacht owners. Today, the transport budget for a 40-foot catamaran to cross the Atlantic is around 15,000 euros, including all expenses – a cost comparable to that of a delivery by a professional crew, minus the sailing risks, the fuel consumed and the wear and tear on all the equipment.

In conclusion: for an equivalent budget, the scales weigh clearly in favor of transport by freighter. More and more owners want to protect their nautical assets and take full advantage of their leisure time, so they choose this solution. For those who have a taste for risk and prefer the unforeseen, the unknown…crewed delivery could be an option.

For delivery accompanied by a skipper, by Marc Peeters

Marc Peeters is a skipper with a lot of experience; he sails intensely and in all seasons. He comes from the world of regattas and ocean racing (dinghies, Formula 40, trimaran Richmond…), has worked for the Beneteau group and for several years now has accompanied the customers of the Catana group, as a freelancer. 

The delivery trip to the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic or across the Pacific is, for me, the ideal opportunity to get to know a new catamaran. Through this accompanied passage, the sailor who is new to the world of multihulls (even with a good amount of experience in monohulls) takes the time to adapt successfully. There are habits to be changed, reactions to be explained and understood. In this role, we could talk of the skipper as a ‘nautical guide’, for the same reasons that the mountain guide is there to accompany, reassure and pass on part of his or her expertise (a good skier doesn’t set off on the Haute Route without a guide!). Many sailors have experience of weekends at sea, but often very little else, and facing up to an ocean passage requires organization, a certain rigor before the departure, as well as at sea (sharing of tasks, watch organization, anticipation, weather, safety). The role of the delivery skipper-guide becomes a prominent one, for the successful continuation of the voyage and the future life with the boat. The multihull novice must learn how a multihull reacts, to anticipate taking a reef, to watch the wind speed on the instruments (the boat doesn't heel) and, as in the mountains, to remain humble in the face of the elements. One of the great pleasures in my experience as a delivery skipper-guide is to communicate part of my passion, to help the owner discover the joy of being on the water, to admire every minute, every hour, every day the wonderful living scenery of nature at sea. I sometimes only succeed partly, and understand that the owner has purchased a second home, not a means of travelling! I once sailed for a month with an owner who can’t have spent more than 10 hours on deck; he was happy in the harbor, but not at sea! Let’s also tackle the financial aspect: for the delivery of a new or second-hand boat, the difference in cost between the choice of an accompanied passage and that of transport by freighter (or by road) is far from insignificant; certain people say that the multihull is new when it arrives, but is this a real advantage? Which boat doesn’t need setting up after delivery? The accompanied delivery is the ideal period for sorting out the little problems and passing the boat over to the owner, helping him or her discover the qualities of their multihull, giving them the confidence to be able to enjoy it to the full in the future. The discovery of a passage, its organization and the pleasure of experiencing a good adventure, accompanied by an experienced person who will intervene to make sure the members of the crew get along well, is a precious introduction; the operation’ can be estimated as at least half the cost of, and just as fast as, transport by freighter, with a boat which is set up and can be used fully on arrival…and a nice human adventure as a bonus!

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