Yacht Transport by Ship
Our motivation for yacht transport
If you sail around the world on the classic barefoot route from Europe, you will notice, at the latest in the area around Australia, that from now on there is a lot of water and comparatively little land in front of the bow on the way back to Europe. That’s how it went for us. Even more: We had the feeling that after Australia the fun of travelling and discovering stopped and more and more sailing had to be done.
The short and logical way to Europe leads through the Indian Ocean, around the Horn of Africa into the Red Sea and from there through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea. However, this route has been considered dangerous for years because of the pirates.
Although we know from an Italian crew that in 2015, together with 14 other boats, they had been sailing this route to ship from us to singapore on their own keel without incident, our yardstick was less the question of their own courage than that of the courage of the insurance company. Because as long as no insurance – for whatever premium – covers this route for crew and boat, so long it is obviously too dangerous.
So we only had the route via South Africa, the South Atlantic, the Caribbean and finally the North Atlantic on our own keel. Over 16,000 nautical miles. Hell of a lot of water and little land to look at and discover!
Against this background we were looking for an alternative. This led to the following solution: We joined the SAIL2INDONESIA sailing rally, which crosses Indonesia once. From there we went on via Singapore and Malaysia to Thailand. In Thailand we loaded our STORMVOGEL onto a seagoing vessel and shipped it to Turkey. In retrospect, this was a very interesting solution.
Negotiations and price for the yacht transport
During the SAIL2INDONESIA rally with 24 participating boats it turned out that other owners were also considering the possibility of yacht transport. Out of eight interested crews, five crews remained – four sailing yachts and a motorboat.
That was an order of magnitude that gave us the opportunity to conduct concrete negotiations with various providers. Since it wasn’t just an inquiry for a yacht, a noticeable discount was to be given to everyone.
Negotiation with Sevenstar and Peters & May
We negotiated with the providers Sevenstar and Peters & May. Both shipping companies offer the route from Phuket in Thailand. Of course, both companies were very interested in winning five boats at once. But we had to realize that such group negotiations are not so easy to organize, because each boat has to conclude its own transport contract with the provider.
At the end of the day, Peters & May’s offer was around 20 percent cheaper than Sevenstar’s. But there was a catch: Peters & May could not guarantee that the trip would actually take place. Such unexpected problems were pointed out to us very cleverly by Sevenstar. And rightly so: Peters & May confirmed to us upon request that the passage in the previous year had been cancelled at short notice and that the yachts in Thailand had been booked for the time being. Mind you, on the unfavourable side of the country, when the monsoon blows.
Sevenstar, on the other hand, was certain that the trip would take place as planned – even though we could not be given a reliable guarantee there either. Nevertheless, despite the higher price, we decided in favour of this provider in the end. It seemed to us to be the more reliable solution.
For the group negotiations, it proved to be advantageous to speak directly with Sevenstar headquarters in Amsterdam. This is the only place where prices can be changed. If you request a non-binding offer via the Sevenstar website, this request is forwarded to the Sevenstar agent responsible for the region, who will then process the transaction. It’s good in itself, but of course these agents receive commissions from Sevenstar. If you manage to bypass the sellers by talking directly to the head office, there will miraculously be room for reasonable discounts.
The contracts were finally signed and a 25 percent down payment was due. The entire transaction was carried out in English and the payment in US dollars. The currency risk is therefore borne by the customer.
The sailing times for yacht transport
For the yacht transports Sevenstar rents pitches on deck of seagoing vessels with their own cranes. You have to imagine it this way: In addition to the classic liner type, which takes place on fixed routes and at fixed times between the continents, there are so-called tramp ships.
These are ships that operate as required and pick up or unload cargo here and there without a fixed schedule and also make detours to pick up or unload cargo. The focus is not on journey times, but solely on transport costs. In other words, the more time available, the cheaper the transport.