Monday, February 1, 2010

Trucking Christa Across the USA

Nailed to the dock, Naples Florida
Weather is rain, high 70's

As many know, I am in Naples picking up some work over the winter time to try and offset the cost of trucking Christa, my Westsail32 to Sausalito California, in the San Francisco Bay area. The short version of why I'm am heading west via the continent vs water is explained briefly here. It did occur to me moments ago, their may be some curiosity about the process and the expence involved. So I'm plan on documenting everything in the blog.

I am not a novice at the trucking game. Pictured above is Christa being lowered onto the bed of a tractor trailer in San Francisco in July 2005. I had always intended on leaving on trip around the planet from the West Coast post retirement, but the Coast Guard had other plans for me on my last tour. So I was forced to truck Christa from San Francisco to Wakefield Rhode Island. Everything with my first move went very smoothly, but there was a learning curve no doubt. The trucking charge in 2005 was about $5800 and roughly $1000 to haul-out and then re-launch. All of the prep work was done by me. This saved a fortune. It was about a week solid of 10 hours a day removing everything necessary for Christa to become legal for transport. I remember feeling sick to my stomach watching Christa's stern rock down the road aboard that flatbed.

A great resource is a website called This is a auction type site. You plug in the parameters  and shipping companies make competitive bids. Last summer I bid out the job, from several different ports just to get a sense of the expense involved and to help me determine how much effort I should make to get to a certain shipping port. Clearly it would best if I crossed the Gulf of Mexico to Houston. This shaves off major trucking mileage. But I simply do not want to cross the Gulf. I am trying to balance out the following. The closer to California I get, obviously I save on shipping cost. But I need to nail a date down to ship and of course sailing and dates don't mesh well. So I'd have to build in a bunch of cushion time wise, which means I'd knock off work earlier than intended. See the conflict? Then where ever I end up trucking from leaves me stranded with-out a car. Then I'd have to pay to transport my butt back to Naples to pick up the Green Hornet. So I could end up saving on transport cost only to have the savings eaten elsewhere. I believe economists call this Opportunity cost. Not to mention crossing the Gulf with all the oil rigs and shipping traffic.

I have likely settled on shipping out of Ft Myers or Tampa Bay here in Florida. I will also consider Pensacola. Pensacola would be a 300 mile dash and could be done easily on one good weather window.

A-1-Haul-A Boat quoted me @ $8400 from Jacksonville to SF Bay.
Able Boat Transport quoted me @ $9200 from Jacksonville to SF Bay
Boat Express Shipping quoted me @ $6,000 to 8,000 from Houston to SF Bay

These are old quotes and unfortunately fuel prices have risen and I will likely pay more. For my own planning purposes I expect to spend $10,000 all in. Maybe I should change my Donate Button from educational expenses to boat trucking!

In the below pic, you can see all the rigging, including the Profurl strapped to the mast. The crane plucked the mast at the spreaders. It took about 35 minutes to do, billed @ 85 dollars every 15 minutes for the crane. So preparation is important. One stuck pin, bent cotter pin that needs to be unbent will cost dearly. This trucking experience was very valuable in terms of me learning my own boat. I had to put my hands on just about every piece of gear on the boat, adding to a already pretty good familiarity with the old girl.

 Trucking a boat is a fairly decent under taking, but also an opportunity to do some projects. In future posts I'll lay out some of those projects.

Capt Chris