Goodbye Europe

November 19, 2019

Crossing an ocean is one of the objectives for many cruising mariners and buying a yacht like a Nordhavn is a great tool for accomplishing that goal. Putting Home Free on a ship was never part of the plan, but life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. So here I am . . . sitting on a snowy runway in Montreal, on my way back to Toronto while Home Free starts out from Palma on board a transport.

The reasons are all good reasons, the decision was sound and I look forward to the next chapter and the next window in our lives where a grand adventure is possible. For now we will have a less exciting adventure cruising the east coast of North America and the Caribbean. That should keep us busy for a while.

While coming to a decision about shipping the boat someone told me that the company we are using (Peters and May) didn’t seem to add much value. Yesterday I discovered that now, and perhaps in a changed business model, or a different continent they provide a ton of value (not to say that it is not ridiculously expensive to ship a yacht, but it’s nice to know they earn their money).

Yesterday I was up early working through my prep/to-do list. I mentioned this to one of the attending observers during the loading and he was surprised that I had a to-do list. The boat before mine was a 36′ cabin cruiser but RH3 was also aboard. I can’t imagine not having a list for that behemoth.

What’s on the list? Well simple things like emptying the fridge and taking out the garbage, but also more complex items like emptying holding tanks, bilges, running key systems to ensure they are ‘lubricated’ before being put to bed, the water maker needs to be run regularly as well and then there is shutting down the electrical system which NEVER gets shut down so I have to consult the manual on that one.

In any case I was at the ship side at the prescribed time of 10am. If you have been reading for a while you might have caught my ‘acknowledgement’ (no, not frustrated, not me) with the delays, but my boat was finally nestled aboard ship at 3:15. It was scheduled to take an hour. Someday I will write a post declaring my love of unionized employees who believe they are owed a salary, as opposed to those who work. I ended up handling lines as my boat flailed around in the winds for a while as the local help chatted amongst themselves.

In any case, the process was ‘smooth’ except for labour issues and the boat was loaded, but back to my original point, the Peter’s and May team provided all the equipment did 50% of the work (there were two of them vs. About 20 other crew mostly standing around). Each boat has a custom fit cradle welded to the deck to keep the boat in place and then lashed with two straps in at least six locations (again, welded tie downs custom made on the fly). It was well done all round.

Spare anchor anyone?

The only small issue is that my boat is sticking out over the edge. Of course at sea this won’t be a problem, but I did double check that my anchor was tied down (it’s double tied). If it comes loose, it is going to let out 400′ of high quality chain and either dump it in the ocean or drag it along the hull of the transport. (That’s just me evaluating worst case scenarios).

Not that much!

The boat should arrive in Fort Lauderdale around the 7th of December and I will meet it there.

What then? I am getting that question a lot, but honestly we have about four different paths to evaluate and they rely on other people, their schedules and the normal weather dependencies and so forth. The easy answer right now is “we don’t know”.

It looks like Christmas will be celebrated in Toronto followed by cruising to the Bahamas for New Years. From there perhaps some time in central Florida. Finally, around March I will probably begin moving the boat north with a goal of visiting Newfoundland this summer.

That is all the planning we have done. One of the key considerations is that Jinhee’s schedule is going to take priority for the foreseeable future and we are going to shift focus to make the boat a spot for us to relax together and not always be moving when she is aboard. A flight to the US eastern seaboard is relatively quick and easy (almost like a shuttle in winter), and we can possibly keep a car close to the boat if we find a semi permanent home.

Home Free settled in her (custom) cradle

My view as I walked back to the city centre

4 thoughts on “Goodbye Europe

  1. Hi Don,

    Glad to see the boat is on her way. We are in West Palm Beach If you need any help with your boat
    and need a place for a few days your are welcome to stay with us waiting for the ship to come in..

    Cheers
    Nick & Karen

  2. Wow what a cool story. Keep me in mind for passage making. Cheers Thomas

    1. Hi Thomas. I certainly will. I suspect my trip North in the spring may require some help. I will definitely keep you in mind.

  3. Must be a relief to finally get that part done. Hope all goes well with the crossing and the unloading as well.

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