"Beluga Houston" to Australia - Why?
At 01:30 this morning Lynda and I stepped off the "Beluga Houston" a massive yacht transporter that put into Gibraltar for 12 hours to load three yachts bound for Australia.
There are a number of important lessons that we would like to share with you.
The first lesson is that yachts are clearly much more expensive in Australia than in Europe. The fact that it costs around US$40,000 to use the transporter service from Gibraltar to Perth for a 35-40 foot yacht gives some idea of the existing price differential. If the yacht were to be sailed then the $40,000 could be invested in the trip of a lifetime. VAT not paid status boats tend to be cheaper. For an Australian exporting a yacht from Europe VAT paid status is irrelevant. Boatshed Gibraltar has plenty of VAT not paid boats on its books.
The second lesson is to prepare well in advance. Although the "Beluga Houston" provides a water to water service Australian Customs and Health Regulations need to be complied with. You need to prepare well in advance. Water tanks need to be emptied, all foodstuffs removed, the yacht needs to be thoroughly cleaned and a certificate from a local accredited refrigeration engineering company attesting to the fact that the boats fridge contains no CFCs needs to be produced.
The third lesson is to take a multi-tool and shackle opener in your pocket to temporarily remove the backstay so that it does not foul with the lifting strops.
The fourth lesson is that from the cockpit of the yacht the transporter's hull looks like a cliff of steel. Make sure you put out plenty of fenders to protect your boat.
When your number comes up you go alongside and the yacht is quickly boarded by a rough looking gang of stevedores who with the help of a diver ensure that the lifting strops are correctly positioned. Before you know it you are way up in the air level with the ships deck and voices in English, Spanish and Russian are urging you to make a death defying leap across to the ship's deck.
After the yacht is lowered onto the deck the cradle it is welded into position and lashed down. Then you have one final opportunity to tidy up the yacht put the fenders away and double check that the batteries have been switched off.
The fifth and final lesson is to expect delays. Take a sandwich and bottle of water as your appointed lifting time can be delayed and your crew needs to be looked after or so Lynda tells me!
So if there are Australians out there who want to acquire a bargain yacht Boatshed Gibraltar can not only source and sell you the yacht but also understands the requirements of putting in on a yacht transporter for you.