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The Captain

Answers to Frequently asked Questions

Sailboat deliveries  US east coast/ Caribbean   via the I.C.W. or offshore, or to anywhere else in the world.

No charge for estimate

Reduced charge for weather delays. Rates reduced  %20.

You  cover transportation of captain and crew to and from the sailboat.

We are happy to sail with you or your crew or bring our own, need be.

(Crew runs $100 per day; we may be able to find unpaid crew, but can't guarantee this)

Trip planning and general consulting for the voyage are free of course.

For boats new to you please have a recent survey to share with us.

We are very happy to help with all aspects of the delivery; however we have  had some situations recently where potential clients spent weeks with us "picking brains" and then went off and did it all themselves. Please don't do this !

 

Deposits :

  Standard operating procedure in deliveries generally involves both a deposit  ( for most firms it’s 50% of estimated days on the boat, but I’m happy taking less) and a means of my being able to make payments for such things as dockage or repairs from some account as the boat moves along. Usually this is done with either a credit card or a small but meaningful amount of cash. 

 

 

(The background chart used on the site is of the east end of Long Island) 

What we ask of you:

   Offshore delivery sailboats must come equipped with properly rated life raft and EPIRB. While we can carry our own EPIRB the boat should have one registered to it as well

    We may request a copy of the sailboat's insurance paperwork, and will ask that the captain and any crew we require be added to the coverage if it does not now cover hired crew. (often it does)  We may request  to see proof of ownership  and a copy of the boat's federal or state documentation.

 

  We live in a sadly litigious society, and while I have never damaged a sailboat, I must say that I sometimes, before a delivery, wake up in dread of “something happening” and finding myself on the wrong end of a lawyer. On the other hand it seems silly to go to the trouble of forming a corporation or LLC to protect myself from this possibility.  I’ve been thinking of asking customers to sign something that says “in case of an accident I promise not to sue the captain”. Believe me when I tell you I’d never run your boat in front of a freighter...

  Not to put you off , but let me say here, we are not responsible for damage to the boat. If I break a coffee pot, I'll replace it - but if the mast breaks it was going to anyway.

   

   Be sure to have the engine in good order and clean fuel in the tanks.    Having delivered more  than  a few sailboats with good engines that developed problems, I’ve made a study of this; the most common cause by far is contaminated fuel. I hope you’re familiar  with the issue; bacterial growth in the tank or  sediment from any number of sources jamming the fuel injectors. Often a bit of stirring  in a high sea adds to the problem; boats that ran well in calm seas break down when we most need the engine. Nigel Calder is my favorite  writer on this , but a number of good books exist.  Please have a few spare filters and the  manual for the engine in case we have to bleed it. Delays caused by poor engine maintenance will be billed at the normal daily rate !

 Remember most sailors rarely use the engine; in a delivery last week (June '09) we put more miles on the engine in a week than, I was told, in the prior 2 years. Under these circumstances many engines will have problems.  Prepare the engine as best you can !

 If you are wondering why we worry about the engine in a sailboat, of course it's so we don't have to bill you for the week we spent waiting for the wind to shift. As much as we love sailing, most days doing deliveries are spent, sadly, motoring. If however you wish your boat moved via the wind, we are more than happy to comply.

 For boats new to you please have a recent survey from an accredited marine surveyor to share with us. If you are thinking of saving money by forgoing the survey, please: consider the time lost to us and you as we sit in port waiting for the problem the surveyor would have found to be fixed. Better: think of how much money you will save on the asking price when you can wave a survey at the seller listing all the faults of the boat. A survey will ALWAYS save you money. And asking a yard mechanic to "give her a look" is not the same thing. Surveyors are aware of common points of failures in ways mechanics are not.  Please don't leave it to us to discover the problems! Time lost to mechanical breakdowns that could have been seen on inspection will be billed at our normal rate. See? You've saved this money already with a survey.

  Tools and spare parts (filters, engine belts, impellers and coolant)  should be on board; you have those anyway, don’t you ? And by tools we don't just mean a pliers and a few old wrenches. You should carry a digital multi-meter and a full range of wrenches and a ratcheting socket kit with all sizes that might be of need on the boat. In addition you should have a tool able to tighten the stuffing box nuts. Other items that come to mind are tape, gasket forming compound, glues, vice grips, spare hose clamps, stainless steel wire...

   We ask that you have checked the following:( All of this should be OK on any sailboat. We will not  hold you responsible or refuse to take the boat if there are issues here, rather we would like to know the state of the craft) 

Alcohol: I strongly prefer not having any on the boat; it 1) ruins anyone's capacity to work safely and 2) a boat is too small a social place for self indulgent drunken idiocy. I have done deliveries with drunken alcoholics and will not run the risk of putting myself in this spot again; it's painful to me and a danger to the boat. On boats without the owner I can say there will be no hard liquor. On boats with he owner aboard I would request a conversation about drugs and alcohol prior to getting underway. Here's a bit more on why I think it's all a bad idea.

Charts that cover the trip  (we will bring our own , need be)( you get extra points for having paper charts and a sextant for us to play with)

First Aid kit (again, we can bring our own)

Electrical system and nav lights in good order ? Is the alternator charging ? Are the batteries charged (topped off with water in the case of open cell type ) ?

Do you carry a high intensity spot light ?  ( you know you should; it's very useful for finding moorings at night, not to mention all those fish traps in the Chesapeake)

VHF and/ or SSB checked and working

Cleaning material (soap, brushes, paper towels and oil adsorbent rags ) should be on board.

Food on board (yes, you have to cover feeding the crew. No worries, nothing fancy - no duck liver moose (please not  ! )  or caviar)

Plumbing; does the head work ? Have you done a pump-out recently ?  (the stories we could tell of this ....)

Water; are the tanks clean ? Can we ( and you !) drink out of the  main water tank or do we need bottled water ?

Are the sails in good shape ; can we sail the boat need be ?

Whisker Pole ? Spinnaker pole ? (for trade wind deliveries )

Radar Reflector ?

Life jackets; enough for the  crew ?  How about an emergency tiller, hatch boards ? Have you looked at the  stanchions, lifelines ? Is there a  horseshoe or  other   throwable device ?

 Ground tackle ; is the windless operable; are anchor & chain sufficient for at least 20 feet of water with a 7 to 1 ratio ?  Is there a  boat hook ?

Do the bilge pumps work ?

Do you have extra line ? If we have to tie a preventer on the boom will we have an easy time finding the line ?

Here's a more complete list for off shore and international deliveries, but good to look over for in-shore ones too:

Hull
Condition and appearance (note and photograph any existing damage)
Location of all thru-hulls
Location of water fills and vents
Location of fuel fills and vents
Location of waste system fittings 
Inspect steering system cables and quadrant 
Check for portlight leaks
Check bilge for standing water.
Make sure anchor is secure
 
Navigation Lights & Other Requirements
Check all for proper operation
Locate spare lamps
Locate switches & fuses
Locate flashlights
Locate spotlight
Locate horn for sound signals  
Locate courtesy flags, quarantine flag and ship’s flag

Safety
Check condition and number of PFD’s
Location and expiration of flare kit
Location of EPIRB
Condition and expiration of liferaft
Location of abandon ship kit
Location and state of charge for handheld VHF
Location and condition of MOB gear
Locate binoculars

Vessel Paperwork
Locate federal documentation
Locate copy of insurance policy
Locate authorization letter from owner
Locate cruising permits
Locate ship’s log
Check for approved fire extinguishers in working order
Check for safety harnesses
Check for boarding ladder
Check operation of all VHF’s
Locate wooden plugs for thru-hull fittings
Locate first aid kit
Locate emergency underwater epoxy/5200
Check bilge pump operation using bilge pump float switch

Sail & Rigging
Check condition of sails
Check condition of running rigging .
Check condition of standing rigging including turnbuckles and cotter pins
Check operation of rig
Check procedure for reefing
Check for chafe in furling line
Locate spare winch handles

PRIMARY Engine & Electrical
Engine overall condition
Location of engine manual
Location of engine spares
Location and quantity of engine oil  
Know how to prime and bleed system
Location of extra coolant
Location of tool kit
Check gauges for operation
Check seawater intake strainer and clean if necessary
Verify fuel tank sender is operating and accurate
Check tightness and condition of all belts
Check oil, coolant, and transmission fluid level
Check engine room hose clamps and hoses for leaks
Look for obvious chafed wires and hoses
Check stuffing box for leaking at rest and underway.
Verify operation of panel
Locate spare fuses
Check rudder stuffing boxes for leaks
Check all seacocks for leaks and verify they can be closed.
Check electrolyte level in batteries

GENERATOR Engine & Electrical
Engine overall condition
Location of engine manual
Location of engine spares
Location and quantity of engine oil  
Know how to prime and bleed system
Location of extra coolant
Verify operation of panel
Check all seacocks for leaks and verify they can be closed.
Check seawater intake strainer and clean if necessary
Verify fuel tank sender is operating and accurate
Check tightness and condition of all belts
Check gauges for operation
Check oil, coolant, and transmission fluid level
Check engine room hose clamps and hoses for leaks
Look for obvious chafed wires and hoses
Check stuffing box for leaking at rest and underway.
Check rudder stuffing boxes for leaks

Electronics;
Check operation of;
Autopilot
Sounders
SSB
Computer
Charge/controllers
Reefers
Solar
Watermaker

Charts & Navigation
Locate charts for area
Locate electronic charts
Locate plotting tools 
Check sounder, GPS, and radar operation
Locate Spare GPS
Locate hand held VHF

Miscellaneous
Adequate stove fuel
Check fresh water tank for potability
Check operation of heads/macerator/pumpout.
Locate keys for deck fills

SAMPLE PROVISIONING LIST
NON-FOOD
Toilette paper, Paper Towels
Zip-lock bags Sandwich and large freezer-bags
Bleach 1Gal
Dish-soap 2L
Laundry Soap
Sponges

(with thanks to Capt. Kirk Little for the compilation)

***************************

At your request we would be happy to provide you with a written report of the boat, her sailing qualities and any recommendations we have.

We would be pleased to stay in contact with you and provide daily reports of our position via sat phone at an additional cost, depending on phone  rental rates and coverage areas.

 

 

Sailboat deliveries  on the east coast  via the I.C.W. or offshore, or to anywhere else.

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