Marlow Explorer Motor Yacht ‘White Lightning’ Delivery and On Board Training Captain Jerry Taylor

Almost around Florida

IMG_0096January 2013

Our rental car drive from Ft Lauderdale to Bradenton was uneventful, unlike our experiences over the next few days aboard the Marlow 72′ motor yacht.
We found ‘White Lightning,’ and her proud new owners David and Helen Bruckman at Twin Dolphin Marina enjoying a ‘best wishes’ final visit from their broker Kathy Quam from Marlow Marine Sales. Our quick review of spare parts on board, indicated we needed Racor fuel elements, and raw water impellers and belts for the C18 Cats and the two generators. The boats final IMG_0076IMG_0083destination and new home was to be Lyford Cay in the Bahamas, where parts are more expensive and sometimes difficult to find, so this area of the “prep” became more important.

We spent as much time as possible going over the boat’s systems with the new owners, some basic knots and line handling
The next morning after a spare parts delivery, we departed Bradenton for the Gulf of Mexico and then south to Venice. By the end of the day, the owners had decided that the most economical cruising speed for the trip would be 8 knots, around 1000 rpm for the 1000 HP Cats, and that they wanted to go through Marathon and NE to the Bahama Bank and over to Nassau, rather than through the Okeechobee and SE to the Bahamas. This presented several IMG_0080IMG_0088challenges. Firstly, the Okeechobee route provides a much richer teaching environment for boat handling with protected water, including the lake crossing, busy narrow channels, and 5 locks and several bridges. Secondly, the distance from Marco Island to Marathon required settled weather and a very early start to accomplish in daylight at 8 knots, with the trickiest shallow section being the final 10 miles to Marathon.
With a settled forecast we departed Venice at 0715 Saturday morning, and ran the 80 NM down to Marco Island. While navigating the Marco entrance and ICW to the Factory Bay Marina, the basic flaw in the Marathon plan became obvious – LOW TIDE!. With a draft of almost 6 feet (measured while in the slings IMG_0091during survey), depth in the Marco channel and ICW as we made our entrance, was between 6 and 7 feet in some spots. The next morning at our early departure time, the tide would be not only be dead low, but also a minus tide. A phone call to the local Tow Boat US operator confirmed that our earliest departure time would not be until 0900, in his words, “Or I will be pulling you off the sandbar!” A certain amount of consternation followed our announcement of these facts, and the need for a revised plan for the next day. Two choices – Run the boat at cruise RPM around 17 knots and to Marathon in daylight, or go back to Ft Meyers at 8 knots and into the Okeechobee waterway. After several hours of going over times and distances David and Helen decided they would rather go back to Ft Meyers than burn the extra fuel to get to Marathon before dark.
White Lightning Marlow 72 2013Next morning at 1000 we departed for the San Carlos Pass to Ft Meyers and the Okeechobee Waterway, and despite heavy Sunday traffic we reached Rialto Yacht Harbor at MM# 119 at 1700.
Monday was spent navigating 4 locks, crossing Lake Okeechobee, learning basic knots, going over the rules of the road and finally reaching River Forest Marina at SM# 16 just at dark at 1800.
On Tuesday, after transiting the St Lucie Lock we wound our way into Manatee Pocket for fuel, then continued on down the ICW towards Ft Lauderdale in very strong and blustery Easterly conditions offshore, making it inadvisable to run outside.
By Wednesday it was evident that David and Helen would have to wait a few days for the weather to moderate before crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. So we departed ‘White Lightning’ at Harbour Towne Marina in Ft Lauderdale having travelled 365 NM together, transited 5 locks and added 50 engine hours.
Delivery Summary
Total Distance: 365 NM
Total Running Hours: 50
Average Speed: 7.3 Knots
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Horizon 64 Motor Yacht ‘Semper Fi’ Delivery from Fajardo, PR to Ft Lauderdale, FL Captain Jerry Taylor

IMG_1470With Yacht Delivery; even the best laid plans……..

August 2010

I had no idea the amazing number of surprises that lay in wait for us when we stepped aboard the 64′ Horizon Motor Yacht ‘Semper Fi.’
Wendy, Alan and I had flown to San Juan, PR with our delivery gear and a big bag of spare parts, after the full time captain of the past four years had told the owner that the boat could ‘not IMG_0013IMG_1362make it to Florida.’
The sleek 64′ ex charter boat bobbed expectantly in it’s slip at Puerto Del Rey Marina, as if to say, “Welcome aboard suckers, I’ve been expecting you.” We originally had estimated our preparation time at two to three days. This proved a tad optimistic, especially after finding the house battery bank installed on the floor of the main salon! A quick glance in the engine room revealed one of the worst scenes of chaos we have ever seen, and prompted our immediate desire to return to the airport, which we resisted, as in 30 plus years of yacht delivery we have never abandoned a boat. One of the two shore power cords was completely melted, so there was no air conditioning on board when we IMG_1385IMG_1409arrived, and this only added to our general testiness. The disgruntled ex-captain, after reluctantly returning the ships papers and ignition keys that he had removed and hidden before our arrival, departed with the words “I really hope you make it, but I don’t think you will!” As soon as he was gone, we got ourselves to work. Twelve days of ‘dawn to dark’ laboring and ‘bilge ratting,’ finally saw us ready to depart for Ft Lauderdale.
This is a brief accounting of how we began the necessary preparations:
** Replaced 2 inoperative bilge pumps, 1 inoperative float IMG_1428IMG_1438switch and 1  shower sump pump.
** Rebuilt the cooling system on the 20K Generator including the heat exchanger core bundle, replaced the cracked and weeping exhaust elbow, replaced raw water pump, alternator belt, replaced the raw water hose from sea strainer to raw water pump, and repaired or replaced obvious broken and “cooked” wiring.
** Cleaned gallons of dirty engine oil and water under both main engine pans.
** Replaced the raw water impellers on both main engines.
** Jury rigged an insulated welding blanket around the starboard Cat’s deteriorated exhaust elbow. Previously, the insulation had deteriorated and fallen off, with the result of melting the plastic sight glass, dumping gallons of diesel  fuel in the bilge. We replaced the sight glass, of course.
IMG_1444IMG_1422** Tightened every accessible hose clamp throughout the vessel, and assisted the local Cat mechanic with some long delayed repairs.
** Had a diver clean the bottom and running gear, which took 5 hours of scraping and two or three tanks of air.
** Replaced the plastic garden hose on the propane system with approved hose, and filled the propane tanks.
When the numerous electrical problems overcame my ability to cope. I called the owner and requested reinforcement.
agreed to have our friend and omni competent electrical genius, Scott Wiley fly down the next day. When Scotty arrived with additional spare parts and his fantastic energy, we set about working on the following:

Loose battery in engine roomIMG_1447** Replaced the Hynautic reservoir and bled the throttle and shift system to bring it back to life.
** Replaced the rusted and worn out shift rods on both ZF transmissions.
** Diagnosed the problem in the main charging system as a melted contact on the main battery switch, not allowing any charge from the port alternator to the main 24v DC battery bank.
** Diagnosed the inverter/charger as ‘fried.’ Scotty wired around that problem and continued.
** Provided a back up charging system for the electronics to keep us going if the generator IMG_1403IMG_1452failed.
After all of the above was completed, along with numerous other small tasks going on simultaneously, we took her out for a short sea trial. We ran the Cats for an hour or so at our planned cruise rpm with no hiccups, and returned to the marina to top up the fuel tanks and go to our slip.
We provisioned the boat, and departed Puerto Rico early morning on Sunday August 15, setting our course for Ocean World Marina in the Dominican Republic. As soon as we cleared the protected waters of the East end of the island, it was clear that we had totally overlooked repairing one important item – the closing mechanism for the large glass sliding door! The only way to hold the door closed was to use IMG_1457the turn latch on the inside. The latch mechanism and the outside key hardware were all missing! This made running the boat from the upper station nearly impossible, so the decision was made to all stay at the lower station. Thirty three hours later we cleared Customs, fixed a few small items including rigging a temporary compass light, and spent a quiet night in the marina. After clearing out with the Dominican officialdom who were very nice, no ‘mordida’ as in the old days, we cast off for the Bahamas. 44 hours of untroubled running later, we docked at Georgetown, Exuma for fuel and clearance into the Bahamas. We had a great dinner ashore at Eddy’s Edgewater, a good nights rest, and Semper Fi Horizon 62 2010departed the next morning for Highbourne Cay, where we topped the fuel and water tanks, had dinner on board, and set out early the next morning for the final 215 NM to Ft Lauderdale. We arrived off Port Everglades at dawn, made our way to the dock on SE 14th St, called US Customs, obtained our clearance and went ashore for breakfast.
‘Semper Fi’ ran without missing a beat, thanks to our diligent preparation and the fact that the weather was almost perfect, with only one rough stretch off Caicos.
The next day we turned her over to a happy, satisfied and very relieved owner.
Delivery Summary
Total Distance: 1002 NM
Total Running Hours: 107
Average Speed: 9.3 knots @ 900 RPM
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Nordhavn 55 Trawler ‘Last Mango’ Delivery from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to San Diego, CA Captain Jerry Taylor

From Marina Queen to Ocean Going Lady

February, 2010

IMG_1325As the plane circled for landing in Puerto Vallarta, I remarked to Wendy that the town and surroundings looked like it had been on a steroidal growth boom since the last time we were here. After clearing Customs, Wendy, Alan and I taxied to the marina to find the N55 tied up with badly chafed lines, complete with crushed and exploded fenders dangling. The surge was so bad at the dock, that just loading our bags and delivery gear on board was a death defying act. The boat was literally rolling around so violently that we wanted to get to sea as soon as possible, just to regain our equilibrium.
Before turning in that evening, we doubled the mooring lines with what we found on IMG_1273IMG_1287board. At 0300 hrs. a most unusual and un forecast weather system blasted Nuevo Vallarta Marina, and Banderas Bay with 75 knot winds and torrential rain. Oddly enough the tattered dock lines held!
We spent the next three days in pre departure checks and gathering spares and provisioning for the trip North.
Here are some of the tasks that were accomplished before starting the 1046 NM run to San Diego:
IMG_1288IMG_1289**Changed raw water impellers on generator, get-home
engine, and main engine
**Replaced generator belt
**Replaced generator final fuel filter
**Changed all 4 primary Racor elements
**Pumped 1 Gal excess oil from transmission
**Rebuilt 24volt bilge pump
**Rebuilt inoperative gray and black water pumps
**Pumped up steering reservoir to the specified 30psi
IMG_1296IMG_1303A sticky issue arose when we discovered that none of the boats papers, including the Mexican cruising permit were on board, and in spite of considerable pressure from the selling broker, we refused to leave until the correct paperwork was provided.
After checking with Weather Bob at Ocean Marine Nav, and topping the fuel tanks, we departed at 1300 on Friday Feb 05. We ran 24/7 to arrive in San Diego and clear Customs IMG_1310IMG_1311early on the morning of Thursday Feb 11. The N55 proved an excellent sea boat, very steady and always giving us a sense of confidence, even in the moderate to rough conditions that are typical on this trip.

Delivery Summary
Total Distance: 1046 NM
Total Running Hours: 141
Average Speed: 7.4 knots @ 1800 RPM
Last Mango Nordhavn 55 2010Average Fuel Burn: 7.8 GPH
Total Fuel Burned: 1100 Gal 

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Maxum 46 Motor Yacht ‘Hot Under Pressure’ Delivery from Ft Lauderdale, FL to Savannah, GA and on to Hong Kong Captain Jerry Taylor

“Don’t Miss the Boat!”  with Captain Jerry Taylor

January, 2010

IMG_1245We received a voicemail from a gentleman who identified himself as John Chan. His English was excellent, but I must admit his request did harken me back to old Charlie Chan black and white murder mystery movies of yesteryear, when he said, “I’ve just purchased this boat in Ft. Lauderdale, and I need it shipped to Hong Kong.” Did he want us to deliver it to Hong Kong? “No,” he replied, “But it must be on the ship that is departing the Port of Savannah five days from now. Can you do that?” We agreed that it was possible, and set about making our preparations immediately.
As usual, the boat needed some mechanical and safety issues attended to before leaving IMG_0073Ft Lauderdale. This included replacing the raw water pumps on both main engines, and gathering spare parts such as impellers, belts and spare Racor fuel elements. By early afternoon on Saturday, January 16, we were ready to go and left the dock at 1430 to run the 25 miles  to Del Rey.
Sunday morning  we topped the fuel tanks at the Boynton Marina Village fuel dock, and ran the 120 miles up to Melbourne Harbor Marina. The day began with heavy, driving rain resulting in as little as one quarter mile visibility, followed by 20 to 30 knots of wind from the West. Well, it was January, and one of those Florida winters that had it’s fair IMG_0068share of ripping ‘cold fronts.’
0640 Monday morning we departed the dock for the 173 miles to Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville Beach. Just after entering the Palm Valley Cut, the generator shut down, so after taking on fuel, we replaced the generator impeller and proved it’s operation. A second nasty surprise was discovered when the dock attendant insisted that we have a ‘pump out.’ The macerator pump had appeared to be functioning but as there was no way to monitor the level of the holding tank, we had been using the shore side facilities. This turned out to be a very smart move as the dock pump out ran on, and on, and on. The macerator only made noise, and the tank was full!
Tuesday morning we departed at 0700 and ran 170 miles to the Savannah Hyatt, on the IMG_1261Savannah River. We began our interior and exterior cleanup, picked up a rental car from the Savannah Airport and awaited the call for our loading time.
We arrived alongside the loading dock in the port at the appointed hour, and helped the longshoremen attach the slings to lift ‘Hot Under Pressure’ onto the shipping cradle. All IMG_1263went well, and we returned to Ft Lauderdale by rental car to await the next mysterious phone call.
Delivery Summary:
Total Distance: 421 Nautical MilesHot Under Pressure 46' Maxum 2010
Total Running Hours: 33.1
Average Speed: 12.7 knots
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Mikelson Nomad 62 Trawler ‘Janni Lee’ Delivery from San Jose del Cabo to San Diego Captain Jerry Taylor

ANOTHER BAJA BASH  by Captain Jerry Taylor

March, 2009

IMG_1093When Dick Peterson of Mikelson Yachts called to ask if we would like to deliver an almost new 62′ Nomad from Cabo to San Diego my instantaneous reply was, “Of course. How soon do you want us there?”
The owner had selected a captain and crew unsuited and inexperienced for the sometimes arduous trip north. They had lasted less than half a day before turning back with electrical problems and reports of 12′ seas breaking over the bow. The ‘mysterious’ electrical problems resulted in a complete shut down of both main engines, fortunately for them,  just a few feet IMG_1090from the dock.
When Hans, Wendy, and I arrived at the marina in San Jose del Cabo two days later, we set about correcting the electrical problems and readying the boat for sea. During the next two days we:

** Provisioned the vessel.
** Diagnosed the electrical problems as incorrectly specified and installed 12 volt alternators on the Cat’s 24 volt system. Probably “smoked” both alternators on the first start up when the boat was being newly commissioned. This malfunction was masked by the constant use of 110 volt 24v and 12v chargers while on shore power, or by the generator when underway. We discovered both chargers had been unplugged, and subsequently  replugged into incorrect outlets in the engine room and were not charging, a condition overlooked by the previous crew.IMG_1085
** Replaced raw water impellers and belts on both generators.
** Topped and pressurized the steering system.
** Brought all the fluid levels to the mark.
** Removed, and reorganized the contents of the lazarette.
** Installed a positive latch on the galley refrigerator door.
After checking with ‘Weather Bob’ of Ocean Marine Nav and topping up the fuel and water tanks we departed for San Diego.  The obligatory 6′ to 8′ head seas and 20+ knots of northerly wind greeted us as we rounded Cabo Falso which lies a short distance west of Cabo San Lucas. Our forecast was for a ‘bumpy’ beginning, with diminishing wind and seas as we travelled northward. Bob’s forecast was ‘spot on’ and we were able to gradually increase the Cat’s rpm to 1150, and our speed to 10 knots.IMG_1087 As darkness fell the first night, it became obvious that the two main navigation screens could not be dimmed sufficently. In fact they could still be clearly read even when covered with TWO black garbage bags.
Shortly after rounding Cabo San Lazaro, the 0600 engine room check revealed a large amount of salt crystals around the injection elbow for the starboard engine exhaust. Out came the trusty Marinetex and a temporary repair was made.

After 73 hours of continuous running, at dawn, the familiar sight of Point Loma revealed itself. We tied up at the US Customs dock on Shelter Island, and went through clearance

IMG_1311procedures. From there we moved to the Mikelson Yachts dock at Shelter Island Yachtways.This was our second trip north from Cabo on a Mikelson Nomad, and we have only the highest praise for the boats comfort, strength and sea keeping abilities.Delivery SummaryTotal Distance: 747 NM
Total Running Hours: 73
Average Speed: 10.2 Knots
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Janni Lee Mikelson 60 2009IMG_1092

Northern Marine Trawler ‘Spirit of Zopilote’ Delivery from Portland, ME to Ft Lauderdale, FL Captain Jerry Taylor

Steering Surprise in the Lake Worth Inlet with

Captain Jerry Taylor

August/September, 2007

IMG_0494Wendy and I met Bruce and Joan Kessler in Portland Maine, and spent two days underway together, travelling between Portland and Branford, CT for indoctrination and familiarization with ‘Spirit of Zopilote’, their Northern Marine 58.
After provisioning and carrying out repairs on both generators in Branford Connecticut, we said goodbye to the Kesslers, and our frequent crew-member (and friend) Hans Baier joined our merry band. With an eye on the weather, and some trepidation, Wendy, Hans, and I set out for a non stop run to Florida on Saturday, September 1. ‘Spirit of Zopilote’ is a big boat with many complex big boat systems, but most of the trepidation came from the desire to make a picture-perfect delivery. Because we have known Bruce and Joan so many years, uppermost in our minds was the fact that Bruce had never before trusted a delivery crew, or anyone else to captain his boat.
IMG_0538On our departure, the late summer weather cooperated with light to moderate northerly winds, and Sunday night found us off Norfolk with increasing E-SE winds in the forecast. Things got a little bumpy, but ‘S of Z’ demonstrated her Northwestern work-boat heritage with comfort and certitude in the choppy conditions. Monday evening we rounded Cape Hatteras with the wind in the north, and 4’ to 6’ following seas. Perfect running conditions! Tuesday evening we rounded Cape Fear with the wind and seas still in the north. On Wednesday afternoon we left St Augustine abeam. Thursday at sundown we adjusted our course for the Lake Worth inlet at Palm Beach, as we didn’t want to arrive in Ft Lauderdale “after business hours”. We had an appointment with the fuel truck to ‘top up’ the tanks at the Lauderdale Yacht Club, before the final 5 miles up the narrow winding New River to Bruce’s slip at Lauderdale Marine Center. We anchored for the night in Lake Worth just south of the inlet, and had our first uninterrupted sleep in 5 days.
IMG_0557At 0645 Friday morning we upped anchor and started out the inlet on what we thought was the final leg of the trip. Midway out the channel, between the breakwaters, with a large container ship just starting in, ‘Spirit of Zopilote’ experienced a total loss of steering! In rapid succession we dropped and set the yacht’s 250 lb. anchor and made a security call explaining the situation to the inbound container ship. Of course the wind was blowing around 20 knots from the East, with an ocean swell and chop running directly in the channel, so it took all the chain and some of the wire before the big yacht settled to the anchor. The container ship aborted it’s trip into Palm Beach and stood by offshore while we sorted things out. Meanwhile we called Coast Guard and Tow Boat US, and both were soon on-scene. Our investigation showed that the main hydraulic seal in the steering ram had experienced a catastrophic failure, and gallons of pressurized fluid were sprayed all over the lazarette space. The ram had shown no signs of leakage before departure or during our hourly checks while underway offshore. Tow Boat US assisted us with tow boats, bow IMG_0553and stern, and took us to the Rybovich North Yard in Riviera Beach, where we reflected upon how many things can go wrong before breakfast. It took us a few days to have the cylinder shaft straightened, source and obtain the parts, have the steering cylinder rebuilt by American Hydraulic Systems then reinstall, bleed and pressurize, then test the entire steering system.
On Tuesday September 11th we began the final leg to Ft Lauderdale, arriving at Lauderdale Yacht Club at 1800 to take on fuel. The following day we navigated the New River, and tied ‘S of Z’ securely in her slip at Lauderdale Marine Center, with huge sighs of Spirit of Zopilote Northern Marine 58 2007IMG_0578relief. Some delivery trips are a little more stressful than others!
Delivery Summary:
Total Distance: 1128 Nautical Miles
Total Running Hours: 144
Average Speed: 7.8 Knots
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Grand Banks Eastbay 58 ‘Souvenir’ Delivery from Naples to Palm Beach and Return Captain Jerry Taylor


With Captain Jerry Taylor

March/April, 2007

HPIM1025On Wednesday, March 14, 2007, we drove a rental car from Ft. Lauderdale to the Naples Yacht Club to pick up the beautiful Grand Banks Eastbay 58 ‘Souvenir’ to place her in the Palm Beach Boat Show. Wednesday afternoon we provisioned the boat, topped up the engine oil, topped up and pressurized the steering reservoir, re-secured the lock-down for the anchor well hatch, got familiar with the Raytheon H6 navigation system, and were ready to depart Thursday morning. At 0730 we left the dock headed for Marathon. By 0900 we were throttled back to 1500 RPM as the winds and seas easily surpassed the forecast conditions, and finally arrived in Marathon at 1330. The last 8 miles of Florida Bay are very shallow – around 7 feet deep, and with the 6 foot draft of the Eastbay kept our concentration on “high alert.” We put 371 Gal of diesel onboard, and pulled into our assigned slip, only to discover that the power cord would not reach with the boat facing bow in, so turned around and docked for the third time that afternoon.
Thursday morning at first light, we departed Marathon and ran up to Old Port Cove, entering at the Palm Beach Inlet. Souvenir East Bay 58 2007Wind and seas were still fairly boisterous on the beam and starboard quarter, enabling us to run at 1800 rpm making 24 knots. All systems functioned well, except the H6 electronics which ‘locked up’ several times and had to be rebooted.
Saturday morning we left Old Port Cove, and were safely secured in the Boat Show by 1200.

Unfortunately, ‘Souvenir’ did not sell at the show, and remained an extra month at the Hall of Fame Marina in Ft Lauderdale to take advantage of any “after boat show,” sales oppertunities. With no buyers readily available, on April 28 at 0700, we departed Ft Lauderdale for the run back to Naples. We attempted to take on fuel at the Bahia Mar Fuel Dock, but were informed “They would not be pumping any fuel until 0900,” so we fueled at Lauderdale Marina. Once clear of Port Everglades we ran at 1750 rpm – 22 knots – down to Marathon. The only casualty was the Raytheon H6 which ‘crashed’ completely, and demanded it’s Windows Startup Disc, which unfortunately wasn’t on board. Navigating at over 20 knots without a plotter is no fun. Fortunately we carry backup paper charts and HPIM1026publications on every delivery trip, and continued on without incident to Marathon. We put 1000 gallons of diesel onboard and moved to our slip, this time backing in. Sunday morning at 0715 we left Marathon, and made our way carefully at 1200 rpm – across the shallow flats and out into Florida Bay, where, once again VHF weather under estimated the wind and sea conditions, it soon became too rough to run at cruising speed, and once again we were down to 1600 rpm. We arrived at Naples Yacht Club at 1300. We topped up the fuel tanks, moved to the slip, cleaned up the interior and rinsed the exterior as a cleaning crew was scheduled for Monday. A taxi took us to the Naples Airport where we picked up a rental car and returned home in Ft Lauderdale, arriving at 1800.
Delivery Summary
Total Distance: 446 NM
Average Speed: 26 Knots at 1900 RPM
Average GPH: 120
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