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
To find out more about our services please visit our website at
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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
To find out more about our services please visit our website at
or email us at

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
 To find out more about our services please visit our website at
or email us at

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
To find out more about our services please visit our website at
or email us at

Read a testimonial from the owners of ‘Zopilote’

Watch the video:


Grand Banks 42 Trawler ‘Suroan’ Delivery and On Board Training Captain Jerry Taylor

Intracoastal School with Captain Jerry Taylor

April, 2012

The Grand Banks 42 MY ‘Grand Finale’ now named ‘Suroan ‘ and her proud new owners were waiting for us at the Vero Beach Marina.

Grand Finale GB 42 April 2012We had not previously met Al and Sue, but had spent time discussing their training needs and expectations by phone and email.
Together the four of us used our detailed ‘pre departure check list’ to carefully go through the boat above and below decks, we then made the trip to West Marine for Coast Guard safety gear, spare fuel filters and other necessary bits and pieces.
The next morning after a stop at the marina fuel dock to top the tanks, we got underway for Harbor Isles Marina in Ft. Pierce. The protected wide fairways and floating docks Harbor Isles and nearby Faber cove make an excellent training location for almost every variety of docking and Grand Finale GB 42 April 2012anchoring situation.
We begin these training sessions with general engine room orientation by going over all the mechanical and electrical systems, and “hands on” basics such as, required impeller and belt changes and fuel filter replacement. Our focus is to make the new owner familiar with the necessary daily requirements to keep the boat running at it’s best without calling in high priced technical help. Interspersed with time spent below decks, we teach knot tying (the bowline, clove hitch and the square knot), The correct way to coil and throw a line, and safety on deck.
Grand Finale GB 42 April 2012Al and Sue wanted to get a firm grip on “close order” docking and anchoring as soon as possible, so we began many pleasant hours of underway instruction on our way to Miami. We made overnight stops in North Palm Beach and Ft Lauderdale, before reaching our final destination in Miami. Each marina provided completely different and sometimes challenging docking and undocking situations but with our emphasis on ‘low and slow’ all were successful.
After 6 days together, Al and Sue returned to the West Coast, leaving us with a ‘to do’ list of 50 items, and the plan to spend 3 more days together in May.
We look forward to it.
Grand Finale GB 42 April 2012Suroan GB42 April 2012To watch a short video of this on board training trip please visit:

To find out more about our services please visit our website at or email us at

Read a testimonial from the owners of ‘Suroan’

Grand Banks 46 Trawler ‘Avalanche’ Delivery from Rockland, ME to Mathews, VA Captain Jerry Taylor

Nautical Problem Solving with Captain Jerry Taylor

July, 2012

Avalanche GB46 July 2012

Call us ‘adrenalin junkies’ if you must, we prefer to think of ourselves as ‘nautical problem solvers’. Getting any delivery boat from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ is usually an interesting ‘nautical problem,’ but it is necessary to look carefully at all systems before departure, as the devil is always in the details.
The new owner of ‘Avalanche’ met us at Journeys End Marina in Rockland, Maine to get to know us, and to give us the keys to his newly purchased 1993 Grand Banks 46 Classic. He then wished us well, and departed.
Wendy and I spent the remainder of the day, and all of the next day going over the mechanical and electrical systems.

Avalanche GB46 July 2012We replaced the badly worn stabilizer pump belts,Avalanche GB46 July 2012 changed the very black Racor elements, and the on-engine fuel filter elements, topped the fuel and water tanks, familiarized ourselves with the electronics, provisioned the galley, secured the dingy, stowed all loose gear and generally made ready for sea.

Avalanche GB46 July 2012

The next morning at 0500, after coffee, we departed with perfect July weather, no fog, and moderate seas with a light northerly breeze. We ran 100 NM to Isle of Shoals where we were able to pick up a mooring.

While underway to Isle of Shoals, and during one of the hourly engine room checks, weAvalanche GB46 July 2012 discovered a diesel leak from the Starboard Cat injector pump. After shut down, we attempted a repair to the bleed valve but had no luck, so we called and ordered a replacement from Fairhaven Marine, a 92 NM run the next day. Again the weather was perfect and we arrived in Fairhaven in time to take on fuel before moving to our slip. The next morning we replaced the suspect valve, and a blown fuse in the AC water pump relay box before getting underway for Clinton, CT at 1000.
Our luck with the weather continued and we were able to run from Clinton to Manesquan, NJ – 120 NM – where we topped the fuel tanks, and then with another 0515 departure and help from some very strong coffee, departed from Manesquan to Chesapeake City, MD – 147 NM. The New Jersey coast was benign, we caught the current from Cape May up the Delaware perfectly and made excellent time to the Chesapeake Inn on the C and D canal, where we arrived amid what seemed like a thousand people, eating drinking and showing off their shiny ear-splitting neon rainbow-colored chrome plated speed boats. Quite a shock after being by ourselves for the last 5 days, and not quite what we expected on a Thursday night. With the 375 HP Cats humming along at 1900 rpm, and the weather still beautiful, we made our way down the Chesapeake 90 NM to Spring Cove Marina in Solomons, MD. 

Another 0545 departure on a cool, overcast morning with Avalanche GB46 July 2012the final objective in our sights only another 90 miles away. We arrived at Zimmerman Marine, near Mathews, VA early afternoon, in time to wash 700 miles of salt off the exterior. We began to clean and organize the interior, which we completed along with the ‘dreaded list’ of recommendations. 
Our attention to detail, careful preparation, and the weather in a friendly mood, all helped to make this delivery fairly uneventful. The GB46 is a strong, honest boat with a fine pedigree and excellent sea keeping ability.
Delivery Summary
Avalanche GB 46 July 2012Total Distance: 724 NM
Total Running Hours: 73.3
Average Speed: 9.8 knots
Average Fuel Burn: 13 GPH

To find out more about our services please visit our website at or email us at

To watch a short video of this Delivery: