Just when you think nothing can surprise you!!!
Thanks to a recommendation from Steve Zimmerman and his highly regarded yacht purchasing service we arrived in Ft Lauderdale on Wednesday September 24th, to pick up the 49′ Krogen Express newly named ‘ViewFinder’. She had successfully come through sea trial and survey and was ‘ready to go’ for the delivery to Southport, NC.
On the drive down to Ft Lauderdale we had checked in with ‘Yacht Management’ to ensure that the keys and any yard invoices would be ready for our inspection and payment. We checked in at the office and were told “No key, the boat is open, and the invoice is not ready yet.” We made our way onboard and carried out our initial inspection and found that there were 3 undersized and frayed docklines, each sharing multiple functions, there were 2 old undersized fenders, there was no name on the stern, the 10′ inflatable and outboard shown on the listing was missing, and the worst news of all – NO BATTERY VOLTAGE – a completely dead ship caused by the yacht management’s ‘Captain’ leaving the inverter/charger switch ‘off.’ The batteries actually tested zero volts with our Fluke meter. Now the worst part – all this bad news, including the fact that we would not be departing after the new owner’s predicted one day of prep, had to be passed on to the new owner. Next, we made a plan to order and gather all the necessary materials before the weekend and get to work.
Priority 1: Get out of this dirty, noisy boat yard and move down the river to Marina Bay. To do this we now needed to accomplish the following: get the door keys from the yard manager, trouble shoot and correct the voltage problem, find the dinghy and outboard, review and pay the bill.
The aft door key was eventually found hidden in the man overboard throw line bag. The side door keys were never found, and the entire lock assemblies had to replaced by Yacht Management. The dinghy was also never found. It was rumored to have dissapeared before the sea trial and stored in the seller’s driveway on a trailer, which was news to the buyer. The 25 HP outboard was laying on a pallet in the boat yard. Operational state? Anyone’s guess.
The batteries were determined to be ruined, and Yacht Management agreed that due to the remote possibility that they caused the problem, they would only pay for the installation of the 3 new 8D batteries. The owner had to pay for the batteries. The bill was charged to the owner’s credit card on file before it could be reviewed by the owner or us. Late Friday afternoon we made our escape down the river to Marina Bay where we set about making the boat ready for the delivery.
Two complete sets of new mooring lines were made up for us by Rope Inc at Nance and Underwoods in one day. It’s nice to have so many friends over the years in the marine industry in Ft Lauderdale.
The Fire Ranger came to service the ‘built in’ and portable fire extinguishers.
Rob Miles from Nautical Specialists arrived to trouble shoot, then replace the two frozen Air Conditioning controls.
We went to Signs in a Flash and ordered a basic ‘vinyl stick on name’ to satisfy the USCG identification requirements for the delivery to Southport. In spite of windy conditions, we managed to get it stuck on in an almost professional manner.
Our most important aim is to always make sure we can complete the delivery without expensive “surprises” or shut downs. We gathered the necessary parts from Marine Gear and Pantropic, and started to work in the engine room.
First, both Caterpillar raw water impellers. We used the special threaded bolt to back the impeller out of the pump so as not to damage the ceramic liner. Both impellers were in worn out condition and definitely needed changing.
Next the often overlooked ‘On Engine’ fuel filters. ViewFinder had been sitting hauled out for at least a year with almost empty tanks, so the condition and quality of the fuel was our major concern. Then we cleaned the Air Sep air cleaners, and changed the the old clogged Racor fuel filter elements.
All these tasks, and many more, were accomplished between our arrival Wednesday morning and the following Tuesday. Most by known and trusted independent contractors, and the remainder by us, (who we know and trust). That afternoon we moved over to another dock, and scheduled the fuel truck to top the tanks. Wednesday morning we rented a liferaft to subsitute for the missing tender, loaded it on board and left Marina Bay at 1100 to travel down the New River and out to sea. We had a trouble free run offshore, and arrived at Old Port Cove in Palm Beach at 1700. We checked the condition of the Racor filters after shut down – not good – so another change of the duty elements. The weather was fine on Thursday so we were able to run offshore the 112 NM to Cape Canaveral. Friday morning we departed Caper Canaveral at 0700 and again were able to run offshore the 116 NM to St Augustine.
The next morning the weather window was slammed shut with strong northerly conditions. Areas of the ICW south of Fernandina are very shallow at low tide, so we delayed our departure until 1030, and arrived in Fernandina at 1700 after making 51 NM. Again leaving Fernandina we delayed our departure to avoid low tide at Little Mud River, casting off at 0730 and docking at Kilkenny at 1800 making 89 NM. With better weather ahead, we left Kilkenny at 0700, turned down river at the Savannah River crossing, and headed for Charleston offshore, arriving at Ashley Marina at 1845 and covering 120 NM. The good weather held one more day, and we were able to clear the Charleston Channel by 0800, and run direct to Southport, arriving at the Southport Marina at 1900, making good 130 NM. Running in the Southport Channel we shot this picture which unknown to us, shows the owners’ house on Bald Head Island. It felt great to have completed the delivery and to hand ‘ViewFinder’ over to her very excited new owners who have plans to ‘make her beautiful.’
The rented liferaft had to be shipped back to Ft Lauderdale. This started off as a seemingly insurmountable problem due to it’s ‘hazardous classification,’ but thanks to the efforts of Steve Wallace, Manager of the Zimmerman Marine Southport office, we found a freight forwarder who made the entire process inexpensive and easy. We highly recommend Jeff at www.freightquote.com for his help.
Delivery Summary: Total Distance Run: 678 NM
Total Running Hours: 69
Average Speed: 9.8 Knots @ 1800 RPM
Average GPH: 10.9 including generator