Boats and Yachts
A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. In modern use the term designates two different classes of watercraft, namely sailing and power yachts (boats). Yachts are different from working ships mainly by their leisure purpose, and it was not until the rise of the steamboat and other types of powerboat that sailing vessels in general came to be perceived as luxury, or recreational vessels. Later the term came to encompass motor boats for primarily private pleasure purposes as well.
Yacht lengths generally range from 8 metres (26 ft) up to dozens of metres (hundreds of feet). A luxury yacht smaller than 12 metres (39 ft) is more commonly called a cabin cruiser or simply “cruisers.” A mega yacht generally refers to any yacht (sail or power) above 30 m (98 ft) and a super yacht generally refers to any yacht over 50 metres (164 ft).
Yacht transport is the shipping of a yacht to a destination instead of sailing it either by its own power or wind ( sailing yachts). Yacht transport is an alternative to the traditional passaging (sailing or motoring) to reach desired destinations around the globe. Transport when compared to passaging is cost effective, safer and improves availability. Yacht transport generally eliminates costly, time consuming, and dangerous difficult ocean crossings, opening up cruising to more people and at more locations around the globe.
Shipment / Storage / Risk factors
In order to protect the yachts during transport it is recommended that they are properly covered by the shipper to withstand an ordinary sea passage.
If yachts are to be stowed aft of the funnel it is recommended, especially on older ships without so-called “Spark arresters” in their funnel, to protect yachts from sparks or scorched residues from the funnel by GLOW RESISTANT tarpaulins.
There are much more modern modes of protecting the yachts, examples are shrink foil and fibre sheets. In the mode of packing there is a lot of revolutionary development with modern light and better protecting material, even some “sprayed” wax protection today is possible or special protective coating.
Duly bear in mind that especially when sailing yachts are involved the L.O.A. (Length Over All) is not only the hull of the yacht but must include the bowsprit and stern measures. Further it is very important to duly check the length of the mast as often the mast is longer than the yacht itself.
When masts are handled “loose” care has to be taken that they are not “deforming” due the incorrect or insufficient application of lifting slings. When stowed and secured on board the carrying vessel proper support ( bedding / cribbing) has to be provided in order to avoid deformation (sagging / hogging).
For yachts equipped with an engine, please refer to the rules set forth in the IMDG-code. (e.g. one of them is that batteries should be disconnected and the fuel tanks be emptied as far as possible).
The transport of yachts is a specialized carriage. In the logistic chain, there are several companies that have specialized themselves into these tasks. The loading operations including the lifting, stowage, lashing and securing is generally attended by cargo inspectors ( loading master, supercargo, superintendent). Information as to the responsibilities, overriding authority and on whose behalf the cargo inspector(s) has / have been appointed should be sought, prior to commencement of any cargo operation; preferable already at the (pre)-planning stage.
Semi-submersible ships (SSS)
Small boats being transported short distances are often moved using private or commercial trailers. As the boat size and the over-land distances increase, commercial trailer services are typically employed by boat owners to move vessels. Insurance coverage, transport permits, trailer safety and proper preparation and loading of the vessel and contents are aspects commercial boat/yacht services provide.
Semi-submersible ships (SSS)
Semi-submersible ships were developed to move large (project) cargoes, but have been adapted for yacht shipping. These ships are semi-submersible. This means that by ballasting, they can submerge their deck Yachts motor under their own power above the flooded deck. Once all the yachts are in position and secured, divers weld hull supports into place. The ship de-ballasts and sails away. At discharge port, the process is reversed, with the ship ballasting, allowing the yachts to exit.
Yachts can be shipped as deck cargo. Yachts are loaded directly from the water or from shore. Yachts are loaded by ship or by shore cranes in cradles.
Yachts are also transported by container ships. Because container freight is sold on the basis of total enclosed volume, efforts are made to decrease that volume, including derigging the boat. If a yacht meets the restrictions imposed by container sizing, typically 39 ft. (11.9 m.) x 7.5 ft. (2.3 m.) x 9.3 ft (2.8 m.), container shipping is an alternative.
Stowage and securing
When stowing and securing a yacht a combination of support to the keel and the hull has to be provided. The hull of the yacht is to be supported by cradles or cribbing, whereby the shape of the hull dictates the shape of the cribbing arrangement. Avoid point loads on the hull.
The aim of securing a yacht, is to provide proper cribbing that provides sideways support to the yacht. By means of lashing belts applied over the yacht, same is pushed into its cribbing. When sufficient downforce can by generated by these lashings, the next requirement for a successful securing is that the cribbing has to be fixed in position.
Normally the cribbing consists of steel cradles, which can be secured by welded stoppers and or lashing chains to the deck of the carrying vessel.
Sailing yachts have a fin keel, sometimes with a rounded bulb at the base. To avoid sideways tipping of a yacht, the fin keel is to be secured in opposite directions.
The size and shape of the cradles has to be such that it provides sufficient support and that it prevents sideways shifting or tipping of the yachts in its cradle.
Points to fix lashing to on a yacht are limited to the mooring cams along the deck of the yacht. Often the strength of these clams is overestimated. Particularly on polyester yachts, the clams are only fixed with a few screws trough the deck and tightened to a metal counter plate.
As yachts are to be considered as special and highly vulnerable cargo, the shippers or appointed supercargo need to be consulted as to the locations were lashings can be fitted to or over the cargo, including their advice as to the strength of lashing points.