I live in Wilbur By The Sea, Florida, about 6 miles south of Daytona Beach, Florida.
If you have a boat that you would like to have delivered somewhere, please contact Captain West at firstname.lastname@example.org or (386) 295-2578 for assistance. Rates will vary depending on distance, offshore or inshore days, lay days, boat size, boat type and crew requirements.
Since closing my yacht brokerage in 2002, deliveries include taking a 43' Beneteau sailboat from Ft. Lauderdale and bringing it back to Daytona Beach, Fl with the new owner aboard. This worked out so that the new owner not only had his boat delivered, but had instruction on sail trim, reefing, heaving to, coastal piloting and chart work, taking bearings, docking, trouble shooting minor problems, anchoring and use of the electronics including proper VHF procedure. Since the owner was new to boating, this gave him enough of the basics to be able to take his boat out with his family and friends.
In January, 2003, I brought a 47' Alden ketch down from Jacksonville to Daytona for the owner to list with a local broker and sell. A couple of days later I took a 55' Sea Ray Sedan Bridge MY from Daytona to Ft. Lauderdale for an owner who has a business here and lives there, leaving him little time for moving the boat from place to place. In February, I brought the same 55' Sea Ray back to Daytona.
Just prior to this trip, I helped a new owner move his 320 Luhrs Sportfishing boat from Daytona to Carabelle, Florida, which included a 140 mile open water Gulf of Mexico crossing from Tarpon Springs, FL to Dog Island, Fl. This owner also received instruction on chart reading, course plotting, docking, etc.
In August, 2003, I had the owners of another 55' Sea Ray Sedanbridge MY have me take their boat from Daytona to Hiltonhead SC. Since they were unfamiliar with Ponce Inlet and unable to go offshore on their own, by taking them offshore to the Savannah River and then into Hilton Head, I saved them at least one day's travel time plus we used less fuel going in a straight line rather than snaking back and forth in the ICW. This in turn saved them at least one night's dockage and a sufficient amount of fuel that they probably spent no more having me along than if they had gone up the ICW on their own.
In March of 2004 I took a Gulfstar 45 sloop with one of my students to the Bahamas. I had done the sea trial on the boat and given them instruction in 2003 and they wanted someone to go with them on their first long distance trip. Just at sunset, on the second day, we were joined by about 18 to 20 dolphins. They swam alongside and under the boat for about an hour with one of them jumping up next to us and tail walking several times! The owners brought the boat back by themselves a couple of weeks later.
At the end of March, the 47' Alden that I had delivered to Daytona for sale in January of 2003 was sold and I accompanied the new owner and his father on a trip to Oriental, NC. Part was offshore and part inshore. In March and even early April, fronts come through so often that it is rare that the weather remains good for the entire trip. We practiced ded. reckoning, plotting, chart reading, VHF usage, anchoring, docking, transiting unfamiliar inlets and sailing.
In July I delivered a 40' Silverton MY from Daytona to Ft. Meyers and in November, a 27' Sea Ray Express Cruiser from Orange Park on the St. Johns river to Daytona Beach.
In December of 2004, I helped some new novice owners of an Island Packet 38' cutter, bring their new boat from Tampa Bay, via the Keys, to Daytona Beach, about a 600 mile trip. The weather was a bit uncooperative from Marathon on and it took 27 hours to get from Marathon to Ft. Lauderdale in 8-10' seas and gale force winds on the nose. At least it wasn't freezing! The new owners now have experience anchoring, navigating and trimming sails. When they moved aboard their new boat here in Daytona, we went out and practiced docking more, since, on the trip around, we just kept traveling and only docked a couple of times.
In November, 2005, I helped a new owner move his just purchased Whitby 42', cruising ketch, from Daytona to the Big Bend of Florida, just south of Tallahassee. This was his first sailboat and his first long distance boating trip, although he had sea experience, having worked on a charter fishing boat out of Hatteras, NC for a couple of summers.
The boat had not been used, except as a live-aboard, for several years, so we had a few mechanical problems that had to be ironed out in the first few days. Because we anticipated this would happen as things which had not been used much were used, we traveled down the Intracoastal Waterway to the St. Lucie River. From there we went offshore to Fowey Rocks off Key Largo and then down the Hawk Channel to Marathon. From there we headed out across Florida Bay and sailed without stopping to Shell Point in Appalachee Bay.
The best parts of this trip were that the GPS was not properly initialized and had not been reset for daylight savings times, so the owner got to practice coastal navigation without the benefit of an electronic crutch. Even though we solved the GPS problems, we still plotted all the courses instead of using the GPS. In addition, Hurricane Wilma had carried away many of the marks (in fact, after turning northward from Marathon, we saw not one mark in Florida Bay) and this required paying very close attention to our direction and speed so that we could plot our way through the shoals to deeper waters. At the other end, only one mark that was on our chart leading into Shell Point was there. Again, keeping track of direction and speed, we were able to navigate around the many shoal areas on the way to the Shell Point Channel.
It was about a 1,000 nautical mile trip and it took us from Friday the 4th of November to Monday the 14th of November, with a late start the first day to solve an overheating problem and a 3-day stay in Ft. Pierce waiting on the rebuilding of an injector pump.
In February, 2006, I had an out-of-state boat owner contact me about moving his 44' Trojan Express Cruiser from Daytona, south for the Miami Boat Show. The boat had been sitting for many months and we had a few electrical problems to take care of before we left. After we finally got underway, around 1pm we had a relatively uneventful two day trip, but had great weather for it. In March of 2009, we moved this Trojan back to Daytona.
The day after I returned I was called on to help with a survey/sea-trial of a 43' Morgan center cockpit sloop. It was another great day and the sea-trial went fine. The folks bought the boat and then hired me for a few lessons. In 2006 they cruised north to North Carolina and in 2007 they set off for the Bahamas.
In 2007 I moved a 42' Grand Banks trawler from Portsmouth, Rhode Island to Cape Canaveral in November and December. Lots of gales, snow, freezing temperatures, incredible sunrises and sunsets, fall colors and overall, a great trip!
In 2010 I moved a Morgan Nelson/Merek 45, the big sister of my boat, from Daytona to Coconut Grove, south of Miami and not long afterward, some new owners of another Morgan Nelson/Merek 45 that I had sold twice, many years before, during my 16 years as a yacht broker, contacted me about helping them with their first offshore trip and I joined them here in Daytona and sailed offshore with them to Palm Beach.
Some students of mine owned an Island Packet 38, which they sold in order to buy another boat. I helped the new owners take this boat down around the Keys to Marathon, where the first bridge high enough to get through to Florida Bay is, and on up to Panama City.
Just this January, 2016, I helped the owner bring the Morgan Nelson/Merek 45 that I had taken to Coconut Grove in 2010, back to Daytona where he is putting it up for sale.
In 2019, I had the two worst deliveries that I have ever experienced. Both boats were surveyed, prior to purchase, by the same surveyor, and, to be charitable, there were undiscovered problems with both boats.
The first was a 43' Sportfishing boat to be moved from Pensecola, Florida, down to Ft. Meyers, through the Okeechobee Waterway to Stuart, and then up to Daytona Beach. Because the new owners refused to buy charts, thinking, like a lot of people that somehow a chart plotter will solve their inability to navigate, refused to have a diver clean the bottom, refused to have the boat already fueled up and water tanks filled, we were delayed a day in leaving. Then, the autopilot would either work when turned on, or go around in circles. We had to shut the whole boat down and restart to reengage the hydraulic steering so that we could manually steer. It turned out that not one of the 3 radios on the boat worked, so we had to use a cell phone to call for a tow on the first day when we had the autopilot quit and before we knew how to restart it. The boat owner was told that the boat had a range of 400 miles, and a cruising speed of 20 kts., but, with a dirty bottom, we had an actual range of about 190 miles and a cruising range of 17 knots, if the seas were calm, which they weren't for the first two days. When we left Clearwater, and headed south for Ft. Meyers, it was clear and pleasant, but it fogged in as we were rounding the hump south of Tampa Bay. It was lucky that it waited, because the chartplotter suddenly lost all the soundings and had us 258 NM north of where we were, and started repeating channel markers, so that it looked as if the channel going into Sarasota was 14 NM long and we were crossing it. I had eyeballed the coast to stay on a course that would keep us in 5 fathoms (30') of water. We went 70 NM in dense fog and still managed to find the sea buoy to turn into Port Charlott Harbor. I got off the boat in Ft. Meyers when the owner, once again, refused to buy us a chart to go across the state.
The next boat was a Beneteau 43 that was supposed to go from Palm Coast to Ft. Meyers, with a first stop in Daytona Beach to replace a dripping dripless stuffing box. We had no more than left the marina when the overheat alarm went off, so we returned, and, luckily, the mechanic who had maintained the boat happened to be coming to the marina to drop off something for another customer. After a couple of hours, he determined that the sensor was bad, and disconnected it. We made it to Daytona late that afternoon, and noticed that the alternator didn't seem to be keeping up with the batteries. So, we asked the boatyard to check that problem, too. The next day, they hauled the boat, but had not checked the alternator (which had to be done in the water with the engine running), and started to replace the stuffing box. But, to get the shaft out of the boat far enough, they needed to take the prop off. It, it turned out, was kept in place by two nuts that were standard threads, but put on a metric shaft. It was another day before they were able to get that off, but they hadn't ordered new ones, so we had to wait 3 more days for the nuts to come in. Then, after putting the boat in the water, they were able to check the alternator, which was then removed and sent for repairs. The place that repaired alternators didn't have one like this in stock, so they ordered the part that they needed, and were supposed to fix it the next day. UPS lost the part, and we were back to square one, waiting another day for the alternator. Once installed, the engine wouldn't go out of reverse. We spent another few hours getting that staightened out, and by then it was too late to leave. The next day, we got underway early, and soon smelled smoke. On examination, the new dripless stuffing box was on fire and leaking. The leaking put out the fire, but we turned around and had the marina haul the boat. It was a Friday, so we had to wait until Monday to find out what went wrong. There was, on this particular type of dripless bearing, a feeder hose that put cooling water into the gland to keep it cool. The fitting that was supposed to scoop the water in, was installed backwards, which explains why both the old and new fittings failed. We had to wait a few more days to get a new stuffing box, after they had turned the scoop around. Finally, we left, after having to replace most of the fresh food we had bought for the trip, which had died in the refrigerator, when the boat was hauled and the electricity unplugged.
All went fine until we were passing Palm Beach, when I heard a whining sound coming from the engine compartment. When I looked, the water was up to the engine mounts and the dripless stuffing box was leaking and spewing water all over the engine compartment and the engine. We called Cracker Boys Boatyard and they told us that we had a bout 20 minutes to get there before they closed. On the way in, the engine rpm's suddenly dropped to almost nothing and we just barely made it into the boatyard with black smoke pouring out of the exhaust. They thought that we were on fire, but it turned out to be something tied to the turbo and the water spray. The people at Cracker Boys seem to be very professional. The dripless stuffing box had not been adjusted properly to hold the water pressure, the the manager himself was able to fix it. Also, the electronic sensor that turned on the bilge pump quit, and my wonderful crew mate used a small trash can to empty the bilge enough for the stuffing box to be adjusted. Then the manager replaced the sensor the next day and we found out that the pump had been fried, too, so we had to wait for a new pump to be installed. It took about a week to get the mechanic to look at the engine, so we went home and came back when everything was working again. Once again, we spent the afternoon reprovisioning all the fresh food that wasn't fresh any longer and left the next day. We spent the night on the hook in Biscayne Bay and then set out early for Marathon, where the only bridge high enough for our mast to fit under, and which would allow us to get into Florida Bay without going all the way to Key West. We got there just as the marina was closing, so had to wait until morning to fuel up. It turned out the the fuel tank had been moved to a spot under the swim platform, and was so close to the top that it took nearly 2 hours to put 57 gallons of diesel in because the tank kept backing up. It also turned out that the reason why we couldn't get the fresh water pump to pump from the starboard tank is because the starboard water tank didn't hold water!
We set out about 10am and headed on the convoluted channel that sailboats that draw over 4' have to take. It involves going back up the Keys for a while and then turning north toward Flamingo. The real compass, autopilot compass and the chartplotter compass all read different things. Your main compass has to be compensated for deviation caused by magnetic things around it. This one wasn't. We got to the buoy where we could turn to head for the open gulf and the chartplotter went out. This meant that we had no accurate knowledge of exactly how fast we were going, since there was no knotmeter on the boat. This owner had bought charts, so I plotted a course for the gulf to the first point where the soundings were 5 fathoms, and plotted a course for Charlott Harbor sea bouy, but, we didn't know which compass was accurate. I chose the last course that I had seen on the chartplotter, since it appeared that the real compasss was way out, and the autopilot had not been compensated. Then, I put the real compass on the course that it had read when the chart plotter went out, and followed what it was reading. The alternator chose this time to die again, too, so we turned off all electrical equipment, including lights, and only left the depthfinder and compass light on. We finally got to the 5 fathom line and I made a guesstemate about what the course should be, keeping an eye on the depth finder. As long as we didn't get below 5 fathoms, we were okay, and if we did, I knew that the only way to turn would be west, away from the coast. We arrived at the light around 3 am, and decided not to anchor, since it would kill the batteries to use the windlass. We dropped all sail and drifted until dawn. We finally got in about 2pm in the afternoon, 6 weeks after starting the trip that should have taken 6 days. By the way, none of the radios on this boat worked either. I had to bring my own.
The only other deliveries for this year were a 27' Hunter sailboat back and forth from a very iffy marina in New Smyrna Beach to a very safe marina, Halifax Harbor, for hurricane season.