Yacht Transport News 2006.

New pilot boat for the Port of Venice.

Dale Nelson 38 hauled from Milford Haven

After inspection by designer Arthur Mursell, a classic Dale Nelson 38 hull was hauled from West Wales to the Cantiere Navale Orsa Maggiore shipyard in Porto Torres, Sardinia, where she was fitted out for service as a 28 knot 'motonave pilota' for the Venice pilot service. Aardvark and Sealand Boat Deliveries organised the tightly-timed transport.

Britain's best known narrowboat shipped from England to Virginia for record-breaking American cruise Phyllis May transhipping at ACL Royal Seaforth Terminal in May 2006
Terry and Monica Darlington were unlikely stars in ten episodes of a long-running documentary series on British TV. Viewers followed their madcap venture to cross the English Channel aboard Phyllis May, their 17 tonne, 18.8m steel narrowboat, built only 2.08m wide to squeeze through the locks and tunnels of the English canal system. Experts said this uniquely British shallow-draft steel boat would capsize in the open sea.

CLICK this picture of Phyllis May off Calais, France, for her own website

The couple beat the Cross Channel hoodoo and cruised over 1800 miles on Phyllis May, from their home in Stone, Staffs, to the French Pyrenees, along with their "narrow dog" - a whippet known as Jim. According to Terry's best-selling book, "Jim can run at forty miles an hour. He is cowardly, thieving and disrespectful and hates boating."

Terry and Monica, with Jim the whippet, launching their adventure, Stone, Staffordhire GB, May 2006

According to the Daily Telegraph, Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington is "a rich and winning comic debut, destined to become a classic" and was Britain's top-selling travel book in May 2006.
Terry and Monica, founders of an international market research firm, announced their latest adventure by throwing a party at a wine bar in Stone, Staffordshire.
The crowd cheered the Darlingtons' daughter, Lucy Brace, as she announced, "Terry Darlington's next book, should he be spared, will be called Narrow Dog to Indian River and will be based on a voyage in the Phyllis May down the US Intracoastal Waterway from Virginia to Florida."
Indian River is one thousand miles south of Norfolk, Virginia, along man-made canals, river channels behind wild offshore islands and across at least a dozen dangerous estuaries on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
"One I'm concerned about is the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina", said Terry. Local sailing directions say, "This large, shallow body of water between the North Carolina mainland and the infamous Outer Banks can quickly become a treacherous waterway when winds no stronger than a brisk breeze whip up a short, steep chop." High winds and high sand dunes brought the Wright Brothers to the lonely Outer Banks for their first flight, at Kill Devil Hill in 1903. "The Sound is 18 feet deep in the middle, but threaded with shoals and bars near the shores, a situation which colonial sailors from England were quick to note in 1586." Four hundred and twenty years after Sir Walter Raleigh's explorers came from England to these waters, transatlantic voyages have been simplified.
The Phyllis May was loaded in Staffordshire by Sealand Boat Deliveries and delivered to the Royal Seaforth Container terminal in Bootle, where the Port of Liverpool's famous heavy lift gang transhipped her to a sixty-foot MAFI roll trailer for shipping aboard ACL's Atlantic Conveyor to the quay at Portsmouth, Virginia.
"We couldn't travel with the ship", said Monica. "But we've already made friends with the Atlantic Container Line people at Portsmouth, Virginia. We met them on our reconnaissance", said Monica. "They showed us their big crane. He's called Clyde and he's big enough to lift our boat and launch us into the waters of Chesapeake Bay." The Darlingtons believe that Phyllis May is the first classic British narrow boat to be cruised in American waters.
When planning their first sea voyage Terry said he wanted "a lunatic scheme, a mission from which few return one that people are scornful about - something outside the envelope. We want some action. We are not too old for some action." If they survive the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, they plan to cross Lake Okeechobee, in the Florida swamps, and navigate to Fort Myers on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. On their American recce, Terry, now 70, discussed problems with an American skipper known as "Captain Rob".
"He was a nice man without a beard", said Terry. "Fully denimed, blue-eyed, wiry. I would not like to be a fish on the other end of the line from Captain Rob. "He told me, 'You hit Albemarle Sound in North Carolina as soon as you have crossed the Great Dismal Swamp. You have got to cross it to get into the Alligator River on the other side. It is very wide. You are out of sight of land and there is not much protection from the Atlantic. 'First time I went over the wind came round against the current and the waves were six feet high. I turned back, and I was lucky to get in. Pamlico Sound isn't much better. There is commercial traffic, big stuff, so keep out of the way when that comes along. But there are no locks until you get to Okeechobee so you shouldn't get crushed. And even if you sink, or get ill and die with you being so old I mean you will have been the first English narrowboat on the US waterways, and people will respect you when you are gone. 'But you'll make it to Florida, or at least two of you will, and when you do, I will pilot you out to the Gulf of Mexico. I'll lead you out in my fishing boat or I'll come on the back of your funny boat with you. There will definitely be no fee it will be my pleasure to help in this grand endeavour.'"

Phyllis May launching on Chesapeake Bay

According to a plan revealed to friends and helpers at the jazz and wine bar in Stone, the Darlingtons berthed Phyllis May at the remote Owl Creek Boatworks, near Alva, Florida, for shipping back via Virginia on ACL's unique weekly combined roll-on, roll-off and container service to Liverpool.

COTTON BLOSSOM arrives at Southampton Docks for Melbourne, Australia.

Cotton Blossom at Southampton, October 2005

An antipodean classic has been shipped home to the Southern Hemisphere. After six years in North West Europe, this Sparkman and Stephens 40, built in tripleskin kauri by Max Carter at Auckland, New Zealand, in 1964, is seen here on her way from Ireland to Australia. Built for the tough Auckland to Suva race, COTTON BLOSSOM has been cruised and raced from New Zealand, San Francisco, Hawaii, Australia, California and Ireland in her long career. When she was thirty years old she raced in the 50th Sydney Hobart race. Now forty years young, she is heading for Melbourne.

MV Scheldegracht ex Antigua May 2005
MV SCHELDEGRACHT under way with fifty yachts aboard.

May 2005: The Spliethoff multi-purpose freighter SCHELDEGRACHT loaded fifty yachts in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and Antigua. Working to a joint charter, she cleared the Caribbean on May 17 and arrived in Southampton 12 days later. The yachts were avoiding an arduous one month voyage back to Europe on the eve of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Rescue on the Hamble

Escape, trapped
October 2004: Colin Archer 13.3m 28 tonne ketch ESCAPE, built Norway 1936, trapped unseaworthy at Crableck Lane, Sarisbury Green, Hampshire GB.
Escape relaunch
Re-floated by Sealand Boat Deliveries and towed to Swanwick by Itchen Marine tug. Delivered by road and fully restored at the International Boatbuilding Training College, Oulton Broad.

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