2016 WORLDS : HOW DO YOU COMPETE ON ANOTHER CONTINENT?
November 1st, 2016 - Miami, FL, U.S. - Written by Kevin Nixon, ACCRU AUS812, Member Asia Pacific, Executive Committee, International Melges 24 Class Association - With the 2016 Melges 24 World Championship in Miami Florida fast approaching, and around 35 of the 100+ participants arriving from outside the USA, the big question for the overseas teams is: How do you compete on another continent? At first glance, the costs can seem astronomical, but there are many ways of doing it.
Shipping your existing boat is obviously the preferred option for most people. The up side is that you get to sail your own familiar boat, set up the way you like it and ready to go when it arrives at the venue.
Depending on what part of the world you are coming from, and going to, the cost can vary greatly. Europe to Miami and back is not too much of a problem as a large number of shipping lines use this route on their way to Australasia via the Panama Canal.
From Australia it can be much more expensive as the shipping route typically circles around through China and Japan before heading back across the pacific, through the Panama Canal and finally back up the East coast of the USA. You are pretty much paying for the time your boat is on the ship.
If you decide to ship, the easiest method for boats on a trailer like the Melges 24 is to Roll-on/Roll- off (RORO). These are usually Car Carrying ship delivering new cars, trucks and boats from manufacturers to other parts of the world. You simply deliver your boat to the departure port at your end and then later pick it up at the receiving port. As to be expected, with all this convenience comes the highest cost to transport boats around the world.
Placing you boat in a shipping container can be the least expensive way to ship it, but for a boat like the Melges 24 it may require you to modify the trailer to allow the boat to rotate and fit into the container. It is also going to take the best part of a day to load and unload and may require a crane or fork lift to get it in and out. In the USA logistics services such as One Design Services help transport boats to and from events as well as load and unload the containers. Container shipping can be around half the cost of Roll-on/Roll-off but is a lot more work.
Considering the logistics and costs of shipping, chartering a boat may seem like a more practical thing to do. Boats are offered at different price points depending on their age and condition. You can generally check a boat out by having the owner send photos of critical items like the hull, keel and rudder. You are however always going to have to spend a few days modifying control lines to you standards or setup.
When chartering you usually bring your own sails, and most times, it is a good idea to bring your own ropes, shrouds and forestay just to minimize the chance of breakages. Other costs may be the transport of the boat to and from the regatta if out of town, excess baggage charges on your flights for sails and equipment, and perhaps some extra days accommodation while you prepare the boat.
The final option, and not necessarily the most expensive (presuming you don't mind having capital tied up in a second boat), is to purchase a new or second hand boat from the region you are going to sail in. Use the boat for the World Championship and then either sell it or ship it home to upgrade your existing boat. If you offset the cost you would have spent on Chartering you may find this is a good option. Many Melges 24 sailors from outside the Americas keep a boat in the USA and fly in a couple of times a year to do a regatta. Boat storage and transport throughout the USA is reasonably