Dockwise record load bound for Freeport and St. Thomas
On November 3, when the 556-foot Super Servant 4, one of Dockwise Yacht Transport’s (DYT) fleet of four semi-submersible ships, left Newport, R.I., it was packed stem to stern with a record load of 50 recreational cruising and racing boats, worth upward of $41 million. The ship will head to Freeport, Bahamas, a newly added port of call for DYT, where it will unload eight of the vessels (six motor yachts, one sport fishing boat and one sailboat), then carry on to St. Thomas, USVI, where the remaining vessels (17 motor boats and 25 sailboats) will disembark in time for the Caribbean boating season.
“We are maxed out on this trip; not one inch of room to spare,” said Ann Souder, DYT’s sales agent for the East Coast and Caribbean, explaining that while the recession may have temporarily subdued demand, it has not reversed the long-term upward trend in yacht transportation between cruising destinations that DYT specializes in. The company’s unique float-on/float-off method for yachts up to 200 feet in length is accommodated by its ships, such as the Super Servant 4, which partially “sink” to allow their cargoes of boats to load and unload under their own power rather than be lifted by cranes.
“It’s a huge operation to make it all happen, especially with a shipment of this size,” Souder continued. “Before the boats are loaded, our draftsmen have to determine the placement of each vessel based on its volume and its weight distribution relative to others on the ship. Then DYT Loading Masters oversee every minute of the loading process, which includes water ballasting the ship so it sinks to a level where the boats can be guided into the dock bays, positioning of temporary supports by specially trained scuba divers, welding the supports in place after the deck is dry, securing each boat’s sea fastenings, and the de-ballasting process after which the boats are high and dry and ready for their trip.”
Super Servant 4 is scheduled to arrive Saturday, October 31st, in Newport Harbor, and will soon thereafter begin loading its cargo in the vicinity of the Pell Bridge in preparation for its Nov. 1st departure. After arriving in Freeport, the process – with all the same professionals in attendance -- will be reversed for the partial unloading. The ship is expected to arrive in St. Thomas mid-November.
“The new destination of Freeport allows yacht owners in the Northeast to get to the Bahamas or Florida from Newport if they are not inclined to go all the way to the Caribbean,” said DYT President Clemens van der Werf. “We are always listening to our clients and opening up routes that make sense for their schedules.” According to Van der Werf, demand for yacht transportation services is mainly generated by yacht owners and charter companies seeking expansion of their cruising grounds to benefit from two seasons within one year (e.g., New England in the summer and the Caribbean in the winter). "The market is mainly driven by the increasing global fleet size, as a result of increased wealth, and the growing charter market along with the development of new yachting destinations around the world,” said Van der Werf.
DYT’s global routes currently include the U.S. East Coast (Newport, Rhode Island; Port Everglades, Florida) Freeport, Bahamas, the Mediterranean (Toulon, France; Genoa, Taranto and Olbia, Italy; Marmaris, Turkey; and Palma de Mallorca, Spain), Northern Europe (La Rochelle and Cherbourg, France), the Caribbean (St. Thomas and Martinique); the Pacific West Coast (Golfito, Costa Rica; La Paz and Ensenada, Mexico; and Vancouver, B.C., Canada) and the South Pacific (Papeete, Tahiti; Auckland, New Zealand; and Brisbane, Australia).
Headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, DYT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dockwise Ltd. (Hamilton, Bermuda), the global leader in maritime transports and installation. Since its maiden voyage in 1987, the company has transported over 10,000 motor and sailing yachts to various destinations around the globe, offering owners and charterers safe and easy access to many of the world’s premier cruising grounds.
In addition to its conservation partnership with The Billfish Foundation, the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations around the world, DYT is also partnered with the International SeaKeepers Society. Its newest ship, the 685.7 foot (209 meter) Yacht Express, is outfitted with the modular SeaKeeper 1000TM ocean and meteorological monitoring system which samples, measures, records and transmits critical measures of ocean health—salinity, temperature, oxygen and pollution, among others—to various scientific and public communities across the globe.
Along with area representatives around the world, DYT has additional operating offices in Genoa, Italy, Martinique and Newport, R.I., USA.