[KensBlog]We have a freighter! — Or, do we?

Greetings all!

This is just a quick update on our efforts to move our boat from Hong Kong to Turkey, via a freighter.


[Note — these are just photos I grabbed off the internet of boats being
loaded onto freighters. They aren’t my boat (although, I wish they were!)

A couple of blog entries ago, I mentioned that transporting a boat, via freighter, is never dull.

Our plan has been to deliver the boat to our boat’s manufacturer, Nordhavn, in Taiwan. They have a similar sized boat completing construction in the next couple of months that is going to Croatia. Nordhavn agreed that if I’d deliver the boat to Taiwan (only 400 miles away), they would ship my boat alongside their boat, and manage the process.


For a month, I thought this was the plan, but meanwhile, the salesman for SevenStar Yacht transport started working on me, and on Nordhavn, that we should consider shipping with Sevenstar. At first, I ignored him, but he kept reminding me that Sevenstar could pick up my boat in Hong Kong, and ship directly to Turkey. Nordhavn, on the other hand, would require me to move the boat to Taiwan, and then my boat would be delivered somewhere in Europe (an unknown destination, probably Italy), after which I’d have to run it to Turkey. Making it even more interesting, Sevenstar has a freighter shipping in Mid March, just a few weeks away. To make a long story short, I made the decision to sign up with Sevenstar, and signed the contract, and sent them a huge deposit, just last week.

Then, of course, things start to get interesting…

On Monday I was forwarded a marketing letter from Sevenstar saying that the freighter is leaving at the beginning of March, not in mid-March, as I was told. This would normally be good news, except that my boat is scheduled to be hauled-out, and bottom-painted, the first week of March. I have an email out to Sevenstar now seeking clarification.

However, that’s not really the problem. The big problem is…


For those of you who don’t read the papers, the middle east is in a bit of turmoil right now. The green line in the picture above is roughly the route the freighter would take. Just to the north of Egypt is Turkey, where my boat is headed. Ouch.

The Suez Canal is the skinny channel next to Egypt, and the bad news is that it may or may not be open over the next few months. Here’s an article from today’s headlines.


And, to make things a little more interesting, here’s another article from today’s headlines about the Seychelles (which are also somewhat near the route):


In other words, freighters carrying yachts are being captured off the Seychelles, pirates are rampart around Somalia, Egypt is in the midst of a civil war, and the Suez Canal may close.

I’m sure this is all going to work out fine, and I’ll be cruising in Turkey this summer. Or, at least, I think I’m sure….

“Boating is a lot of things, but dull is rarely one of them.”

Ken Williams
N6805, Sans Souci

19 Responses

  1. Ken,

    Any impact from Earthquake to your boat or that for your gang? How about the nice people that helped you while you were in Japan. Our warmest thoughts are with everyone affected by this horrible disaster

  2. Your decision to ship Sans Souci to Turkey is much more relevant with the tragic loss of four American’s aboard their private yacht. I have enjoyed following you on all of your travels and am glad I won’t have to follow you on your own cruise to Turkey. Good luck on getting San Souci transported to Turkey. I look forward to another season of your adventure.

  3. with the announcement today of 4 american hostages being killed who were high jacked from a private yacht you are making a wise decision by shipping the yacht. one can charter a yacht in any of those areas you missed out on or stay at any of many the resorts. for the life of me i can’t understand why people would, after knowing the risks, sail there? makes no sense at all and then have 4 warships shadow them, one of the being an air craft carrier. a billion dollar asset costing god knows how much to watch over foolish people. the pirates are not high jacking these yachts because they want to learn how to sail, they want ransom money and it takes nothing to put a persons name into google and see what they maybe worth. you are making the smart, wise decision in my mind. jon

  4. Roman:

    I haven’t looked at the data recently, but when I checked last year there were a significant number of pirate attacks against freighters around Malaysia and Singapore. There were no attacks against private yachts, but it seemed better to be cautious.

    You said, “… places that are quite low on the piracy scale…”. I confess that even “quite low” exceeds my threshold. I would love to cruise Thailand and the Andamans, but I can’t get there without crossing areas that are risky. I know I will regret forever not going to Thailand with our friends, but the decision has now been made, and my boat loads on a freighter in the next couple of weeks.

    We’ll catch those places on the next lap. Perhaps by then security will have been enhanced.

    -Ken W

  5. Ken,

    You are skipping an entire ocean.
    Why not ship the boat to somewhere in eastern India and proceed from there?
    Explore the Andaman Islands, Sri Lanka, Maldives (corals and diving are amazing), Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar.
    Then go around Cape Aghulas and up the western coast of Africa.
    Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores…

    You’re missing out on a lot of beautiful places. Places that are quite low on the piracy scale.

  6. Roddie:

    You’ve hit upon my soft spot. Nice beaches are definitely the way to lure me to an area.

    Presently, we’re still on track to ship our boat from Hong Kong to Turkey the first week of March. If for some reason the shipment doesn’t happen, and there’s no other ship on the horizon, we “may” change our minds and continue to Singapore.

    I’ve already paid for my moorage in Turkey, have plane/train reservations, and gave a big chunk of money to the yacht transport company, so… unless there are some big surprises, we’re going to Turkey!

    -Ken W

  7. Also, my soon to be father in law ran his boat from Singapore to Thailand with no problems at all. He is also helping move the Sunsail fleet around SE Asia in the next few weeks as well. I wish you guys would change your mind and take the gamble with SE Asia, it is an incredible place that is strange, but safer than 90% of the states!

  8. You should have hung out in SE Asia for just one more season 😉 I have been in the Philippines for the last week or so traveling around by ferry and have seen a lot of nice beaches LOL! I also spent Christmas in Thailand on a boat and there a ton of places there as well!
    Good Luck in whatever you decide to do though 😉

  9. Alan:

    At this point, I’m still convinced that the freighter is going to arrive in Hong Kong to pick up my boat, as scheduled, and that all is fine. I forget the stats, but an incredible number of freighters transit the Suez Canal every day. Despite the headlines, I doubt the will be closed, and if it is, it won’t stay closed long.

    I worry too much.

    That said, I honestly haven’t thought ahead to alternate plans should world events disrupt our ability to get to Turkey this year. As you said, we could ship to the United States, then ship to Europe via the Panama Canal.

    There was even a time last week, when briefly Roberta and I softened and almost decided to rejoin the GSSR group. I doubt this will happen, but it will certainly be one of the options discussed if we ever get to that point.

    My guess: My boat will load onto the freighter, in March, as planned, and we’re going to Turkey!

    Ken W

  10. What about hopping the next Nordhavn delivery to Dana Point, running the boat through the canal to Florida, and shipping to the Med from there? Between the pirates and the Egyptian situation that is going to be a tough situation. I would doubt your insurer would tolerate that either. You are certainly experienced with the West Coast, and you could do the western Med while waiting for the other boats. Nordhavn should certainly help you out, as you enhance their brand like no other.

  11. Pam:

    Great to hear from you! We’re on our way to Seattle tomorrow. Please tell me it is in the 80s there!

    You asked about the other two GSSR boats; Seabird and Grey Pearl. The official answer is, “My lips are sealed.” For security reasons, it is better that I not comment as to their plans, when they are leaving, where they are, where they are going, etc. It’s a good time for them to do what they are doing, or will be doing, quietly, and talk about it after arrival.

    And, that is exactly why I am loading my boat on a freighter and taking a plane to Turkey. If I am hesitant to tell people where I am, perhaps I shouldn’t be there.

    -Ken W

  12. Sam:

    I agree that my use of the term “civil war” to describe events in Egypt was incorrect. I struggled to think of a better way to summarize the situation in a way most people, many of which don’t watch the news every day, could relate to, and I failed.

    That said, you would agree that there are tanks rolling in the streets, people have died, a large number of people are involved, and many of them are advocating regime change? And, that Mubarack is taking the situation seriously?

    This is not a political board, it’s a boating board, and honestly, you would be debating an unarmed oponent were you and I to argue whether or not this constitutes civil war. Thus, I would prefer to apologize for poorly choosing my words, and focus on fuel filters or some other boat-centric thing….

    The message of my blog was that this (Egypt, and the pirate attack against a yacht-carrying freighter off Somalia) all creates uncertainty around my boat’s arrival in Turkey, and overall safety in the region. My gut is telling me that this is all a non-issue and that my boat will depart Hong Kong without incident and arrive just fine. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t stay awake at night worrying!

    As a vaguely related sidenote….

    I live in Cabo San Lucas Mexico. There are those who would argue that Mexico is in the middle of a huge drug war, and that no place in Mexico is safe. In actuality, Mexico is a very big place, and the violence is a thousand miles away from where we are located. Yet, the newspaper accounts have damaged property values, and hurt tourism. A restaurant owner told me a few nights ago that his business is off 40%. Jobs are being lost. Why? Because headlines sometimes cause damage when people don’t dig beneath the stories to really understand what is happening, and where.

    OK .. once again apologies. I am getting sucked into political commentary, and that is certainly something I love. But, it doesn’t belong on my blog…

    -Ken W

  13. I know you weren’t being too serious, but characterizing the situation in Egypt as “civil war” is wildly inaccurate. The protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful. The recent violence has been caused by pro-Mubarak supporters (aka paid mobs) attacking demonstrators, as reported by Human Rights Watch among others.

  14. ken, at least you won’t be travelling with the yacht … well i hope you won’t be travelling with the yacht when its shipped! cross your fingers and go golfing. i’m sure things will be fine. we don’t hear about how many ships travel by somalia and are not attacked. i would hazard a guess the chances of your ship being hit by pirates is quite low. the cost of insurance for the trip will be a good indication of the risk. come to think of it following the AIS of the ship as it goes through those waters will be entertaining, for all the wrong reasons! jon

  15. SUBJECT: Uuummm I no likie!!!

    Ken and Roberta, I know the adventure of yahting and circumnavigating is an ideal past time when retired and living the life of ryley but seriously now people!!! Do you really want to jeapordize your self and your new babies and your lovely yaht? I think that you should let your boat hang in the great northwest! The islands are gorgeous this time of year! Maybe then you could invite some of your local friends (me) to go boating with you where I wouldnt need a passport or legal documentation to get in and out of the country. I am really worried about your safety and also being a bit selfish thinking of course that at some point I will be invited to cruise with you. Is there such thing as Pirate insurance? If not maybe that could be a new bussiness venture for boat owners. And it could all be done here in the great Northwest! Be safe as I know you both will and You are in my thoughts for every great journey you choose to take in life and at Sea! Annie ps. Are the rest of the gang already on route to the Med? Where are they in the scheme of things?

  16. Ken – ….or a meteor could hit the planet and the whole shipping process be rendered pointless. You worry too much! Things will be fine!

  17. Hi Ken,

    Yes the world is a mess right now. Who knows if we will ever retain our freedoms to travel about the world again as was done even 20 years ago. We pray for peace, and your safety on your journey. I look forward to hearing about your voyage. We are now engaged in some ocean adventure as well, and will display some of our treasures we have found with the H3. Good to see you are getting along well with your new dogs. As a dog person, there is never a tougher thing to do than to lose a good 4 legged friend.

    Stay safe,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be the first to know when

the game releases!

Plus, receive special insider, behind the scenes, sneak peeks and interviews as the game is being made. Don’t worry. We will not spam you, and we will not flood your box with too many emails.
 — Ken Williams

Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson