After years of looking and about 6 months of serious searching we decided to pursue one of the first N55’s we got really interested in, N5516, named Starfish. Just one problem (well, actually there were many problems, but…) the boat was docked in San Diego and we wanted the boat, at least for a few years, on the coast of the Southeast United States. So we made some calls and explored some options. First, a private captain and crew, hired just for the trip. The cost estimate for that, moving the boat from San Diego to Florida via the Panama Canal was big. Next, just for fun (and with a little bit of hope) I reached out to a company that ships boats large and small. WOW, was that number big. Then a break through. A family member who spent years on the seas in both the private boat business as well as commercial shipping said he’d be glad to move the boat for expenses. Great, we have a captain. Then my baby brother, who’s semi-retired for the 2nd time stepped forward, said it sounded like a great adventure stepped forward and said he would crew for expenses (and act as chief fisherman and cook). Great, two down. Then a friend of the family who spent a number of years as an engineer and relief captain on very large private yachts heard about our potential adventure and offered to project manage the refreshing we needed done before the trip and then come along for the repositioning trip at a significantly reduced rate. Great. With the core crew in place we completed the sale and set about getting N5516 ready for the trip.
We conducted the offshore delivery on a bright Monday morning and parked the boat in a rented slip in Point Loma Marina, a great place. We started assembling the list of work that needed to be done before we could begin the re-positioning trip. I flew back to my office in NC and made arrangements to return to N5516 Labor Day weekend.
Friday of Labor Day weekend I flew out to San Diego and met the admiral who had flown in from AZ. Together we made the short drive to Point Loma and the admiral saw the N5516 for the first time. We took a quick tour of the boat, put our stuff away and then headed out for some supplies and get the propane tanks filled, the plan was to spend the weekend on the boat and even get it out for a couple of small runs around the San Diego harbor. Our first night on the boat we grilled, then ate on the flybridge as the sun went down. Our front row slip gave us a great place to do some people watching as folks walked along the water front enjoying the view and the breeze.
Saturday morning arrived and we headed for the airport to pick up our engineer. The boat was headed to the boat yard on Tuesday for a bottom job, shaft inspection (and, as it turned out, replacement) and a host of other projects large and small so the engineer was coming to get acquainted with the boat and manage the projects at the boat yard. Late afternoon our contract captain, who had helped with the overshore delivery, showed up and took us out for a nice 3 hour cruise. We tried out the various systems and added to the list of projects a series of things that did not seem right. Tank watch system, A/C in the pilot house, refrigerator that was making way too much noise, etc, etc, etc.
Sunday we went out again, cruised by some tall boats tied up near the downtown docks, headed over to Coronado Island and then put LHB back in the slip with a few more items added to the project list.
Tuesday morning, the captain and the engineer moved the boat to the boat yard; now the fun really begins. . .