Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Das Boot!

Bluesette, our BLUE Lido 14 sailboat, has arrived.

After a long voyage, which took her first via truck from the W.D. Schock factory in Corona, California to Long Beach, then in a 20 foot long container on the 294 meter (965 feet) long container ship "SUN RIGHT" up to San Francisco and thence across the Pacific, she arrived in Yokohama - the Tokyo Container Port - last Tuesday.

SUN RIGHT

We were contacted by Japan Trust, which runs the container port here, the day before the "SUN RIGHT" arrived and told we needed a customs broker. Understandably, Customs will not deal with individuals and one must hire a licensed broker that knows the ropes to take charge of whatever is being imported and "walk" it through the customs maze. K found a list of brokers on the internet tubes and selected three. We got bids and chose a broker who could get us through customs and also truck the boat to our home. The latter requirement was necessary as the trailer is built to California standards and may need additional lights to be licensed in Japan. Much easier to work on licensing matters and possible rewiring with the trailer sitting in our yard, than having to try to jump through those hoops while it is still on the dock. (I learned this lesson through an article by a fellow sailor who imported a boat on a trailer and had to do it the 'hard way'). We also had no desire to tow the boat ourselves all the way from Yokohama Port to home.

The nail biting began when the driver called and left a message to say he couldn't find us. K was at a school graduation ceremony and I could not communicate with the driver. I called K's cellular phone and left a message. Happily, she was able to rush home and on the way actually saw the truck with the boat and was able to tell the driver where we were located!

Minutes later, K, truck, and boat turned up. Good thing the Lido isn't any bigger, as it just fit on the 4 ton truck and the truck itself just barely fit in our driveway - even pushing into our pomogranite bush. In fact, to back in, the driver maneuvered the truck with amazing skill to within only a few centimeters of our wall and a wall across the street.


The truck had its own crane and the driver set everything up and started to lift the boat. Uh-oh! It soon became apparent that the forward end was heavier than anticipated. Visions of the boat and trailer sliding bow first out of the sling to a tragic crash on the ground flashed through my head, but the driver saw it too, put the boat back down on the truck and we adjusted the slings.



Right after I took this picture, I ran over to steady the boat as the driver ever so slowly and gently set Bluesette down on terra firma.

She was heavily wrapped in foam sheeting, shrink-wrap, and tape . The mast and boom were wrapped as well and covered with heavy cardboard tubes. Somewhere under it all was our boat.


Momo wasn't sure what to think of it all. Her reaction, after the initial shock, was something like, "you aren't going to leave that there blocking my view are you?" After some initial sniffing, she stayed on her bench and "supervised" as I unwrapped the boat.


About three and a half hours later, I had Bluesette completely unwrapped and the mast and boom stowed. My muscles feel it now. Going to feel it more in the morning, I'm sure. All that packaging worked though - the boat and all appertenances are in perfect condition.



K and I pushed the boat and trailer into its parking space next to our garage and covered it to protect it from the elements. Another day, I'll set up the mast, boom and rigging and raise the sails - both to make rigging adjustments and to familiarize myself with it all. After all, it's been a lot years since I've sailed a Lido, and this is a much newer model with several refinements.


There is still much to do in addition to the above mentioned adjustments. We need to get the trailer through an inspection to be licensed for Japan's roads. We also need to buy personal floatation devices and other safety gear, and (uhg) wax the hull. But all of that can be done in due time. It's a while yet before the weather will warrant her first launch. Right now we're just thrilled that she's finally home!