Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Trucking an LNVT—Lessons Learned (Tuggers Issue 33)

Dave Howell, Church Creek, MD, Nellie D. 37VT63

In April 2006 Dudley Boat Transport 800-426-8120, POC: Jerold
Parker, moved Nellie D. from Long Beach to Olympia. Then in
September 2007 Dudley moved Nellie from Anacortes to Annapolis.
Our first lesson leaned is that Dudley does a great job.
Here are some other things we learned.

Height is Money: The boat faces forward on the trailer and sits
bow low. This makes the top of the pilot house’s hatch about
the same height as the top of the stern deck’s ladder—which is
14’-0” as measured from the ground. Measuring to the top of
the name boards yields 14’-4”, and it’s about 16’-0” to the top of
the stack. Trucking up and down the west coast is fine at 14’-4”.
However, going across the US, we saved $1,000 by dropping to
a 14’-0” max height. Removing the stack is straight forward as
only four bolts and some caulk hold it on. Getting the name
boards, radar, antennas and kayak mounts off were more difficult
but worth it for the savings.

Measuring the height

LNVTs are Under the Weight Limit: when shipped Nellie
weighed 25,000 pounds. Both her water and fuel tanks were
full. Maximum load for the tractor trailer is almost twice that.
Remove Loose Things from the Exterior: There are two reasons
for this: it reduces the likelihood of theft; and makes it easier
to clean the boat at the destination. Our kayaks, 10’RIB, the
outboard motor, man-overboard sling, etc. were all packed
tightly into the saloon. We bought lots of blankets and sleeping
bags inexpensively from Goodwill to use as for padding. Remove
all exterior covers and the dodger too. Sunbrella is ruined
by road dirt while other materials get very dirty and are hard to

Nellie gets loaded on the trailer

Forget Shrink Wrap: We heard that shrink wrapping or dry
soaping could make arrival clean-up easier. We did neither and
found that removing dirt and grime was easy with soap and water.
Use Shrink Wrap Tape: The white tape that boat shrinkwrappers
use sticks incredibly well to fiberglass and glass and
leaves very little residue—versus the mess that duct tape leaves
behind. I used the white tape to waterproof the fastener and
wire holes left in the pilot house roof, to lock the windshield wipers
in place, and to seal the gap between the two panes of glass
in the saloon windows. Don’t use it, or any other tape, on finished
wood surfaces (Cetol, etc.) as it may pull the finish off.

Some Other Ideas: Get the drivers cell number. Both our drivers
wanted us to know where they were and what was happening.
Let the driver and/or Dudley schedule loading and unloading
with the yards. Shipper and yard have a professional relationship
based on repeat business—so Dudley can get you in even if the
yard says they’re busy. Keep your tools in an easily accessible
place, extension cords too. Block the dorade boxes so road dirt
isn’t funneled below decks. Horror stories abound of boats filled
with rain water because the bilge pumps weren’t left on or the respective
thru-hulls open. Finally, don’t forget to put padding on
the companionway lock—you don’t want it marring up the door.

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