Friday, March 27, 2009


So I make it back to the UK, and we wait for the arrival of the 'Beest. Talk about an antsy month of trepidation: "What if...?" is the word of every day. Money, costs, time off, availability, electricity, oh yes. Boat uses 30 Amp 110 volt. UK is using 16 Amp 220.

This is deeper than I thought. Not only that, I know absolutely NO ONE who has an American based boat.

Well, I have thrown our hat over the fence, so I will have to go through with this. One way or another.

The boat arrives in Southampton around the 25th of October on a Friday. Naturally, nothing can be done all weekend while Customs gets a round 'tuit' to clear the boat through.

So we drive the two and a half hours, or so from London so that She can see what her Husband has done.

The boat sat inside a fenced in yard, and we could only look from about 20 yards, but there she sat in her cradle... probably the closest I will feel to being a proud parent! After about ten minutes of gawking, a security guard came and told us to clear out.

So back to London and a dinner of celebration at Tiroler Hut!

I just can't resist putting a video on here from the You Tube:

I recommend the Platte fur Zwei.

Paperwork: The British are a paperwork society. It's the basis of their being and provides jobs to people who would ordinarily be unemployed. Customs works for the Queen, and they mean to ensure that She gets her cut of every transaction.

The roots of this go way back and is why the Colonists of 1775 had to Rebel.

Same as it ever was...

I show up with a check for about 1700 pounds for their expenses and triplicate importation documents.

"Sorry, Sir, we need five originals... can't be helped..."

Typical, I am unprepared and I needed more. So I had to drive all the way back to London to get more. I asked "Mister Ransom" if he would make up 30 original importation certificates. I was pissed.

He didn't bat an eye.

Mr. Ransom was Air Force retired and from Baltimore, and he had married a local girl while he was in the Air Force, so he had a U.S. Civil Service job as an admin type at CINCUSNAVEUR while getting to live on the economy.

So Mr. Ransom kindly made up those thirty "Originals", and I sped my way back to Southampton. He fully understood the runaround I was enjoying and he really dug the fact that I was doing something out of the ordinary. His way of helping to stick it to the "Man".

All this while wearing 70's bell bottoms and platform shoes. Mr Ransom was the coolest cat and the nattiest dresser. He was/is a great friend.

Here is one of those "Originals", as I still have six of them in my boat file;

Only two wasted f$%^&* days... First of many.

Lesson Learned Alert

I drive back to Southampton, wander across the huge complex, in the rain... and return to the office with plenty of copies. The Customs man even wanted the rest of them, to which I refused.

They're MINE!

So I wrote out the check and was given custody of our boat. Customs was disappointed that they couldn't cull another 5000.00 pounds out of me in "Value Added Tax", since I was a visiting Armed Forces member who would be taking the vessel back out of the UK within the time of my tour, which seemed like it would be forever...

I called up the trucking firm, they said I had paid for the boat to be shipped anywhere within 250 miles.


I called a number of marinas, one called Hoo Marina, near Chatham (40 miles from London) had a nice young lady who asked what the tonnage of the boat was.

"Thirteen", I say.

"Sorry, can't be helped, but you are too big for our Travel Lift." "Sorry".

So I arrange for the boat to go to Hamble Marina, about eight miles from Southampton Dock. And the boat goes...

What that nice Lady from Hoo forgot too mention, she was talking Metric Tonnes, and not Imperial Tonnes. Dammit!!! We were well within limits, but I did not verify.

That is the Lesson Learned. Be precise. Could cost later...

So I get ten more days of Leave, and I had a friend come out to help move the boat. But first, painting the bottom. Nasty.

Have a great Friday!


Buck said...

OK... I gotta ask. As far as you know, are you the ONLY active-duty type guy who's ever shipped a sailboat over to the UK? I think you just might be... as I've never heard of anyone doing it before. But then again, I don't get out much these days... ;-)

This is such a great story. I'd never attempt anything like this in three lifetimes.

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Thanks, Buck.

The story will gain more twists then a taffy- pull.

I became the resident expert in boat moves, there was another Navy man who called me from the USA. He was going to do a Exchange tour at the Royal Navy Base near Southampton. He shipped his boat both ways.