Any mariner will tell you that making an ocean crossing is no small feat. Apart from the risks involved, it’s also extremely hard on both man/woman and machine. Ocean crossings are also simply not feasible for many craft, perhaps because of a lack of fuel capacity, the high monetary cost of doing such a crossing, or other reasons.
However, there is a strong - and growing - global demand from superyacht owners who want to be able to use their yachts in the ever-popular seasonal yachting destinations of the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas.
That’s where DYT Yacht Transport comes in. With its fleet of two specially designed and built float-on/float-off yacht transport ships, DYT offers superyacht owners a regular yacht transport service, carrying superyachts and their tenders between the world’s most popular yachting destinations, safely, reliably and hassle-free.
Introducing Captain Alexandre Israel
In our last two interviews with DYT, we found out all about the history of the company and how it operates, and we got the inside scoop on the hottest yachting destinations in the world. For this article, we interviewed Captain Alexandre Israel, executive officer of the 70m motor yacht Freedom, to find out why DYT is the obvious choice for ensuring that Freedom is wherever her owner needs her to be, and what that process looks like.
But first, a little background
Captain Alexandre Israel hails from Brazil and at 67 years young, he has over three decades of seafaring behind him. By this stage, it’s safe to say that he’s seen and done it all, including several very long-distance yacht voyages.
He has been at the helm of Freedom for the past six years, ever since she was launched in 2018 by the famed Italian shipyard Benetti, making her still a relatively new yacht.
Freedom’s owner has a house in Miami and enjoys using his yacht in the Bahamas and occasionally further afield into the Caribbean. Like many yacht owners, he also likes summer cruising in the Med, where Freedom spends most of her time in and around Portofino in Italy.
The cost of a crossing
In order to have Freedom available for her owner in both locations, the yacht has to cross the Atlantic.
But for Captain Alex, as he likes to be called, the overall cost of doing that ocean crossing on Freedom’s own keel is simply not viable, and he had the numbers to prove it.
“The fuel is not actually the big cost,” said Captain Alex. “The big cost is actually the time that you put on the yacht’s engines and all of its systems and hardware, such as the generators, rudders, water makers and radar communications, which all have to run continuously for twenty or more days. All of that must be included in the accounting for the trip.”
He went on to detail some of the specific propulsion cost items involved, based on having done the crossing on Freedom’s keel once already. “Our engines are Caterpillars and must be serviced every 500 hours. Therefore in a single crossing, I have to service each engine at least once, at a cost of $10,000 per engine. The generators require an oil change every 250 hours and given a crossing trip time of 700 to 800 hours, that’s four generator services at a cost of a few thousand Dollars per generator, per trip.”
The mechanical costs are not the only costs of a crossing and as Captain Alex explained, the cost of the crew and ancillary costs along the journey must also be accounted for. “On a crossing, you’d need a minimum crew on hand to care for the interior as well as a chef to feed everyone. And during a crossing, you need to stop occasionally, typically in the Azores and in Gibraltar, and every stop costs money in agent fees, port fees, and food, water and drinks for the crew. The cost is ultimately very big.”
He noted that there is also an indirect cost to the yacht. “Most of all, the boat becomes older; these crossings age the boat substantially. A round trip crossing alone is about 1,400 hours plus the mileage at the destination. It’s a lot of wear and tear on the yacht.”
“All of these costs considered,” he said, “it’s cheaper to travel with DYT!”
Leave it to the professionals
Having already crossed the Atlantic once on its own keel, all of Freedom’s twelve subsequent Atlantic crossings have been made on DYT’s fleet and according to Captain Alex, the experience using DYT has been consistently excellent.
“DYT’s crew is super professional; in fact, they are extremely professional. Loading and unloading the yacht is in principle, similar to arriving at a dock. You drive the boat in and up to a wall. As you arrive on the ship, you become DYT’s cargo, and their crew become fully responsible for your vessel. They handle everything. You simply give them your lines and they do the rest.
“They know the exact position that your yacht must be on,” he continued. “It’s all very precise and well-planned. They know exactly where they are going to put you, taking into account the correct distances from the other boats. It’s amazing how fast they do it, and they make it super easy for us.”
He added that once the boat is in the correct position, DYT’s team of expert divers goes below the yacht to weld the cradles that will hold the vessel in place on the ship’s deck.
Finally, the yacht is strapped down to the ship’s deck with a number of very large nylon straps.
Confidence and convenience
For Captain Alex, the benefits of transporting Freedom with DYT are very clear: The yacht arrives safely and on time at its destination, most of the crew get a nice vacation, and there is no wear and tear on the yacht and her systems during the crossing. “And since DYT’s ship is so big, it is able to set sail regardless of fluctuations in the weather and while it’s underway, and it doesn’t roll much except when the weather is very bad, so it’s very safe for the yacht and very comfy for the crew,” he adds. “And at the end of the day, I can say for certain that it’s cheaper than doing the crossing by yourself!”
Riding in style
When Freedom travels with DYT, two of her crew - the engineer and a deck hand - ride with her on the ship. The rest of the crew, including Captain Alex himself, get twelve days off - something that the crew look forward to and which benefits the owner in terms of lower running costs during that period.
Captain Alex also highlighted the great experience and excellent service that his crew always receives while riding Freedom in transit. “I receive regular reports from my crew during the crossing and I must say that DYT’s crew is very organised in terms of how they look after the riders. Riders receive three meals a day and in between that, they are free to enjoy the ship’s lounge, pool or gym or simply to watch TV and meet other crew. It’s very comfortable for our two men. The DYT crew are very kind and always help our team with everything they may need.”
Additionally, the ocean crossing with DYT represents a rare window of opportunity for Freedom’s two crew to carry out uninterrupted, routine maintenance on the yacht. Therefore, Captain Alex issues a list of maintenance tasks that the two crew members are expected to carry out, including washdowns, engineering tasks, and others.
The importance of relationship
Concluding, Captain Alex highlighted the importance of his relationship with DYT and how it positively affects his interaction with the company. “I’ve been dealing with Anna and her crew in Italy for over 10 years now and I know them all well, especially Bernadette. Both have been with DYT for a long time and they’re amazing people. Every time I call, they know everything I need to know. They have all of the information I need, they’re quick, and they’re precise. It’s such a pleasure working with them.”
Book your yacht transport today
DYT operates a regularly scheduled yacht transport service on board its two state-of-the-art, specially-designed yacht carriers, to all of the world’s most popular yachting destinations.
Contact DYT today for more information about their service, scheduling and rates.