I had sailed to Fiji twice before once on a Jennau 45ft and a Jennau 44ft. I also built “Sea Dove” 22 years ago with the idea of sailing her to Fiji, and there fore had built her with extra strength namely extra stringers and bulkheads. But when it came to the point there were many good reasons not to sail her there.
We had not used “Sea Dove” extensively apart for one cruise for several years, and therefore we were considering what options we had for her, sell her or use her elsewhere.
To sail her to Fiji meant getting Cat.1, ie. SSB, Life raft, EPERB, special safety harnesses, storm equipment etc., which I estimated at $10,000 to $12000 and although it could be said there may be a cheaper way with second hand equipment, I was not disposed to this. Also there was the cost of rigging, although satisfactory for coastal cruising, one would have to consider seriously when spending 10-14 days in potentially some of the worst water in the world.
So about last October I started making enquiries to ship “Sea Dove” to Fiji, after contacting 3 or 4 shipping lines, it did not look to hopeful with estimates varying from $10,000 to $15,000, but after speaking to a friend he suggested I contact Neptune Shipping, and duly got a quote for $6,000, now this was more like it.
About this time I also started making enquiries about Duty and Insurance and I contacted” Yacht Help” in Fiji who put me in touch with Williams & Gosling (shipping agents) and Aon (insurance). Yacht Help told me there would be 27% duty plus 12.5% vat (gst) and Aon sent me several emails requesting information. After several inquiries I was told that a N.Z. valuation would be acceptable to Fiji customs and proceeded to get one here.
With this in mind we decided to ship “Sea Dove” to Lautoka and booked her to sail on 2nd June 2003. I also asked Neptune if I could sail up on their vessel, but as they were getting a new vessel at about this time it was not possible, so booked seats to fly up, it was now mid Feb.
To fund the operation we decided to sell our marina berth in Gulf Harbour, but with leases changing in Westhaven and the likelihood of a better price, we did not put the marina berth on the market at this time.