When you want to sail your fancy yacht someplace far from home, but don’t feel like driving it yourself, you can put your boat on a bigger boat that’s basically a bus for boats. The scale of this logistical operation is insane.
The Dutch-registered Yacht Express is just over 680-feet long with a deadweight of 11,000 tons. As you can see in News 7’s video, the thing works by dunking its 55,182-square foot docking bay and allowing vessels of various size to float in.
The ships to be transported are then secured underwater by divers, after which point the docking area is drained, the Yacht Express is raised, and can carry a little drydocked flotilla wherever at its service speed of 18 knots.
The Yacht Express was built in 2007 and seems to have been shipping people’s boats for what have to be exorbitant rates since its maiden voyage in 2008.
DYT Yacht Transport which operates the massive boat-bus says the Yacht Express has two Wärtsilä diesel generator sets producing 8,700 kilowatts a piece, and power azimuth pulling thrusters–propulsion pods that can be turned to control the ship’s direction–that also have controllable-pitch propellers powered by two 5,100 kilowatt electric motors. A single 1,650-kilowatt bow thruster helps the ship maneuver. On top of that, the Yacht Express has two smaller Wärtsilä generators for auxiliary power and one Volvo generator for emergencies.
I guess always figured high-dollar private yachts were always sailed around by staff crews, but as the rich guy in News 7’s interview explains, that would take a very long time for some of these boats. (What a problem to have!) Whereas the Yacht Express can cross the Atlantic in 10 days.
This self-propelled floating dock is undoubtedly technologically impressive, but something about all these fancy boats riding on a bus like a bunch of proles seems funny to me. But they probably don’t care. They’re just boats.
You can track the Yacht Express on MarineTraffic. Looks like it’s headed from New Zealand to Hong Kong right now.