AlphaZ 33 - Sarasota to the Riva Garage, Monaco

Dream Boat

The Alpha Z 33 was the brainchild of Jeff Jones and his wife Carolyn, both successful property developers, then living near Lake Tahoe, USA. Their previous design, the Alpha Z 23, commonly known as the 'White Boat', had received international acclaim. However, priced at $60,000 back in 1992, she had proved too expensive even for the then embryonic superyacht industry. The fact that with a 75mph top speed they were probably beyond most owners capabilities may have restricted the appeal.

Undaunted, Jeff set out in 1996 to develop a larger and even more beautiful successor, the Alpha Z 33. This craft, to be built in wood by Van Dam Yachts was to consume their lives for the next two years. When you first see the boat you can't help but be blown away, not just by its sheer beauty and form, but by the exquisite attention to detail. Every component is custom designed and you're left convinced that every panel, surface and angle has been subjected to months of study and experimentation. And when they were told it couldn't be done they just found a way. For example, the seats are moulded from single hides. No stiches. This had never been achieved before and took six months to perfect. As you can tell, I fell in love with this beauty....

The project started in 2005 when having placed the craft on the market (in 2003) Jeff wanted to prepare her for resale in Europe. Initial assessments were performed and as the builder, Jeff was able to effectively self-certify for RCD compliance under Module A. This is how it was left, until mid 2009 when the call came through that an English buyer had been found, who wanted the craft shipped to Monaco.

Visiting her in Sarasota was like coming home. Looked after by the excellent Innovation Marine Inc. in Sarasota (next to the Chris Craft factory) she was 'as new'. We completed the CE work fitting the additional components required for Europe such as the manual bilge pump, non-return valves and a custom made boarding ladder, designed to fit into the rail abaft the drive bustle. We also had the fuel filler cap engraved with 'Petrol' just to complete the job. With the CE plate installed, appropriate documentation to hand, a buff, wax and shrink wrap applied, she was ready for transportation.

Gablemarine had arranged the shipping with Wallenius Wihelmsen (WWL) from Brunswick to Southampton direct. We had also arranged the sea insurance through our insurance partner Velos Insurance Services.

Jeff, hooked up the mighty trailer onto his even mightier truck (8 mpg!) and we were off, with me following in my hire car.

Arriving at Brunswick that evening we parked and securely boxed the trailer in, before checking out the port and getting some dinner. Next morning we were soon at the port and having bought our escort (we needed someone with the mandatory TWIC card) we were in and unhitched. Jeff, bade farewell, slipped a $20 note to the docker to keep an eye out and with some sadness let his craft go.

Approximately two weeks later the ship docked in Southampton and the Alpha Z was unloaded. We were there on site to check her over before our haulier partner, Boat-loads, arrived with their truck and low loader trailer. Being a US trailer (and thus not road legal in Europe) we had decided to carry both boat and trailer to Monaco, just to be safe. She was now on her way to Monaco, heading initially for Dover and then the long drive through France to Monaco.

Two days later she was there, lifted and in her new home, the RIVA Garage set into the cliffs of Monaco.

VAT was paid in the UK as first port of call in Europe, This was initially challenged by the Monaco Authorities, but some timely and professional help from Monaco based Arrow Yacht Services confirmed our position and allowed the registration to proceed without further complication.

All in all a memorable craft and a successful import, managed exclusively for Jeff Jones by Gablemarine.

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