The 2024 J/105 North American Championship will be held in Cleveland, Ohio in September. Several Fleet 5 owners have expressed interest in competing. While it is possible to sail the boat from Chicago to Cleveland, most of us will probably want to ship our boats from Chicago to Cleveland (and back) over land. I estimate this will cost about $7050 round trip.

Where to Start

The fleet discussed starting this journey at either Chicago or St. Joe, Michigan.  Initially, we thought the shorter overland route from St Joe would result in meaningful cost savings. After some research, we’ve come to the conclusion that it will be both logistically easier and cheaper to ship from Chicago. Other things being equal, shipping from St Joe would save less than 3% of the total, but Crowley’s has offered a package deal for getting boats out of the water and onto trailers that will likely result in a lower overall cost.

Work at the Starting Yard

At the starting yard, we’ll need to:

  • Haul out of the water
  • Destep the mast
  • Load the boat onto the trailer

 Crowley’s has kindly provided a package deal for the fleet: $800. See their flyer here.

Transportation to Cleveland

I shipped Bella from Shelter Island, New York to Chicago last autumn. Based on that transport and conversations with other fleet members who have shipped their boats recently, we estimate the transport costs to Cleveland broken down as follows:

  • ~$4/mile loaded (~$1400) 
  • ~$130/hour for prep work at onload/offload (~$250)
  • Permit fees and tolls along the route (~$375)
  • Fuel costs for the trip back to Chicago (unloaded) (~$150)

(This assumes we are sharing trailers and that every time a boat gets back to Chicago, after it is unloaded the trailer gets taken back to Cleveland to get another boat.)

The total is $2175.

Work at the Cleveland Yard

Sailing Inc was suggested as the yard to work with in Cleveland. I called the yard, and they have a deal for the North Americans — $1000 a boat for the regatta. This deal is similar to the Crowley’s deal, but in “both directions”.  It covers hauling the boat off the trailer, stepping the mast, and putting the boat in the water when we arrive in Cleveland.  After the regatta,  it covers haul out, destepping the mast, and putting the boat back on a trailer.

Transportation Back to Chicago

We still have to get the boats back to Chicago.  I estimate those costs to be substantially the same as the trip to Cleveland — $2175.  Remember, I’m assuming we are sharing trailers, so every time a boat comes back to Chicago the driver and trailer have to go back to Cleveland.  It’s true that we don’t need to do this the very last time, so there might be some small savings there.

Work Back in Chicago

I’m assuming most (if not all) of us would be shipping our boats directly into winter storage. Pretty convenient. No additional costs expected. In fact, the deal with the yard in Cleveland might cheapen your typical costs of winter storage prep!

Trailer and Other Contingencies

Ideally, we’d pool a minimum of two trailers for this: having two allows the driver to haul independently of the yard. There are a few trailers in Chicago, so we’ll have to coordinate with (beg) the owners.  We should offer a rental fee of some sort, as acquiring and storing a trailer isn’t without cost or inconvenience.  I put $500 in for this estimate.

We may also want to budget $1000 per trailer for tires ($800) and bearings, grease, lights, etc.  If we assume five boats make the trip, that is $400 / boat. 

Load at Crowleys
Transport to Cleveland
Unload/Load at Sailing Inc Cleveland
Transport to Chicago
Trailer Costs

Other Regatta Costs

The above only details the boat transport costs.  Don’t forget you’ll also have to pay for entry fees, slip fees, lodging, food, personal travel, etc.