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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  • 9 Post By Grant Johnson
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  #1  
Old 13 Jun 2023
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Exclamation Stahlratte REPLACEMENT in progress for September - with luck

I've received an update from Captain Ludwig Hoffmann, formerly of the Stahlratte: (very slightly edited)
"good day Grant!

After a long time searching finally i found a good ship same size like Stahlratte our old schooner was. it is a much more modern ship and the owner will now do a refit in a shipyard in Cartagena/Colombia and prepare special rack construction to carry motorcycles between Panama and Colombia exactly the same route we did with Stahlratte. The ship will be able to carry up to 15 motorcycles at the time and more passengers and if all goes well upgrade for up to 20 motorcycles by next year.

The ship is in excellent conditions as it did luxury charters before but now can't survive as they do not find enough clients for these luxury tours. So Hank the owner told me he would like to start a serious business with carrying bikers between Panama and Colombia and also between Mexico and Cuba every year...as we did with Stahlratte.

I am now doing my best to organize what ever i can to make this happen and bikers community on the road on the Panamerican highway can have a similar experience and a highlight of their tour doing the Darien gap on a sailing ship big enough and safe to get to South America and vice-versa. I will attach some pictures of the ship so you can see whats this about.

We will start our first tour by beginning of September this year if all goes well. We are now talking to authorities and agents to get all the permits so all will hopefully run smoothly and legal."



NOTE WELL - this is all IN PROGRESS, and NOTHING is locked in yet with the authorities. Ludwig is well known in the area, has done it all before, so it may go smoothly - or it may not.

But we are hopeful! Stay tuned and subscribe to this thread to keep informed.

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Old 13 Jun 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson View Post
.

The ship is in excellent conditions as it did luxury charters before but now can't survive as they do not find enough clients for these luxury tours. So Hank the owner told me he would like to start a serious business with carrying bikers between Panama and Colombia and also between Mexico and Cuba every year...as we did with Stahlratte.


Something tells me that the prices are going up. Maybe it is the words "luxury charters"? Hmm..
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Old 13 Jun 2023
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The photos do look just a hair more luxurious than the Stahlratte, don't they? I was most struck by the VERY attractive table setting, but I have to wonder: is this dinner, or perhaps lunch? Or (heaven forbid) breakfast?

I have a lot of respect for Ludwig's abilities when it comes to making the impossible happen. I hope he's also feeling somewhat chastened by the last attempt at Stahlratte II.
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Old 14 Jun 2023
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Great news! Keep our fingers crossed this will work out a good way….
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Old 14 Jun 2023
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Like to be one of your first guests

Hi. I´ll have to cross the Darian gap around mid of October. If you're gonna make it until then, please contact me- I would love to be one of your first guests!
regards from Bavaria, Jörg
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Old 14 Jun 2023
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Booking

Please let me know the first sailing date (South in September) as I'd like to book a spot.
Many thanks,
Simon
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Old 14 Jun 2023
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This is great news! The return of the detour to Cuba would be an amazing opportunity!
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Old 14 Jun 2023
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Great news! The last bike crossing mentioned at HUBB by smaller Boats did read more like a nightmare than an relaxed trip!

Thanks for keeping us updatet!

Surfy
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Old 14 Jun 2023
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Great News!

Hopefully all will go as planned. great news!
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Old 14 Jun 2023
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Subscribe!

Everyone, be sure to subscribe to this thread to keep updated!


"Thread Tools" at the top of the first post, and "subscribe." Then there are several options for how often you want updates.
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Old 6 Jul 2023
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Just in, and as has been the path of many such ideas...
good day Grant!

i just received the following message from hank who was the one wanting to start the motorcycle transports between Panama and Colombia. now it comes out, that he is not the owner and as you can read in his message: all is cancelled by now!!!

i was too fast in asking to spread the word as i was so sure that this will be going well and i have moved the hell in the last weeks and woke up all my old contacts in customs, imigratin offices, agents in panama and Colombia and insurance company to get motorcycle insurances for our guests etc.....and now this

to be honest i am a bit destroyed now after all this work.....hope i can manage to find another reliable ship with an owner who is able to make reliable decisions.

i do apologize very much that you have also put this in your blogs to anounce that there will be a new reliable transport very soon and you have surely trusted in my word that this would be happening as i told you before. so now i hope your reputation will not suffer at all because of this!

sorry and thank you for your time!
ludwig hoffmann

here the post sended from hank to me today:

Hello Ludwig,

Unfortunately I have some disappointing news. I’ve broken my lease with the owner of this schooner and have decided to move on. Frustrating after all the efforts and monies but there are issues that needed addressed.

I had a refit program lined up here to deal getting this vessel operational for offshore passages reliably. First, it needed to be hauled after 5+ years and an inherent problem with bad propeller vibration fixed. Also, it needed lots of new running rigging and deck hardware. Much of which was pilfered. At best the boat is only coastal now but with the $75-100 thousand projected budget it could have been completed. Sadly the owner that said he had it was moving to slow to for my style.

Like you, I’m heading for terra firma in the cool Andes for a while to recuperate from this last 9 month non stop schooner program. Perhaps something will change now that I’m leaving but I doubt it. This boat has a checked past and an uninvolved owner that doesn’t understand much.

I still like the charter program idea. Let’s look for another yacht that’s ready. Hope we stay in touch.

Cheers, Hank
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  #12  
Old 9 Jul 2023
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Options?

Such a shame to read the latest update as I was rather looking forward to being onboard in September.
Does anyone however have any other knowledge or recent connections that might offer a similar service?
I've no knowledge on the possibility of shipping containers etc but if there were enough people interested (with similar timings) might it be worth considering pulling together? (Is it ok to remain on this subject thread?)
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Old 11 Jul 2023
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short note,
I just got an offer from Overland Embassy for both,
shared container an airfright, Panama to Colombia.
no sailboat though, sorry.
You may ask wild card sailing, but they didn’t respond to me yet.
Arnulf
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  #14  
Old 15 Jul 2023
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from the grapevine and rumor mill, my so called Buschfunk:

There are new Options for the darian gap available, too for small/midsize 4x4 by airfright. I did just got the price per bike, the request for a van I did ask too.

https://www.4x4tripping.com/2023/07/...rundschau.html

Too the carnet document options seems to grow, but that is not a point of interest for south america.

For now the article is just available in german language.

Surfy

Last edited by Surfy; 15 Jul 2023 at 17:56.
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