Transportation of Our Sealine 290 Ambassador

After purchasing our 1991 Sealine 290 Ambassador, Bandit, we were left with the problem of getting her from Chichester Marina, back to our home marina in Cambridgeshire.

After lots of researching, we decided to get her transported by road on a low-loader lorry with a huge hydraulic crane. We did ponder the idea of driving the boat by water from Chichester Harbour to The Wash at Kings Lyn, down through Denver and eventually to Cambridge but for us and our very little knowledge of sea boating, it wasn't really an option. The boat was completely kit out for us to do so, however. Garmin GPS chart plotters, DSC VHF communication and not to mention the beefy 410hp petrol engines. She was in every way able to do so but we decided to take the 'easy route' instead of the adventurous, but potentially dangerous, route.

The day before the transporter was due to take our new Sealine back to Cambridge, we decided to drive back to Chichester and spend the night aboard. This way, we knew we would have time to do all of the necessary tasks to prepare Bandit for her new home before the transporter arrived. So, alarms woke us up at 6:00 on transportation day. The overall feelings were tired and excitement.

Job 1:
Job one actually takes us back a week before transport day; we drove down about one week before Bandit was due to be moved to Cambridge to do one job that we were not looking forward to. Every Sealine 290 Ambassador was factory fitted with a separate GRP moulded 'wing' mounted to the top of the radar arch where the VHF aerial, Garmin GPS antenna, TV/Radio aerial and horns were mounted high above the boat. Now, before purchasing Bandit, we knew that in order for her to navigate the River Great Ouse, this GRP 'wing' would have to be removed in order for her to fit under bridges on the river. In my opinion, I felt like this GRP 'wing' looked brilliantly sporty and I was sad to see it go. Not only was it sad to get rid of it, but it was extremely hard to remove it from the radar arch. It took me and Dad 2 entire hours just to get this damn thing separated from the arch. This 'wing' currently sits in our garden where we plan to clean it up and keep it for the boat if we ever wanted to fit it to the radar arch again.
GRP 'wing' removed from main radar arch

Job 2:
Job two was dealt with at 6:00 on transportation day, after watching the incredible sunrise for a good 20 minutes. We had an early start to ensure we were ready for when the lorry was booked to arrive at 10:00. Job two was to remove the front and rear canopy and carefully fold and store it down in the cabin. We also made sure that everything we had aboard the boat was secure so nothing decided to fall over or give way as she was bombing down the motorway at 50mph. After everything was carefully placed and secured, we had to prepare the ropes and fenders so the staff at the marina could tow her round to the crane and haul her out the water for her hull to be jet washed.
Chichester Marina staff towing Bandit round to the crane + beautiful 7:00 sunrise

Job 3:
After Bandit was hauled out the water and had all the salt water algae and clams blasted off her underside, we then had the issue of removing the four propellers; two from each outdrive, in order to replace the salt water zinc anodes for magnesium anodes as the River Great Ouse is all fresh water. Our previous Fairline Mirage had twin drives, but only single propellers so this duo-prop setup was very new to us. After one hour of whacking the propeller bolts and cones with a large hammer, we finally got the propellers free from the drives. Anodes were quickly replaced and then it was time for the propellers to be fitted back onto the outdrives, ensuring they were fitted correctly. Weirdly, everything went very smoothly, apart from the overtightened propeller cones, which is quite rare in our case. Happy days! Bandit and us now await the transporters arrival...
Bandit getting a jet wash

Job 4:
After the transporter had arrived, we were told it would take a good hour and a half for Bandit to be loaded and secured to the lorry. We can't argue with this, however, as this securing time ensures our new boat doesn't find herself laying on her side in the middle of the motorway on her way back to Cambridge. Time passes and we're finally told that the driver is ready to make off to Cambridge. Job four was our final job of the day - fitting the GoPro camera to the radar arch to record her three-hour journey back to Cambridge in a time-lapse.
On the low loader at Chichester Marina

For about half an hour, we did plan to follow Bandit back to Cambridge on the lorry but we soon realised that there wasn't much to see and that we would just let the driver get on with it. We overtook the lorry and made our way back to the marina.
The exit road from Chichester Marina

About three hours later, we took a walk around the marina and seemed to have timed it perfectly. As we walked passed the big entrance gate to the marina, the sound of the lorry's air breaks notified us that Bandit was arriving. It was incredible to finally see our new Sealine 290 Ambassador on the low loader lorry arriving at her new home in Cambridge. The transport company we used are closely in partnership with our marina so they were expecting Bandit. The driver took a well-earned coffee break and then got to moving a 4-tonne Bandit from the lorry into the marina alongside the gas dock using the huge hydraulic crane. It took in total about 20 minutes to carefully crane her into the water.
Craning Bandit into her new home
We thanked the driver for his work and then moved her back round to our mooring on the other side of the marina. All in all, an extremely long but exciting day.

The time-lapse video of Bandit's transportation via Bandit's YouTube channel:


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