Marine Transport Company Helps Dream Come True
Caption: Don speaks with a local Ohio State Highway Patrol officer about his boat.
Caption: The boat is in position and it is now time for the trailer to back under it for loading.
Caption: After clearing the railroad track, the move is ready to continue.
Caption: A bird's eye view of the canal boat upon arrival at the marina in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Photos and story by Crussifisso Dracka
When Don Theobold, 71, of Tipp City, Ohio began building a dreamboat in his barn for he and his wife to retire and live on, he had little doubt this day would come. He envisioned taking only seven years to complete the 60 foot long, 16.5 foot wide European styled canal boat he designed from scratch. Instead, 15 years and nearly $500,000 later, cranes are finally setting up in his yard to lift his dream onto a trailer which will move it to Cincinnati on the shores of the Ohio River for completion.
Six months ago, Don telephoned Ian Fenberg, of Hurricane Marine Transport, Inc in Findlay, Ohio, to put a plan in place to transport his dream. Hurricane Marine Transport, Inc. is a leader in providing cost effective, safe, and on-time transportation to the boating and yachting industry across the country. Now, in the heat of summer, Fenberg is here with his 4-man crew to put those plans into action. Very soon, the boat will go from being 100 miles away from the water to just 100 yards. There, Don has another 2 months of work, installing the pilot house, propellers and shafts, refrigerator, electronics, and lots of fit and finish pieces to get her sea worthy and ready for her first “shake down” cruise. You would think the retired engineer would not have a schedule to keep now, but you’d be mistaken. Don sold his home 2 months ago and he and his wife plan to head south down the Ohio River, into the Tombigbee Waterway and the Cumberland River, and on to Florida where they will “winter” near Coral Springs.
For a move like this, Hurricane Marine Transport has brought their big Western Star, which they affectionately call the “Flagship.” The truck will team up with a very specialized 3-axle Waltron boat hauling trailer, which stretches or “trombones” from a standard 53’ length to 63’ feet for a project such as this. The big trailer is numbered BB-63, painted battleship grey, and is known as the “Mighty Mo” to honor the USS Missouri and all veterans who served our nation. The trailer has a capacity of 75,000 pounds, but on this day, it will only require a part of that capacity because the canal boat weighs a mere 47,000 pounds. Fenberg says it’s the only trailer of its kind in the state of Ohio.
At 10:30 AM, the cranes are ready and the lifting begins. The boat eases off her blocks and begins to hover 4 feet in the air as a crowd of Don’s family, neighbors, and astonished passerbys look on. Several Dayton news stations are also here filming for the 6 o’clock news. With the boat lifted and at the direction of his crew, Fenberg backs the trailer under the boat, and checks that it is exactly where he wants it. When he is satisfied, the cranes lower the boat onto 5 steel I-beams which are chained to the big trailer to support it for the trip. By 1:00 PM, the boat is securely on the trailer, wide load signs are in place and it is ready to move. However, Don will have to wait one more day, as curfews for wide loads in Miami, Butler, and Hamilton counties restrict movement to certain hours of the day. Instead, Team Hurricane, along with an additional escort from the local post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, will move out the next morning.
On schedule at 9 AM in the morning, the convoy of three escorts and the semi move out. After getting help to cross a railroad track just down the road from Don’s house, the team heads around Dayton, and down I-75 to Cincinnati. At 1:30 PM, the boat arrives in Cincinnati to be unloaded at a boat yard where Don will complete his work and launch his dream. The beaming Captain hugged his wife and exclaimed, “I couldn’t be happier with the job Ian and his crew did, I mean the whole thing went just perfect.” “I was very worried to find a competent company to move the boat, and I was shocked to find one just up the road.” “I was originally going to go with a rigging company to move it, but about five minutes after meeting and talking with Ian, I knew his company was the one I was going to use.”
Fenberg was pleased with the job as well, and said it is experience that separates his company from others. “Believe it or not, this is not the first time we have transported a boat that a man has built from scratch in his yard,” he said. “Last year, we moved a 55 foot steel hulled boat from Akron to the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, so we have a lot of experience.” He laughed as he added, “my company has become the ‘transporter of dreams’ and it’s a title we are very proud of.”