Overnight Sensation

Overnight Sensation

Talk about express delivery—Sea Ray flies a 600 Sun Sport from Orlando to Mallorca.

By Capt. Bill Pike — December 2004

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• Part 1: Sea Ray Delivery
• Part 2: Sea Ray Delivery
• Part 3: Sea Ray Delivery
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Service tech Mark Litschauer drove into the parking lot behind Signature Flight Support at Florida’s Orlando International Airport feeling nervous. His boss at Sea Ray’s Sykes Creek facility in Merritt Island had called an hour before, just about the time the police motorcycle escort joined the cavalcade on Orlando’s outskirts. The boss had apologized, but he’d been firm; he was staying with his wife at the hospital until the baby was born. Young Litschauer would have to handle things by himself.

We’re talkin’ a very tall order! As the pickup truck Litschauer and I were riding in passed through a security checkpoint onto the tarmac behind the Signature building, three big, shiny 18-wheelers pulled right in behind us—one carrying the lion’s share of a new, shrink-wrapped Sea Ray 600 Sun Sport on a cradle, the second carrying the 600’s hardtop, and the third carrying an assortment of paraphernalia related to overnighting the boat to Mallorca, Spain.

Yup, believe it or not, the Sun Sport’s owner expected to take possession in Europe within hours of the yacht’s departure from Orlando and zoom off on a Mediterranean vacation. Moreover, Sea Ray had been entrusted with more or less organizing and coordinating the whole deal, a not-insignificant task, even for one of the largest boatbuilders in the world with contacts galore overseas.

Who was this owner? While the individual’s name and other pertinent info were being withheld in the interest of privacy, there was one thing for sure: He or she simply had to be a tad flamboyant. Think about it: How many folks do you know who’ve had their very own 48,000-pound boat shipped across the Atlantic next-day air?

“Check it out,” Litschauer said as we pulled into the shade of one of the largest commercial cargo aircraft in the world, a Russian-built Antonov An-124-100. We got out of the truck and stood there examining the craft as the 18-wheelers strategically positioned themselves nearby and the sirens of the police motorcycles faded into the distance. Its four engines were immense; each one seemed as big as a suburban tract house. The cargo bay, with loading points forward and aft for roll-on, roll-off service, was also immense; the place seemed as big as a football field. And finally, the nose assembly was enormous, too; in the upward-swung mode, its windshield panels towered two stories above us.

Next page > Part 2: On call at all hours, they performed their jobs for months on end as the huge airplane hurtled the globe. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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