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PAE regrets to inform that shipping on the first 55 has once again been delayed. Originally slated to depart for the U.S. on February 3, we learned this week that a problem developed in getting the 5501 loaded on the ship "Fenix" which sailed earlier than scheduled. The newest shipping glitch is badly timed as Asian nations prepare for the 2-week break that comes with Chinese New Year. No boats will be scheduled until after Chinese New Year ends on February 16. Project manager Dave Harlow is in China right now at the South Coast factory where the 55s are built and worked furiously to get the boat loaded on a freighter, but to no avail. "Obviously we are very frustrated by this," said Harlow. "I know there are a lot of buyers - and interested buyers - who really want to see this boat. It's disappointing."
This is the third shipping delay for the 55. Originally, the boat was scheduled to be on the high seas in late December in hopes of its arrival to Dana Point, California this week, but the project management team decided to hold it up in order to do more testing at the factory.
Just days before the 55 was supposed to be loaded on a container ship bound for San Diego, PAE Vice President Jim Leishman, Chief Designer Jeff Leishman and Project Manager Dave Harlow visited the South Coast yard to give a final inspection. Since this is the first hull of a brand new model, the team felt it was important to make sure the boat was thoroughly checked out. Taking advantage of South Coast's new test tank, 5501 was lowered in to assess the engines, air conditioners, gen set, water pumps, bow and stern thrusters, and windlass. All worked perfectly. The boat was then water-tested with a fire hose to check for drainage and leaks. Again it passed with flying colors. "This boat looked and performed better than we had planned," said Dave Harlow.
Earning the team's final approval, 5501 is prepared for transport, which now looks to be about three weeks away. It should arrive in California the end of March.