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Old 22-06-2014, 23:44   #1
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Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for Opportunistic Cruising

What it says on the title. I'm based in Canada (BC) and wonder if that would be a good alternative to chartering. The boat would be smaller and cheaper compared to your modern charter boat, but we wouldn't throw the money in the bin at every visit, and we wouldn't have to try find people to join us to fill up the charter. We could stay for a few weeks at a time without breaking the bank, as we have flexible work schedule. We could explore further to the charter port and without having to return back, potentially leaving the boat in a different port.

Anybody doing something like that? Pros and cons? Where do you keep your boat, how much does it cost you (for what boat)? Many options for storage in the area or not so much? Do you insure local or at home? Easy to resell in the area when ready to move on to new cruising grounds?

Thanks!
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Old 23-06-2014, 01:37   #2
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

I think it could be a great idea for some.

Charter boats are very expensive and owning your own can make it much more fun.

people buy time share all ove rthe Caribbean... doing what you are sugesting is kinda the same.. you have a boat there when you want it, and you have small but affordable maintenance fees to keep it afloat.


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Old 23-06-2014, 06:25   #3
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

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Originally Posted by welljim View Post
...we wouldn't throw the money in the bin at every visit...
No. Instead you would have to throw money in the bin whether you visit or not, for upkeep, insurance, moorings, dockage, and so forth. Or are you thinking that you'll just anchor it in some remote spot and leave it unattended for months at a time? Crime isn't particularly bad in the islands, but I sure wouldn't want to leave my boat like that. At the very least, you had better be awfully darned careful to make sure that all of the seacocks are closed when you leave!

In reality, this is a pretty straightforward financial calculation. How often--and you have to be brutally realistic with yourself--will you go down to use it? How much will it cost to maintain the boat? Compare that to the cost of chartering. My guess is that, if you really are honest with yourself, you'll see that chartering is less expensive.

Another consideration is, how many times are your going to go down and spend your entire "vacation" attending to maintenance items on the boat? Trust me, that WILL happen from time to time. If that sort of work is something that you truly enjoy, great. Then it really will be a vacation. But if that's the sort of thing that you view as a necessary evil, then it's a whole different ball-game.

In the end, of course, it's your decision. I considered the same thing a while back and, for the reasons above, decided against it. Of course, your mileage may vary. Good luck to you, whatever you decide.
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Old 23-06-2014, 07:13   #4
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

I think a plan would need to include $800 to $1000 per month for boat dockage for when you are not there, If you are only going for 2 weeks at a time, then you would probably keep dock space somewhere for the full year, so $9600 to $12,000 per year. Add on your boat cost, insurance and ongoing maintenance and see if it works. The more time you are able to spend using the boat, the better this option becomes.
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Old 23-06-2014, 09:26   #5
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

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No. Instead you would have to throw money in the bin whether you visit or not, for upkeep, insurance, moorings, dockage, and so forth...
This, and more, is why you should not.
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Old 23-06-2014, 11:58   #6
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

Would it be cheaper to keep the boat on the hard instead? Realistically we'd probably spend 2-4 months per year in one go, then back home to get on with life.
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:16   #7
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

The marina on Virgin Gorda had a plan where you paid a specified amount per year for storage in their yard. You could then contact them when you were planning to come down and they would have the boat in the water in a slip waiting for you. When you finished your cruising, they would haul the boat and put it back in the yard. This deal was good for a certain number of round-trips per year. A friend of mine had this arrangement for his boat.

The marina/boatyard now has a new owner, so I don't know if they still offer such a plan, but it would be worth checking.
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:34   #8
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

I hope you are not talking about this: A state-of-the-art Caribbean Superyacht Marina - YCCS Marina Virgin Gorda Looks veeery pricy

There should be more, I'll look into it - thanks.
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:35   #9
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

There is another thread where this is discussed as well, which leaned towards a negative conclusion.

Chartering seems expensive, until you consider the cost of ownership, storage, insurance, maintenance, hassle factor, etc.
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:47   #10
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

I like the idea, but maybe it doesn't pencil out.
Cost of boat + yearly maintenance in southern waters + insurance (?) + Moorage/storage + theft risk + the time to make it useable after sitting for lengthy time. I could see spending a week to get it ready each time.
I don't know the actual costs but lets say:
Boat: $30k
Ins: $500/yr
Bottom job and minimal maint: $1000/yr
Moorage/storage: $3600/yr?
Rough amortized cost per year over 5 years: $11000/yr.
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Old 23-06-2014, 13:02   #11
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

I also like the idea, however I am interested in Nov. to March which would probably be the same time as anyone else in Canada.
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Old 23-06-2014, 13:15   #12
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

Not a good idea at all. Even if you have someone looking after the boat you will spend your week, two weeks, whatever,working to get the boat in sailing condition rather than pleasantly sailing around the islands. Nothing worse than a boat that's not used. And of course there's the cost and worry of being an absentee owner.
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Old 23-06-2014, 16:02   #13
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

You might be better off buying a boat and putting it into charter. That way some one else manages it while you aren't there and as long as you don't use it during the peak season, the charter income could offset your other costs. Just no guarantees there as I don't think any guaranteed program would give you the usage you want - although it never hurts to see if that is negotiable - low season it might not be a big deal. I know our boat is rarely used in the low season.

Owning it yourself is doable too, but there will be a lot more to manage, especially if you were to leave it at different ports. But we have friends that have a boat in the BVI and it works out well for them coming down a month at a time a few times a year. There are some places where you can keep a boat without breaking the bank, but it still ain't cheap.
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Old 23-06-2014, 16:29   #14
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

How will the boat be flagged? Different countries have different laws concerning how long the cruising permit is valid for. If you overstay you could be subject to duties and penalties.
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Old 23-06-2014, 17:11   #15
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Re: Buy small boat n keep it in the Bahamas/Caribbean for opportunistic cruising

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Rough amortized cost per year over 5 years: $11000/yr.
How about recovered capital after having enough of the subject cruising grounds and ready to sell the boat? A $30K boat has depreciated enough already to be sold at like or better price, if upgraded somewhat. Figures should look much favorable then.

I mean, I'm talking go there for at least a month at a time. Chartering a smallish boat for a month just once, is $10K right there. There is currently a Morgan 33 in St Martin that can be bought for that money, hehe

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How will the boat be flagged? Different countries have different laws concerning how long the cruising permit is valid for. If you overstay you could be subject to duties and penalties.
Haven't thought about that, I was thinking to just grab one of the local boats that have been around the area for a while (years?). How are their owners keeping them there? I bet they are not locals either.
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