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Old 25-03-2009, 05:05   #1
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Buying in the Caribbean?

Hi we are a couple of Norwegians planning a sailing trip in the Caribbean from January (2010) to March. Our plan was essentially to buy a used sailboat in the Caribbean, our budget range form 18 000 to 30 000 US dollars. We are looking for a cheap sailboat. Do anyone have any tips about buying/selling in the Caribbean. All tips are highly appreciated.
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Old 25-03-2009, 05:25   #2
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The prices in the Caribbean are quite good and you have a good selection of boats from the USVI and BVI down to Grenada. Try using www.yachtworld.com to see what is available.
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Old 25-03-2009, 05:27   #3
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Why would you go through the hassle of buying (and then, I assume, selling) a boat for a three month cruise?

Why not charter/rent?

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Old 25-03-2009, 05:34   #4
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We are not selling the boat in march, but are heading over to Europe with it.
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Old 25-03-2009, 06:41   #5
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I have met quite a few (well, 4) families on boats in the NE Caribbean in the past couple of months that are sailing for a year or so and then selling their boats upon their return to the "real world" after cruising; this would be a good market to tap into when buying a boat, particularly as the 10% brokerage fees could be circumvented. Unfortunately, the boats in question are all 35 foot and longer and priced significantly higher than your budget {the best one is my old boat, which is being cruised by a family and will then be sold in June}.

Do you have a particular make/model/size/weight/type in mind?
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Old 25-03-2009, 07:17   #6
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One of the problems with buying a boat to use for three months then sail back is that not all boats are really ready to go even when in good shape at triple the price range. Things always need to be fixed or repaired as well as safety gear upgraded or added. Getting a boat really ready for extended passages takes time. You could easily use up a great deal of time and extra money securing parts and spares to make ready for the passage back. Since you are a stranger in another country and you know no one you are not at the same advantage as you would be in your home port where you know people well and can get a lot of good advice and friends to help out. This also adds a lot of time to your process.

There are also the formalities and paper work required to purchase and title the boat on top of the search process. Depending on the Island you purchase it from you will have greater or lessor amounts of paperwork to handle. All this takes time even if it all goes smoothly.

The cheapest sail boats are probably not up for the trip back to Norway. I think the suggestion of looking through Yachtworld will at least help you set you expectations on what you can afford and then you need to factor into it the issues required to have a safe passage back to Norway. A boat suited to the Caribbean also needs to be suited to your home port too.. There are a lot more cheap boats that could island hop for 3 months yet not be up for the trip back. A plane ticket could be the cheaper solution to that problem. The refitting for a trans Atlantic passage is not cheaper than a set of plane tickets.
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Old 25-03-2009, 07:47   #7
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My in-laws sold their boat to a family from Finland. They enjoyed the Caribbean for a year then sailed the boat home. Try to find a private seller who has taken good care of the boat and has all the cruising gear in place. Solar, Wind, Canvas, Ground Tackle...... It can be a good deal since the Euro is still strong and there are many US sellers that are motivated.

Good luck.
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Old 25-03-2009, 09:52   #8
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In the last 15 months I bought a boat in the Caribbean as did 2 personal friends who bought out of the Moorings fleet in Tortola. Boats out of the Moorings fleet are certainly not ready to cross without significant equipment upgrades. Documentation was not a problem for any of us.

Buying is easy but finding a boat for less than $30,000 that is ready to sail the Atlantic might prove difficult. It might be easier to find one in the US where there is a very large selection of good, well equiped, older boats at reasonable prices. Yachtworld is the place to start but even then it will be hard to find a boat suitable for North Sea and Atlantic sailing at your price point.

Good luck Phil
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Old 25-03-2009, 10:31   #9
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I would agree that most boats you would purchase in the Caribbean are not fully equipped to sail the Atlantic... they just don't have the necessary "stuff" for a low risk trip.

That is Not to say they are not physically capable of making the trip but you will need to make a detailed equipment survey and boat survey. I've never seen a Caribbean Charter boat with a life boat, very few have much more than a VHF radio and an AM/FM radio for music, very few have Radar or even Radar reflectors, self steering capabilities with out high power usage nor the built in tankage for both fuel and water you would need.

All can be overcome with the right boat and another $30,000 or more for the equipment.... and probably an additional $30k for the boat. Think you will have a hard time finding a candidate under $60,000 to start your upgrades on but some do exist but they are individual finds not brokered boats in most circumstances.
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Old 25-03-2009, 10:47   #10
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Thanks for good and fast replies. The size is the range between 30 and 36 feet.
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Old 25-03-2009, 13:16   #11
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A 30+ footer for under $30k? You may have to rent some scuba gear to find your boat
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Old 25-03-2009, 14:04   #12
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Don't forget that Norway being in the EAA may subscribes to the EU RCD requirements, and that could limit your choise to boats that meet this..
I hope that I am wrong, but check it out!
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Old 25-03-2009, 14:26   #13
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I own a boat in charter in the Caribbean and I do think prices there can be good between the boats coming out of charter and people giving up their circumnavigation dream about then. I've thought of sailing mine back to the states when done, and as I think of it I don't think there is much I'd need to add or upgrade. Jacklines,an SSB receiver, drouge and 406 Epirb are easy to bring. The boat has a liferaft, harnesses, reliable autopilot, etc. I'm sure many coming out of charter would be similarly equipped, but I certainly wouldn't count on it and I agree you'd want to spend more time getting to know a boat you haven't been on before. I also agree with most others here, that while prices may be reasonable, most cruising boats in the Caribbean are above the 30K you mentioned and those below, most probably require work, which is always harder away from home. It may pay to take advantage of the weak dollar and shop in the U.S. instead. I'll second that yachtworld.com is a good starting place to get a feel for what's on the market as is boattrader.com
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Old 25-03-2009, 15:22   #14
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"In the last 15 months I bought a boat in the Caribbean as did 2 personal friends who bought out of the Moorings fleet in Tortola. Boats out of the Moorings fleet are certainly not ready to cross without significant equipment upgrades. Documentation was not a problem for any of us"
Well obviously I am not the only one that disagrees with a regular subscriber to this forum.
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Old 25-03-2009, 18:37   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rigamarole View Post
A 30+ footer for under $30k? You may have to rent some scuba gear to find your boat
Ok, I should have checked before posting this. There are 15 boats meeting your spec's on yachtworld right now. Of those, at least 5 looked fairly nice. Unless the photo's where taken 20 years previous you may be able to get a decient boat. Good Luck
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