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Old 29-08-2015, 11:47   #16
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

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Will,

I actually did almost the exact same thing. Bought my boat site unseen. If you search my name, you may find my thread about it but here is the skinny. I live in New Orleans and the boat was in St. Petersburg, FL. Not that far away, but my wife was due with our first baby in about 1 month so there was no way I was leaving with the baby due at anytime and I wasn't going without her and she couldn't fly 8.5 months pregnant. I used Murray Yacht Sales here to represent me as they have an office in St. Pete. They checked the boat out for me, found me a yard to haul it out and a surveyor. My agent was at the haul out and met with the surveyor and went with him on the sea trial, and was in constant email and phone contact with me the whole time. Constantly emailing and texting pictures. He also found me a Captain to sail the boat here, as by the time we signed papers and faxed them over the baby was due in about 1 week.

Murray Yacht Sales was great! They even helped me negotiate the price lower. The boat was a great deal, 2 years old and the guy barely sailed the thing. All in all a great experience. Now Its not going to be my home, and just for day sailing, but still a very good experience.

I look at it like this, I'm a professional and people come to me for my expertise. Many people try and treat themselves but ultimately they wind up in my office to have their problem treated (I'm a doctor). I'm not a yacht broker, I don't know enough about that to even begin to claim to be an expert on boats, so I rely on a professional as people do with me when they have foot pain (my specialty is Podiatry). The hard part is finding someone you can rely on and it sounds like you did that with your broker.

Everything is about relationships. He may have only made 1k off the deal, but he has a satisfied customer who is posting on the boards and a blog about the great experience. Word of mouth is the best advertising there is and that's worth way more than a $1,000 commision! Also, you're young, your budget is small, but who knows, it 10-15 years you may want a bigger or newer boat and you have a history with him so he may be thinking of the future as well. It's a win-win for everyone. I know I wouldn't hesitate using my broker again, whether to sell my boat or buy another.

Enjoy your boat and your sabbatical!

Rob
Hi Rob,
Thanks for sharing your experience. Good to hear that you did almost the exact same thing and had positive results. I understand your statements about trusting professionals. I know a bit about sailing and a bit about boats, but at the end of the day, I had an honest broker representing me and a good surveyor, so I didn't feel like there was a lot to be gained by us spending $3k+ to go down to Tortola for a weekend. We could have made an emotional assessment of the boat, but I don't think I would have had much to offer beyond that. There's nothing that I would have found that those guys didn't.

Your last comment about the benefit to our broker is spot on. He's clearly built his business model around the understanding that the industry is 100% word of mouth. Never for a second made me feel second tier to the big boys, so yes, I'll sing his praises and buy another boat with him in the future.
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Old 29-08-2015, 12:19   #17
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

And yet another one who has done almost exactly the same adventure you completed. And you did so well documenting. I have made 3 offers on different boats following almost the same research path with the same outcome in mind. The first one fell apart because the survey turned up things that were show stoppers. The second fell apart because the seller decided he just could not part with his baby.

Now number three is so far sight unseen. The offer has been made. The 10% deposit is in place. Biggest difference is I finally gave up on the blue water cruiser and am trying for an ex charter Beneteau. Yes, I really wanted an Island Packet or a Whitby, and almost came to terms with a Freedom, but in the end I know I will never sail around the world so the Bene will meet the requirements. I used a buyer broker here in the US but still ended up making an offer on a BVI boat. Waiting to hear if the offer is accepted, am using Goeff for the survey and will at that point fly down and see it. Funny thing is I did see it at the dock on my last charter but only because I liked the name. Didn't go aboard, just looked at it from afar.

If everything works out I will go back the day after Thanksgiving and sail it back to Florida I think. There are some things I will need to do to make it what I want, add davits, solar panels, and some new electronics. But even with all that it will still be under budget. My budget was 75K and I will end up below that by enough for my first year of cruising. Soon as I know if it works out I will PM you the boat name so should we see each other around down there we can say hello and tip back a cold one.
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Old 29-08-2015, 13:51   #18
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

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But you managed to get a cruising boat for barely any more than that! How much did you end up selling her for?
I advertised later that same summer for $5k, and there was a line of people waiting to buy it. I couldn't believe it! It sold in a day. Remember, it was the 90's, so a 70's boat was only 20 years old.

I was totally rewarded for the risk and work I had done. But the best part was the fun...I took all my friends out sailing. One of them enjoyed it so much, he was inspired to buy his own boat. I learned a lot about sailing, woodwork, and so much more on that boat.

To give you an idea how different things were...the pictures were taken with FILM! I think handheld GPS was a new thing at that time too...certainly it was before accurate GPS.
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Old 29-08-2015, 14:46   #19
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

I bought a boat, sight unseen. The boat was a Paceship 29, and it was a mess. The owner had a new boat arriving and his club was totally full...not a single slip available. So he had to vacate his slip to make space for his new boat. He was already asking a very low price, but everyone who came to see was off-put by the bent stanchions, and the ...well... mess. I mean this guy never tidied or cleaned up a thing.

I spoke with him on the phone. A few email to get a list of equipment and assurances (like the engine runs and the sails go up and down) in writing, and I was ready to make an offer.

I was a 3 hour drive from the boat. I wasn't going to drive 3 hours, see the boat, drive 3 hours home, get my gear, drive 3 hours back to the boat. The simplest way to do it was to buy it, sight unseen, expecting the worst. Then get the wife to drive me down with my gear, and I would sail it home (about 150 miles of great lake).

I phoned him and as politely as I could offered him $100.

He didn't even flinch...he agreed on the spot. That made me nervous.

The following weekend, I loaded up a rental mini-van with all my gear...gps, flares, foulies, food, water, handheld VHF, lifejackets, etc...a mountain of gear. We drove to the marina and made the deal. I spent most of that day cleaning. I removed a (tube) tv, full size microwave oven, boxes of junk and more junk. And I cleaned. I went through tons of paper towels, windex, vim, rags, etc. However, in just a few (exhausting) hours, the wife left for home, leaving me with the boat, and my two small kids!!!!

Yes, I brought my kids along.

The first night was awesome...fireworks for canada day. The next morning I started the engine and headed out. I soon found that the ancient autohelm 3000 was impossible to use. Oh-oh...hand steering. The atomic 4 ran, but even with no wind we were barely making 3 knots. After about 3 hours, the engine revved and we increased in speed by another knot. I think the fourth cyclinder had just kicked in.

I was aiming for Cobourg, but was happy enough to make it to Newcastle, about half way that first day. Thats also when I found out we had no fenders. I taught my kids how to hitchhike that day, so we could get some dinner in town...there was no stove on the boat.

The next day I was up at 5am for an early start. The engine would not start. And it was the sunday of a long weekend. While my kids slept, I tried every trick I knew to get the engine going. Finally, I got it going...what a relief, and by 9am we were headed off into the lake in heavy fog. We made it to Cobourg and had lots of time there to enjoy the canada day weekend festival. The next day, with more experience under my belt, it took less than an hour to get the engine going, and we happily motored into the bay of Quinte. Halfway through the murray canal, while going through a swing bridge, the engine coughed, sputtered, and died...but just as my heart was exploding, it sputtered back to life.

At Belleville, we stopped for more gas. After filling up, I could not turn the ignition key, it just would not move. I sent my daughter for WD40 and pliers while the gas dock people held my lines, urging me to get out of there since there was a lineup of circling boats waiting for fuel. Again, crisis averted, and I learned a new trick with the key.

That night, my kids invented a new game called "who has the worst boat at the marina". They would continue to play this game at every place we visited from then on...and almost always won.

The last night we spent at anchor at Prinyers Cove, a pretty spot, not far from home. We swam, cleaned, and ate every morsel of food we had left on the boat. In the morning, there was an inch of water in the main cabin. The automatic bilge pump had failed and we were sinking. Thank goodness for manual pumps. Also, shag carpet has no place on a boat, especially when you are very slowly sinking.

Long story short, we made it home safely. I spent a huge amount of time in hardware stores that summer, looking at fuel line hoses and fittings. I bought new batteries, new stove, fenders, lines, and disconnected anything/everything from the electrical system I couldn't identify. I ripped out the carpet below and replaced the automatic bilge pump. The local boat store loved me and my credit card.

But we had some great sailing in the thousand islands that year. And with only a few exceptions, the engine ran great all summer long. After a while, I even started shutting it off while sailing.
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Old 29-08-2015, 18:47   #20
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

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I bought a boat, sight unseen. The boat was a Paceship 29, and it was a mess. The owner had a new boat arriving and his club was totally full...not a single slip available. So he had to vacate his slip to make space for his new boat. He was already asking a very low price, but everyone who came to see was off-put by the bent stanchions, and the ...well... mess. I mean this guy never tidied or cleaned up a thing.
.........
Hah! Fantastic story! Shag carpet has no place anywhere, not just boats.

I love that your wife let you take off on a beat up, sinking old boat on a 150 mile voyage with your two kids. I hope that's that dynamic I've got once I have kids.
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Old 29-08-2015, 21:27   #21
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

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Hah! Fantastic story! Shag carpet has no place anywhere, not just boats.

I love that your wife let you take off on a beat up, sinking old boat on a 150 mile voyage with your two kids. I hope that's that dynamic I've got once I have kids.
I thought having kids would interfere with having sailing adventures. In fact, it just made it so much better.

Kids love real adventure.
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Old 29-08-2015, 21:43   #22
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

I haven't, but I also have never bought a boat I looked at more than once, or spent more than 30 minutes looking at.
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Old 30-08-2015, 03:57   #23
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

Love Chris and Karen Simpson from BVI Yacht Sales! He was our broker too. Maybe used same surveyor, Mike who is not cheap but he was really good and prevented us from making a big mistake.
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Old 30-08-2015, 19:32   #24
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

Really enjoyed reading through your Blog Wil,












I am planning a trip to the Med next year with the family and am currently at part 3 of your blog. As I am in Australia one of the big questions for me is, broker or not broker, seen or unseen. Good to hear about others experience.
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Old 31-08-2015, 12:18   #25
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

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Really enjoyed reading through your Blog Wil,


I am planning a trip to the Med next year with the family and am currently at part 3 of your blog. As I am in Australia one of the big questions for me is, broker or not broker, seen or unseen. Good to hear about others experience.
Hi,
Thanks for taking a look at the blog.

You'll quickly figure out my opinion if you end up reading parts 4 and 5, but just to reiterate, I could not imagine doing this without a broker. Even if you have the resources to fly back and forth from Oz to the Med a couple of times, you don't want to waste your time, so having someone to separate the wheat from the chaff is vital. Trying to do get a seller or seller's broker to do this work for you isn't likely to happen.

Others may have varying opinions on the use of a buyer's broker. The only reason I can think of to not use one is if you were buying a yacht locally from a private seller. As soon as the boat gets listed with a brokerage, however, 10% is coming out of the sale price. Might as well take advantage of it since the seller is paying it.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:32   #26
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

Hi Will,
I just found this thread. I've been following your adventure. Looks like great fun! If you still feel the same way about your broker, I will call him to help me find what I am looking for. I see you are headed back to the US thru the Bahamas now?
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:06   #27
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

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Hi Will,
I just found this thread. I've been following your adventure. Looks like great fun! If you still feel the same way about your broker, I will call him to help me find what I am looking for. I see you are headed back to the US thru the Bahamas now?

Hey Tom,
Thanks for following along and yep, we're currently meandering up the Exumas on our way back to the US.

My opinion on Chris at BVI Yacht Sales still stands. He's as good as I can imagine finding. Always bear in mind that every broker is trying to make a living, but he's honest and clearly cares about not ruining his reputation.


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Old 12-06-2016, 10:09   #28
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

Site unseen? Does that include internet pics?

I bought a boat on boattrader.com way back in 2001. A moving company shipped the boat and I just hoped that the boat was the one I was on the internet. It turned out that it was. Nice and clean with very little wear....whew!!!

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Old 12-06-2016, 10:28   #29
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

Nice blog, good luck.
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Old 13-06-2016, 13:14   #30
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Re: An extremely subjective guide to buying a boat in the Caribbean

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Site unseen? Does that include internet pics?

I bought a boat on boattrader.com way back in 2001. A moving company shipped the boat and I just hoped that the boat was the one I was on the internet. It turned out that it was. Nice and clean with very little wear....whew!!!

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Oh yea, we had a lot of pics. Obviously the listing's as well as a ton that I asked our broker to take as well as the surveyor's.

By the time we got to serious negotiations I had so much information that I didn't see much value in flying down there.

Worked out pretty well!


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