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Old 31-07-2008, 15:01   #1
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Buying in and INTERNATIONAL shipping from the USA

I am in the process of buying a sailboat (if I state yacht later, then I do mean cruising sailboat), which I plan to take down to South America. I have a number of options on how I can do this, but would like the boat to be in the vicinity during Dec ’08, Jan / Feb ’09.

It will be my first boat and I am trying to keep things as cost effective as possible.

Now I have investigated some prices from shipping companies which is proving to be more expensive than I thought but figures are based on provisional dimensions and weight as I have not actually bought anything, yet although I have found some great boat on the Internet.

My queries with regard to this are:
  • Will prices be there or thereabout with provisional information, or am I going to be nicely shocked to find out that the companies have overpriced to cover themselves? Or quite the opposite that it is competitively priced and then they tell me about some hidden costs? It is my first time for shipping something internationally.
  • Also I have searched the Internet for shipping companies, and maybe not have found some good, reliable, with a good track record (I believe that I have found a mixture) but is there and easy to use phone book / website on the Internet to help me find shipping companies who will sail from Florida?
Any help welcome, as if I do find a means of economic transportation soon, I am on my way to Florida to start shopping.


p.s. there are alternatives, so look out for another post..
p.p.s. honesty welcome… I am just covering all my options before making any final decision.

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Old 31-07-2008, 15:21   #2
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Are you talking about shipping the boat? Deck cargo or Dockwise Yacht Transport (float on float off). From where to where. Until you have a specific vessel and specific schedule it's difficult to get a firm price.

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Old 31-07-2008, 15:36   #3
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Where in South America will it be shipped to?
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Old 31-07-2008, 15:49   #4
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Wow, thanks for the quick response.. both

Yes, one option I am looking at is to ship it, RO-RO (deck cargo). Yes, that's is what I am discovering, but do you have any idea as to whether a company is likely to estimate over or way over, as I have stated max dimensions and weight.

As to where I plan to send it - it is likely to be from Florida to either Brazil or Uruguay.

My issue is that with the estimates that I have been given, shipping may not be an option, but I heard recently that someone had been quoted 10,000USD than I have been, with similar dimensions... of course I am trying to find out who quoted them that.. but it made think about 'hidden costs'... etc...

comments on this welcome..

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Old 31-07-2008, 16:15   #5
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The devil is in the detail...

When I costed buying in the US and shipping to Oz I found the following problems (costs)...
1) Finding and buying a good boat is very time consuming - maybe more than 6 months - all in expensive motels with restaurant meals and hire cars/taxis. The distances to travel are large (and expensive).
2) Any boat that is not on it's own trailer will need a custom cradle constructed to the standards of the shipping company.
3) The boat will need to be derigged (and rerigged at the other end).
4) Insurance is expensive and may not cover any expensive "goodies" pilfered from the boat during transit.
5) Loading and unloading requires specialist equipment and personnel.
6) Any delay in loading will incur storage charges.
7) Shipping is often charged on a per cubic metre rate and is expensive.
8) Various customs and other fees are charges on arrival. These can be difficult to predict but no one is going to let you bring an expensive boat for nix.
9) Once the boat arrives at it's destination you are at the mercy of any official or worker who wants a little extra. Things look better these days but I know of places and can remember situations where cargo did not leave the wharf until a large number of people were happy.

Shipping would seem to be so expensive that it could well be better to sail any boat on it's own bottom.

Have you costed paying professionals to sail the boat to it's destination?

At least then you can sail somewhere else if someone is unreasonable.
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Old 31-07-2008, 16:23   #6
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Thank you.... just a few hidden costs then!!!!

No this was my next forum hit... sailing and how to find the right skipper... This post is on its way... but I have been amazed at the response to this one that I am spending time responding to them...

it's early doors here

but in the meantime thanks...

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Old 01-08-2008, 06:04   #7
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Hi rascalarg - Based on your intro and being in South America I am guessing Argentina by your screen name.

Argentina may have a similar problem to Singapore. That is a very small used boat market. Many of the people I know look at buying and shipping from other places. In my humble opinion and what I have seen this is rarely worked out once the shipping costs are factored in.

There are new boats that get delivered here but people buying new boats have different priorities and usually different wallet sizes.

What does work out is getting involved in the saililng communites through yacht clubs races, crewing etc. These communities tend to be tight knit because of the smaller population of sailors. In other words just about every sailor and certainly every boat in this country is known by name by everybody.

Then what happens is you may wait a bit for the perfect boat to come available. We are kind of like that. We purchased a cheap boat and basically are waiting for Ms. Right to come along. We know what we want pretty much and we just have to be prepared to get it when it comes.

In my case I expand my search to include, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia (although that's a stretch). If the boat comes up for sale and it's in the "neighborhood" I have to be ready to pull the trigger.

A lot of boats (most boats) here trade hands by word of mouth. We bought our boat on a tip and it never actually went on the market.

Another friend was looking for a J24 and was really going to ship one from Australia or Europe. The shipping costs were going to be as much as the value of the boat.

He had a talk at the yacht club bar one night and the next day he bought a local boat that had been under a tarp on the hard for 2 years and basically wasn't for sale. He now has all that shipping money left to make this a competitive boat.

Good luck on your plans.

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