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Old 11-02-2015, 12:47   #1
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European Boat Purchase?

I am very interested in the Nauticat line of pilothouse sailboats. There are many more available in Europe than in North America. Also, the dollar is very strong now vs. the Euro, making prices attractive.

Has anyone out there purchased a boat in Europe with the eventual goal of bringing it to the new world?

What are the challenges in buying a boat long distance, and how did you handle them?

There is an issue with electrical systems being 220 rather than 110, but that could be worked around without too much trouble, one supposes.

I appreciate the insights I have gained on so many matters from forum members, and look forward to responses to this issue.

Westsail374
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Old 11-02-2015, 13:27   #2
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

We're in the same 'boat' as you. We're looking for a 15-20 year old Oyster or Scandinavian boat like an HR or Contest. Plenty more of them in Europe!

Exchange rates are good, but acquiring insurance, financing and the VAT is more tricky. Also, finding a competent surveyor and yard is another challenge to be overcome.
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Old 11-02-2015, 14:25   #3
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

We bought our boat in Greece 2 years ago and there were really no issues. We chose to use an English broker and English surveyor and all went as normal as buying in Canada or the USA.
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Old 11-02-2015, 14:46   #4
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

What were the costs for the English broker and surveyor, if you don't mind my asking?
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Old 11-02-2015, 15:18   #5
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

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What were the costs for the English broker and surveyor, if you don't mind my asking?

Of course I don't mind you asking. As I recall the broker was in the 7% range but that was paid by the seller. The survey was something around a thousand dollars+ but I also had a separate diesel survey that was a few hundred dollars. The main office was in Britain and the satelite office was in Lefkas. I'm quite happy dealing with British professionals as they operate to normal British law and normally you can trust what they tell you. The surveyor lived on his boat right there and was highly competant, all in all a good experience.
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:02   #6
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

Who were the broker and surveyor?
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Old 12-02-2015, 14:18   #7
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

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Who were the broker and surveyor?
Broker is William and Smithells out of Lefkas and London. Lefkas manager is Stephan.
Surveyor Kevan Whittle
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Old 12-02-2015, 14:33   #8
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

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Originally Posted by JulieMac View Post
We're in the same 'boat' as you. We're looking for a 15-20 year old Oyster or Scandinavian boat like an HR or Contest. Plenty more of them in Europe!

Exchange rates are good, but acquiring insurance, financing and the VAT is more tricky. Also, finding a competent surveyor and yard is another challenge to be overcome.
If you export within a given time-frame, you shouldn't have to pay VAT. Boats of that age would already be vat paid, I would have thought.
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Old 13-02-2015, 10:55   #9
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

There is a site where you can buy a boat directly to the owner (except if they are posted by brokers). That way you can have it at better price since nobody is paying to a broker.

Sometimes a personal contact with the owner of the boat can be very informative. Normally on the European brokers you only talk with the owner when you sign the papers to buy the boat.

Extra care is needed while buying a boat this way and the services of a creditable agency are a good idea. They also take care of all paperwork and boat register.

the site:

Boats for events, rental boats and berths - iNautia
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Old 15-02-2015, 11:33   #10
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

I found this thread interesting because I just started to consider buying a boat in Europe because what I want is rare in the US but common there. I found one in the UK which makes the process, hopefully, a bit easier than in a country where the language is an issue. I appreciate having the contact info for broker and surveyor that was posted. Thank you.

One person talked about the issue of 220 volts. That was an issue with the one Elan 434 that I found in the US that I liked but sold before I got to see it. Here is what I believe are the issues.

One option, and by far the easiest, is to leave the 220 volt system alone. The advantage is that you will not have to deal with things like microwave (if it has one) and hot water heater that is 220. The down side is that all you "appliances" must be 220 or do some combination of the following.

It is possible to buy 12 volt appliances which have the advantage that they can be used at anchor without an inverter. An alternative, for small appliances is to use step-down transformers (they are not expensive) but they are known to fail so a spare is wise to have.

My plan was to leave the 220 volts alone and in time add a 110 volt system to use at the dock. This is pretty simple. I might also add a 12 v to 110 v inverter to give me the best of both worlds.

If you truly want to convert the boat to 110 volts, then you need to do the following at a minimum:

1. New dock cord and hull fitting.

2. New sockets throughout.

3. New appliances, e.g. microwave or TV.

4. New hot water heater coils or replace whole unit.

5. New fuses.

6. New inverter.

But here is the really crux of the conversion. When you cut the voltage in half you double the current. The question you must answer is whether the wiring in the boat was designed as universal in that it could be used for either 220 or 110? Boats are low volume so they may save a little money by using smaller diameter wire on 220 v models.

I contacted the Elan factory and they gave me the limits on the wiring if I was to convert to 110 v. It that case the max wattage was marginally okay to run high current appliances such as a microwave. That's why I decided to go with simply adding a parallel 110 v system.

The nice thing about the parallel system is that you have the best of both worlds. The cost for the parallel system is only marginally more expensive (wire, receptacles, and electrical panel). But at dock you need two hookups that might be problematic.

Cheers.
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:34   #11
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

I've posted this on the power boat forum but it appears as though the sailboat forum has more experience.

I think I've overcome the electronics aspect as I am looking at a new vessel. My questions are primarily tax and shipping/receiving related.

I've always admired the sleek lines of European boats (I'm in the 20 - 40' cruiser range). They seem to pack so much more into an 11' beam.

With the current exchange rate and strength of dollar, these vessels are getting really affordable! I have 3 examples whereby EU vessels, that if I bought from a U.S. dealer, have a base MSRP price of $100,000 +/- HIGHER than if I went through an EU dealer.

I have a quote from a well established German boat dealer for a nicely appointed 33' cruiser (European boat of the year winning manufacturer) with great lines. 222,000 Euro. ($247,000 U.S.). Exact same boat, exact same options, quoted from a U.S. dealer - $343,000!

Many manufacturers offer U.S. versions that can be ordered as an option (mostly electronics related). Engines are all well known, Mercs or Volvos. Shipping quotes are coming in around $18k

Now, given all of that background. What am I not thinking about? How do I 'accept' the boat off the ship? Customs? (Duty is 1.5%) etc etc. Anyone on this board done this?

Thank you in advance for any replies and I look forward to hearing your experiences and/or thoughts and suggestions.

Cheers,

Steve
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:55   #12
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

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Originally Posted by DigIt View Post
...

I've always admired the sleek lines of European boats (I'm in the 20 - 40' cruiser range). They seem to pack so much more into an 11' beam.

With the current exchange rate and strength of dollar, these vessels are getting really affordable! I have 3 examples whereby EU vessels, that if I bought from a U.S. dealer, have a base MSRP price of $100,000 +/- HIGHER than if I went through an EU dealer.

I have a quote from a well established German boat dealer for a nicely appointed 33' cruiser (European boat of the year winning manufacturer) with great lines. 222,000 Euro. ($247,000 U.S.). Exact same boat, exact same options, quoted from a U.S. dealer - $343,000!

.....

Now, given all of that background. What am I not thinking about? How do I 'accept' the boat off the ship? Customs? (Duty is 1.5%) etc etc. Anyone on this board done this?

Thank you in advance for any replies and I look forward to hearing your experiences and/or thoughts and suggestions.

Cheers,

Steve
There is even a way you can buy a boat even more cheaper: buy it directly from the factory. For that it should be a boat from a brand that is not imported to the US (otherwise they would not sell it to you directly) or at least one that has not a dealer on your coast. Most European brands have not dealers in America.

Recently I intermediate a deal for a friend to buy a boat directly from the factory: 25% discount on the boat price, 50% discount on extras. The boat would have costed through a dealer well over 200 000 euros, it went for just a bit more than 150 000 euros.
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:11   #13
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

Yeah, thanks Polix. How did the shipping and delivery go? Taxes and issue? Looks like the u.s. market may be wising up to EU boats, the three I'm looking at (Sealine, Nimbus, Rodman) all now have 1 dealer in the U.S. One I'm working direct with manufacturer, the other through a dealer in Spain.

I'll look for others that I haven't stumbled upon as of yet without U.S. dealers. Feel free to recommend!

Cheers,

Steve
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:25   #14
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

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Originally Posted by DigIt View Post
Yeah, thanks Polix. How did the shipping and delivery go? Taxes and issue? Looks like the u.s. market may be wising up to EU boats, the three I'm looking at (Sealine, Nimbus, Rodman) all now have 1 dealer in the U.S. One I'm working direct with manufacturer, the other through a dealer in Spain.

I'll look for others that I haven't stumbled upon as of yet without U.S. dealers. Feel free to recommend!

Cheers,

Steve
I don't know what type of motorboat you want but I would recommend to you a visit to Dusseldorf boat show where you will be able to have a look at most boats.

My wife likes a lot Menorquin motorboats, so much that some years back she tried to convince me to have one.
Menorquin

Regarding that specific case my friend is going to pick the boat on the shipyard's nearest marina. He is French so we will pay VAT.
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Old 10-03-2015, 14:22   #15
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Re: European Boat Purchase?

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Broker is William and Smithells out of Lefkas and London. Lefkas manager is Stephan.
Surveyor Kevan Whittle
Based on your experience I contacted William and Smithells. After exchanging a couple of emails, I supplied him with the boat in Malta that looked the most interesting to me and several others that were possibilities. The reply I got was very surprising. They wanted 300 pounds (almost $500) to do research and they said that their fee for services would be 3% of price and 50% non-refundable before survey.

All this seems odd given that the seller, at least in the US, pays the brokers. In fact, you state the same for your purchase in Greece.

My first thought is to do my own research. It may help to do it myself because then I don't have to deal with the broker in the middle.

That said, the one reason I want a broker is that I'm concerned about getting all the paperwork done correctly. It's also nice to have someone that represents only me, not the seller too.

Does anyone have any thoughts?
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