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Old 16-04-2014, 10:19   #1
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How did all these Foreign-Made Boats get to the US?

I've been looking at boats (who doesn't?) and I see a lot of European built boats in the small, 30 year old, 25' to 35', monohull category that I'm interested in, such as Albin, Westerly, etc. I was just wondering how they got to the US, given the costs of putting a boat on a cargo ship, hiring a delivery captain, etc.

Were they made as hulls to fit inside a shipping container with the final mast-stepping done by an agent in the US? Or was yacht transport on top of a bunch of containers cheaper in the 80's? Were the relative labor costs between Europe and the US in the 80's enough to justify this expense?

Were they sailed over by professional delivery captains or previous owners, and never sailed back?

Is it safe to assume that if a foreign-built boat is in the US, it has, at some point in its history and in some, maybe benign weather conditions, crossed an ocean under sail?
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Old 16-04-2014, 10:26   #2
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Re: How did all these foreign-made boats get to the US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
I've been looking at boats (who doesn't?) and I see a lot of European built boats in the small, 30 year old, 25' to 35', monohull category that I'm interested in, such as Albin, Westerly, etc. I was just wondering how they got to the US, given the costs of putting a boat on a cargo ship, hiring a delivery captain, etc.

Were they made as hulls to fit inside a shipping container with the final mast-stepping done by an agent in the US? Or was yacht transport on top of a bunch of containers cheaper in the 80's?

Were they sailed over by professional delivery captains or previous owners, and never sailed back?

Is it safe to assume that if a foreign-built boat is in the US, it has, at some point in its history and in some, maybe benign weather conditions, crossed an ocean under sail?
I think ALL of Your answers are right, except the last one
Most were sent abroad, to the far, far foreign country called USA as a cargo, but some made the way on their own keel
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Old 16-04-2014, 10:30   #3
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Re: How did all these foreign-made boats get to the US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
I've been looking at boats (who doesn't?) and I see a lot of European built boats in the small, 30 year old, 25' to 35', monohull category that I'm interested in, such as Albin, Westerly, etc. I was just wondering how they got to the US, given the costs of putting a boat on a cargo ship, hiring a delivery captain, etc.

Were they made as hulls to fit inside a shipping container with the final mast-stepping done by an agent in the US? Or was yacht transport on top of a bunch of containers cheaper in the 80's? Were the relative labor costs between Europe and the US in the 80's enough to justify this expense?

Were they sailed over by professional delivery captains or previous owners, and never sailed back?

Is it safe to assume that if a foreign-built boat is in the US, it has, at some point in its history and in some, maybe benign weather conditions, crossed an ocean under sail?
I'm pretty sure Atoll and Boatman brought them all across. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

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Old 16-04-2014, 11:54   #4
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Re: How did all these foreign-made boats get to the US?

The majority were shipped over. Don't forget those foreign makes which have plants in the USA and are made or finished here for our market, such has Beneteau does.
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Old 17-04-2014, 14:39   #5
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Re: How did all these Foreign-Made Boats get to the US?

Don't forget, a manufacturer can pass along the shipping cost to the original buyer. They just tack it onto the list price. And because they shipped more than one boat, and on a fairly regular basis, they were probably charged less than you or I would be. Not to mention the fact, that they were shipped (most likely) as just a hull and deck. The rigs were usually added here along with final fit out. Though I'm sure quite a few came over on their own keels too.

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Old 17-04-2014, 15:27   #6
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Re: How did all these Foreign-Made Boats get to the US?

Back in the good old days when the dollar was king, Euro boats were cheaper than US made boats. Deck cargo shipping was more available and relatively cheap. The boats could bed shipped, imported and sold profitably. It wasn't only Europe that shipped boats to the States. Remember the Leaky Teaky invasion of the '70s and '80s.

Also, in the ensuing years, a lot of boats were cruised over. Just as the Carribean is the beginning and end of many US Citizens Cruises, the same is true Europeans. Only for them, given the choice of sailing back across the Atlantic or sailing to Florida and selling the boat, the decision was a no brainier.

With the devaluing of the dollar, foreign boats are no longer such a good deal.
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Old 17-04-2014, 15:56   #7
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Re: How did all these Foreign-Made Boats get to the US?

The truth is more prosaic, given the vast majority of sailboats on the planet are European built, it's not unusual to see those boats in the US.

The same is true on reverse in the small sports boat market.

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Old 18-04-2014, 08:04   #8
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Re: How did all these Foreign-Made Boats get to the US?

Thanks for all the answers everyone, great to have a little bit of history. Gotta miss the days when the dollar made all those foreign goods so much cheaper! Unless, of course, you work in an American export business

Thanks again for satisfying my curiosity about all these boats I want to buy
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Old 18-04-2014, 08:19   #9
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Re: How did all these Foreign-Made Boats get to the US?

I think more cross on their own bottoms than get credit for. When I was doing a lot of deliveries I used to pick up crew in anchorages; just looked for that Contessa, Folkbot, Westerly, etc with salty folk aboard. Almost all had crossed the pond with a couple as crew, maybe with an extra watch stander. I'd hire one or both as crew and we'd be off. Without a single exception those were the best crew I ever shipped with. I was asked on more than one occasion how I tested them to see if they knew enough to crew for me. I'd chuckle, smile, and note that the Atlantic had already done that for me and my credentials might be suspect to them! While many did indeed come over to a boat show here as deck cargo don't underestimate how many made the voyage the old fashioned way (Med, Canaries, Barbados, north up the islands...)
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