I looked pretty closely at buying
a boat in South Africa
. In my case, I went in with a set of parallel appproaches. There were actually several boats in SA at the time that could have worked for me. My assumption was that one in particular was a turn key for me. If it was, I had planned to use a local surveyor that had been recommended by someone who lived in SA but who was not connected with the deal.
I had a line on a SA delivery skipper
who knew the boat in question and could do the delivery
on the boat's own bottom.
There were US state sales taxes
and importation taxes
to be paid once the boat was here, but I believed I could have avoided the sales tax in SA by nearly immediately shipping
out of the country. I never got far enough to know for certain.
The boat was being described as being in turn-key condition. My offer would have been predicated on the boat being in that condition, and would have required the seller to pony up for any discovered corrections. Had I not found the same model in the US for a similar price
and had the deal progressed further, I had planned to write a clause into the agreement that would have required the owner to make corrections before going to closing with me escrowing half of the cost as deposit should I pull out of the deal after survey
, but before the corrective work was completed. This was intended to resolve the sales tax issue and reassure the owner that if he made the corrections and I pulled out, he would be in part compensated
If the boat was seriously not in turn-key condition, my intent was negotiate to lower the price
to make the necessary corrections back here in the US, but also to additionally lower the price by the difference in price between having the boat delivered on her own bottom vs shipping
her on deck
If we could not come to terms, I would let that boat go and focus on several other sistership options in SA. I knew about these boats in advance but these other boats were not in as fresh condition and so would have to be shipped rather than sailed back. OTOH They were also substantially less money to begin with.
Anyway, if I ended up with an option that required shipping the boat, I had exchanged email
with a shipping agent in SA who would have handled all of the necessary chores, contracting, and paper work for what seemed like a reasonable fee all things considered.
I was working through a US Broker with the idea that the good faith money would remain in the US until I surveyed the boat. I thought that if the deal broke badly at least my deposit was in the US. That said, I was extremely impressed with the SA yacht brokers that had been involved based on the brief dealings that I had with them.
In the end, I was greatly relieved not to have to go that route
. In hindsight, especially after the time commitment of simply buying
a boat that was roughly 600 miles away, I have concluded that the time commitment made no sense at all and the costs probably would have been in excess of what would have been reasonable. My sense is that the only case where buying a boat in that far away makes sense is if: 1 the boat is very unique, 2 it is located somewhere you want to go anyway and you would like to sail her back, and 3) the boat is sufficiently expensive (something well over $100,000 which was not my case) to begin with so that there is sufficient savings to justify the incidental expenses.