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Old 19-01-2018, 11:03   #1
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Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

For personal reasons, I may be looking at cutting my voyage short, and selling the boat. This is in no way final, but I want to make sure I'm prepared in the event that I do.

Currently I'm in Bonaire, and will continue to chug on west to San Blas and Panama. If I sell the boat, I'm trying to find a place where it won't take too long to find a buyer, and it won't cost me a fortune to store in the meantime. I'll assume that most buyers aren't as crazy as me, and willing to buy a boat sight unseen, and book a one way ticket to a far away island.

I'm not interested in making money back on the sale. I'd much rather sell the boat dirt-cheap to an owner that would give her the voyage she's been prepared for, than to someone willing to pay twice as much and use her as a day sailer.

Curaçao has a yard and a marina that would work for storage, and is only one island away. I had not considered Columbia in my initial sail plan, but I could be talked into it. Otherwise, the next most logical option (in a favorable wind direction) would be Panama, which is where I'd be heading anyway. However, I don't know much about the Colon side of things other than Shelter Bay Marina, and I really wouldn't want to bring such a small boat through the canal just to sell it.

Any thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:27   #2
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pirate Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

Don't know if I'd take it to Panama.. means a hard beat to get away from on the East.. and a lot of diesel in the West.. after you pass through.
A 5 day at most beam reach would see you in the USVI's or Puerto Rice where you'd likely have a better market with easy flights from the US.. a mere 450 miles at most with steady E'lies.
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:42   #3
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

I don't think it would be a beam reach up to the USVI right now. It'd be close hauled, or even a beat for much of it. But you're right, the USVI would be a much better place to sell a boat. The only other problem with that idea is that if the boat isn't sold, I definitely don't want to leave it in the hurricane belt. Whereas if the boat is down here, it's safe all season.
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:58   #4
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

I know a couple of cruisers who sold their boats in Panama but it is a small market and a long way to travel from the US. We are taking our boat back to the US to try and sell.

Florida would be a much bigger market. Virgins is an easy sail and it's not particularly hard to sail Florida from Bonaire...mostly off the wind.
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Old 19-01-2018, 12:00   #5
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pirate Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

That is a consideration.. weather over the next week is much like this.. a bit to the ESE would be better.
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Old 19-01-2018, 16:13   #6
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

My 2 cents, the Western Caribbean is a great place to buy a boat...that makes it a lousy place to sell one. Buyers down here throw nickels around like manhole covers. Your best bet is to get somewhere with a larger and more affluent buyers pool.
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Old 20-01-2018, 09:52   #7
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

Looked at boats in all those Caribbean places. Wouldn't sell one of mine in any of them.

Buyers with money know that for the most part boats in the Caribbean need work, and now they have to be worried about getting there just to find poxied “hurricane boats” It is a long way to travel to see a bunch of has been boats when half the US population can easily and cheaply get to FL or Annapolis. Make it easy for buyers.

You will find many more *qualified* buyers and sell it much faster in S FL or Annapolis. The effort will be rewarded with a better, faster sale.

Keep in mind also that most people you will talk to are dreamers who want to spend almost nothing for a beautiful well found boat, or completely nothing for anything that needs work.

Good luck!
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Old 20-01-2018, 12:14   #8
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

Our boat (Jeanneau) is currently for sale in Martinique, also after an unexpected change in plans. It is clear that Martinique is mostly oriented to the French market, but other islands are not far and more open to English-speaking buyers.
If this was a good choice for us, I can tell you in a few (weeks or) months. But the advice I took from others, is that most buyers prefer to travel to a place were they can see more similar boats for sale. For instance:
In Le Marin, Martinique, almost 10% of the yachts in the marina are for sale. But almost all of them are ex-charter. Not maintained and equipped to cruise the world, like mine or yours apparently. So being close to these other boats for sale should not be a problem, rather a positive point for you.
Wish you the best with it, and hopefully we can meet cruising again in a few years .
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Old 20-01-2018, 12:17   #9
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

Just wondering what type of boat your thinking of selling been looking for the right boat to start cruising in the carribean can send me info at copalmer@hotmail.com if your intersted
Thanks
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Old 20-01-2018, 15:10   #10
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

The best place to sell a boat these days is...on the internet!!!

I'll be looking for my "dream boat" soon enough, and agree with most of the posts here...I want someplace I can get to with a direct flight, see a few decent boats near there, and have support and services available. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated by a buyer, and could be the difference between selling and not selling.

And definitely, the worst place to sell a sled is at the bottom of the hill. Its winter here in Canada, so you get a winter analogy. Best of luck to you. And I hope you post your boat for sale ad on CF...you have piqued the interest of many here, including me!
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Old 20-01-2018, 17:03   #11
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

I know a few folks who have sold successfully at a price they were happy with in the W Carib. A few observations:

Travel expenses for buyers: one friend offered a $1K credit toward the purchase price if potential buyer bought the boat.

He also did a good job in his ads of promoting the positives of the location (Rio Dulce) as a cruising venue. Something to be said for buying a boat already in a good cruising venue.

Panama (Carib Coast): dockage is relatively high here for the inexpensive W Carib. Most expensive is Shelter Bay. There are great international flights to Panama City, but getting to marinas on the Carib coast from there can be less than convenient. This is especially true for the eastern end of the country...just no way to quickly and conveniently get to Shelter Bay or Linton Bay Marina...except helicopter. There are domestic flights from Panama City to Bocas del Toro though. Also international connections to Bocas from San Jose, CR. Several marinas in Bocas. No air service at all over here on the forgotten coast (Colon - Linton) . So, in terms of buyer access, Bocas is much better.

Rio Dulce has less expensive marinas, yacht brokers, and plenty of boat related services at favorable rates, but it is even more time consuming to get to...except for the helicopter ride of course. 😆

Cartagena: Is a cool city, but I dont know it as well. There are of course marinas and boats for sale. Access by conventional travel is pretty easy...with at least international connecting flights from Bogota/Medellin.

All the above have lots of heat, humidity, rain...so you will definately want someone reliable looking after the boat or it will go down hill fast.
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Old 20-01-2018, 17:45   #12
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

Hi

Panama is about 4 to 5 days sailing and the San Blas is well worth the effort.
Put the boat on the haul out at Shelter Bay and you have the hull inspection for a survey as well as the security of being on the hard in hurricane free Panama. Flights to many US major air ports every day.

Russ
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Old 21-01-2018, 18:27   #13
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Re: Selling a boat in the Southern or Western Caribbean

Panama is a bad place for a seller. Go to Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgins or probably the best, back to Florida
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