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Old 11-06-2008, 06:53   #1
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Am I dreaming? First boat - US to Aus $15000

Hi,

Please excuse my dreaming and this most probably very naive and first post to this forum.

As I sit here trying to study for my exams and procrastinating I am looking at the yachts on Ebay and some of them seem pretty cheap and bluewater capable. I have had a long dream to do some offshore sailing and am wondering if it would be possible to buy one of these yachts for $15000 US or less and sail it back to Australia. I guess the most likely route would be straight to Hawaii and then Island hop back to Sydney.

Given I am really a novice blue water sailor in terms of navigation and the rest of it, I was also wondering if there was any old sor young sea dogs, female or male who would be willing to pass on their experience and take on such a trip?

Ok...you can tell me I am dreaming now

Cheers

TIm
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:45   #2
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The begining of a reasonably correct answer to your question would have to begin with the specific yacht type in question.

No one will say it can't be done but $15,000 for a boat capable to do a pacific crossing is a long putt as they say in the golf world.

So what specific boat(s) did you have in mind?

BTW - Welcome Aboard! Now get back to work and get your exams done! - LOL
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:07   #3
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It can be done, as someone I know bought an older Choy-Lee Lion with a bad motor for 3,500. he pulled the motor, pluged the hole and added a sculling oar..
They left a couple years ago and had been seen down in Mexico bound for the islands....
Most people heading for the land of Oz from the US, skirt the coast and jump off in Mexico bound for the French Islands of the south pacific. then Island hop to the land down under.......
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:34   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbodreamer View Post
As I sit here trying to study for my exams and procrastinating I am looking at the yachts on Ebay and some of them seem pretty cheap and bluewater capable...TIm

Given the way the eBay buying experience operates, I’d not assume “blue-water” meant show up with your duffle and go… there are indeed some rather attractive vessels on eBay from time to time, but given that one usually has little more than two weeks to bid, few opportunities for a pre-purchase survey and (doubtlessly) sea-trials are truly problematic, I would assume that some sizeable preparatory efforts would be required before tackling serious ocean…

Nothing wrong with eBay, and I’m certainly not trying to discourage your interest -- I’ve purchased boats, motors, motorcycle & auto parts, sails, dinghies and piles of miscellaneous equipment there over the years at very attractive prices, but I try not to put anything to serious use until I’ve gained some good personal experience with it… My wife recently bought a nice little car there as well – well below market, but to make it as reliable as we wanted, it did require a few hundred dollars work (more annoying than costly) from a local mechanic we trust… have had similar experience with marine gear… great place to shop, but a buyer would be well served to do a fair amount of research…

Most older used boats have developed a track-record (for instance) so it you are interested in one that (say) has had bulkhead delaminating concerns, that’s a fair question… or deck problems… whatever… I buy on eBay with some regularity, but I burn up the Net researching what I can before it get too far into the bidding process… in any case, I’d allow several weeks (more like months, or even a year or so of conscientious sailing/learning) from purchase to blue-water – if for no other reason than to permit the new skipper to get properly acclimated…

Only then would I begin seriously contemplating the actual logistics and personal qualifications needed for crossing the Pacific… this latter issue, skill, often a far bigger hurdle than the first…

Good luck with your finals…
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:00   #5
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Tim, the devil lies in the details. A $15,000 boat won't have a serviceable life raft, add $5000. Or a decent set of sails, add a very rough $5000. Or a reliable engine, add more for an overhaul or replacement. You see where this is going?

As Napolean said, give me a general who is lucky rather than one who is smart. With enough luck you might buy something that can make it, eventually. Probably with a rigging failure (more money, old rigging needs replacing to go offshore) and perhaps rescued at sea (big ocean) if you don't catch a break with the weather, too.

On the bright side, that $15,000 boat probably hasn't had a good bottom paint in a long time, and all the stuff growing under it will attract lots of fish so you might be able to catch some for food while adrift on the way over.[g]
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:02   #6
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I don't know about buying a boat off Ebay but I feel if you know how to fix things and have the time to work on a boat you can find a very good deal. Myself i got a 33' Morgan just 3 weeks ago very cheap under $10,000 yes it needs work, motor work painting and some rigging, but in my eyes any boat you buy you will refit to fit your needs so why not get a older better made boat and spend the money on the refit.

I have hopes with mine to have her in the water and ready for the 2009 season for under another $10,000.

John
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Old 11-06-2008, 20:01   #7
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It is good to dream, but it is also good to be realistic.

Yes, a cheap boat purchased in the USA could be sailed to Australia, but the reality is that this would not be a cheap exercise. Bearin mind that most of the cheaper boats are coming out of charter fleets in the florida area... so your delivery may also includ a passage through the Panama canal.

Bear in mind, also, that you are talking about fixing up the boat sufficeintly to undertake a long trip (and believe me, it will need fixing up). That fixing up will have to be done away from your usual home base, so will be significanatly more expensive thatit would be if done locally. Bear in mind that there will be lots of extra expenses associated with visias and bureaucracy in all the countries you pass through. Bear in mind, when you arrive in Australia, "little Johnny" (or is it "little Kev") is gonna hit you pretty hard with import duty, GST, etc...

Enjoy your dreams, but be realistic about em too
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:03   #8
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Tim,
Speaking as one who HAS cruised from the west coast of the US to Oz, I don't think that I would choose to make the voyage in a boat whose condition lead it to be sold on e-bay for a knock-down price.
Additionally, as a novice cruiser, you will be better served by a boat that isn't falling apart, and face it: you don't have the expertise to determine the condition of your prospective yacht. Expert surveys can be obtained, but one of sufficient depth to really evaluate a prospective open ocean cruiser will knock a hole in your 15K$ budget. Then, of course, you will need to address all the problems that the survey discovered.
The bottom line is that your plans and your proposed budget are not really compatible!
Sure, some great voyages have been made in unsuitable and decrepit boats, but many others have ended in failure, and some have ended the skipper as well.
Don't let this reality check discourage you from going cruising... just balance available funds and personal experience against your goals, and take it a bit at a time... good luck!
Jim Cate (ex San Francisco) s/v Insatiable II lying Broken Bay NSW
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Old 13-06-2008, 07:22   #9
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Thanks for the replies!!

I will keep dreaming and saving! Would $25000 be getting there? I have restored a 24 foot yacht before and know the romance often falls short of the reality of buying a fixer upper. Coincidentally Jim I had it moored in Broken Bay. I even have the Broken Bay chart up on my wall and bought the boat because I loved the spot so much. Jim if you are up for a beer one day I would love to hear about the trip.

More importantly perhaps in June 2009 which I gather is the season to take on a voyage like this, would there be any mentors who would like to take on the trip? I'm not sure what I could offer in return, free accomodation in Australia...lots of fun

Back to the study!
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Old 13-06-2008, 07:52   #10
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Just out of interest if you checked out Ebay at the moment and had a budget of $25k which boat would be the pick? There is a Islander 37, Freya 39, and an O'Day 37 which look the part. Also a Beneteau 345 which I know are popular boats in Australia.
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Old 13-06-2008, 08:08   #11
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Tim, the devil lies in the details. A $15,000 boat won't have a serviceable life raft, add $5000. Or a decent set of sails, add a very rough $5000. Or a reliable engine, add more for an overhaul or replacement. You see where this is going?

On the bright side, that $15,000 boat probably hasn't had a good bottom paint in a long time, and all the stuff growing under it will attract lots of fish so you might be able to catch some for food while adrift on the way over.[g]
Yes you can find a blue water boat that has a decent set of sails (and a spare set) and a reliable engine for $15K. I would agree with the life raft statement and the bottom job statement and add that it may need electronics. I bought my boat for $15k, the life raft is falling apart at the seams and I had to replace the speed/depth/wind instruments. The SSB was gone and the auto pilot is inop. The GPS and VHF work fine. The engine was replaced in the 1990s and runs great. The bottom on the other hand.... was sand blasted, blisters repaired, epoxy barrier coated, and bottom painted. All at a cost of $2600 and I did most of the work myself. I have put a total for $6k in the boat with the bottom job and other odds and ends so far. Could I sail across the Pacific as is? Yes. Would I want to? No. The EPIRB is out of date and the dingy has some rot in the transom. I would want an SSB a working autopilot and possibly a new life raft and dingy. It all adds up fast.
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Old 13-06-2008, 15:48   #12
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Old 13-06-2008, 16:17   #13
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Old 13-06-2008, 20:00   #14
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Just out of interest if you checked out Ebay
You can't buy a boat sight unseen. The photos and the reality are 2 vastly different things.

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Old 14-06-2008, 00:19   #15
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Isn't it interesting that photos tell two lies. The sea will never look as big as it really was and the boat for sale will always look better in the photo than in reality.
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