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Old 19-04-2011, 16:38   #1
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Buying a Boat in the US vs Oz

Hello,

After many years of saving, my wife and I are about to purchase our first cruising boat. I know you can all appreciate the momentous nature of the occasion. Obviously we want to get it right. We have a working class budget, but want a safe boat (our young son will be sailing with us as well).

After much research on my own and trawling through thousands of boat listings, I have shortlisted a Boro Temptress 36, Swanson 36, a Nicholson 31 (actually quite roomy) and two Roberts 38 (one GRP one steel).

All of these are in good condition (but not quite luxurious inside) and relatively set up for blue water cruising. The prices in Australia for boats like these run from about $35,000 (34ft steel boat) to $50,000 - $70,000 for a 38ft (steel / GRP respectively)... with the average price of boats like these being around $50,000 to perhaps $60,000.

I have heard that prices in the US are quite low at the moment. The Aussie dollar is very high at the moment (even higher than the US$).

I am a dual citizen and it is easy for me to purchase and register a boat in the US.

My question is (sorry for the long intro):

Do the above boats sound reasonable for a (small) family doing long term cruising (6 - 12 months / year)?

Do people think I could get a significant savings on a boat like the ones mentioned above in the US. Obviously I want to take it back to Australia - so the cost of a Pacific voyage would have to be counted in. Also I'm not sure that a trans-Pacific journey would be the best *first* trip for us as new yachties.

Thanks in advance for any help
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Old 19-04-2011, 17:03   #2
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

it would be a great adventure, but I doubt if you would save any money. You would probably be looking at a major refit prior to the crossing and finally on arrival back in Aus you will be met by Australian Customs with a bill of 18% of the yacht's value (and sometimes they get smart and add a theoretical shipping cost even tho you sailed on its own bottom) for duty and GST.
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Old 19-04-2011, 17:10   #3
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

Thanks for the quick reply... I guess I was wondering if since I am a US citizen and I could (in theory) keep it indefinitely registered as a US ship - I wouldn't have any duty... just the tax I'll have to pay when I first buy the boat in the US?

But, yes, I did have my doubts as to whether it would actually be worth it financially. It's just that I've read an awful lot of posts and US cruising blogs talking about $30,000 cruisers. That's about half price what the average cost of a *budget* cruiser would be here.
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Old 19-04-2011, 17:14   #4
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

Hi there and welcom. We bought our yacht from Noumea and imported it via Brisbane back in 2008. At the time we paid approx. 15% of the purchase price for customs, clearance, quarantine, etc. At that time the Aussie dollar was around $0.97 so we were pretty happy with the conversion. Additional costs we faced were costs involved around sailing it from Noumea to Brisbane, then Brisbane to Melbourne - airfares for crew, food, etc. This option worked for us as buying the same yacht in Australia was much more expensive. Given the current Aussie dollar ($1.05), you'd probably do okay to purchase. If you fit-it out in the US, you'll save heaps of money there too, as many of these items are more expensive in Australia anyway. The major consideration I guess is whether you're prepared to sail the distance back from the US. Good luck with your purchase!
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Old 19-04-2011, 18:54   #5
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

I am considering a similar purchase. With the Aussie dollar so strong and the green back not going so well, a US purchase is a good option. Your pacific trip wouldnt be your first if you bought in the right place. Consider Florida, With six months bobbing around the carribean. Then coming through panama and enterting the pacific. You will have dusted her off by then and be fully prepped for the trip home.

Your other alternative is to ship it home. I had a quote for a 36footer at US $23k. Good luck
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Old 19-04-2011, 18:57   #6
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

OH.. you may also be interested in the Roberts that is on ebay aus at the moment. think its 38foot CC ketch... Around 45k.

Also if you havent looked already. go to yachtworld.com. Its a treasure trove of cheap US boats.
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Old 19-04-2011, 19:09   #7
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

If you buy a boat built in the USA you will not pay duty just GST which is 10%.
The best advise I recieved prior to buying my boat O/S was buy a bigger boat in the US for the same money you would pay for the smaller one is Australia.
I ended up buying a bigger boat cheaper so it all went well.
If you are looking at a mono there should be plently of well built and designed US boats.
You can always pay a delivery skipper to bring it back for you if you don't have the time or confidence to do it yourself.
The current rate is about $22K USD from the west coat USA to East coast OZ.
Good luck and fill your boots, there's never been a better time to do this!
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Old 19-04-2011, 19:28   #8
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

I would say that you do not have enough money to purchase a cruising yacht in Australia. All of the above would require a major refit (purchase price again) at those prices . We had a budget almost twice yours in the same 35-38ft range and I have decided to keep the nose on the stone for a while longer. The quality of yachts here in Australia is shocking for the asking price.
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Old 19-04-2011, 20:01   #9
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

Thanks for the advice... that's why I come to CF Can I ask a bit more about fit out. I've searched for quite a few different key word combos within this forum and haven't turned up any thread that addresses fit out before cruising (that doesn't mean there aren't any - I just couldn't find them).

The boats I've been looking at are specifically coming from other cruisers who are *just* leaving the boat for some reason or another. The inventories look quite full of the same things I would go out and purchase in regards to long-term cruising... but perhaps I am mistaken.

Does anyone know of a thread that addresses a starting point check-list of things involved in a post-purchase... pre-cruising fit out? I have a good idea from my own research - but then I'd love to hear it from folks with more experience.

Our first 6 months would just be spent cruising the islands of North East Coast Australia... with blue water trip further abroad maybe next year. From what I have read, the boats I am looking at would come pretty much ready to go for this type of cruising (but again I may be mistaken)... and within the $50,000 - $70,000 price range. This would give me time to do a more casual fit out (if needed)in preparation for the long-haul sailing.

Cheers!
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Old 19-04-2011, 20:03   #10
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

Also - no one has addressed my wondering if I am a US citizen... yet living in Australia (as an Australian citizen) couldn't I just keep my boat here in Oz but registered as a US ship? No duty - no tax?
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Old 19-04-2011, 20:30   #11
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

That will come with a time limit. There is no rule about how long will be on offer but you could expect something around a year or so. 3 months is the basic term for visiting boats but you can request longer. After that term expires you will have to visit another country.
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Old 19-04-2011, 21:37   #12
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

I recently heard of a bloke that came into Cairns in a foreign yacht, and tried to stay on. He used to clear customs, head off into the blue yonder for a while, and then return. After about a year, he had to sell up.
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Old 19-04-2011, 21:45   #13
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

I recently heard of a bloke that came into Cairns in a foreign yacht, and tried to stay on. He used to clear customs, head off into the blue yonder for a while, and then return. After about a year, he had to sell up.
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Old 19-04-2011, 22:23   #14
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

Quote:
Originally Posted by positron View Post
I would say that you do not have enough money to purchase a cruising yacht in Australia. All of the above would require a major refit (purchase price again) at those prices . We had a budget almost twice yours in the same 35-38ft range and I have decided to keep the nose on the stone for a while longer. The quality of yachts here in Australia is shocking for the asking price.
Please read the above ten times at least as he is on the money. The boats you are looking at will require buckets full of $$.
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Old 20-04-2011, 00:56   #15
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Re: Buying a boat in the US vs Oz

Excellent advice all. Thank you. I've PM'd some of you to ask further about fit out - thank you for the responses.

I have to say I'm a little surprised. I've been reading this forum for quite a while and what I love about it is all of the positive encouragement... "just get on out there" attitude.

Many of the boats I was looking at come with enough gear to start sailing *now*. I am in my early 30's and I don't need AC or refrigeration or much of the shiny gear advertised in the sailing mags. I guess I'm a little enamored with the 60's 70's young (mostly French?) sailors who cruised the pacific on a puff of wind (or an oily rag?) and a fishing line.

I saved for a long time and have what I thought was a substantial budget for boat purchase ($50,000 - $70,000) for doing liveaboard coastal cruising. I am happy to admit I may be really mis-informed! Maybe this is not enough. I was hoping it was. I'm trying hard not to filter my advice into only what I 'want' to hear... but... any second opinions?

Either way I *really* appreciate the advice... that's why I love CF
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