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Old 26-04-2007, 06:58   #1
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The eternal boat search

I'm really interested getting your opinion on the pro's and con's for my plan to buy a 3-4 year old ex charter boat for a years liveaboard in the Caribbean.(my wife and I). Probably start in Florida in December

He's my current thinking

My total budget is around $200,000.
I want something that's pretty much ready to go, and was thinking about a 2 cabin Jeanneau or Bennateau around the 42' range.

Is buying this kind of boat a good idea !
What about performance issues ? What am I missing?

Love to know your thoughts.:


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Old 26-04-2007, 07:54   #2
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I've met a few people who have done this with reportedly good results. By definition these boats have far more wear and tear than a comparable age yacht club boat. Also, these boats are generally not well equiped for extended cruising. OTOH, their basic systems are often well maintained because the charter companies have to maintain them to keep the boats in service. And they should be priced less than a privately owned yacht of similar age. Probably the most important thing is a thorough survey by someone you have some reason to trust.

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Old 26-04-2007, 08:11   #3
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I may be wrong; but I don’t believe that charter companies dispose of boats after only 3-4 years.
I do know that most ex-charter boats, I’ve seen (and re-fit):
~ maximize the number of persons they can accommodate for shorter durations (hence, less suitable for live-aboard cruising couples)
~ perform essential repairs, but do NOT maintain a “Bristol” boat (hence, require considerable repairs prior to private cruiser’s use).
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Old 26-04-2007, 08:42   #4
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I would normally counsel to avoid a charter boat for cruising. only are looking for a one year liveaboard in the carribbean. My suggestion would be to find a boat that is IN the the BVI's and buy it there...saving the time and hassle and $$ of outfitting the boat for an extended passage. You need add NOTHING to a charter boat that is already in the islands to enjoy it for a year in the Caribe other than maybe a GPS/MAP. You will get it at a subsatantial discount to a normal boat of that make/model/age due to the charter history....and depreciation in one year should be minimal.
Makes sense to me.
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Old 26-04-2007, 12:50   #5
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Certainly get a reputable surveyor to check out ANY boat you want to buy. There's a lot of IVAN damaged boats around the Caribbean .... and probably up the East coast by now ...... that have been patched up COSMETICALLY ..... i.e. a proper STRUCTURAL repair has not been carried out.
ANY previously owned boat will probably be recently polished and the hull may look fine. After say 6 months of weathering you could find that the gel coat has been patched up, with each vintage of gel coat weathering at a different rate. A heavily used charter boat is very likely to have bow and side damage, particularly bare boats. With full internal mouldings it may be impossible to identify any repairs.
A charter boat could be a good buy .... but you will probably be better off by buying a better equiped cruiser's boat: electronics are costly and private boats tend to be better equiped: what makes a comfortable cruiser is ofen opposite to what makes a good charter boat, i.e. use of space: and a cruisers boat is usually better looked after and has less wear.
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Old 26-04-2007, 13:21   #6
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You may try to find an owner with a boat that is available for charter for that year for a reasonable cost instead of buying one and spending a fair amount fixing or upgrading it. There are probably some boat owners down there who will not be using their boat and instead of storing it or leaving it at the dock, would probably be willing to charter it to you. Apart from the fee, you would probably need to purchase insurance etc., but I would think that the time saved and not tying up your capital, spending who knows how much on upgrades and then trying to sell the boat after the year would be much more costly and time consuming than this method. Even a fee of say $25,000 would not be out of line as you could earn that much on your $200,000 in a decent investment or not paying loan interest. A prime source could be an absentee owner who wants to sell the boat but is not in a great rush and would charter to you for a year - I'll bet there are a few of these situations out there.

This is moot however if you wish to purchase to keep the boat afterwards - then you will get alot of different advice on this site as to what to look for in a long term cruising boat.

In any event, good luck with your plans.
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Old 27-04-2007, 13:03   #7
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Originally Posted by Tim Whaley
I'm really interested getting your opinion on the pro's and con's for my plan to buy a 3-4 year old ex charter boat for a years liveaboard in the Caribbean.(my wife and I). Probably start in Florida in December
I have never been to the Caribbean or Chartered a boat anywhere..........but I never try to let minor technicalities prevent me from giving my opinion

I also tend to like to at least look at unorthodox approaches and from views I have read and heard over many years buying an ex-charter boat is a sure way to bankruptcy and death - BUT I am thinking that if the boat has already proved itself suitable for the area you are intending, is still basically sound (and just cos' a boat is out of charter does not automatically mean the keel then falls off!) and I was not intending to enhance and then equip one from stem to stern to be capable of rounding Cape Horn in a gale and especially if I was looking at only a year or two I would certainly consider an ex-charter boat if for no other reason than she would be a popular model which should not be great problem to sell on quickly enough (I.e. you are not waiting for Salty McSeadog from the Clan McSeadog who is planning to sail up Mount Everest - just Mr & Mrs average joe punter. and their are far more of the latter )

The layout may not (or may?) be ideal, but IME boats rarely are. Extra bunks / cabins will soon get filled with stuff if not bodies.

Just do the sums including on what you think will need replacing and whether you are doing the work or someone else. If you don't feel the need for her to be equipped like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise in THIS year's flavour of computer mumbo jumbo nav wotsits it will keep yer costs down......but I would assume that you will be taking a hit overall when you come to sell (and be pleasantly surprised if you don't lose too much) , but a year or so on holiday in the Caribbean on a boat is never going to be free

Regarding the approach of buying a boat "properly" equipped and already been tried and tested by long term cruising use, IME some folk tend to assume that all other folk who venture away for long periods of time do so on boats that are "properly" equipped for the purpose and have been maintained to a high standard, "just in case" they encounter a hurricane etc. Perhaps it is because their own boats are and just over assume that others are as well?

Whereas perhaps some (many?) folk who are selling boats that have spent time as long term cruisers are doing so cos' the money is on a budget (or has run out ) and that perhaps their boats have been maintained accordingly, albeit maybe still more than well enough to island hop for many a year??? In any case you should ask yourself do you really need or actually want a boat that is built and equipped for Cape Horn......and beyond

Oh, and do not forget to add in the cost of delivery to your cruising area, both in cash and time / aggro when doing yer sums.
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Old 27-04-2007, 13:55   #8
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Capital idea, Benny! . . .

Tim, I whole-heartedly endorse everything Benny stated, above, and the only thing I would add is that if you did spend $200k buying the yacht, and were so fortunate as to sell it for $200k one year later, you will still be out $20k in commission if a broker is involved. as is most often the case.

If you can find a long-term charter or lease on a boat that suits your needs/wants, I think that is the way to go. I don't know of anyone who's actually done it, so I can't suggest who you approach to get the ball rolling, but talking to charter operators down there seems logical. Even if they say they don't have a vessel in their fleet that is a good candidate, or that they've never done it that way before, it may only be because no one has asked before. Once you lay a proposal on the table, and they have some time to think about it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you got a call back with something that would work for you.

If you truly know that this is a short-term commitment to a boat, more a fling than a marriage, I think chartering a single boat for the time you want her is a brilliant option. And, if you have the $200k already, I think earning $25k/year on it (12.5% ROI) is doable.

Good luck!

Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey
I have never been to the Caribbean or Chartered a boat anywhere..........but I never try to let minor technicalities prevent me from giving my opinion
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Old 27-04-2007, 20:39   #9
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Aloha Tim,
With a budget of $200K you could probably buy anything I would ever want. Why would you choose a Beneteau that has been chartered? There are lots of boats in your budget that haven't been chartered and are better for bluewater work.
Kind Regards,
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Old 28-04-2007, 00:53   #10
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Originally Posted by taojones

I love ths, DOJ! You have to be the most amiable Nazi that's ever been!

Thanks. I think

(Actually I stopped reading that thread well before it stopped, cos' I do have a tendency to get sucked into stuff and post my views that on later reflection I do kinda regret expressing for reasons of maintaining harmony. Honesty. not all it's cracked up to be ).

Was thinking about the $200k budget again last night. mostly along the lines of "that would be nice to have" The long term charter would certainly be something to at least look into. Whilst I suspect that most major Charter companies would not want to do an affordable deal on a boat that they were otherwise renting out at $XX a week, maybe they would consider keeping one in Charter for an extra year because they have a certainty of income coupled with less work to do?

Certainly I would expect the smaller charter companies to be more flexible. although $25k for a year ($500 / 250 a week) does seem rather cheap.

I recall that it at one time in NZ (and probably elsewhere) that you could rent cars for the medium term from "Rent a Wreck" (??), I beleive the deal was that you bought an older (but still ok) car, but with a guaranteed buy back figure - the key was that the maintanence / risks were down to you. Of course a boat is a somewhat more complicated beast than a car and the sums involved are bigger, as is the capacity for folks to fook up

But, as already said, if you don't ask - you don't get ........and I am sure if Tim does get some sort of long term rental deal I will not be the only one who would be interested to hear about it.
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Old 28-04-2007, 16:39   #11
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This thread has set me thinking.

Chartering is usually over a short period (two weeks?) and is normally confined to a limited area.

I could imagine that charter companies would not be happy allowing "their" expensive boat out of their sight.

Costing a $200k yacht for a year gives a rough figure of $50k which is quite a bit of play money.

So, first thought: What about a succession of charters. Work out how long to enjoy each area and just do a regular (if a bit longer than normal) charter. Easy. Saves all those long, boring trips and by combining with land based accommodation would not be any more expensive. Could do virtually major cruising area on the planet in a year this way.

Second, charter from a private owner, someone who has a yacht in good condition that that won't be using for a year. This one has more apparent problems. Again I don't think that there would be too many private owners who would let a $200k asset vanish from the country, and insurance underwriters would not be ecstatic either. Possibly a buy and buy back arrangement might work.

But the best from where I am sitting would be the original idea. Buy a popular fibreglass boat with an established resale value. Do a deal with a broker in the area where you plan to end up to sell the boat before you start. Be prepared to have a few prospective buyers fly in to see the boat and keep their desires in mind as the inevitable repairs, modifications and upgrades occur (buying a boat is often a long term decision).

It takes such a long time to prepare an old boat for cruising that there must be quite a few cash rich/time poor buyers looking, just like you.

In a perfect worlds you could step off the boat and the next owner could step on (with others waiting).
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Old 01-05-2007, 20:33   #12
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Got me thinking...

Thanks for all the advice and opinions out there. Collectively, I'm now not sold on buying ex-charter so that's helped a ton. You've got me thinking about the idea of chartering for a year rather than buying and am going to go away and think about it. It's also occurred to me that we could do a house/boat swap as we have a house on the water on Georgian Bay in Ontario (Canada) which we planned to rent out whilst away. Just maybe someone is looking for a year sailing Lasers, sleeping in a king bed and taking loooong showers for a change?!

If anyone out there knows anyone who could be interested, I'm totally open to suggestions or offers...(although I better share my brilliant idea with my wife before committing!)..


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