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Old 05-11-2010, 08:23   #1
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Three-Year Plan for First Ocean Crossing

Hello all,

This past summer I took my Pearson 26 from NYC to the Easternmost point in Maine and back on a 31 day trip covering 1,400 nautical miles. It was an incredible feeling, having prepared well and executed the trip successfully, and I was especially impressed by the 4 days we spent on an offshore passage across the Gulf of Maine. I think my 4 friends and I pushed that great little boat nearly to its limits in terms of range, power, storage and comfort. It was also well worth the several thousand dollars I invested in my boat to make the trip. The boat is now fully equipped and ready for more, even though I am sure its resale value is not that much improved.

Although I will happily continue sailing around the New York region for many years on my boat, I want to think about going to the next level. I would like to make a plan for an ocean crossing in the next few years. I am a teacher and I have July and August off every year. Someday I will take more time off for sailing but right now that's what I'm working with. I should be able to recruit 2 or 3 of my close friends as crew.

I have come to terms with the fact that my little boat is not up to the task, so I will need to get something larger. I have noticed that prices here in the US for used boats are very low right now, perhaps more so than elsewhere. Would it be possible, then, to buy a boat, outfit it as necessary, sail it to Western Europe and sell it there? I am not a professional delivery captain and I don't expect to make a profit, but I'm thinking I could offset some of the costs of making the trip by selling to boat afterwards.

So, there are a myriad of questions and variables to such a journey....

Is there really a price advantage between the US and Europe for used sailboats? If so, is that gap likely to stick around for a few years?

What would be the best overall boat, first for a safe and enjoyable crossing and second for a relatively low initial cost with decent resale value? If it is cheap to begin with, I won't mind losing some money on it. If it were more expensive I would have to be able to expect most of the money back.

What country would be the best destination for this trip? I'm guessing the most important factors would be a nice location, a seller's market and a lack of legal obstacles. Spain? France? Italy? Since the trip will not take two months, I would have a bit of time left to sell the boat. Of course, if it could be arranged in advance that would be infinitely better. I don't know if that would be possible.

I am open to all suggestions, both general and specific. Thanks a lot!

Jack
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:32   #2
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Just the little problem of the 17.5% to 22% Value Added Tax and there is a European Safety Certification but that may not apply to an older boat. Even a VAT paid European boat in the US or Caribbean looses its Paid Status after 3 yrs.

This link may explain some of the rules.

HM Revenue & Customs
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:53   #3
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There is the traditional Round the Atlantic currents and winds. Canaries to Barbodoes, to Florida, up the east coast, then straight across to Ireland keeping south of the Ice regions.
It might take three years but there are safe places to leave boats, and CF skippers to nursemaid your treassure until you fly back to her.
Plan to keep it, you'll never want to sell it anyway!
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:11   #4
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Yikes, Moondancer. Those regulations and taxes look pretty tough. That could be a deal breaker for sure. Any workarounds that people know of?

I like your idea, Eleven. But what is a CF skipper? Are you suggesting I charter it out or just dry dock it between legs?

What would the most logical legs be to this trip? Keep in mind I am starting in New York. So maybe
Summer #1: New York to Canaries.
Summer #2: Canaries to Barbados
Summer #3 Barbados back up to NY
Is that what you were thinking?

And finally, what would a reliable but affordable boat be for this sort of undertaking? Something around 35 feet, I'd venture.

Does anyone have any other ways to work sailing a boat across an ocean with two months free in the summer on a teacher's salary with a few years to plan and/or save up?

Help keep the dream alive!
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:40   #5
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CF Skipper. A CruisersForum member and boat owner local to your parking spot that can keep an eye on things for you.
It seems a shame to miss out on the med, but that's another option, just charter for some of the prime spots.
The planning for supplies will depend on the numbers on board and the leg lengths between supply points. Boat speed affects that too.
UK lift out to park on the hard has just cost me 500 sterling for the lifts and next to nothing for the parking space. Marina's are dearer but you really want the boat out of the water to stop the weed growth on the bottom. Most yards will supervise engineering support etc should you need it. Good luck with your plans, it will be one hell of an adventure.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:51   #6
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Have an idea

Have you considered going the other way?

You might be better off finding an American yacht for sale in Europe. Many times, people with your dream cross over to Europe and find out about the problems Moondancer mentioned too late. They have to pay VAT and then are faced with CE. Because their yacht will not pass CE, they only can sell her to foreigners looking to cross back the other way to the US. They have to sell for less than they could have asked for in the USA.

If you want to cross the Atlantic, find an American boat stranded in Europe. I have done this kind of deal. You'll be going downwind in warmer weather too and end up partying in the Caribbean?
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:50   #7
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I like your idea.

You will need to study up on the taxes and regs and market for different boats and try to figure out what is in demand over there and can be sold profitably even with the taxes. I know that a number of boats are brought from the U.S. to Europe so I think there must be something or another which is worthwhile to do this way.

As to what boat -- matter of taste, isn't it? We can't answer that question for you.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:00   #8
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As the US government keeps printing more money and the dollar falls against the euro, the purchase of a boat in the US for sale in Europe gets more and more attractive. The CE issue can be addressed by buying a CE certified boat in the US--for example I have an older Beneteau built in France, and don't think CE certification would be an issue.

The euro is now up to $1.40--the last time it was that high there was a steady stream of ships coming into Newport to load up with US purchased boats and deliver them to Europe.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:01   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
What would the most logical legs be to this trip? Keep in mind I am starting in New York. So maybe
Summer #1: New York to Canaries.
Summer #2: Canaries to Barbados
Summer #3 Barbados back up to NY
No, no! Sail all the way across the North Atlantic just to see the Canaries? Then back? Skipping the entire Atlantic coast of Europe + the Med? That's madness; don't do it!

I would suggest something more like this:

Summer #1: New York to Falmouth, SW coast of England. Then cruise S coast of England. Leave the boat in the water and come back during the fall. Have the boat hauled and put on the hard after you spend your Christmas holidays on board.

Summer 2: England to Normandy, Brittany, Biscay, Portugal, Gib. Leave the boat in Alicantra (cheap & warm; all year sailing). Spend Christmas holidays and Spring Break on board. Leave the boat in the water.

Summer 3: Med coast of Spain, France, Corsica, Sardinia, Tunisia, Sicily.

Summer 4: Explore the Adriatic.

Summer 5: Adriatic to Aegean. Explore Aegean Greece & Turkey.

etc. etc. etc. etc.

Just one note to this: As a U.S. flagged vessel you will have to be careful about the EU "temporary import" regime. You have to be sure to leave the EU at least once every 18 months. Leaving the EU means sailing, even for one day, but with bulletproof documentation that you did it, to the Channel Islands, Tunisia, Morrocco, Croatia, Turkey, etc. It is not that inconvenient but you have to be careful to follow the letter of the law and document it perfectly.

There is another problem in places like Spain where if you (person, not boat) are deemed to be a resident there by virtue of having spend 181 days or something like that physically present there, then you are liable to some local taxes. Don't think this will be your problem.

Yet another consideration is that as a non EU citizen you are meant to spend no more than 6 months in the EU without spending 6 months out. I think that this would also not be your problem.
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:17   #10
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Wow! Thanks for the input, all.

I have to keep reminding myself of the total costs involved. Buying a boat and keeping it in various places in Europe over the course of a few years is probably not realistic for me. I definitely want to explore the Mediterranean, but chartering something out there probably makes more sense for that trip. Dalmation Coast perhaps? That will have to be a separate thing.

What I want out of this trip is to have the experience of making a real ocean crossing as a skipper. Europe to US or US to Europe both sound like good options, but I think US to Europe would be easier in some ways. Most of all because I could get the boat in advance and take my time getting it ready, and getting some practice on it. Jordanshipīs idea of finding a stranded US boat and sailing it back sounds good, but I donīt know how I could arrange that in time to make the trip. I wouldnīt want to buy a sailboat sight unseen.

The trick then, as Dockhead said, is finding something in the US that will still be sold at a favorable price after VAT and CE costs. But remember, Iīm not out to make a profit. I feel comfortable losing some money on this venture, within reason. It seems like there are a lot of really good deals around here...
1973 MORGAN 36T sailboat for sale in New York
1975 PaceShip Sloop sailboat for sale in Maryland

Do you guys know of any other websites I can watch to get an idea of relative prices in different countries? Any other factors Iīm not thinking of besides exchange rates, VAT, and CE costs? How quickly will can I expect to find a buyer, or would I try to arrange that to some extent in advance?

Thanks a lot for the help-this is exciting!

Jack
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:47   #11
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Jack, you might find it easier to sell a European manufactured boat in Europe. The big builders are Jeanneau, Beneteau, Bavaria, slightly more up market anything from Sweden like Halberg Rassy. From the UK, Moody and Westerley are well respected marks.

Your best website for this to give you an idea of prices in Europe will be Yacht World.

2005 Jeanneau Sun Fast 37 Sail New and Used Boats for Sale

I like Dockheads plan, NY to Bermuda is 700 miles, Bermuda to the Azores 2200, and Azores to England 1200 or so.

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Old 06-11-2010, 13:36   #12
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I think right now EU sucks for selling a boat. I know it is a bit better in the North - UK, Holland, Germany. Down South marinas are full of boats 'for sale'. I think they would go, except the prices here are ... well, weird?

I would buy a boat in the US and sell it in the US - think a trip to West Indies and back or an offshore voyage to Hawaii perhaps.

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Old 06-11-2010, 14:24   #13
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The RCD could be a killer for selling a US boat in Europe.

Recreational Craft Directive | Regulations & Safety | Information & Advice | RYA
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Old 06-11-2010, 17:58   #14
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Just to be clear on a few things

RCD , Recreational craft directive , any boat Irrespective of age must pass this set of requirments before being sold in the EU. The CE mark is the " conformity European" symbol that's then affixed. ( CE is on virtually everything sold in the EU from pencils to computers )

For a yacht not so certified you can get post construction certification costs about 10k euros

VAT will be due at whatever rate the buyer country has. Ranges from 15% ( the EU minimum ) to 25 %

Temporary import relief , this means that if the beneficial owner is not a EU tax resident then vat is waived for 18 months this can be reset by leaving the EU customs territory for 1 day

Schlengen. While your boat is allowed to stay for 18 months. You are only allowed 90 days spread amongst all the " schlengen" countries. ( basically all of the EU and Norway excluding Ireland and the UK). It's 90 days in 180 so after 90 days are up you have to leave the schlengen area for another 90 days.

Buying a boat in the US that is VAT paid. Boats exported outside the EU that were originally VAT paid can retain their VAT status indefinitely as long as the boat isn't sold outside the EU. The three years is not a hard and fast number. Returned Goods Relief as it's known can be extended almost indefinitely.

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Old 06-11-2010, 19:06   #15
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I'd sail her over to Europe.

Store her ashore until the next year and do a couple of months in Europe.

3rd year sail her back to US. (or go further afield)

Storage (and flights) will cost a few dollars (and maintanence from a distance a PITA / $$) but more certain than betting on fx movements and a s/h boat market. but probably in the 1,000's rather than the 10's of.
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