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Old 08-04-2012, 05:22   #1
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Buying a Cat in the Mediterranean?

Hi all - anyone currently engaged in the process of buying a cat in the Med area?

I've been following the fortunes of 15 or so listed yachts (Lagoons and FPs 38ft - 43ft) watching as they (with one exception) don't sell and the prices creep slowly South (I guess the average price of my selection is now down to Euro160,000). There's a great variety around that price band - some newer (2005) obvious ex-charters and other older (1999) very well equipped long-distance cruisers.

I'm still awaiting the sale of my house to take the plunge (hopefully this summer) but was interested to hear tales from those currently negotiating a similar purchase. Also, VAT and survey aside, what other costs are directly connected with such a purchase - I'm thinking of broker's costs, legal advice, notaries, etc.

Many thanks
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:42   #2
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

why not buy a new 380 for around 200 euros ex VAT
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:13   #3
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

It did cross my mind, but my budget is limited - I'm hoping to buy eventually for around Euro125,000 - and with a family of five I felt 38 ft probably wouldn't be big enough.
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Old 08-04-2012, 18:46   #4
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

200k won't go far when buying new. You want electronics? cockpit cushions, davits, a tender? Maybe even a watermaker, larger batteries, solar? It all adds up. Plus VAT of course. You can blow a new Lagoon 380 up to 350k EUR without any problem - and still miss things.

I did the same thing as you want to do: buying in the med in late 2010, but with a slightly higher budget. You typically don't have to deal with broker, notary and de-registration fees.
Your expense starts with the buying price (which of course includes brokers comission but it's hidden to you) and everything that comes after de-registration. That is registration cost, possibly VAT, repair & maintenance and mooring costs.

You are at the bottom of the price range for a used production cat of that size & age so you will have to accept a number of issues, be it cosmetical or technical, lack of maintenance or real defects.
Normal maintenance after buying means you have to do a full service to everything on board: winches, OB engines, diesels, generators, saildrives, etc.
Just 2 yanmar saildrive gaskets and the lower seals will set you off 1900 EUR for parts, plus ~500 EUR labor cost and haulout. Most likely antifouling and some gelcoat scratch repairs as well while she is out of the water.
This is just normal maintenance and you need to budget for fixing real issues as well, something like 5-10k EUR on top of everything else should keep you reasonably safe in case the motor breaks down or a sail blows out. Hopefully you don't need it.


Don't underestimate mooring costs, that could be a lot depending where you are looking to keep the boat. Even a very small cat in well situated Marinas will cost 10+k EUR a year, a good sized family cruiser in a premier marina more like 20+k EUR - if you can find a space at all as many have waiting lists for permanent berths.
A day's sail away it will be just a fraction of that.

Most boats on the market are lowered very slowly, so they are sitting there for ages to find a buyer.
That typically means not maintained, possibly even not used at all. So things don't get better by waiting for the price to lower, the value is lower too.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:58   #5
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

Thanks rabbi - that's very helpful. We will be live aboard cruising so after affecting exactly the type of repairs/upgrades you specify we intend to reduce marina fees to the bear minimum. We could go a little higher (perhaps euro140,000 for the right boat).

Would be interested to a little more about your search - how long did it take to find the right boat? What is it? What country did you eventually buy in? Any problems/lessons learned?

Our intention is to base ourselves in, eg, Italy or Greece for 6 months and conduct a systematic search for available/appropriate boats.
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Old 10-04-2012, 13:28   #6
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

It took me about a year to find her. I looked at dozens of cats of all types in a price bracket around 150k EUR, in Croatia, Italy, France, Spain, UK, St. Maarten, Martinique.

Your budget is tight, so you need to find a bargain. If 140k is the full budget including maintenance and repair to bring her to full offshore standards then it will be very very tight and you need to be very lucky.

Interestingly VAT paid vs no VAT paid doesn't really make a difference in the asking price. Almost all cats advertised as VAT not paid are charter boats, but there are rare exceptions (e.g. where a small business owned the private boat of the company owner).

I found our cat while I was in the Caribbean looking for other cats. I was completely disappointed with what was available within our budget range and one night surfed Yachtworld to find other options when I I stumbled over a just reduced Lagoon 410. Contacts with the broker showed a complete lack of marketing skills on her side. She forgot to mention it was a first owner boat, she forgot that VAT had been paid, missed most of the expensive equipment and did not really stress that this boat was still in mint condition.
Two weeks later the deal was completed: I finished my scheduled viewings in the caribbean, flew back to germany, then to Spain, viewed, had a survey done and paid cash (really cash, lots of 500 EUR bills). Not to mention we had christmas in between and I got stuck in foreign airports twice due to snow. Challenging time but the owner insisted the deal be completed still in that year.

We cruised one year from the Med to the Caribbean and have just sold the boat (still living on board as we will handover in a few weeks). The boat was only listed for one week and was sold for a fair price (more than we paid for but we did lots of upgrades).


Lessons learned:
Don't limit your search on a certain model unless you really want this and nothing else. If it's just for sailing a few years and then selling on it might be better to just look for any sort of bargain in standard models.

If you buy in Spain be sure you get the boat completely de-registered at the seller's expense. Spanish paperwork is a pain, takes ages and costs a fortune if you can't do it yourself. De-registration was 9 weeks while my registration in germany took only 3 days.

Whatever boat you buy, have some funds left for fixing things. Even if the boat looks perfect, you will blow out a few thousand EUR in the first month just for overdue maintenance.
If you are good with yuor hands, do everything yourself and bring the parts & tools from home. There is no cheaper way of getting things done, e.g. I can get typical chandlery stuff on the German ebay for a fraction of the cost in Spain. Plus I don't have to drive around for ages to find the right shop for certain parts or even worse: Tools. Probably spain is special in this regard.
The internet has how-tos for almost everything. If you don't know how to service a winch, just look at youtube. And after servicing it you understand how it works and can repair it easily.

I doubt it's useful to base yourself in italy or Greece. That just narrows your search, it might be better to get intimate with all cheap airlines flying to these destinations.

Where do you come from and what are you looking for? Would a Privilege 37 fully equipped for a circumnavigation fit your needs?
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:55   #7
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

Many thanks for that Rabbi - extremely helpful!

We are a family of 5 (three children under 6 years old) and are hoping to cruise for a good number of years. We are on a fairly tight purchase budget, but mainly because we want to leave a tidy cruise budget. Take your point about the costs of initial maintance/upgrades. We are based in Devon on the south coast. The idea of the Med comes (mainly) from wanting an extended holiday after 5 years of solid child care! We would base ourselves somewhere with close access to cheap flights, but that's up for negotiation when we finally sell our house.

The Privilege sounds interesting though I thought we would be looking at at least 40ft for a family of our size.....? Always keen to hear more though. Anyway I'm in the process of updating my sailing skills while we wait for the next development.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:35   #8
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dominiccc View Post
The Privilege sounds interesting though I thought we would be looking at at least 40ft for a family of our size.....?
Depends if your kids are happy to share cabins. If they are and it works well then a 3 cabin Privilege would be OK. If not, you need 4 cabins.
Unless you hope to get some friends as company on the longer passages, then you would need the 4th cabin anyway.
We loved the large cockpit, salon area and wide open net of our Lagoon 410. Something that our cruising buddies in their Lagoon 380 S2 missed as it's a much smaller boat in these areas (not in the cabins).

On a side note: Cruising with 3 kids in that age is going to be tough. It's fun when you arrive somewhere with a beach but beware that it can be very tough on a passage. Doing a long shorthanded passage without kids is not a problem as both of you can get enough sleep (weather permitting of course). But adding three of these little monsters will exhaust you much much more, as they want some entertainment during the daylight hours, eating lots of your off-watch / sleeping time.

To keep our sanity we changed our watch system soon after leaving coastal waters, so that the night watches were spent sleeping in 15minute intervalls.

And: I would strongly suggest to get a decent backup for the only reliable friend that you have in such a situation: The autopilot and everything that goes along with this like batteries, electricity, etc. Even better a windvane with separate rudder setup.
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Old 13-04-2012, 05:42   #9
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

Very useful again, thanks. We'll certainly keep long passages to a minimum, possibly taking experienced crew (hence use for a fourth cabin) and joining the appropriate rally. I think the 410 is the one for us, although, as yet, we haven't set foot on one!
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Old 13-04-2012, 06:12   #10
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

With a budget of 125k EUR you won't get a decent 410 unless you run into a huge bargain. If you find one, typically in the Caribbean or sometimes in Greece, the are worn and run down ex-charter, in need of a refit that will bring the price back to 150k EUR or more.
If you want to cruise, try to buy from a fellow cruiser as they have tons of stuff on board that you will need or want sooner or later. Watermakers, gensets, SSB, radar, AIS, solar and windgen are the big items. Stuff like fishing rods, a dinghy anchor, spare lines, a spinnaker, a hammock, some sun awnings, larger batteries, old spare sails, and tons of other stuff are the smaller items easily overlooked.

To give you a feeling for the market:
This one is/was ours, recently sold within a week after listing for a price close to asking - and in hindsight I am sure I could have sold for asking. We are still cruising on her but slowly preparing to hand over.
For Sale: Lagoon 410: Well equipped - ready to go - EUR 160,000
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Old 13-04-2012, 06:21   #11
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

My wife and i have just signed for a second hand Lagoon 440, it is immaculate in condition with amazing extras on board i.e. chilled water air con, eperbascher heating, med style ss hydraulic boarding gangway, forward looking sonar, docking cameras, self flushing watermaker and Profurl electric furling in boom.. All these extras are way above what we looked for or expected, it is a 2007 model with 650 hours on engines, all upholstery, cushions and sails look as though they were sewn last week.

The owner has TOTALLY looked after this boat as though it was family it is perfect! Also he had it slipped and detailed de-winterised last week and has given us the reciept for in excess of 12,000 Euros!!!!! We can have his Marina pen for 3 months till his new boat arrives, are we happy? YES!

Wednesday we move in after searching the world for just such a boat, buying in the Med from a private owner has worked very well for us......
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Old 13-04-2012, 06:48   #12
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

I bet you spent a tad more than 125k EUR...

Congratulations, nice boat.
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Old 13-04-2012, 06:58   #13
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

Thanks yes we did but the boats in the Med seem to be much better presented, they lack some gear but have way less use due to seasons.

To buy the equiv in USA would mean 25% more $$$'s We know we have done it.

Cheers....
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Old 13-04-2012, 07:54   #14
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

Congratulations on your respective sales and purchases!

Lagoon4us - What country did you buy in? Any problems/issues in the purchasing process for you..? And, if I may be so bold, what percentage did you manage to negotiate off the asking price, or was the asking price reasonable in the first place?

Rabbi - your boat was on my list! I'm not expecting miracles for Euro125k....I would love to get a Lagoon 440 equipped like yours...I might even manage to find a little extra cash .........!
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Old 13-04-2012, 08:31   #15
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Re: Buying a cat in the mediterranean?

Dom, Ty i've experienced through the boats wev'e looked at that most are fudged by 20%, I'm not revealing where we are right now until closing is completed on wednesday.
The asking price on 6 Lagoon 440's we have closely looked at were out of our budget however in the end money speaks.
If you truly are serious and have the funds ready you will find a seller who will agree, it just takes time, research and perserverance!
The last three we were considering were owned by wealthy people awaiting delivery of Lagoon 450's simple as that. In there eyes they wanted out.....
In our eyes we got more than we thought we could or would.....
Cheers
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