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Old 19-11-2014, 03:18   #1
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Newbie wants a CAT

Hello all,

I've been reading up on the forums here and elsewhere for a while regarding catamarans... now I am ready to take the plunge but I have some serious questions whose answer might help me out.... about me: US citizen, FL resident, will be in MD for a couple of months Dec & Jan 2014/15...

1. What is the acceptable asking vs bid price for say a 2007 Lagoon owners version sitting in Panama... asking price is 220K... what would be reasonable (not ZRERO) low/medium/high bid numbers? And the bid would be a pre-survey one open to change if short-comings are discovered.

2. Does anyone know of a 2007and newer (I am a complete newbie re maintenance so I would like to approach a gradual learning curve) 37ft - 42ft cruising catamaran (that is not a one of a kind) for under 200K?

3. How difficult IS maintenance. I have read a lot of horror stories and watched that new movie with Robert Redford (probably not a great idea right now). Can one (preferably myself) get to ALL internal systems while afloat (i.e. water hoses, electrical cabling, etc.) by removing panels or are these items too difficult to reach?

4. I'm looking to "fill her up" and find a deserted island in the Caribbean...

5. Do I NEED an ASA Catamaran certificate? Does it have any benefits toward the insurance? And speaking of insurance, what would annual insurance on something like this (between 150K and 200K, 37-42ft, 2007+) catamaran look like?

...and finally, any tips or "watch-outs" for a first time buyer?
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Old 19-11-2014, 05:05   #2
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

No deserted islands in the Caribbean but food is much cheaper in Panama than in the Caribbean Islands.

Insurance about 2 to 2.5% of value and hard/impossible to get for single handing.

My wife and I both have professional qualifications and even that does not appear to get me significantly cheaper insurance.

A lot of cruisers get stuck in Panama, we are there now and there are lots of broken down boats and sailors... It is hard work getting back to the US West Coast or even the Caribbean. If you are inexperienced as a sailor you might struggle. A friend has just finished a circumnavigation and he says the stretch from Aruba to Panama was the worst in the entire trip!

I would not offer more than 70% of asking price but much depends on the boat condition and the extras like generator, A/C, watermaker, electronics etc and why the boat is being sold. At 8 years old much, sails etc, will be in need of replacement not hard to due and most jobs can be done in the water but if you pay for the work done you will pay $50+/hour with a 50% chance of finding someone competent! Boat yards and marinas are expensive especially on the Pacific side.

Parts are easily and quickly shipped in from the US but the local dealers charge outrageous prices for locally sourced parts. I was quoted $700 for something that cost me $330 to ship in.

If you are inexperienced it is much easier to buy in the Caribbean.
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Old 19-11-2014, 05:07   #3
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

Might want to look at all types of boats first, your ideas may change.
I've never had any kind of sailing certificates, all my insurance Co needed was to know that I had "big" boat experience, as I've got considerable experience with a 45' Sportfisherman, that was all they wanted to hear.
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Old 19-11-2014, 05:24   #4
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

Finding a boat in your size, price, year range will most likely be an ex charter boat or one needing alot of improvements and could end up needing more money than you think. A slightly older but updated and improved boat can end up being less work. Rigging, sails, electronics, ac, refrigeration, etc all wears out and is expensivee

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Old 19-11-2014, 05:30   #5
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

You didn't say what Lagoon but I found it. An L380 S2 which is a fine boat.
2006 Lagoon 380 S2 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
The engines have 7000 hours and that's a lot! That's like a car with 200,000 miles. My buddy bought a L380 in Panama and finding a surveyor was a joke. The boat was on the hard but he didn't even bother to try to power up any of the systems and totally missed the generator in the survey. Luckily it all turned out OK.
Panama has some really good places to cruise but is a really crappy place to sell/buy a boat and because of that boats usually have a good discount. You can get work done there but the engines hours are a nogo for me. The rule of thumb for engine replacement is $200 to $400 per 1 horsepower so you are looking at $12,000 to $24,000 right there. The saildrives might need attention too so more boatbucks. A boat buck is $1000 btw. And you would have to fly in a good surveyor too.
I'd look in the US or in those popular places in the Carib. Parts and surveyors are readily available.
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Old 19-11-2014, 06:03   #6
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

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Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
No deserted islands in the Caribbean but food is much cheaper in Panama than in the Caribbean Islands.
Well, there are plenty of deserted islands in the Carib. I've been to many of them, but this is another discussion.

To the original poster - how much sailing have you done? If little to none, you will have a hard time getting insurance as a first time owner. The first question an insurance company may ask is, "What other boats have you owned?" An answer of "none this size" is OK - IF you can show significant experience on OPBs (other people's boats or charter boats). But expect to be turned down and keep shopping.

Maintenance - Are you comfortable with fixing stuff on your car or around the house? Boat maintenance is just a different flavor, at most, for most things you will have to do. Generally, if you are competent with maintenance on other mechanical and electrical gizmos, boat maintenance will be mostly about learning as you go about different systems and components - and it's a continuous process. Some stuff you will likely choose to hire experts for as you may not have the skills, tools, etc.

In my view, expecting right off the bat to "fill her up" and find one of those numerous deserted islands is a pipe dream. Get real. This is like expecting to buy that first lottery ticket and immediately hit it rich. But with a realistic approach and a lot of learning and a lot of money, you can get there. Good luck.

2 Hulls Dave
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Old 19-11-2014, 09:57   #7
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

The Redford movie might be your point of reference here. Based on the movie he had. O idea how to operate or maintain that boat. That is a lot of boat for a newbie. And it is not like driving a car. Engine fails and you don't know how to sail that deserted island may be less attractive. Some insurance companies are not insuring if the rigging is over seven years old. I would suggest getting something around 30 ft as a learning boat. No how to plug a hole before you go
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Old 19-11-2014, 12:57   #8
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

Sounds like a job for Capt Ron !
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Old 19-11-2014, 14:09   #9
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

I have two suggestions.... First, find a good broker, and they will guide you through the process of buying a boat. Any broker should advise against that 380 with 7000 hours on the engines, or at least adjust the offer to compensate...

Second.. Spend some time reading here and other blogs. It will set your expectations for when you do get out there. The buddy that Sand Crab referred to is Nate from thenomadtrip.com. I suggest you read his blog as he does a good job vocalizing the highs and lows you can expect in the first year. Its certainly not a "fill her up and have rum drinks" kind of thing. There is a saying, "Cruising is just fixing your boat in exotic locations". Just some food for thought.

NOTE... My above suggestions are from my own research and not from experience. I'm in the same boat as you. I have an offer on a boat and plan to leave next year. I have spent 10 years working up to this.
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Old 19-11-2014, 18:54   #10
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

There is a saying, "Cruising is just fixing your boat in exotic locations". Just some food for thought.

The above saying should be Cruising is just fixing your boat in a bad storm on the lee side of a nasty coral Island.
I read everything I could get a hold of, before I bought my first actual cruising type boat.

I would say that your first boat should be a real junker, then if you lived through that and still liked to sail, you could buy a new boat. Mac
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Old 19-11-2014, 19:27   #11
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

You know, reading back through this post I realize its a little harsh..

CF can be very harsh on newbies and as a newbie I know how that can feel. Don't let the information here discourage you, make sure you learn from it. Cruising is not easy and most likely won't be what you expect.... but remember, there are retired cruising couples out there that had zero experience before buying their cruising boat. If they can do it, so can you! Just make sure your expectations are in line with reality.
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Old 20-11-2014, 04:00   #12
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

Hi Newbie, another Newbie here. I think I can give you some thoughts as I'm going through the same process as you right now. I have just closed on my Catamaran (2007 Leopard 40), gone through insurance and am embarking on the training journey starting tomorrow in fact.

I doubt you'll find what you're after for less than 200K. The big dilemma for you is going to be whether you want to buy a boat that needs a lot of work and will be a constant pain in the a#$ for you as your inaugural boat, which will very likely make your life miserable and make you hate cruising and your decision to take the plunge. For example, I found what I thought was the 'perfect' boat for sale, a Fortuna IS37 1999 for $165,000 USD. Went through the whole offer/acceptance/survey process and flew to Fiji to close. The boat was fully kitted for long-term cruising and had already been around the world twice. However, even before survey we started to notice all sorts of little problems and every time we started working on something it generated even more problems and things to fix. This went on for three days before the surveyor showed up. I had already noticed rust in the coolant in the starboard engine, broken tackle, cracking in many locations, solar panels only partially working and the list goes on. Owner pulled down the electrical panel and it was a total maze with obvious jury rigged electrical wiring everywhere etc. etc. The surveyor started with a moisture check which revealed multiple problems around the windlass and many other locations. He stopped after three hours and said, 'run, don't walk from this 'deal''. That saved me a lot of money and heartache but the whole experience still cost me $5000.

So I'm saying 'deals' can be found but you have to search and anything of the age you are looking at for 200K is gonna have problems as someone else has mentioned on here. I started with a 200K budget and after the first experience I upped my budget to 250K and ended up buying my Cat for $265K. That's not cheap for the model but it is an owners version and never chartered only 1700 hours on the motors pristine (Bristol) etc. and already mostly equipped for cruising. My advice would be to up your budget mate. What I've heard is lots of people get turned off cruising because of a bad boat at the start. Really, what's 50 or 100K over a lifetime? Not much.

Insurance? We are paying 1.3% of hull value with Lloyds. I can get you the contact information if you want it. We had to outline our training plan for them and we have some powerboat experience (I ran a fishing charter business before). It is hard to get though, we went through several options and some were 2-2.5% of hull value. After the first year we plan to get rid of the insurance except 3rd party liability. You don't need it unless losing the 250K is going to be financial ruin for you. I look at it like this, you can always get a job later!

Training: Lots of people on the forums here will tell you that you need to start in dinghies and work up. I don't buy it. I have a pilot background, I'm used to making risk-based decisions, know about weather and how to use a radio etc. But look, I flew Cessna 172s and I flew heavy jets and the principles are the same. Experience counts but it ain't everything. I know lots of pilots that have a ton of hours and are still shitty pilots. Same probably goes for sailing. I'll find out pretty soon. I've read 5 books on it now and it ain't rocket science. I start the practical this weekend and we've booked ASA 101, 102, 104 to get the day skipper qualification and ICC because in some countries you need that now or they impound your boat. That's as far as we intend to take the training. Rest will be experiential. I'll let you know how it goes. Most people say the best thing you can do is buy a boat and go for it. There is also a wide variance in the quality of training (just like pilot training) depending on your instructor and your school. Its hit and miss, but either way you pay for it. I'd say don't overdo the training focus on the experience and get the training on your own boat if you can (that's what we've arranged as this was strongly recommend to us by others).

Grab some books, buy the boat and off you go I say. But don't buy a 'fixer upper' that's my recommendation. Charter boats can be good buys in the BVI and Seychelles for instance but you have to plan to get it back there. There are delivery companies and you can join them as well which could be a great learning experience for you. I can put you in touch with some if you want. Went through all that already with the Fiji option. It isn't that expensive to do it but there can be a lot of hidden costs. I also have some literature on buying a Cat that helped us a lot. Make sure the deal is air tight I'll say that. Have offramps (ways to back out) in it. I highly doubt you can get an already cheap boat for 70% of ask price. Not my experience anyway. Most are priced a bit over market. I bought mine for 88% of ask price. It really depends how desperate people are to sell and where the boat is. That can make a huge difference. Hire a competent surveyor. There are certifications that some people have. We flew a guy in from New Zealand to do the Fiji one and hired an Aussie guy for our eventual purchase. Make sure you get a 'buyer' survey not a valuation survey and get a full report. Your insurance will need to look it over and make you fix the major ailments within a certain time as well. It pays to get a good survey.

Be honest about what type of cruising you're going to do too. We are committed to offshore voyaging but if you're not just yet you can do well with something smaller and cheaper that is perfect for island hopping, then upgrade later. And the costs aren't 'sunk' either. You can always sell if it doesn't work out. You'll lose on transaction costs but an older boat has already depreciated the bulk of what it will. Borrow an extra 50K. At 5% interest (get a home equity line of credit) that's only $2500 bucks a year in interest! Cheap!

The answers to almost all of your questions are on this forum, on other forums like noonsite or elsewhere on the web. If you've wondered it, someone else has too and there are alot of smart and experienced folks on these forums, even if some of them still think that you need to know how to navigate with a sextant with triple redundant GPS/charting systems with independent power sources!! LOL... Keep room for your 400 lbs of paper charts!

Good luck. Let me know if I can help in any way. I'll keep you posted on how I make out.

Millhouse
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Old 20-11-2014, 09:25   #13
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

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Really, what's 50 or 100K over a lifetime? Not much.
While I agree with a bunch of other things you said, this statement is insanity and very out of touch with reality. The fact is, its not like most people have 50 or 100K just sitting around. They would need to earn that amount before they could up their budget. 100K would delay most cruisers departure 8 - 10 years. That piece of advice goes against the advice I was given by every cruiser I spoke with, "Go smaller, Go now" is the usual advice!

My budget is very similar to the OPs and while difficult, its not impossible to get a quality boat for that price (especially in todays market). My suggestion would be to read everything you can find on modern cruising cats. Make a list, then narrow it down to 3. Meanwhile, read about marine surveys and learn as much as you can about boat systems. This will allow you to do an initial educated check of boats before spending money on a surveyor (after an initial check, hire a surveyor).

Then, and only then, get a GOOD broker and start your search. I would suggest you focus on the Caribbean as it has the largest number of cats for sale in fairly close proximity. Stay away from boats in hard to reach or expensive areas unless you are willing to pay the expenses (usually flying a surveyor in). GO SLOW and HAVE PATIENCE, it may take a year or more to find "the boat"!
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Old 20-11-2014, 13:31   #14
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
While I agree with a bunch of other things you said, this statement is insanity and very out of touch with reality. The fact is, its not like most people have 50 or 100K just sitting around. They would need to earn that amount before they could up their budget. 100K would delay most cruisers departure 8 - 10 years. That piece of advice goes against the advice I was given by every cruiser I spoke with, "Go smaller, Go now" is the usual advice!

My budget is very similar to the OPs and while difficult, its not impossible to get a quality boat for that price (especially in todays market). My suggestion would be to read everything you can find on modern cruising cats. Make a list, then narrow it down to 3. Meanwhile, read about marine surveys and learn as much as you can about boat systems. This will allow you to do an initial educated check of boats before spending money on a surveyor (after an initial check, hire a surveyor).

Then, and only then, get a GOOD broker and start your search. I would suggest you focus on the Caribbean as it has the largest number of cats for sale in fairly close proximity. Stay away from boats in hard to reach or expensive areas unless you are willing to pay the expenses (usually flying a surveyor in). GO SLOW and HAVE PATIENCE, it may take a year or more to find "the boat"!
Hi again. Well, I hear what you're saying and great advice you provide as well. What I said though was 'over a lifetime'. I agree that 50-100K is a fair chunk to save, my suggestion was to borrow it using a line of credit if you can get that. Not everyone can especially if you are quitting your job to go cruising. Another way would be to get a loan on the boat but you're going to pay 7-8% interest. If you can do the line of credit, using home equity for instance, the interest rates are very low. Most of these lines require an interest only payment. So if you borrow 50K at 5% you're only going to pay about 200 bucks a month in interest which is really not much in terms of your overall budget. That's all I'm saying.

I would also caution on brokers. I've had mixed results some are awesome some are the opposite. I know there's some on these boards so I'll leave it at that. Go with a recommended broker from someone you trust. The other thing is put a lot of scrutiny behind the agreement that any broker presents to you. I would even go so far as to get a lawyer to look at it. I basically totally rewrote the one that was presented to me. That agreement is your only protection as the buyer. The seller takes no risk (almost) and you take it all, so make sure it has the right clauses in there. It is basically a contract (unless you do a sales contract after the agreement to buy) and needs to be tight. The other thing is watch out for exchange rates. I got bit for $15,000 on that one due to currency fluctuations. Also transfer fees. Join a FOREX agency to get the best transfer rates. Could save you thousands! We use OZFOREX and they are great and there are good programs they have to 'protect' a rate for up to 30 days etc. Lastly licensing/registration. Think about what country you want to do it in. Do you intend to sell the boat? Also, what are the tax implications in the country you are buying in? You may have to pay a transaction tax or GST or a fee to transfer ownership. Lots to think about there.

Again good luck. PM me if you want some info/links etc.

Millhouse
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Old 22-11-2014, 01:20   #15
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Re: Newbie wants a CAT

Hi again...

First of all: Thank you all for taking the time and answering questions you may have already answered a million times... and especially thank you millhouse_44 for your insights into newbie cat purchase... and yes, any and all details are truly appreciated not only by me, but possibly by future CAT buyers who might stumble upon my amateur questions some day.

For example that "impounding" tidbit about some countries was very new to me...

Experience seems to be a two-edged sword or at least a Catch 22 situation... it seems it's a good thing to have (experience especially documented by the ASA) but hard to get (expensive especially 3 ASA certs)... it looks like each cert costs about $450 and I ain't made of money.
I am in Barcelona at the Marina living on a rented boat and taking sailing lessons (but no ASA certification as the theoretical portion of the test and knowledge is in Spanish)... so far we've had 26 knot winds outside the harbor on a J80 which is fun but a great reminder why I want a non-heeling CAT.
Although we called it sailing, there was absolutely no sailing with a sail when I was in the Navy, but I've been on everything from a Navy inflatable to a Navy Aircraft carrier in every kind of imaginable weather (including a super-typhoon near the Taiwan straits). It may not count toward jibing and reefing, but comfort and lack of anxiety in DEEP waters is definitely a plus in my book...

I am told (by other boat owners around me) that it's a good time to be on the boat BUYING side of the equation right now...

and yes, I really don't want to get bogged down in a myriad repairs (enhancements, adjustments and maybe even a couple of additions/replacements are ok)...

I DID briefly consider buying a new CAT (until I saw the prices), but aside from the incredibly prohibitive price, they are mostly bare-bone and the equipment (electronics, etc.) would have to be bought and installed... and I am not made of money at all... we are looking at a difficult-to-replace life-savings...

I have narrowed it down to a Lagoon or a Fountaine Pajot (although I prefer a galley down design) and probably under 40ft (I am made to understand that docking fees make a jump at 40+ ft.)... the 36ft Mahe is abundant and well-priced (there is a beautiful one on this site for sale right now but outside my price range and to be frank... the FP 36 Mahe is just a little too feminine... and the 3 bed version has only one head...

Please, by all means, if you are not too busy enjoying your CAT and life, keep the info coming... one can NEVER know TOO much!

Once this ordeal (finding, inspecting, buying, etc.) is over, you all can always count on a cold beer on my boat... although you might have to find me first! :-)
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