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Old 22-02-2012, 14:57   #1
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Buy , Cruise and Sell a Boat in the Caribbean

Hi, I am a Canadian with an ambition to cruise the Caribbean for a year or two. I have looked into boats for sale in Florida, USVI, BVI, etc and there seems to be a good selection available. My target price range is $100k +/-

How feasible is it to buy and sell, hopefully with minimal price drop, during a one or two year period and are there any locations that are better to do this in?.

A rough plan is to start in Florida and sail south through the islands to Trinidad, although the watchword for this adventure will be "be flexible".

Would be delighted to hear from others who have done this and their "must do" and "must avoid" observations.

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Old 22-02-2012, 16:33   #2
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Re: Buy, cruise and sell a boat in the Caribbean

Have you read Mermaid - Our Family in Paradise? This family did nearly exactly that: bought a boat coming out of the charter fleet, added minimal (but complete) equipment, wandered around the Caribbean for a year, then trucked the boat to the Pacific Northwest to sell her (to get a better price).

Anyways, the book is full of advice, lists, and details for that plan (which I did not pay much attention to, since I was more interested in the family sailing and Caribbean parts of the story). I think the main difference from your summary is that they bought the boat in the Caribbean, rather than in Florida.

Good luck.

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Old 28-02-2012, 04:06   #3
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Thumbs up Re: Buy , Cruise and Sell a Boat in the Caribbean

Good plan, I havent purchased yet but my research like yours suggests that good buys are to be had. The one thing that seems to clash with your thoughts is the fact that you will be buying a boat to live a dream and cruise, dont try and put a price on that... do it for what it is. All my experience suggests boats are liabilities that become less valuable as time goes by, and if you spend 100K on buying one then as a rule of thumb your maintainence costs are around 10% or 10K PA. You know what BOAT stands for..Bring Out Another Thousand...So take some really bad advice that will be diametrically opposed to your financial advisers. Go buy a boat, the best you can afford, cruise for a couple of years, or however long you can afford to then worry about the money later..or not.. as you see fit. Remember all those "common sense" people that used to be around you cant find them any more cause they all gone cruisin.
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Old 28-02-2012, 09:36   #4
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Re: Buy , Cruise and Sell a Boat in the Caribbean

Generally boat values will always decrease over time. You should not even consider the possibility of a financially break even event over a year or two. You will have continued cost of operation along with the repairs/ replacements/ upgrades/ spares you will have collect over time.

I agree with the above statement that the type cruising you seem to be considering should be considered a life style change event that in itself will have a value factor that you can not actually calculate... until well after you are involved in it. You may not actually like it or you may be drawn back to the land in one way or another..... or you may find you really don't want to leave the new life style and return to land but must for some specific reason.

Basically you need to include the actual value you will receive by undertaking the change and that will / should offset the financial devaluations you will have.... if it does not.... then you probably should have not made the trip.
I prefer a sailboat to a motorboat, and it is my belief that boat sailing is a finer, more difficult, and sturdier art than running a motor.
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Old 28-02-2012, 09:53   #5
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Re: Buy , Cruise and Sell a Boat in the Caribbean

There are exceptions to the boat decreasing in value, but they are few. I've never heard of anyone recouping operating expenses. But if a boat is so old it is fully depreciated, and either bought in a locally depressed market, (chicken island), or bought with a major defect, that you are able to cheaply repair, (IE yourself). Then it is possible.
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Old 28-02-2012, 10:30   #6
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Re: Buy , Cruise and Sell a Boat in the Caribbean

Sure, I have a few friends who have done this successfully. As others have stated, as long as you don't expect this to be your best financial decision ever then go for it. I think the relatively small loss you are likely to incur over a couple of years is well worth it (of course "relatively small" is relative to your financial situation).

One case as an example, friends of mine intentionally bought an inexpensive, but good, little cruising boat -- a Person 36 ketch (I really like this boat). They only paid $4OK for it. It was sold by a long-term cruiser so it was already well outfitted and they spent almost nothing on upgrades because there was no real need to. They sailed it for a few seasons and then put it up for sale. The global financial crisis hit, but they still managed to sell if for $35K. It was a great learning experience for them and then they took off for other types of adventures. If you assume cost of ownership of 10% per year for 3 years = $12K, plus the $5K loss on the sale then for $17K they got several good seasons of sailing. That is about what several modestly priced week-long family charter vacations would cost you.

If you choose wisely, and maintain your boat well, then you can probably recoup most of your original purchase price, but whatever you spend on the boat in the interim is just gone. This has been my experience buying and selling boats.

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