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Old 04-10-2015, 08:49   #1
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Buying a boat in Tahiti / Pacific area

Hi everyone,

I am planning to soon buy my own sailboat, and I am thinking about buying it in the Pacific, since that is where I would like to cruise. I am considering primarily Tahiti, but also Hawaii, Fiji or New Caledonia could be alternatives. My plan so far is to keep the boat there and sail around in the area in periods between working.
I know the Pacific islands are expensive, at least some, but perhaps someone can advise me on whether it's a good idea to buy and keep a boat in Tahiti, and if it's easy to put the boat on land for a while there.
This will not be my first time to the Pacific, I have already crossed it in 2009, so I know that Fiji is a good place to keep your boat. But Tahiti feels more appealing to me...

Any tips and advice would be appreciated!

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Old 04-10-2015, 09:04   #2
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Re: Buying a boat in Tahiti / Pacific area

There are many places to leave a boat across the Pacific, however all of them could be potentially hit with a cyclone.
French Polynesia
-Leave the boat on anchor in the Marquesas (least likely to experience cyclones)
-On anchor in Port Pheaton, Tahiti
-On the hard in Apataki or Raitea.
-There are also several marinas, with the safest one in Morrea.

-Neiafu in VaVa'u is a fairly well protected harbor with moorings available
-A new haul out located here as well:The BoatYard: Vava'u. The guys opening the yard are former cruisers. Good guys!

-Vuda Point: either in the marina or in a cyclone pit.
-other options in Fiji, but didn't explore them.

And theres always the sail down to NZ as an option.

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Old 05-10-2015, 05:01   #3
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Re: Buying a boat in Tahiti / Pacific area

Tous les voiliers - - Bateaux d'occasion en Polyn?sie Fran?aise - Raiatea, Tahiti
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 05-10-2015, 16:46   #4
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Re: Buying a boat in Tahiti / Pacific area

G'day, Mate. I have a well kept Mason 53 here in New Zealand if you are interested. New Zealand is a great place to base out of in the South Pacific. Pics are in the album on my profile page. Let me know if you have any specific questions. All the best with your search. Cheers.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:44   #5
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Re: Buying a boat in Tahiti / Pacific area

Your real problem will be getting a seaworthy boat to start with. There aren't as many boats for sale there as in Mexico, or NZ, or Aus. But every boat will have something to fix/change and it will be MUCH more expensive and time-consuming in any of the islands. Fiji probably the easiest for that.

But you might luck out and find a dream boat, well founded and maintained in good condition. But I have seen very few boats, anywhere including the US, where I didn't want to change something before going off. Since you have sailed out there you know how important it is to have critical stuff work.

This is an isolated case, but one we had personal experience with. In 2006, we set off from Mexico in March just as many other do, bound for the Marquesas. One very pretty boat, in the low 40's size, had a real inexperienced owner/skipper, who happened to be female but that is neither here nor there, since we have seen mostly very competent female skippers. But this person was a recluse, stubborn, and set on doing what she wanted to do. The rest of us had weekly meeting to plan everything, set up radio nets, etc. She avoided all of that and never did anyone ever get on her boat so no one knew for sure what condition it was in. But she was obviously not the most experienced, nor competent, skipper we have run across.

She advertised for crew and ended up with a very frail, geriatric, guy who seemed to be a novice. Never got to know him either as he came pretty close to when she took off. They took off in front of everyone by several days, without any other boats for company. None of us had a good feeling about it. That was a well founded concern as she had problems all the way to Tahiti. She had boat problems, crew problems, and she upset some people she begged to help and then screwed them over. I will skip the details but it comes up in conversation with other cruisers we still keep in touch with.

Long story, almost short. She got the boat on the hard in Tahiti. I forget the name of the boatyard. They had a bit of a dicey reputation but for all I know they may have been very competent. She left the country at some point and never paid the yard for whatever work was done. They later sold it to a group of physicians from Oz. They intended to sail her through the islands to Oz, stopping at various places for short whiles. Boats are very expensive in Australia so they probably got a tremendous deal on this boat.

They disappeared a few hundred miles between Vanuatu and Australia. No one to this day knows what happened. Was it because the boat had a problem? Was the skipper and crew up to the task? Did they hit a container or something? To my knowledge they just disappeared. I am saying this as a caution to be very diligent in selecting a boat. It will be expensive for you to fly out to Polynesia to look at one or two boats. You will be tempted to buy one to justify the expense, saying "it'll be right mate". You should only go knowing that the boats you look at may not work for being out there. Most passages, as you know, are in the 10 day range, so your boat, and your knowledge of the boat is important.

Good luck. I believer you might do it and be safe. If it were me, I would consider looking in Mexico where there are far more boats and easier (not easy) access to services and parts. If it were me, I would sail the boat for a season in Mexico (Nov-Mar) and then make the call whether the boat is ready for pushing off to the Marquesas. It is a long passage but not really that hard, if the boat is up for it.

Or take up matauwhi's suggestion in the previous post. You can find very good boats in NZ or Oz, where many cruisers end their journeys. Most don't try to sell their boats along the way. In the other islands it is tough to find buyers for all the reasons I mention, and you have far fewer boats to look at.
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