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Old 18-11-2012, 13:09   #1
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Buying boat from Moorings/sunsail. Your experience?

I am a couple of months from making a purchase of a used sailboat. Looking at Beneteau and Jeanneau in the 40-50 ft range. Seems like for the money and for my intended purposes, buying one of these boats from the above mentioned charter companies is a reasonable deal.

Have some questions regarding the logistics since most of the boats seem to be in the BVI, Bahamas, or USVI. This would be my first boat and there would be a lender involved as well. Also, I live in Florida, so that is where the boat would be brought back to.

1. Experience dealing with their sales people in the above locations.
2. Where they in person as advertised? I have seen a few boats already that I saw advertised in yacht world, and one thing that stands out to me is how poorly representative of the boat the pictures on the site were. Seems like most brokers don't take the time to take really good pictures or simply crapy ones hide a lot. I would hate to fly out to see some boats that were a disaster compared to what is seen on the pictures.
3. How did you deal with bringing it back to the US? The trip itself I mean. Sail yourself vs hiring someone. I am not so sure I would be eager to get on a boat I just boat and take off for a 1000+ NM trip.
4. Legal logistics of bringing to the boat back to US, paying purchase tax, etc.
5. Getting USCG registration of such vessel.

I realize the questions sound vague, but so is my knowledge of the entire process. Anything would be helpful. I am reading some threads here I found on the subject too.
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Old 18-11-2012, 13:45   #2
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Re: Buying boat from Moorings/sunsail. Your experience?

You really should NOT buy a boat that was used in schooling or in chartering. Cheap, in the long run, is very expensive. Never buy someone else's "hidden" problems. --->Engineer who stays out of trouble!
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Old 18-11-2012, 17:23   #3
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Re: Buying boat from Moorings/sunsail. Your experience?

Very good deals can be had by purchasing a boat that is about to come out of charter. I know dozens of people who have done is successfully including myself. Don't be put off by those who have no idea how to buy a boat.

In any purchase you will do a full marine survey by a competent certified person... lots of them around Tortola and they know the boats the charter companies use and what to look for.

One of the requirements when a boat comes out of charter is for it to be in good serviceable conditions... the charter company has to make the necessary repairs/ replacements to get the boat in that condition. You are most likely better off purchasing a off charter boat than a private boat for many reasons. The charter boats have to be in good condition to place them in service and they have the full history of the boats maintenance.

With a professional inspection and your own inspection any significant needs will be repaired / replaced by the Charter company before it leaves service.

I've been sailing mine with out problems for almost 5 years from the PR, the Virgins and Leeward Islands. Next year I'll be moving down the Windwards. I know of several people including a number who have posted here who have post charter boats that they have taken around the world... so just take a pound of salt to all the comments from those who have no first hand knowledge of what they speak which you will note is an ongoing problem with all forums. You have to be able to determine who knows what they are saying and who are the arm chart dry land...in their mind a sailor who may never have been on a boat particularly a former charter boat.
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Old 18-11-2012, 17:47   #4
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Re: Buying boat from Moorings/sunsail. Your experience?

I think the ideal might be to charter the actual boat you were interested in for a week or ten days and then have it surveyed too. Probably not possible though. It is not accurate to say that all charter companies maintain their boats to a high standard. Easy enough to find horror stories on this issue. Nonetheless it is possible to get a great deal if you know what you are doing. Go down to the Virgins and spend a week looking at the boats that are available from the various charter companies. From my own experience I would stick with Moorings or Sunsail. Footloose has an iffy attitude towards maintenance and I'v heard of problems with a few other ones too. Moorings, Sunsail and Footloose are all the same outfit. Moorings= new or newer. Sunsail= still pretty new. Footloose= end of the line.
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Old 18-11-2012, 18:12   #5
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Re: Buying boat from Moorings/sunsail. Your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
Very good deals can be had by purchasing a boat that is about to come out of charter. I know dozens of people who have done is successfully including myself. Don't be put off by those who have no idea how to buy a boat.

In any purchase you will do a full marine survey by a competent certified person... lots of them around Tortola and they know the boats the charter companies use and what to look for.

One of the requirements when a boat comes out of charter is for it to be in good serviceable conditions... the charter company has to make the necessary repairs/ replacements to get the boat in that condition. You are most likely better off purchasing a off charter boat than a private boat for many reasons. The charter boats have to be in good condition to place them in service and they have the full history of the boats maintenance.

With a professional inspection and your own inspection any significant needs will be repaired / replaced by the Charter company before it leaves service.

I've been sailing mine with out problems for almost 5 years from the PR, the Virgins and Leeward Islands. Next year I'll be moving down the Windwards. I know of several people including a number who have posted here who have post charter boats that they have taken around the world... so just take a pound of salt to all the comments from those who have no first hand knowledge of what they speak which you will note is an ongoing problem with all forums. You have to be able to determine who knows what they are saying and who are the arm chart dry land...in their mind a sailor who may never have been on a boat particularly a former charter boat.
I agree! Never quite understood this aversion to buying out of a charter fleet either. In many cases (most cases?) they are in better condition than private yachts, not all private owners keep their boats in the condition that one could wish for...

However - it is not the charter company who is selling the boat - its the owner. So it very much depends on his phase-out survey and his diligence in making sure that defects and problems are sorted out prior to accepting the boat back from the charter company,
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Old 19-11-2012, 05:38   #6
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Thanks so much to those that have replied so far. The responses, even the negative one answering a question that was never asked in the first place, have been helpful. However, with all due respect to all, could we focus on the specific questions about the purchasing itself rather than whether it is a good idea or not to buy from them in the first place. Thanks in advance to all. I will send PM to a couple of you for more questions if that is ok.
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Old 19-11-2012, 07:59   #7
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Re: Buying boat from Moorings/sunsail. Your experience?

I'll second what Reality Check said.

I had a boat go through the Moorings program. I feel it was used hard, but maintained to a better standard than many privately owned boats are. Many boats not in charter are on the market because the owner has lost interest and neglected upkeep and repair. I say that having purchased and sailed both charter boats and non-charter boats. I find that many of the people who insist ex-chrarter boats will be in poor shape, have never really looked at them.

Many of the boats that are in charter in the BVIs are U.S. documented. If you are bringing it back to FL, I know they really like to get their state money and have fairly strict state registration policies. Check with your county courthouse regarding state registration procedures.

The cost of both looking in the BVIs and getting the boat back to the U.S. are costs you should consider when comparing prices. Motels, car rental, flights, delivery costs, etc. can add up. The quote I received to have my boat delivered back to the U.S. was about 10K all inclusive. I'm hoping to sail it back myself however.
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Old 19-11-2012, 08:19   #8
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Re: Buying boat from Moorings/sunsail. Your experience?

We owned a Beneteau 463 placed into Moorings charter fleet March 2000 through June 2005. We sold the boat to someone who contacted us via the Beneteau owners' group that used to be on Sailnet (now possibly on Yahoo! Groups??). We met the prospective owner in Tortola; he did his inspections at the Moorings dock; he did his sea trials to purchase the boat from us at the same time we did our sea trials to accept the boat from Moorings through their standard phase-out program. He noted a few minor things that he wanted corrected; we noted to Moorings that those things needed to be corrected before we would accept the boat from phase-out. Took 30 minutes for Moorings to correct the few minor details.

We went via dinghy across the little harbor with the buyer to his attorney's office and handled the paperwork. It was a cash transaction and funds were wire transferred. We received confirmation of the wire transfer before leaving the attorney's office.

This sale process was extremely easy. We never had a single day of having to pay berthing or insurance because ownership was transferred to the buyer within minutes of us accepting the boat as phased out of Moorings fleet.

Chance of buyer/seller achieving this type of transaction is slim to none, but it worked well for us. That buyer still owns that Beneteau and has been cruising the Caribbean in it since date of purchase. Our boat was US documented so could have been brought back to USA (had been manufactured in Marion, SC and delivered direct to BVI from factory), but the purchaser was Scottish and had the boat added to the British Ships Registry.

My point of relating this story of our experience is to reinforce what was stated by someone earlier in this thread -- the purchase USUALLY is from an individual owner and not from Moorings direct. Moorings does have a brokerage section that handles sales of phased out boats; but the purchase is from the individual owner. Sometimes, as in our case, it is possible to deal directly with that owner and not go through the Moorings brokerage department. If you are lucky enough to be able to find an owner whose boat will be phasing out at the time you wish to purchase. If you are able to do that then you save the commission.

Judy
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