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Old 17-03-2013, 20:32   #1
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Life choices

I'm going to start this out by saying that Tokyo real estate is expensive. Especially in Central Tokyo. For a 1300 square foot house you're looking at about $900,000 USD.

I started looking into alternatives when I noticed that about six minutes in either direction from my current apartment (which is on a man made island in Tokyo Bay), there are two marinas that allow liveaboard.

Because I'm not a native of Japan and not really very American these days either, I probably will spend most of the rest of my life moving around a bit anyway. The longest I've ever lived anywhere as an adult is 11 years.

Since my salary in Japan is crazy high due to cost of living adjustments (I relocated here from the U.S. with the same employer), I have been working on everyone's (in Japan, anyway) "million dollars saved in 10 years" goal, originally with the intent to buy a house.

This seems like a bad idea a year into that. Once I started thinking about it, I started wanting to do something else entirely.

With a decent ~45' yacht I can comfortably liveaboard and relocate to any port city in the world (with relevant notice, of course).

So, I am now, financial heavens willing, on the way to hitting the bulk of my goal in 5-7 years, which means I should be able to start construction of a new boat in 5-7 years, then use the 2 remaining years of construction time to see investments earn me the gap, or come up with a much smaller loan to cover the final payment in the very worst case.

Because I'm in Japan, my only good choices for builders seem to be in Australia. I have researched and communicated with several multihull builders in SE Asia and I have not been impressed so far even if it would save me tons of money.

I'm not dead set on this boat but they make a nice boat (and helped me with some speculator questions) so I've been looking in the direction of something like this:

The Perry 45 Motor Sailer

The thoughts are:

* Should be a boat I can maintain for ~30 years after launch.

* Should provide reasonable accommodation for live-aboard as an option, including the amenities of your average apartment (e.g. laundry, kitchen, a few bedrooms).

* Should have an estimated range of 1,500-2,000nm under power, with a good efficient cruise speed (6~9kts) so crossing the doldrums or an odd calm day doesn't delay the trip much.

* Should have sails for long passages. Diesel is expensive. Should have power for coastal cruising, because sometimes you have to sail against the wind/sea.

* Must have the ability to travel very large distances in reasonable times. I'm from Washington state, and if I'm going back to the U.S., it's likely to there - from Tokyo, via the westerlies.

* Survivability is a must (desalination, redundant systems, etc). Boat must be able to sustain life for up to 40 days at sea.

* It should be theoretically possible to beach the boat, given that it is possible but not likely for a tsunami to hit Tokyo Bay that will cause most boats at the marina to touch down on the bottom of the bay. If not survivable, this should be repairable level damage for the design. Note that the chances of the marina itself taking a 3-4 meter wave are impossible due to design, but bottoming out is an issue.

I have a preference for catamarans as they handle open seas much nicer than monohulls in my experience and probably have hull designs fast enough to outrun storms under power in an emergency. The very last requirement is pretty much impossible for monohulls. Sorry, monohull owners.

The downside (upside?) to buying a boat built in Australia is that my very first voyage is likely to be from Australia to Tokyo.

I've been researching this for nearly a month, but finding semi-custom boat manufacturers who build boats that are both nice looking and well engineered seems to be hard on the Pacific. My better options seem to be on the Atlantic (and mostly in Europe, making it even more of a difficulty).

Since it's been several years since I've been at sea I am about to go get my class 1 boat operators license in Japan (which is the one required for ocean going vessels greater than 5nm offshore) - I need it before I can register anything locally.

I should note that even though used boats are an option I would probably prefer to buy a new boat from a proven builder / design because I intend to own it until it sinks or I'm too crippled (or dead) to enjoy it.

So, help me out: Is this reasonable? Am I crazy (beyond normal)? Anyone have better suggestions or ideas here? I'm anticipating a yearly upkeep of $10,000 not including slip charges or fuel on a boat this size; is this reasonable? What have I not thought about? etc.
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Old 17-03-2013, 21:22   #2
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Re: Life choices

I would still consider a used boat. You don't take a big depreciation hit and a boat that is a few years old can be just as good as a new boat. It might even be better if the previous owner made some nice electronics and other additions.

I would double check on the live aboard situation. In such an expensive real estate and rental market this might be too good to be true, especially since the Japanese are used to living in tight living quarters, like a boat is.
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Old 17-03-2013, 21:51   #3
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Re: Life choices

Welcome to CF Windex!

Your plan is sound…Having lived in HK and Tokyo using that living allowance for buying a boat makes sense..

It makes even better sense if you consider David M’s advice.
  • Delivery to Japan is a given and part of the cost
  • Fixing-adding-changing things in Tokyo is incredibly expensive, so why not find an existing boat that meets all your needs?
  • Buying the right, fully commissioned and outfitted boat that has been tested but put on the market for personal reasons is your best investment and you can achieve it ahead of schedule in this economy, thus saving more freedom chips..
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Old 17-03-2013, 22:05   #4
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Re: Life choices

I don't know what the yen is doing compared to the Australian dollar, but I imagine it would be more economical to buy a used catamaran on the west coast of the U.S. and have a small crew sail it over to Japan. Get a nice Seawind 1160 and you'll have enough comfort on the ocean and at dock, all at a more reasonable price, leaving more money to enjoy your voyages in the future.
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Old 17-03-2013, 22:18   #5
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Re: Life choices

To answer points so far;

I can't make a decision on a used boat until I hit cash in hand. I tend to project things using suboptimal means; a used boat that meets my requirements is a better deal, finding a catamaran in Japan decked out to the degree I want it is going to be hard (most I've seen are over 20 meters long, which makes marina space a problem), so I assume I'll have to take the loss of buying new.

Part of the reason I'd want to sail it from Australia is because of the fun of sailing it from Australia, first thing that happened when I told one of my ex-navy buddies I was thinking about this was a that I got a request to help crew the boat from down under.

As far as the liveaboard situation, well, to put this in perspective the estimated slip fees for a 45' x 28' catamaran are about $1,200 USD a month, which is high, but half my current rent.
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Old 17-03-2013, 22:18   #6
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Re: Life choices

Hi Windex,

I was under the impression that Perry was no longer in production and the molds were advertised for sale some time back.

The Perry is I believe a Grainger design as is the Lightwave who have built similar motor sailors.

Talk to these guys.

Roger Overall - The Ultimate Catamarans by Lightwave Yachts

Nathan Stanton - FreeFlow Catamarans

You could easily catch up with them both at the Santuary Cove Boat show at Gold Coast, Australia which is held late May. The Perrys were built just a bit further south (1/2hr) over the border in NSW.
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Old 17-03-2013, 22:29   #7
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Re: Life choices

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Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Hi Windex,

I was under the impression that Perry was no longer in production and the molds were advertised for sale some time back.

The Perry is I believe a Grainger design as is the Lightwave who have built similar motor sailors.

Talk to these guys.

Roger Overall - The Ultimate Catamarans by Lightwave Yachts

Nathan Stanton - FreeFlow Catamarans

You could easily catch up with them both at the Santuary Cove Boat show at Gold Coast, Australia which is held late May. The Perrys were built just a bit further south (1/2hr) over the border in NSW.
That's good to know with Perry, though I just asked them a few questions last week and got a response.

I knew about lightwave but not freeflow. Any other multihull builders of note in .au?
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Old 17-03-2013, 23:07   #8
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Re: Life choices

The Ozzy's will be coming on board pretty soon. They seem to have a good fleet of Cat builders. Most of the popular ones are built in France, S. Africa & Oz.

Here's some research links on Cat's that will give you a lot of info.>>> Cruisincats.com: The webs premier cruising catamaran site. Dedicated to cruisin' catamarans and those who sail them. 50+ cruising topics & 1000's of links, largest used cat listings etc.
And >>> Catamaran, used or new, power or sail, and trimaran multihulls, for sale or charter by broker dealer - 2Hulls
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Old 17-03-2013, 23:23   #9
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Re: Life choices

Tony Grainger who designed the Perry and Lightwave is now based in Thailand and would have arrangements with builders there.

Grainger Designs Multihull Yacht Design - Grainger Designs Multihull Yachts
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Old 18-03-2013, 08:37   #10
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Re: Life choices

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Originally Posted by windex View Post
With a decent ~45' yacht I can comfortably liveaboard and relocate to any port city in the world (with relevant notice, of course).
I wouldn't count on this. If you're gonna move soon, this will be bad investment.
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Old 18-03-2013, 08:59   #11
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Re: Life choices

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I wouldn't count on this. If you're gonna move soon, this will be bad investment.
To give you some clue about how senior non-management engineering type job transfers work, or at least have worked for me, when I moved to Japan from the U.S. I had 3 months of preparation time and took 45 days off, without a boat to sail, of course. I've made similar moves with similar timing in the past.

Additionally, my present job and field let me telecommute. I could technically work aboard from anywhere in APAC if I was willing to spend the thousands of dollars the mini-VSAT coverage runs a month.

I'm not planning on going anywhere, though - I'm already in Japan for now.

Worst case is you hire a crew, right? (No cargo containers for a 45' x 28' catamaran.)

Spending $30k to move your $800+k "house" across the globe seems like no big deal if its a job worth moving in that time-frame for, the average relocation package I've seen is twice that by itself, though I opted against a relocation package and took a local offer moving to Japan to make more money. It would certainly cost less than selling a house and buying a new one. In some situations it would be cheaper than breaking a leasing agreement.
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Old 18-03-2013, 09:30   #12
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Re: Life choices

From someone who has moved a boat from various places in the world, its not nearly as easy, quick, damage-free as you think. But carry on.
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Old 18-03-2013, 09:35   #13
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Re: Life choices

In your opening boat description, you just descrbed the Nordhavn motorsailer we saw at the Dana Point, CA boat show early last summer. Only a year old and quite striking. Look at a Nordhavn, built like a tank for world cruising and livaboard.
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Old 18-03-2013, 09:47   #14
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Re: Life choices

I once heard that it's the journey, not the destination.

Lot's of stuff tends to change in 5-7 years.

So if you're asking if you should tuck some money away, I guess the answer would be yes.

In the mean time, you might as well live it up a bit while you're in Japan also. Cool experience.
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Old 18-03-2013, 19:51   #15
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Re: Life choices

5-7 years is a long time, but the good news is that I can probably pick up a Gemini Legacy 35 or something similar next year for coastal and short haul cruising in the meanwhile.

This way when I destroy it I'm out less money.

Oh, also, the Nordhavn is about a 1.8 million dollar boat, based on an estimate I saw a few years back.

It's also a monohull but is otherwise what I'm looking for specs wise.
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