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Old 24-05-2013, 05:24   #1
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Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

HI all, my name is Ben and Iíve been lurking on this site for quite a while now. Itís such a wealth of information and my regular daily routine is to browse the site while on the train home. I donít even want to imagine how many hours of reading Iíve done!

Needless to say, this is a great resource and I hope I get to the point where I can contribute more in the future.

Like quite a few people here I have a 5 year plan to go cruising and Iíve just hit the halfway mark. Iíve been active in club racing over the last few years, chartered twice now and have more charter and cruising goals over the next 18 months. The budget/savings are on track and while it seemed like a distant goal some years ago, itís now getting to the point where its no longer a pipe dream.

The reason for my post is to just test my plan to see if there are any major gaps or oversights. Of course Im totally mindful of the fact that unforeseen circumstances, costs or breakdowns may happen and every boat has its gremlins, flaws and issues, but I just wanted to get some feedback from some seasoned cruisers!

This trip is basically a mid-career sabbatical. Iím 33, my mortgage will be more than covered by rent when I go cruising and I have no other liabilities. Iím planning to purchase an ex charter mid to late 90ís Beneteau, Dufour or Jeanneau in the 38-43ft range, in the $75k-85k USD price range and have an additional $50k budget for refit and making the boat cruise ready.

Most of the work I can do myself, bar an engine rebuild (I havenít experience in that areas). Ive got experience painting boats, glassing and motor trimming/sewing/upholstery work. My father was an Electrician and I paid attention.

If it all goes to hell, I can easily pull out another $20-30k from the mortgage for any dire issues.
On top of this I have a monthly cruising budget of $3000 per month for a 3 year cruise for myself and my girl.

I currently live in Perth, Western Australia and my plan is to buy in either Greece, Turkey or Croatia, spend up to 6 months on refit on the hard, shakedown over the summer in the Med, then sail back to Australia with plenty of time in the Carib, North America and Pacific, allowing 3 years in total but 2 and a half years of cruising. The vessel will be flagged Australian, but for travel purposes, I have both Australian and UK/EU passports.
I did have a few questions and would really appreciate any advice from the cruisers here.

1) Are there any fundamental flaws in my plan? Ie timeframe way too tight, budget way too low etc? I know I need to exit the EU within 6 months of purchase to avoid VAT, which may be tight.

2) Does anyone have experience refitting a vessel overseas? I am not planning on buying a fixer- upper, just something thatís safe, comfortable and capable. I feel more comfortable buying a little cheaper and refitting than buying more expensive with the assumption gear is still serviceable. Doing so also gives me some serviceable spares

3) Can anyone comment on how prices of parts in Greece, Croatia etc compare to West Marine/Defender? Would I be better off doing a parts/supply run to the UK, internationally freighting a pallet of items from West Marine/Defender or buy at the local chandlery?

4) I plan to work on the boat on the hard for up to 5 months (preferably less, but you never know). Does anyone have any opinions on how open marinas/yards are to this? I will be shipping over my Genset and selection of hand/power tools from Oz so will be self sufficient except for bathroom facilities.

5) Has anyone had any experience on the practical living costs of extended stays in the above countries? While I would aim to live and work on the boat, I imagine from time to time staying in a local chalet or holiday home. While my better half is a fairly resilient gal, I imagine once a month needing a break from living in a construction zone!

I would appreciate any advice or first hand experience anyone has had.

Thanks
Ben
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Old 24-05-2013, 05:35   #2
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

Quote:
1) Are there any fundamental flaws in my plan? Ie timeframe way too tight, budget way too low etc? I know I need to exit the EU within 6 months of purchase to avoid VAT, which may be tight.
If you are buying out of the a charter fleet , the vessel may or may not be VAT paid, it depends. If it is not VAT paid, you may have a hard time convincing the compnay to not add VAT to the sale, ( as they remain responsible for the VAT). Most prudent companies will either require you pay and claim back the VAT from them , or at the very least put it in ESCROW.

If it is VAT paid, then as a second hand boat, thats the end of that the VAT is essentially un-reclaimable.

If you do acquire it VAT free, you have technically 90 days after which it must be exported, though paradoxically you can then return and claim TIR , ie VAT free for 18 months . ( this doesnt apply in Turkey obviously), note that staying in an EU country for more then 180 days , can make you a tax resident and you loose the VAT privileges.

Quote:
3) Can anyone comment on how prices of parts in Greece, Croatia etc compare to West Marine/Defender? Would I be better off doing a parts/supply run to the UK, internationally freighting a pallet of items from West Marine/Defender or buy at the local chandlery?
Freighting from the US, is going to be very expensive, then you will have VAT added and customs duties and clearance fees, Ive never seen it make that much sense. You equally could strike up a relationship with a good local dealer and get discounts

I can only say , the issues Ive had in the Med , refitting a boat , are, (a) language issues, (b) lack of product choice, ( this was the big one) and expense.

Id say if you intend a large fitout, the UK might be a better choice. especially along the south coast. The Other area Id have experience would be Antibbes in France, again there is good expertise and product availability ( in general)

It all depends on how much you intend to do. Id say a large fit out in a country where you dont speak the language is fairly daunting task.

Quote:
5) Has anyone had any experience on the practical living costs of extended stays in the above countries? While I would aim to live and work on the boat, I imagine from time to time staying in a local chalet or holiday home. While my better half is a fairly resilient gal, I imagine once a month needing a break from living in a construction zone!
Living costs, when you are shoping and eating like the local is quite reasonable and from feedback Ive heard , lower then Australia, getting shore side accommodation is quite easy , especially out of season, as there are plenty of cheap apartments, etc. In high season you will be competing with European tourists, so it will be tricky.

dave
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Old 24-05-2013, 05:51   #3
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pirate Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

In your shoes.... I'd buy something like this BVI Yacht Sales Ltd. (St. Thomas,, Virgin Islands (US))
Sail her to St Martin and for the fit out then do the US E Coast, across to the Azores and Med... reset the clock in Turkey and head back W visiting the places I missed on the way... then either back to the Carib, Panama and Pacific...
or... down to the Verdes and across to Brazil, S Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean..
Europe is expensive.. no way could you pick that up for that price over here...
OH... nearly forgot... with the current FC over here more and more yards in Europe are stopping live aboard on the hard and working on your own boat...
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Old 24-05-2013, 05:54   #4
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

Thanks for the clarification Dave. I would be buying essentially with the view that as a foreign national I would be leaving the EU with it, but yes, thanks for the clarification on that.

Regarding Fitout, again very good points. Ive been torn between the idea of loading up a Transit van worth of parts out of france and the UK or shipping a pallet at LCL rates (ive got contacts in export which can help me secure that). Your feedback is good because I wasnt sure if it was possible to get parts in Europe at simular prices to the US. I thought maybe prices were comparitive, its just via the internet I just couldnt find EU versions of Defender!

Actually, does anyone know if there are any good chandlery website for France, Germany etc?
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Old 24-05-2013, 05:58   #5
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

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OH... nearly forgot... with the current FC over here more and more yards in Europe are stopping live aboard on the hard and working on your own boat...
Hi mate. I never thought of that aspect of the FC. I guess the yards are doing what they can to capture every dollar and euro they can.
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Old 24-05-2013, 06:03   #6
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

Force 4 Chandlery | Boat Parts, Marine Electronics & Sailing Clothing store

Online Chandlery | Mailspeed Marine Chandlers

Also had good service from Piplers of Poole
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Old 01-06-2013, 13:20   #7
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Hi,

VAT problems are practical minimal in Greece. All ex charter boats are VAT exempts and possibly you can reach an agreement with the seller to post date the change of ownership for a few months while you do work in the boat.
Most parts are cheaper here than in central Europe although some local experience is needed to find the best price.
One problem is that the ex charter boats are not fit to cross oceans, especially the ones with roller mains (the majority) so finding the correct boat is difficult.
If you mix boat fixing and refitting you can have an excellent time in Greek waters even during winter so this is not a problem.
Custom procedures are very relaxed and possibly nobody is ever going to ask you where you come from or where you go as long as you have a valid EU (UK) passport. This doesn't nesseserily apply for the others EU countries (Italy, France and Spain) which you will visit while sailing to the Atlantic.
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Old 04-07-2013, 16:29   #8
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

Our experience living on the costa calida is that marinas and yards are becoming more amenable rather than less in the current economic climate. We do work that a few years ago would have been refused. Our present marina could not be any more obliging or helpful.
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Old 04-07-2013, 17:15   #9
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

Turkey.

The former Yugoslavia would be great but only if you speak the language.
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Old 04-07-2013, 18:23   #10
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Hi,

VAT problems are practical minimal in Greece. All ex charter boats are VAT exempts and possibly you can reach an agreement with the seller to post date the change of ownership for a few months while you do work in the boat.
Most parts are cheaper here than in central Europe although some local experience is needed to find the best price.
One problem is that the ex charter boats are not fit to cross oceans, especially the ones with roller mains (the majority) so finding the correct boat is difficult.
If you mix boat fixing and refitting you can have an excellent time in Greek waters even during winter so this is not a problem.
Custom procedures are very relaxed and possibly nobody is ever going to ask you where you come from or where you go as long as you have a valid EU (UK) passport. This doesn't nesseserily apply for the others EU countries (Italy, France and Spain) which you will visit while sailing to the Atlantic.
The vast majority of this post is nonsense. , ex charter boats and vat is irrelevant , any fitout things you buy will be subject to vat. You are only entitled to a VAT rebate if you prove you have exported the goods ( 90 days) , the complications in reclaiming VAT can be cumbersome. ( a company should technically never give you the VAT reduction up front by the way)

Funny I've taken several rollers furling boats across Oceans , obviously I died each time.

I did not find Greece cheaper for chandlery , in some cases where a lot of labour was involved, ( like canopies) I got good value . I also found it difficult at times to get certain equipment. The lack of local language and the Greek alphabet all help to make it difficult ( ie more difficult then it should be )

Customs authorities are relaxed all over the EU with regards to EU passport holders simply because there is no Customs for them.

Dave

Note that "ex charter boats are VAT exempts and possibly you can reach an agreement with the seller to post date the change of ownership for a few months while you do work in the boat." Is actually VAT fraud , ( look up self supply )


You could pay the charter company to do the work, but technically they should charge you vat , which you later reclaim , just like if you bought the parts yourself

Dave
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Old 04-07-2013, 19:43   #11
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

Having had major work done in both Greece and Turkey, I have to say that I would absolutely recommend Turkey over Greece. In Marmaris, there are more tradespeople, and most equipment is available. Shipping into Turkey however is a nightmare and expensive with 40% import duty (plus a lot of 'other charges').

In Greece, we've had problems with expiring Schengen visa's and had to apply for an extension, which was not easy.

I believe that you'll also pay tax on your boat related to length if you stay more than 3 months in Greece.

Inox, canvas work, labour can all be had at reasonable rates in Marmaris - Bodrum - Turkey. We've bought excellent sails and new rigging in Marmaris at better prices than we'd get elsewhere.

Steve
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Old 29-07-2013, 00:16   #12
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

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Originally Posted by steve.garlick View Post
Having had major work done in both Greece and Turkey, I have to say that I would absolutely recommend Turkey over Greece. In Marmaris, there are more tradespeople, and most equipment is available. Shipping into Turkey however is a nightmare and expensive with 40% import duty (plus a lot of 'other charges').

In Greece, we've had problems with expiring Schengen visa's and had to apply for an extension, which was not easy.

I believe that you'll also pay tax on your boat related to length if you stay more than 3 months in Greece.

Inox, canvas work, labour can all be had at reasonable rates in Marmaris - Bodrum - Turkey. We've bought excellent sails and new rigging in Marmaris at better prices than we'd get elsewhere.

Steve
Hi Steve I am looking to get a range of jobs completed in Marmaris shortly. From your personal experience there, who would you recommend for rigging, sails, gelcoat repairs, hardtop bimini, upholstery, clears, side curtains, electrics and solar plus a few other things. You know how it goes
Thanks
Wayne
BTW Just had a quick look at your excellent blog site. When I can grab some time I am going to pay a long visit and read all I can. I understand that you are both gearbox experts now
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Old 29-07-2013, 23:36   #13
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Re: Plan to refit in Greece, Croatia, Turkey...advice.

Wayne,

Email me and I'll send you a list of tradesmen that I've used and can comment on the quality of their work.

my email is steve.garlick99@gmail.com

Regards,

Steve
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