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Old 02-09-2014, 14:13   #16
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Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

Jake, are you talking about this boat? http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...imeyachtsales&
If so the owner is a very good friend and I take care of that boat when he's not around. The boat did not sell...it surveyed perfectly and I will leave it at that. That is one of the cleanest used boats I've ever seen in my life!!!

Your plan to move here and live on land to search for a boat is a wise one.

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Old 02-09-2014, 14:44   #17
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

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Thanks for the input Rubikoop! Very valid points. The daysail business idea is just an idea of a means to an end... an idea to supplement and extend our stay. I am up to the challenge of carving out a piece of a saturated market. I am already competing successfully with a million attorneys! The 6 pack license would have to come first, so that will buy plenty of time to evaluate the feasibility of jumping in the daysail business while gaining the requisite experience. The issue you raise of potential burnout is much appreciated. That would be a real bummer indeed.

Regarding internet connection in the USVI, how feasible is it to rely on a wifi antenna and a hotspot from a boat near STT, STJ or Water Island? Instead, do most livaboards get coverage via 3g/4g cell service? Is ATT the way to go there?

My wife's business fortunately keeps her as busy as she wants to be. A good internet connection and access the the USPS are critical however. I have even considered working with her in her business at the risk of us killing each other in a confined space where she is the boss

It is quite an investment in time and money to take the USVI bar, but I could do that as well, or work as a legal assistant/clerk. My specialty is business law, tax law, estate planning & asset protection planning. My sense is that civil matters and maritime law dominate the legal arena down there. I am up to learning new areas of the law, tending bar, crewing for daysails, or whatever it takes really.
Jake,
I am going to ask your forgiveness ahead of time here. If you only have $40k to spend on a boat and need to bust your hump to make another $40k, then you aren't competing.

There is a shortage of lawyers, so you can therefore price anywhere you want. Top attorneys make $500/hr or more and are BUSY, then attorney's scale down from there and they range from there all the way to $50/hr, and generally speaking the less expensive you are, the less business you have. You can charge more BECAUSE you are too busy to charge less, or you charge less because you need more clients. People who hire attorney's know this.

Chartering is a bit different, but the principle is the same. There is a shortage of customers for each type of charter. You cannot compete by under cutting the competition because there isn't lot of demand. The charters that are successful have gorgeous vacation platforms (yachts), provide great service, and charge top dollar. When the demand isn't high it comes down to "you get what you pay for". If you are hungry, then you can't afford to provide a great platform and great service. Have a great platform and charge "top dollar", and learn the service industry. You can learn a lot about how to run a charter by doing some time in food, beverage, and hospitality. Sailing is just the platform and one of the things that makes you more special than just a floating hotel IF the client loves sailing or at least loves the idea of sailing. If you aren't mid range or higher in price, then you are going to be passed by without even a query, but again...you have to have a platform and service that can command a good price.

Something you may wish to think about is joining a team as general council or at least as a member of the GC's team. This can often be done with very little face time, meetings can be teleconference or VTC. You can then work mostly your own hours except for meeting times.

As others have said, you don't do this to get rich, you do it because you love the life and are willing to scrape by. A lot of people think its going to be the Pirates of the Caribbean. It is in some regard, you have the freedom of the sea, some adventure when the seas get high, but did you look at them, I mean the pirates? They were all dirty and nasty people and generally a miserable bunch. No one got rich except a lucky few...for a little while.

Think more of living aboard as a floating home that you can hoist anchor and move your home from time to time, learn to be a great waitor and bartender and follow the seasons. Lots of places hire students and seasonal help, and once you have a job at a nice restaurant or tavern or night club, and you have proved your worth, they will invite you to come back next year and maybe even pay you a little extra and or give you the cherry shifts (Friday and Saturday 6pm to close, or weekend doubles all weekend). Then you can work 2 days a week hard, but have 5 days off to cruise.

Are you lawyerin' ? No, but you'll be making $500 or more in 2 days IF you are good.
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Old 02-09-2014, 14:49   #18
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

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Originally Posted by Jake11 View Post
Thanks for the input Rubikoop! Very valid points. The daysail business idea is just an idea of a means to an end... an idea to supplement and extend our stay. I am up to the challenge of carving out a piece of a saturated market. I am already competing successfully with a million attorneys! The 6 pack license would have to come first, so that will buy plenty of time to evaluate the feasibility of jumping in the daysail business while gaining the requisite experience. The issue you raise of potential burnout is much appreciated. That would be a real bummer indeed.

Regarding internet connection in the USVI, how feasible is it to rely on a wifi antenna and a hotspot from a boat near STT, STJ or Water Island? Instead, do most livaboards get coverage via 3g/4g cell service? Is ATT the way to go there?

My wife's business fortunately keeps her as busy as she wants to be. A good internet connection and access the the USPS are critical however. I have even considered working with her in her business at the risk of us killing each other in a confined space where she is the boss

It is quite an investment in time and money to take the USVI bar, but I could do that as well, or work as a legal assistant/clerk. My specialty is business law, tax law, estate planning & asset protection planning. My sense is that civil matters and maritime law dominate the legal arena down there. I am up to learning new areas of the law, tending bar, crewing for daysails, or whatever it takes really.
You are an attorney with a sense of humor. OK that makes you a slightly better person in my book.

The day trip business in St Thomas is mostly connected to the cruise ship industry. There is one major organization that dominates that field with large cattlemarans hauling 70 or so people. There are a few 6 pack boats in the other end of the Island, Red Hook area. Some of them seem to eek out a living but the successful ones have been in the business for 20 years or more. Inbetween those are the medium sized inspected vessels. Some of those guys seem to do pretty well but they have probably a quarter million tied up in their vessels alone. They have multiple captains and crew and on and on.... Come on down to see and learn before you spend $$. A 6-pack boat is a really tough way to make a living, especially if you want to live on it. St John is a different market all together which I think would be even more difficult to get into.

I won't think you will have much luck with a WIFI antennae. ATT 4G is by far the best coverage in the area. There are some local ISPs that may be offering better rates and possibly faster speeds but their coverage areas are much more limited than ATT.

Most places you would be anchored will have decent access to either the USPS or a business that provides PO boxes etc.

Business and tax law might be pretty good specialties to have. There are numerous EDC (Economic Development Companies) that do business here because of tax incentives. Many of the government divisions have private legal representation and contract law experience would be a big part of that. I only know of a couple of true maritime law professionals. There are only 50,000 people on St Thomas and most have no direct connection to the boating or shipping industry. Tourism yes. There are some families here with with very substantial assets. Since I'm a boater I've fortunately not needed to worry too much about my estate planning. My boat takes care of most of my liquid assets.

Here are the standard questions I ask people that are contemplating moving down here. Are you a type "A" go getter, hard charger? How patient are you when things are happening so slow you feel like you are literally watching evolution in front of your eyes? Do you have any cultural bias at all? Do you adapt well to change? Are you OK with understanding that many of the traffic laws of the VI are more like suggestions? Are you OK spending $8 for a gallon of milk? Can you be satisfied staring out the window for 12 hours because the utility company has had another failure and is shut down? Currently there is an Island wide shortage of Corona, not kidding. This is absolutely unacceptable!!!
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Old 02-09-2014, 15:10   #19
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

If you only plan to spend 40k for the boat, it sounds to me like your planning more of an extended camping trip. Wind and solar, yep, that'll eat up 10-15 percent of your budget right there, so now you have only 36k for the boat. And for a boat that old or in need of some TLC... which are the only ones available for that price... Where do you plan to get the additional 10-20k which will be needed to make the boat functional and live able?

If the two of you are both planning internet companies, how's that going to work if you also plan to saves money by anchoring out. You do realize... There's no wifi out there. You'll need to purchase internet time by the gigabyte on your iPhone which is very expensive.

If internet is critical.... Your plan is a looser. The days of free wifi via an antenna are over, it doesn't work. The only places that offer free wifi are using dated hardware and basically broadcasting a crap signal. Just try using it sometime from even a short distance... Unless of course you plan to anchor inside a Starbucks?

Nope... Won't work IMHO.
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Old 02-09-2014, 15:15   #20
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

If that yacht Rubi linked is the one you were talking about I think it's too coincidental and you should consider getting it and moving aboard in a marina and getting work there, hopefully in your field. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a perfect job opportunity waiting for you. Sail and do the courses in your spare time and weekends!
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Old 02-09-2014, 16:16   #21
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

Not to knock the Hunter 34 which shows nice, but it's really a Hunter 31 with a big A$$ swim platform off the back. Inside is much like a 30'-31' boat. Not bad, but not really a true 34'. Not a lot of storage for full time live-aboard. Fresh varnish and a wax and buff, can hid lots O flaws.

On the H34, looks like the engine coolant hoses are original and are probably due for replacement. Fan belt is newer as is the hoses to the water heater.

Myself, with $40K, I would look at an older boat. The 1995-2000 will be reaching end of life for rigging, sail, etc. Big bucks. You may want to consider an older boat where that has already been done. Important is a strong hull deck, good engine mast and rigging. Everything else it little stuff. Avoid teak decks as they are $$$. Avoid teak exterior unless you LOVE to Varnish or will paint it

If you have only $40k for a boat, your really looking for a $25k boat, as the rest of the money will be for taxes and fit out. Got $80K, then your looking for a $50k-$60K boat. There is no such thing as a cruise ready boat.

BTW there is no real correlation between price and condition of the boat either. Never assume a boat that costs more is better.

Can you do it for $40K, Oh Hell yes. You can do it for $25K, I did.
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Old 02-09-2014, 16:20   #22
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

Rubi,

That is the one! With my limited and beginner knowledge of boats, that Hunter looks pretty sweet to me for a reasonable price. That is exactly the kind of livaboard ready boat I hope to snag with some patience. Perhaps when the time comes you can help me find something down there similar?
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Old 02-09-2014, 16:37   #23
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

Sailor chic trying to follow your comments I got confused. Are you still referring to my buddy's H34 when you mention rigging replacement etc? If so, reread the listing and you will see it was all new in 2010. The aft birth in that boat is really large. The has solar, a generator and A/C. It's pretty self contained to live on the hook. Jake is talking about living on a boat in the USVI, not rounding Cape Horn. For a newbie, this is a turnkey boat. Are there cheaper and bigger boats out there? Sure, but I challenge you to find a more ready boat in the area at that price. If you just don't like Hunters, well that's fine.


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Old 02-09-2014, 16:44   #24
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Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

Jake, buying a boat is like finding a spouse. They are all compromises. Hunter is the red headed step child of sailboats to many. I work in the boating industry and spend time on many newer production monohulls, including Hunter. I don't think there is a perfect boat but there are boats that can work for the purpose you need. The trick is looking at lots of boats in person. Online is ok but you really need to get on them to get a sense of space.

Yachtworld is a decent place to look but Craigslist has some deals there too. I'm glad to help anybody out if I can.


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Old 02-09-2014, 17:07   #25
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

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Sailor chic trying to follow your comments I got confused. Are you still referring to my buddy's H34 when you mention rigging replacement etc? If so, reread the listing and you will see it was all new in 2010. The aft birth in that boat is really large. The has solar, a generator and A/C. It's pretty self contained to live on the hook. Jake is talking about living on a boat in the USVI, not rounding Cape Horn. For a newbie, this is a turnkey boat. Are there cheaper and bigger boats out there? Sure, but I challenge you to find a more ready boat in the area at that price. If you just don't like Hunters, well that's fine.
Sorry it was a general comment on the rigging, not about that boat. It does have nice tankage and has many pluses for sure.

BUT, there is not a lot of storage on that boat, Not for two full time Liveaboard's. The AC and refrig is taking space below the salon and so is the safe. It's more about where are the towels, sheets, underwear, clothes, shoes, pots and pans, spice jars, Etc going to go. Living aboard it would be a bit challenging. It has hanging lockers, but not much drawer space and looks like no shelf space. The genny will be filling the starboard lazzerette, which is the only real one.

That looks like a lovely weekender boat and shows nice. Looks ex charter fleet to my jaded eye's, not that there is anything wrong with that.

I don't have a problem with Hunters, great value for the money and some do make great liveaboard boats. But that 34 is not what I would call live aboard friendly, not unless they turn the Vberth into storage.
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Old 02-09-2014, 17:17   #26
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

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It's more about where are the towels, sheets, underwear, clothes, shoes, pots and pans, spice jars, Etc going to go.
Not to mention 6 day charterers...
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Old 02-09-2014, 17:27   #27
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

I agree w Rubikoop totally he makes great points. However i find on most day boats down there the guests spend zero time below. Living aboard a day trip boat isnt a big deal, you motor them out 1 hour, snorkel an hour , sail in 1 hour feed em rumpunch. Repeat in the afternoon. But you need a 40plus foot boat, and a 25 ton+license plus ins to carry more passengers or it is not worth while. I am a bit confused, you say u successfully compete w millions of lawyers but no nest egg and a 40k budget. I would work a few more years get a boat to enjoy mow while earning good$$ keep on lawyering on, though the Usvi, can be clickish w those jobs. And work your way up. Maybe crew and work up your needed capt license time.

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Old 02-09-2014, 17:35   #28
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

Sailerchic. Thanks for the input! I appreciate your insight. I should clarify. . My plan was never to buy a $40,000 boat. My plan is to find someone like you or Rubi along with patience and cash to help me negotiate a $70,000 turnkey boat for $40,000!

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Old 02-09-2014, 17:40   #29
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

Not excharter. Don't know much about storage. Current owner lived aboard for a few years and is a single guy so plenty of room for clothes and linens. :-). He moved the boat into a marina for hurricane season last year and stayed. There are couples living on much smaller boats. A 34' wouldn't be my first choice to live and work out of.


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Old 02-09-2014, 18:01   #30
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Re: Selling Home and Law Practice to Livaboard in the USVI

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Sailerchic. Thanks for the input! I appreciate your insight. I should clarify. . My plan was never to buy a $40,000 boat. My plan is to find someone like you or Rubi along with patience and cash to help me negotiate a $70,000 turnkey boat for $40,000!
Ain't no such think as a turnkey boat. Every boat will need something.. Even a brand new boat. At the very least you'll need to change the raw water impeller. They tend to break/fail about 2 hours into your first or second sail.

You really have to factor in extra. Had a nice looking 40' ketch pull out of a slip at the marina I was staying at. The boat had sat for a few years. The SS prop shaft snapped in two while they were in the fairway. I got my trusty boat hook and grabbed the boat and moved it to the dock. That little oops cost a 30 mile tow to a yard.

I see too many folks splash on a coat of varnish and hire some kids to detail the boat. Looks good. Meanwhile it sat for years with lots of neglect. Most boats sit in the slips rotting away. Maybe not in the USVI, but pretty much everywhere else. 70% of the boats have not moved in a year. 50% have not moved in 3 years.

For liveaboard, you have to factor that all your tools, spares, extra lines,fender boards, Kayak or SUP paddles, paint, varnish, brushes, thinners, etc. will be aboard. As will all yours books, clothing, computers, etc. On the H34 with a single lazzerette without a genny, it would be tight.

I live on a OLD 34' boat and have tons of space compared to the H34, Three Lazzerrettes too. Guess what, all that space has stuff in it. OK Girls need more space for stuff. But you have to think about where everything you have will fit.

OK first rule, Repeat after me, There is no such thing as a turn key boat.
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