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Old 24-04-2008, 06:28   #1
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Not dead, just in boat buying hell.



Hi Folks

Some may be wondering why I dropped off the forum a few weeks ago (some breathing sigh of relief!)... so just in case you are wondering if I have been arrested I better bring you up to date if this flunky WiFi connection holds...
We came from Australia to the Caribbean to buy a boat and to go off sailing. We moved onto it 2 weeks ago today! Yippee!!!!!!!

The good news is the boat is still afloat and Nicolle is still with me! One wonders why when I played ‘Chicken’ with a Mega Yacht that happened to be moored and I don’t have insurance. Anyway, a miss by a metre is as good as a mile and even Nic appears to have forgotten.

There are vast problems buying a boat away from home and taking over one straight into a liveaboard situation.

Buying one at home you get all the necessary paperwork then and there – Our FedEx bill will be near $500 by the time we are registered.
Also the 'at-home' buyer goes home and fixes the boat each weekend whilst earning cash to do weekday sorties to the Chandlers. Why is it when before you buy the boat and you price stuff it seems reasonable, but the day after you buy the boat the chandlers seem to double the price?

Of course the pleasure comes from ditching the lines and going sailing! We have been doing this and have done a day sail most days and an overnighter. That gave Nicolle her first watches alone – 2 hours each and she only called me up once! And that was for a ship so I was very well pleased.

Its taken us a while to be able to change from boat buyers/emergency repairers/providores to tourists politely asking a French bakery for a “French Stick” (what we call them in Aus) instead of ‘Une Baguette, si vous plais’. I’ve gotta tell you the expression on the face of the Frenchman being asked for a French Stick was priceless… Maybe it was just the accent?

So the tourism is finally taking over, but admin stuff still holds us in St Martin. Our boat is cleared in the French side, but we are cleared in the Dutch side so I think we have to clear ourselves out there, bus to the French bit and try and explain why and how we got here. No doubt more French Stick!!!!!

In general I would offer to say that boat buying in ones own home country, or better, home port, is far easier. Buying somewhere else is expensive (our contingency money exited long ago) double your wildest estimates. Its not for the feint hearted. But if it’s the difference between buying at all then it can be done.
One thing I can say is that the difficulties would have been exacerbated if it were not for the Moorings Brokerage being right on the ball with the paperwork. Buying an ex-charter boat through them means that they can’t just turn away once the money is in their bank. Our man in Ft Lauderdale is Peter Wiersema peterw@mooringsbrokerage.com

The next week or 2 has us stuck waiting for paperwork for our boat registration (cost $800) and ‘marking’ the boat with whatever the registration mob requires: a permanent marking on a conspicuous bulkhead of the details of the boat (like I am going to destroy the frigging timber?) then sending them a photo by snail mail (ie $57 FedEx). So still we can not leave the country, can not be out of Email range for more than a day or 2 and still have the mobile phone on, and lastly but certainly not leastly: we still have to save every penny till our investments replenish the account. Try telling a girl she can look in the window of a French dress shop but she is not allowed to darken their doorstep!!

Someone is in the cockpit hand washing my undies so I better finish this and pretend to be doing something useful


Mark
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Old 24-04-2008, 06:52   #2
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Hey Mark, Congratulations! Thought maybe you had sailed of to Europe for a bit. If you want more routing files let me know. I did not want to flood your in basket with bunches of files.

Joli
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Old 24-04-2008, 07:20   #3
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One wonders why when I played ‘Chicken’ with a Mega Yacht that happened to be moored and I don’t have insurance.
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we still have to save every penny till our investments replenish the account.
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Someone is in the cockpit hand washing my undies so I better finish this and pretend to be doing something useful
OK I understand
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Old 24-04-2008, 07:25   #4
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We've been in the Caribbean for over a year, and if you have to be "stuck" somewhere, St. Martin is one of the best. I'm sure that doesn't make you feel better when you are dealing with big bucks flying out the companionway at the speed of light, but at least you can get whatever you need there. And let me recommend "French for Cruisers" by Kathy Parsons. It has an incredible wealth of information on provisioning, boat parts, directions, etc. in French in a very usable format. You can probably get it at either Island Water World or Budget Marine.

Good luck and have fun. BTW, what's the name of your new home? We'll look for you down island.
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Old 24-04-2008, 07:52   #5
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Hi Mark,

Been reading your posts and website with interest as we too are looking at purchasing overseas {we are from oz and the choice of our prefered yacht here is dismal} . We have spoken to customs with regards to such and it all seems so easy especially if the vessel was built in the U.S. No duty payable etc in fact our research so far would indicate that if you are looking at purchasing a good cruiseing yacht with the intent of cruising the globe for a few years you would be mad not to purchase in the U.S. thats certainly the feeling my Wife and I were getting from you ,but not now! Whats gone wrong???
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:05   #6
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You'll get past the "hump" soon, Mark.

Now the dream is boat ownership reality, and of course, there are parts of reality that don't match the dream. Boat living is hard... but rewarding.

Just get used to fixing stuff, spending more than you would like, and relax about it and you'll be adjusted in no time.

Buying a boat far away is hard.

Each of my last 2 have been 1000+ miles away (this one about 2000 miles). Not as far as yours, but still.. I know how frustrating the paperwork is.

hang in there!
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:11   #7
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Originally Posted by MarkJ
[COLOR=black
Someone is in the cockpit hand washing my undies so I better finish this and pretend to be doing something useful [/COLOR]


Mark
Wayyyyy too much info

Glad things seem to be moving along, I guess worse places and things to be stuck doing!

I guess you have already discovered "the tool thing", when you know that you have something that would be perfect for the job back home.....but instead have to try and make do.........or go shopping
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Old 24-04-2008, 10:44   #8
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I *was* wondering where you were. Glad things are going well!
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Old 24-04-2008, 10:57   #9
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Mark, i don't know what your presumably ozzie "registration" requires but if it is akin to USCG vessel documentation, "marking" means permanently engraving or affixing the numbers onto a main beam or other location. In a way that will be obvious and permanent. That can mean engraving them, ovelaying them with epoxy, etc. and be as plain or fancy as suits you--but this is for your protection, so that when the boat is stolen those numbers cannot be altered without leaving signs of it.

In the US most chandleries (even West!) will give you a break, typically 10%, if you tell them "I just bought a bought and I'm commissioning her". Sometimes they'll give you that break for 90 days, or retroactive at the end of it. You're a major new customer--ask the manager and something can almost ALWAYS be done, if you ask for it.

Fedex? What ever happened to Express Mail? We have "global" express mail, most postal services have something similar. Might add one or two days round trip but it should cut severa lhundred dollars.
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Old 24-04-2008, 10:59   #10
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I had the easiest time buying my boat in St. Maarten. My problem was the boat sat for 9 months, so the electronics went to sleep. It was a struggle to get it up, and running again.

A metre is not the same as a mile. The capt. of the megayacht will be keeping his eye on you, or at least on your pretty crew.....LOLOLOL BEST WISHES in sorting everything out, and I found the Dutch side much more fun!
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Old 24-04-2008, 11:31   #11
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Congratulations!! Can I find photos of your boat somewhere?

Kind Regards,

JohnL
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Old 24-04-2008, 12:02   #12
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John,

Mark and Nicole have some photos on their website:

Our Life At Sea - Our Boat
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Old 24-04-2008, 13:44   #13
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So Mark, do you think it is still by far the best thing to do? Buy the Boat over seas that is, not having Nicole wash your undies.
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Old 24-04-2008, 14:49   #14
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So Mark, do you think it is still by far the best thing to do? Buy the Boat over seas...


Hi Alan and all.

Thanks Hud for giving our website. There are more photos to come as we try to upload on the slow WiFi connection we have hacked!

Attached below is a photo Nic took last night as we were going in for sunset drinks on the beach.

Now for Alans answer: No, if you can afford it buy at home; debug at home; provision at your own supermarket and $2 shops etc.
But if you can't afford one at home then its the best way to get afloat however be prepared for far higher expenses that you would expect. For example rent a car in the USA is about $150 per day when you include taxes, insurance etc. We have spent 1 1/2 months in accommodation at $60 per night = $2700 plus we only had a kitchen for 2 weeks so there was a month eating out.

Provisioning at home over 1 year you could wait for all the sales and bargain hunt and save quite a lot. Remember I have to pay $10% GST on everything I buy for the boat and bring back into Australia.

Also the brokers know you are stuffed! You travel to the end of the earth and can't afford to go home without a boat. All the Aussies (etc) are looked at as cash cows by the brokers: Yippee! Its a cashed up Aussie! Lets show him all the crap we haven't been able to move!

So yes, its fine to buy overseas but do you sums right and then double what you think you will need. I think someone who says I've $100k and $5k for plane fares etc will be sadly deluded!

The final thing you need is time. Time in researching, time on the ground, time for surveys, time waiting for the sale to complete and time for the registration to occur. It will basically be 3 1/2 months since we left Australia to complete this whole thing and we have been working it pretty fast (and prudently?). Thats a fair amount of time before you start the nice cruising sort of stuff.

In another thread someone was saying brokers don't return calls etc. I found that WE had to know what we were looking at, where we were going etc before we left home and to a better extent than the brokers. Yes, just walk in and don't make an appointment. That way you see the boat unbuffed, and the engine cold.
Do NOT allow a broker to say he will look for a boat for you - just make each listing broker hammer his own client down.

The other thing I wanted to touch on was the boat. If you are buying a millon dollar jobbie you will find plenty out there with good discounts. But in the lower price ranges, say to $150,000 its a whole lot tighter!



Its still been a great experience and we have bought OK But I don't think we got the bargain of the century, or even the deel of the year. But you have to allow for that in your figures. Those brokers can sniff a cashed up buyer off his home territory!


Mark
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Old 24-04-2008, 15:10   #15
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Mark,

Looks like you've got a Beneteau 393. Here's a website I started for 393 owners when I bought mine in 2004. beneteau393 : Beneteau393 Group
Good luck in getting the boat documented soon. There's tons of info on the boat and all the manuals are online at the site. In addition you can see all the different modifications owners have made.
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