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Old 09-10-2010, 13:05   #1
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Sailing from USA to Australia

Another thread started by "mate" has inspired me to ask the question, who has done the trip from the USA to Australia with a new to them boat.

I have looked at the financial side and as "mate" said it is touch and go financially with duty, GST etc but the USA seems to have boats more suitable for us.

To lessen the cost, and enjoy the experience we can sail home! With over 40000 miles under my belt I am quietly confident in my ability, but want your advice on anything and everything.

The boat would be between 39 - 41 feet and we would spend at least a few months in the US learning the boat first. The crew would be my wife and 2 children (7 & 10) so short hops are best. I would probably get a crew for big crossings and fly them to the next port.

Any advice would be great.
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Old 09-10-2010, 14:20   #2
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It is a good idea. I thought of it before we got out last boat. I would only look at west coast or Hawaii. I even looked at passages/where to stop on both a delivery trip or a cruise.

2 years ago an old family friend (aged then 77) bought a HR 38 in Hawaii and sailed it home alone.

Good luck with it - Hopefully you can blog your trip with pics, so we can see how you are going.
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Old 09-10-2010, 15:17   #3
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Arrange the transaction so you don't pay California Sales or Use Tax. Or other things of that matter. And don't rely on tax and legal advice from well meaning CF or brokers. You can start here.
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Old 09-10-2010, 18:50   #4
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If you buy a boat in California, and why not with the low prices, tell the broker you want offshore settlement. Expect to pay about $500.

Once the sale is settled you have 3 months (well that's what it used to be) to get the boat out of the state or you will be taxed. If the tax man patrols the docks, as they do, you can always slip down to Ensenada for the weekend and restart the clock. Alternatively, you could disable your boat and say you are stranded until repairs are finished. I removed my spreaders. That will work at least once.

You must register the boat somewhere before leaving the US or you won't be able to insure. Hawaii is cheap. All you need is passport + bill of sale + $15. On the other hand you could bite the bullet, pay $799 and register early in Australia.

Guide to registering a ship

Next thing is to decide between Marquesas via Mexico or Hawaii. There is no correct answer to that question. Skip the peak hurricane season in Mexico which is August and September and cyclone season down south runs until April so you don't want to cross the equator earlier than mid April.

That thould keep you busy for a while.
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Old 09-10-2010, 19:12   #5
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James, Take a look at the blog of the cat Alana Rose - the owner, an Aussie, bought her on the east coast of the USA a couple years ago and sailed her back to Oz via the Bahamas, Panama Canal and the Pacific, currently cruising in the Whitsundays. Quite a bit of detail in the blog. Good luck.
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Old 09-10-2010, 19:14   #6
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James, Sorry - www.jjw47.blog.com for the Alana Rose
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Old 09-10-2010, 19:47   #7
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Hey, Savoir... many thanks for the link on Australian Registry. We are planning on selling up in the US and immigrating to OZ in the next couple of years. Having deregistered one vessel from US documentation status and reregistering it in the Cayman Islands, the Australian process seems much simpler. One of the major issues was finding someone from Bureau Veritas to 'measure' the boat which was lying in Barre Navidad, Mexico. There are only a couple of surveyors licensed on the US west coast to perform the measurement but it was certainly useful to know how many cannons she was permitted to carry! I understand there is an advantage to importing a US built vessel into Australia from a duty standpoint and am in the process of researching if there are other countries of manufacture that enjoy the same treatment as US built vessels. Any advice on this subject would be appreciated. Capt Phil
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Old 09-10-2010, 19:55   #8
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I say go for it.

Be sure to set the yacht up so that it sails well downwind.

As long as you sail westabout, it should be a great time.

We found that when we sailed to Australia, the longer hops were easier on the crew than the short hops. On the short hops, the crew doesn't have time to get over seasickness and get their sea legs to enjoy their time at sea. If all you do is short hops, the crew may never enjoy offshore sailing because they never get their sea legs and get over their short hop queasiness. My wife didn't like the two to three day sails because it took a couple of days before she started feeling really good. You may end up programming your crew to hate sailing if all they ever do is short hops. They will experience only queasy short hops and be anxious to get off the boat asap at the next port.
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Old 09-10-2010, 20:18   #9
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The only advantage in having a US built boat on arrival in Australia is a tax reduction from 15% to 10%. You can defer this tax by occasional visits to NZ or New Caledonia to restart the clock. On arrival in Australia you automatically get 3 months and can request up to a year. If you take the full year the boat cannot return for 3 years. At the end of your time in Australia you must pay the tax or leave.

There are tax advantages in a few stays in other countries near Australia. The tax paid will be that on the day of assessment not the day of first arrival. If those days were a few years apart and the boat were to depreciate somewhat . . . . well gollleeee ! (insert Gomer Pyle accent) In addition, if a fat slab of the boat's inventory were to wear out just before assessment day . . . .

You are entitled to hire a surveyor to value the boat and he can only value what he can see. Don't let the customs guys try to value it or you will pay bigtime $$$$$.

Of course all that country hopping might not suit your new life.
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Old 09-10-2010, 21:07   #10
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Hi and thanks for all the advice, the interesting thing is getting any details (or even a response) from brokers. I guess that is universal?
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Old 09-10-2010, 21:26   #11
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Savior... many thanks for the details, particularly the point about getting an independent surveyors' opinion on value. Didn't know I had a choice.
Johnathon123... if you can give me an idea where you are looking on the west coast, pm me and I can give you names of reputable brokers to represent your interests. Don't have any connections in Florida or the East coast, however.
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Old 09-10-2010, 21:49   #12
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I bought a boat 3 1/2 miles West of SD (with GPS pics and newspapers to prove it) 4 years ago, kept it there 5 months unregistered and successfully dodged the tax man.

The right to appoint an Australian surveyor is not automatic, but you should aim for it if you can by delaying assessment day. The customs valuation will always be higher than yours. Funny that.

Details here

http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page4365.asp
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Old 09-10-2010, 21:55   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
I say go for it.

Be sure to set the yacht up so that it sails well downwind.

As long as you sail westabout, it should be a great time.

We found that when we sailed to Australia, the longer hops were easier on the crew than the short hops. On the short hops, the crew doesn't have time to get over seasickness and get their sea legs to enjoy their time at sea. If all you do is short hops, the crew may never enjoy offshore sailing because they never get their sea legs and get over their short hop queasiness. My wife didn't like the two to three day sails because it took a couple of days before she started feeling really good. You may end up programming your crew to hate sailing if all they ever do is short hops. They will experience only queasy short hops and be anxious to get off the boat asap at the next port.
Interesting... I'm not trying to rekindle any cat/mono debates. I don't have enough life left, and I happen to like both. They're just different.

But I'd really like your opinion on whether living on a mono, with more movement on the hook, would have meant your wife would not have lost her sea legs between the longer hops.
Maybe the benefit of the cat stability on the hook is a disadvantage when setting out on a passage again from a seasickness point of view.

Your thoughts?

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Old 09-10-2010, 22:07   #14
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Originally Posted by Capt Phil View Post
Savior... many thanks for the details, particularly the point about getting an independent surveyors' opinion on value. Didn't know I had a choice.
Johnathon123... if you can give me an idea where you are looking on the west coast, pm me and I can give you names of reputable brokers to represent your interests. Don't have any connections in Florida or the East coast, however.
Thanks for the offer, it will be the west coast, just not sure exactly as yet, will let you know

If you have a US manufactured boat do you avoid import duty under the free trade agreement?
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:44   #15
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Johnathon123... according to Savoir on this thread, you can reduce the import duty into OZ on a US built boat from 15% to 10% which on a fair size vessel is a good saving.
Savoir... it sounds like you did the normal offshore delivery out of San Diego outside the 3 mile limit. You are not supposed to be aboard the vessel you are buying on the way out based on the argument that you have taken construct receipt of the vessel within CA waters and therefore are responsible for CA sales tax which is considerable. I did alright delivering boats back and forth to Ensenada for the requisite 90 days after the offshore delivery. Back in the 80's and 90's, it became so popular that they christened those taking advantage of this quirk in the law members of the '90 Day Yacht Club'. Both the San Diego County Tax folks and the CA Franchise Tax Board can be really nasty about their tax collection methods. As Daddle properly pointed out on this thread yesterday, Johnathon123, don't take the advice of a broker or a CF responder (like me), go to a qualified legal source such as a reputable marine attorney or documentation service for your advice... good luck... Capt Phil
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