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Old 12-05-2020, 02:55   #1
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Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advice

Hello Everyone!

My wife and I are new to Cruisers Forum and this our first post : ). We desperately need your wise advice because we are thoroughly confused and are also humbled that we don't even know what we don't know.

We have had the life-long dream of retiring on a sailboat and sailing the world and now is the time! We are retiring this year from teaching and are two days away from signing a prepurchase memorandum of agreement (MOA) on a used Lagoon 450 sailing catamaran in Greece which is just the one we have been looking for and then hopefully traveling to Greece June 20th if the foreigner travel ban has been lifted.

(please try and hold your laughter) With all of that said, we are now searching for yacht insurance and they are all asking for experience and we have none, but we are ready to gain any certification and experience needed to procure it.

Has anyone been in this situation or known someone else who has and would you please give some constructive advice along with insurance company, sailing certification, and experience suggestions? We would really appreciate it!
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:13   #2
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

Congratulations! That - potentially - sounds great!

What's your nationality? Which flag do you intend to sail under? These answers will influence what certificate you need. Regarding insurance I don't know, but why not just call some (e.g. Pantaenius) and explain your situation. Maybe it works with some limitations, e.g. not leaving the marina while not having a certificate?
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:19   #3
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

SV Blown Away, I actually clicked of your post but you know curiosity killed the cat. Have you never sailed at all? That is a beast of a first boat to buy and go sailing on. A 26 foot beam takes some getting used to in tight spaces even for experienced sailors.
Have you tried a company called Northern Reef, they have a name for insuring anything that floats here in Australia. I think they are an offshore company that have a bad name for paying out.
Who ever insures you for the first year will probably charge a fortune and once you have some experience then you should easily be able to change insurers.......maybe.
The other way is to get some experience first then buy the cat. By the time you get the experience you may realise you do not need an apartment block just for the two of you?
Not knocking the Lagoon, I surveyed a 450F and it felt pretty big on the water.
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:49   #4
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

You may want to actually contact one or more the insurance companies and ask what you need to do to become qualified. When I was an active delivery captain, I had a two people hire me to teach them close-quarter maneuvering for insurance sign-off purposes (different insurance companies). I worked with their underwriter to develop a program, though I seem to recall they both had contact-time requirements of several (six? I really don't remember) lessons over several weeks. You are not the first to buy a relatively large boat right out of the gate.

Good luck, and welcome to CF. It's been a good resource for me.

Peter
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:51   #5
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

To get insurance you will need experience. Probably the best way would be to identify a captain who can help you learn your boat and give you the necessary training.

Provide the captains information to your insurance company, who should then provide insurance as long as the certified captain is aboard.

The insurance company should provide you with what requirements and sign off they would need to allow you to sail without a captain onboard.
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:52   #6
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

Call around is all you can really do and explain your situation. Expect to pay a heck of a lot for the first year or two. Also don't be surprised if they add crazy rules like having a licensed captain aboard if the boat leaves the slip.

So you have no boating experience at all? Not even a small runabout? What's your exit strategy if you decide you don't like cruising? Do you have a large maintenance budget (at least for the first couple year) as you aren't familiar with boat maintenance? Did you include a formal survey as part of the offer?

Lots of red flags.
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:54   #7
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

My wife and I did exactly the same thing and are happy that we did,We bought a Lagoon 40.We have done the RYA Day skippers course on line with a company called Navathome.com as we live in Botswana with no access to the Ocean during Covid Times. My wife and I both passed our theory, which to be honest taught us a lot about what will be needed to sail. We have then hired a skipper from the USA to meet us at our boat in France and he will spend 3 weeks with us teaching us the ropes so to speak, on our own vessel. I found the cost to do this would have been similar to doing it through a registered sailing school however I will have the benefit of individual tuition and learning my own vessel.
Also my wife will become as qualified as myself and hopefully this will give us the confidence to start out on our own.As for insurance I was able to get this with little problem at all.
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:57   #8
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

Are you British? If so join the RYA. Do at least the coastal skippers course, usually includes 5 days on a monohull, yechh!, you will learn a lot though and you will get a certificate that will pass most jurisdictions that require it in Europe and may assist with insurance.
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Old 12-05-2020, 04:01   #9
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

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Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
Have you tried a company called Northern Reef, they have a name for insuring anything that floats here in Australia.
Northern Reef have gone bust leaving a lot of people without cover!
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Old 12-05-2020, 04:24   #10
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

My wife and I were in the same position in 2002 when we wanted to go sailing. I had briefly owned a dinghy with a single small sail some 35 years earlier but otherwise we had no other sailing experience and never even been aboard an ocean going sailboat. We took a one week course certified by the American Sailing Association (ASA) through a company in the Grenadine Islands. The certifications qualified and enabled us to “bare boat charter” a 38 foot sloop for a week from the same company. (Since they had already “certified” us, they were in a weaker position to deny renting the boat to us!). I had read somewhere that marine insurance companies are very concerned about your ability to navigate - thus in 2003 we took a second one week ASA course on “coastal navigation” out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We then purchased a 53 foot ketch and were successful in buying an insurance policy before setting off around the world on a 6 year circumnavigation.
Good Luck and Fair Winds,
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Old 12-05-2020, 04:45   #11
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

You need the license for the size of boat and the flag you intend to sail under.

F.I. in Australia you need the "boat license" which you can do in just one day. For the practical knowledge it would be a good idea to get an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) which can be done in many sailing schools all over the world. Above that you need a license for short distance and maybe also long distance radio operation.

A plain boat license and a radio license are the minimum legal requirements.

Insurances want to know that you are practically fit to handle the boat, they are typically happy if you can show a decent amount of miles sailed or a history of sailing other boats without incidents.



It may be an idea to take out just third party insurance (which is usually easy to get and cheap) for some time and then to upgrade to full comprehensive.....


Regards,



-Richard


P.S.: Learning the ropes from an experienced skipper is one of the best things you can do, it will give you a lot of knowledge and practical experience, but unfortunately no certificate. So do the ICC or a RYA course (also accepted worldwide).
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Old 12-05-2020, 06:21   #12
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

As you wrote, you don’t even know what you don’t know.

There are different flavors of insurance. The most common are hull and liability. Hull insures policy owner’s vessel and contents from damage, and liability insures against damage caused by policy owner actions or inactions (i.e. hitting other boats). Neither are required to sail in international waters. However, most lenders require borrowers to obtain and purchase hull insurance. Usually, hull insurance is bundled with liability insurance. Insurance requirements for boat owners (not borrowers) are dictated by either marinas, boatyards, or nations. None of them (marinas, boatyards, or nations) require hull insurance, only liability insurance. Liability only insurance can be purchased. Most (not all) marinas and boatyards in the EU ( Greece included) require liability insurance. Believe it or not, liability insurance in the EU at least is somewhat dependent on the owner’s nationality, and the vessels flag.

As others have posted, make inquiries. Pantaenius is a large company with many branches/offices. Don’t assume if Pantaenius (Spain) won’t insure a vessel, that Pantaenius (Germany) won’t either.

There is only one way to get experience, or certificates and that is to do it. Take some sailing courses. Volunteer as crew, pay to crew, etc...
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Old 12-05-2020, 06:27   #13
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

Unless you can absorb a total loss on the boat, be very careful of people telling you to only take out liability insurance.

If you are worth $10mil and it's a $300k boat, you can probably absorb the loss of the boat (painful but not really a big impact long term).
If you are worth $500k and it's a $300k boat, you could easily be looking at a substantially lower lifestyle for the rest of your life if you lose the boat.
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Old 12-05-2020, 06:33   #14
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topspin View Post
You need the license for the size of boat and the flag you intend to sail under.
Not universally true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topspin View Post
For the practical knowledge it would be a good idea to get an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) which can be done in many sailing schools all over the world.
.

Good advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topspin View Post
…you need a license for short distance and maybe also long distance radio operation.
True. You’ll need radio operator’s license(s) (VHF and/or HF) from the vessel’s country of flag.
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Old 12-05-2020, 06:43   #15
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Re: Couple with No Sailing Experience Buying Catamaran and In Need of Insurance Advic

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Originally Posted by SV Blown Away View Post
Has anyone been in this situation or known someone else who has and would you please give some constructive advice along with insurance company, sailing certification, and experience suggestions? We would really appreciate it!

It would help to know where you live now and what your citizenship is.


If you are in and citizens of the USA I would strongly suggest finding a boat in USA waters. That would allow you to start out getting insurance through whatever company you usually use for your house, car, etc. These policies are inexpensive and easy to get with fewer requirements for qualifications and hull survey. Coverage is geographically limited. I have a policy through State Farm that covers USA, Canada, offshore within 50 miles or so, and the Bahamas.


You may find that the insurance problems, together with the other costs inherent in a foreign boat purchase, drive the costs up enough that it is more cost effective overall to purchase in the USA even if the search is longer or the prices somewhat higher.


Otherwise the advice you have received is good, find a delivery captain who is trustworthy and acceptable to your insurance company, and start there.
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