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Old 13-06-2020, 11:38   #1
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Buying a boat on the other side of the world

Hi all,

I plan to do a 9-12 months sailing sabbatical with my wife and our 3 children. We are Swiss and have the dream to cruise the southern Pacific. Below a few words about us, our plan and boat we are looking for.

Who we are
  • Swiss, close to 40 years old
  • I have some sailing experience, crossed the Atlantic once from west to east
  • Electrical engineer
  • My wife has minor sailing experience

Our plan
  • Go sailing for about 9-12 months
  • Start in New Zealand, staying there for approx. 2 months before crossing to Tonga
  • Explore some of the south-western Pacific
  • End up in Australia

Boat we are looking for
  • Monohull (sloop or cutter preferred, since no experience on ketches)
  • Fiberglass
  • We do not care if the boat is a bit older, as long as it is well maintained, well equipped and seaworthy
  • As we have limited time, we do not want to spend time working on the boat before leaving. The boat should be more or less ready to go. If work has to be done, we prefer having it fixed by someone else before we get aboard.
  • 38-41 feet. I know, this is rather small for 5 people. However, better making a dream come true with limited budget, than not doing it at all.
  • I certainly want to buy a well-known boat type to make the selling process smoother after our sabbatical. A Beneteau First seems like a good option to me.

Questions
  • Does the above plan sound reasonable to you? Please let me know some subjective feedback.
  • What’s the best strategy to buy a sailboat on the other side of the world? I obviously need to rely on someone local for the buying process since it is not an option to travel multiple times around the world for seeing various potential boats. This creates some headache – so please give some advice.
  • Is New Zealand a good location to buy a boat? Is Australia good for selling a boat?
  • We hope to find a boat at approx. USD 70k, then invest about USD 20k before leaving. Is that reasonable?

Thanks already upfront for some feedback!
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Old 13-06-2020, 11:50   #2
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

You should get a boat in Europe. From recent posts on this Forum, there don't seem to be a lot of available boats in Australia and New Zealand currently - although I invite Southern Hemisphere members to weigh in on this.

LittleWing77

p.s.your wife should gain some more sailing experience. What happens if you get sick or are knocked out? Can she handle the boat alone? Can the kids help her?
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Old 13-06-2020, 12:02   #3
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

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Originally Posted by LittleWing77 View Post
You should get a boat in Europe. From recent posts on this Forum, there don't seem to be a lot of available boats in Australia and New Zealand currently - although I invite Southern Hemisphere members to weigh in on this.

LittleWing77

p.s.your wife should gain some more sailing experience. What happens if you get sick or are knocked out? Can she handle the boat alone? Can the kids help her?
I would suggest buying in the US instead, the same boat is half the money there compared to EU.
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Old 13-06-2020, 14:34   #4
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

We are from Miami and we sailed to New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji and many of the western Pacific islands. There are lots of good boats for sale in New Zealand that have crossed the Pacific. Opoa and Whangarai are good places to buy. Talk to a broker there.

$70,000 is low for a boat that can cross serious oceans and 12 months is not much time.

Good Luck
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Old 13-06-2020, 15:20   #5
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

If you are Swiss bent on exploring the area NZ / AUS then I would do something different.


I would fly to Cal (SF), get a boat there. Then cross to Hawaii / French Polynesia / AUS (or NZ).



Below are some reasons why I would do so.

1. US is simply a great place to buy a boat. A huge choice, good prices and physically closer to CH than NZ/AUS are.

2. It is all or mostly all downwind from SF all the way to Sydney Harbour.

3. Your first long passage would be across a reasonably easy patch of water, from Cal to Hawaii.

(if you are not aware: waters between Tonga and NZ are NOT an easy ride, read on 'Queens Birthday Storm', if you are not aware of this one yet)

4. Once you have your boat in SF, you can immediately place her on the market in AUS or NZ. You are likely to find a buyer before you are in AUS or NZ.

5. Once in AUS, get rid of the boat, get a van, explore the continent. For it is a hell of a place. And best explored overland.


6. If running out of time, I would skip NZ and land in AUS only. Easier/safer sailing, more to see, better local cruising and weather.



What you want is 100% doable. What I suggest is just a different take.

Disclosure: We have been to both NZ and AUS, by boat. We have also cruised the area you intend to cruise (as well as the whole stretch Panama to Darwin).

Take care. Stick you your guns and plans. Enjoy the ride.

barnakiel
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Old 13-06-2020, 15:49   #6
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pirate Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

I would opt for something other than a Beneteau First.
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Old 13-06-2020, 16:11   #7
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

Think you are optimistic, sounds more reasonable if did Aus or NZ by RV.
Still if you must get a vessel that has done blue water recently.
Get one that is lived on now.
Get proof of recent big purchases.
You have to be prepared to pay top dollar.



My boat was in great condition but over the last 3 years have averaged 1 day sailing 3 weeks work. And down Au$50000



Anyway Pacific nations were hyper sensitive to Flu, they suffered badly in Spanish flu 100 years ago, they (Samoa) closed up before anyone, think they will be sensitive to reopening.
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Old 13-06-2020, 18:13   #8
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

Why not buy a yacht in Fiji and then cruise down wind from there, finally ending up in Bundaberg Australia?
I don't think buying a yacht in Fiji would be that difficult. There seemed to be plenty of yachts for sale at Vadu point marina last year.

Cheers
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Old 13-06-2020, 18:35   #9
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
I would opt for something other than a Beneteau First.

Chiki Rafiki was one.


b.
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Old 13-06-2020, 22:47   #10
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

Thanks for all your valuable feedback. We plan to do our sabbatical in a few years only, therefore we still have plenty of time to adapt our plans.

Here a few comments
  • The option of buying in SF and sailing to Australia seems interesting to me. We could skip New Zealand. Although it seems a very long journey for a year only.
  • There is obviously the option of buying on a pacific island. However, it is again further away from Switzerland and probably there are less boats to choose from. Moreover, is there good enough infrastructure if the boat needs some initial repair / equipment?
  • Replacing our plan with an RV adventure is not an option. Our fallback plan is rather sailing the Caribbean only, i.e. no long distances, always close to good infrastructure, may be shorter period, but also very crowded, which is not what we are really looking for.

Thanks for further sharing your opinion!
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Old 14-06-2020, 00:42   #11
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeiling View Post
Thanks for all your valuable feedback. We plan to do our sabbatical in a few years only, therefore we still have plenty of time to adapt our plans.

Here a few comments
  • The option of buying in SF and sailing to Australia seems interesting to me. We could skip New Zealand. Although it seems a very long journey for a year only.
  • There is obviously the option of buying on a pacific island. However, it is again further away from Switzerland and probably there are less boats to choose from. Moreover, is there good enough infrastructure if the boat needs some initial repair / equipment?
  • Replacing our plan with an RV adventure is not an option. Our fallback plan is rather sailing the Caribbean only, i.e. no long distances, always close to good infrastructure, may be shorter period, but also very crowded, which is not what we are really looking for.

Thanks for further sharing your opinion!
Yea, there are limited yachts available on Pacific Islands, though I did see some when I was searching for mine. All of them were already set up for long distance cruising though, which is not normally the case elsewhere - people will normally remove things like wind vane pilots etc before selling, as they do not add enough to the sale price when compared to selling them on separately.
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Old 14-06-2020, 03:42   #12
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

Another nudge in direction of buying a boat in US west coast (California) though I agree 12 months may not be realistic to find, purchase, and outfit a boat. San Francisco, while expensive, is a good place to stage from as there are still a couple decent liveaboard marinas (EmeryCove in the east bay is a favorite and has a solid reputation as being friendly to cruisers preparing to head out).

But the main reason I suggest is since you have a family without a ton of experience, you would likely benefit by joining a rally. The Baja Haha leaves San Diego for Cabo San Lucas 800 nms south around October 31st, usually around 140 boats in a fairly structured rally with committee boat etc. It's a ton of fun with Sailors from all imaginable backgrounds including a smattering of families.

After the HaHa, some of the fleet continues further south and stages for the "Pacific Puddle Jump," a non--structured rally to French Polynesia where boats share a radio net and that's about it - there isn't even a start place or time. Favorable departure is late spring to early summer. By then some strong bonds have been formed between many boats so eases the stress of a 3 week ocean crossing.

http://www.pacificpuddlejump.com/

Good luck. If you pull this off, you will impact at least two generations of your family. Your children will be changed and will raise their children slightly differently. Not a bad ROI

Peter.
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Old 14-06-2020, 03:58   #13
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

I live in NZ and I bought my current boat in San Diego. Need I say more?

Not only are boats more affordable in the US, there is a far wider choice and the quality is generally better. Couple that to the fact that prepping a boat for an ocean passage is easier/cheaper and a voyage west from California is called the “milk run” for a very good reason.

Oh, and don’t buy into the Queens Birthday Storm dialogue - that was a once-in-a-lifetime event - never happened before and hasn’t happened since. It is not a benchmark for sailing between NZ and the islands.
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Old 14-06-2020, 04:48   #14
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

One US Dollar will cost you $1-46 AUD at the moment,
So buying in Australia is very expensive,

I bought my boat in Fiji, With all the Bells and Whistles, Ready to sail any where, Half the cost of buying one in Australia,
I had another boat exactly the same in San Diego USA, For exactly the same amount,

Just a heads up for you,

Cheers, Brian,
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Old 14-06-2020, 06:25   #15
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Re: Buying a boat on the other side of the world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeiling View Post
Thanks for all your valuable feedback. We plan to do our sabbatical in a few years only, therefore we still have plenty of time to adapt our plans.

Here a few comments
  • The option of buying in SF and sailing to Australia seems interesting to me. We could skip New Zealand. Although it seems a very long journey for a year only.
  • There is obviously the option of buying on a pacific island. However, it is again further away from Switzerland and probably there are less boats to choose from. Moreover, is there good enough infrastructure if the boat needs some initial repair / equipment?
  • Replacing our plan with an RV adventure is not an option. Our fallback plan is rather sailing the Caribbean only, i.e. no long distances, always close to good infrastructure, may be shorter period, but also very crowded, which is not what we are really looking for.

Thanks for further sharing your opinion!

  • If you are sailing 'in a few years only' then start planning in few years. Mind R Burns' poem of mice and man.
  • You may be applying a car driver mindset to sailing. On the water, long distances (downwind, in trades) will be covered much faster and in far better comfort than much shorter ones (upwind, or in calms). A boat leaving Panama in May is in Auckland in November. You said you have 9-12 months sabbatical. This leaves 3-6 months for landwise or boatwise exploration of Australia - nearly enough time to circumnavigate the continent.
  • The islands we know did not have any reasonable infrastructure nor good supply of s/h boats: French Polynesia, Tonga, Cooks, New Cal. For Hawaii and Fiji you need to listen to people who lived there.
  • Caribbean is like sailing the Med. Nothing like sailing the Pacific. Also "crowded" relates only to the places where s.c. cruisers congregate. Back in 2017 we spent weeks all alone in Antigua, in a vast empty anchorage (tip: it was not the English Harbour). We can be in the Caribbean all by ourselves when we want. We simply go to places that do not have bars along the beach and that's that, you are alone and the anchorage is all yours.
  • Pacific can too be crowded if you want. Papeete, Neiafu, Nukualofa, Auckland, Noumea were all crowded.
Cheers,
b.
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