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Old 17-11-2010, 17:12   #1
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Caribbean or US East Upgrade

Looking to buy an ex charter in the BVI for cross ocean voyage so will want to add things like solar, wind generator + mounting frame etc. Having tried this previously from Mexico west coast and found supply and technical hopeless I was wondering what the scene is like in the BVI. As one of the worlds main charter boat hubs I thought it might be better. Cost comparison to US would be helpfull as well???
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Old 17-11-2010, 17:16   #2
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St Maarten is another option.
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Old 17-11-2010, 17:32   #3
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Have to mostly agree with Hud on this. Saint Maarten is the shipping/freight hub for most of the E. Caribbean as it is duty-free. You might get the ex-charter boat out of the BVI and then run over to St. Maarten for your upgrades.

Prices will be a bit higher than the US (many things come from the US, so there is a shipping cost to absorb, at a minimum). Of course, you can also get items like 2-stroke outboards which are no longer available in the US.

Fair Winds,
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Old 22-11-2010, 13:24   #4
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I agree with the others. BVI very limited. Only one decent chandlery- in Nanny Cay Marina - that can get stuff down from West Marine in the US, and a big Moorings base in Tortola to keep their boats going.

Shipping from the US to St Maarten is easy and duty free. Both the big Caribbean chandleries, have their warehouses there - Budget Marine and Island WaterWorld (they both have online catalogues) There's plenty of skilled labour, and small marine businesses, but since the superyachts arrived its no longer so cheap. I was getting quoted around US$65 an hour three years ago. I had parts sent to The Mailbox, a Fedex agent in Palappa Marina, which worked well. No waiting for customs, and they held them for me.

As you go further south, it doesn't really get any better. Antigua is expensive, but does have skills, likewise the French Islands but they are suffering from the Euro. Grenada may be an option and theres' also Trinidad, some people rate it for boat repairs, but I'm not one of them.

Best Richard
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Old 22-11-2010, 13:40   #5
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Rumor has it that Trinidad has good skilled labor for such things as fiberglass and cabinetry but not so good for electronics and higher tech stuff.

Another option is Puerto Rico. There will be shipping charges but we have had good luck with getting things shipped to our home, here. There are several good marine stores and pretty good workmen. And, since it's part of the US there are no customs charges when shipping from the US.

And, it's a downhill run from the BVI.

Don't believe everything you think
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Old 22-11-2010, 13:56   #6
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I can personally recomend St Martin French side...
There were two places Dutch side that quoted me $5000+ for my frame to mount a solar panel/windgenerator and set up for hoisting a dinghy...
A South African guy ended up doing mine for me... damned if I remember his name but... as you enter the Lagoon from Marigot Bay, just to the right is a concrete quay.. tie up there and walk in about 500metres and you'll come to his workshop.. the guy is a real artist with stainless..... designed, built and fitted in 5 days
Take a look at what I got for $3000...
Lille Marine just before the bridge supplied my Aerogen and 130w solar panel.... oh and the dinghy and O/B...
The whole kit n caboodle for the Dutch price of the frame...
Mind... that was in Spring '07
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It was a dark and stormy night and the captain of the ship said.. "Hey Jim, spin us a yarn." and the yarn began like this.. "It was a dark and stormy night.."
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Old 22-11-2010, 15:00   #7
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We split our time between St Martin nd the USVI for getting stuff done on the boat. Pretty much anything you need is available in St Martin but at a slightly elevated price.

On the other hand the USVI being part of the US of A and and part of the US postal system means that anything you want can be shipped bia US Priority mail at a great savings and companies like Defender will ship stuff dowm for a few dollars and you'll have it a a few days.

Whatever you do avoid FEdEx, DHL and UPS as their Caribbean shipping costs are a reminder that piracy is not quite dead in the Caribbean..
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