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Old 11-10-2017, 08:11   #1
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Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

Hello Cruisers,

I have an interesting situation brewing with a sailboat in French Polynesia and I'd love to get some feedback and thoughts on my plan to sail and sell this sailboat.

I found a sailboat that has been described to me as "turn key" and worth in the vicinity of 160k according to a 2014 survey.(I spoke with the broker who sold this sailboat to the current owner and he told me that if she is still in the condition of the 2014 survey she should sell for between 135k-125k in the USA) The owner, a nice semi-retired gentleman, has neither the time nor the resources to sail her back to the USA. He is willing to sell her for less than half of what she's worth to attract a buyer. My interest was more than piqued because I happen to like the type of sailboat in question and there might be an opportunity to make some money at some point.

I've never done this type of transaction or recovery, so I did as much research as I could and came up with a plan. I'm sure I have a couple blind spots and things I should consider that I have not thought to consider. I'd be most thankful for any and all input, especially from those who have attempted such a venture.

Here's the plan so far:

Arrive in FP October 20th 2017. Have survey done, if all checks out, prepare to sail her to Hawaii, depart Nov 1st. The plan I have with the owner is to fly out and meet him, (she's on the hard) put her together, do a thorough maintenance check and shake down cruise. I'm using a title company to hold the funds in escrow. If all checks out, transfer money to owner, I get the title.

I estimate about 25 days to Hawaii, could be more, could be less, by sailing northeast to cross the equator at about 145 degrees West and eventually pick up the Tradewinds. This route will vary as I confer with a weather and route planning service.

I stay in Hawaii and wait for a weather window to get her to Vancouver Island or Possibly a marina in Astoria, OR. Two places I was advised to keep the boat for one year to create a tax shelter. (Any opinions on this point? Be honest. This is what I was advised to do and I don't know how I feel about it).

I more or less want to make this happen with as little overhead as possible in order to maximize profit (and have some fun) if and when I go to sell the sailboat. I'm told she has everything on-board to complete this cruise besides a life raft. So, including a life raft and provisioning I'm hoping to keep recovery costs at about 12k. Through credit card miles I'm able to get myself and a crew member to FP. I'm choosing to forgo insurance as I'm told it's extremely expensive to get insurance in FP, but once I get to Hawaii, insurance should be easier to acquire.

So, am I missing anything major here? Am I being an idiot? Is this boat as good as deal as I think it is?

Also, if anyone is interested in crewing, PM me. I can provide airfare to and from departure point and destination, food, and a modest stipend for your time.

Thank you in advance!
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Old 11-10-2017, 15:25   #2
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Re: Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

There are a lot of holes in your plan, to say the least!

1. The values shown in typical surveys have very little to do with actual market values. They tend to over state the value, usually to prop up the buyer's enthusiasm for the purchase. The three years that have passed since the survey mean that it is pretty well meaningless, both in terms of value and condition... especially if the boat has been unused in that time.

2. So many boats are described as "turn key" that are really quite far from that state... If the boat has been on the hard for very long this worry is greater. The chances are that it will need more than a little help to be ready for a long passage, mostly with the wind forward of the beam.

3. Your time line is totally unrealistic: 10 days from arrival to departure... just ain't gonna happen. The passage time could actually work, or even be bettered... you don't tell us anything about the boat, so we don't know what it's speed potential is. Sailing in the south Pacific in Nov/Dec does put you at risk of cyclone exposure, BTW. Had you considered that aspect?

4. Crossing from Hawaii to the PNW in late December or January... there will be no "weather windows" of sufficient length to accomplish this passage in benign conditions. Be prepared for some pretty serious weather.

5. And to top it all off, you want to do this on the cheap!

So, am I missing anything major here? Am I being an idiot? Is this boat as good as deal as I think it is?
I will not embarrass either of us by answering those questions.

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II, back in Cygnet where winter is looming and the solar panels are hibernating.
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Old 11-10-2017, 17:45   #3
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Re: Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

You'll want to leave Hawaii no earlier than May and I'd wait till late July to have some hope of not freezing to death. Depending on the boats length you should be able to find a guest slip in any one State Marina here for up to 4 months before you'd have to move to another.

Before you put a nickel toward this boat, find someone who knows boats, like a local cruiser, to have a look at the boat. 3 years cruising in the tropics can make a big difference in its condition. Also some peoples idea of ready to go isn't anywhere near what I'd consider READY.

Washington will for sure try and get you for sales tax. Doesn't matter how long you've owned it, they'll want their 8-9%

As Jim said, plan on at least a month to get the boat ready to leave Tahiti. Took me more time than that to get a 28' boat ready for a sail from SF to SoCal.
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Old 11-10-2017, 18:51   #4
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Re: Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

Aside from the above comments, you need insurance. If coming into the marina something happens you need liability coverage. I would also price hull insurance for the Hawaii stay and for when she enter US waters.

She could be “turnkey” for coastal cruising. But your first trip will not be coastal. The survey will tell a lot. I would include a rigging survey and oil analysis in the pre-purchase inspection.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:48   #5
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Re: Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

Lot easier to sail her to Oz and find a buyer there. Much easier, and fun!

That trip from Hawaii to Vancouver Island can be not a lot of fun. But sailing with the trades to Oz is a pleasure with many nice places to stop. Worth the difference in dollars you might make in selling her in the US.

Just MHO.

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Old 12-10-2017, 11:06   #6
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Re: Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

You can get in touch with Richard Postma in Bora Bora, offer to pay for his time & knowledge of vessels. See if he would break away from paradise to help you.You can tell him his old friend Andy sent you.
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:10   #7
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Re: Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

Take someone who is knowledgeable on cruising boats for your inspection, valuation and shakedown ( should you decide to buy it ) .
Keep in mind the logistics of getting anything you need for the boat in FP are formidable.
Double check slip availability in Hawaii ... you may end up anchored in a road stead.
Go online now and find comparable boats to this one for sale in the PNW. As stated, survey and sales values are not the same.

Best of Luck
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Old 12-10-2017, 15:16   #8
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Re: Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

QUOTE=captmikem;2497644]Lot easier to sail her to Oz and find a buyer there. Much easier, and fun!

If you try that you will be up for GST and Duty depending on where the boat was built. Also there's a lot of paperwork etc, not much fun. Done it 3 times. Also boats go downhill rapidly in the tropics if not used and maintained.

The trip from Hawaii is not a lot of fun either. I used to do deliveries from there on top class boats and no one who came with me on those trips wanted to come again even though they were paid.

It's possible to lose a lot of money on these schemes...... I have. Sorry to say that. I bought a famous Farr 43 Snake Oil that was valued at $310k for $58k in Houston before the downturn and ended up losing all that plus more by the time it sold.
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Old 12-10-2017, 20:10   #9
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Re: Advice/help on sailing/selling from French Polynesia

I live down here in FP and I just could not imagine flying in here to meet a boat I have never seen, get a real vessel inspection, repair/replace needed items, take vessel out on test voyage, compete all paperwork, outfit vessel with needed supplies and get underway in 10 days.
Maybe you do but the locals here just don't move that fast. You shall be dealing with folks who move on "Polynesia time" and that's just never going to change.
Come here, checkout the boat and if it's something you can work with then perhaps make the investment but...... Relax here in the islands some, don't get in a big rush because things here get done when they get done and not before. We like it that way and who knows you might never want to leave too.
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