Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Victoria B.C. Canada
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Don't discount fin keel boats. Many are better sailers than full keel boats and
being newer in most cases better built as well with less work needed by you.
I think if I were you I would look in the UK for as mentioned a Westerly (maybe the Storm) Contessa 32, She 31, or a Rival 32 or something similar. There is a huge selection and you're closer to home so travel expenses would be less. I have an aquaintance in England refitting a She 31 at this time and it is a very capable boat from a great designer,Sparkman & Stevens. It will go anywhere a full keel boat will and faster as well as a better sailer. Here's a link to a She 31 for sale in the UK now and the price isn't too bad. She 31 for sale - Yachtsnet Ltd. online UK yacht brokers - yacht brokerage and boat sales
As far as importing a boat, as far as I know if you are in the EU for 6 months regardless of flag you have no choice but to pay the duty (vat). This would apply to a Canadian or American citizen as well.
Here's a link to Yachtsnet in the UK, where the above link came from, and you can look at their brokerage and the archives have a lot of detail and pics of their past sales. This will give you a good idea of what is available in the UK. Yachtsnet Ltd. online UK yacht brokers - yacht brokerage and boat sales
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour