Join Date: Jul 2002
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Buying a boat in Europe
Lee, North Americans purchase Euro boats all the time - builders like Najad and Hallberg Rassy build and sell boats all year long, e.g., then commission them all in the Spring for their NA buyers to come over and sail them away. The paperwork is exactly the same as back in the States: you would document the boat with the USCG in their WVA office (assuming you are a U.S. citizen), fly the U.S. flag, and you would be in the same legal status as we are, having sailed WHOOSH over from the U.S.
One key issue you face is the transfer of U.S. funds (assuming that''s what you will be using for the purchase) into the builder''s currency (most likely Euros but perhaps Pounds or perhaps DK/SWE/NOR Kroner). The process is straightforward but it''s the timing that''s challenging: right now the Dollar is in terrible shape and you will get far less than you would have e.g. two years ago. So take a careful watch of the currency rates (e.g. at xe.com) and, if you are sure of a purchase or at least a country, leap when the timing looks right, even if before the final purchasing process. (To help you understand the potential impact, we decided to prep our boat for Europe in August/Sept of 2002. When we arrived in Horta (Portugal island) in June 2003, our cruising kitty was 47% smaller due to the rise of the Euro against the dollar).
If you are shopping brokers, one thing to consider is looking at boats in N Europe. The quality spread is generally wider with more high quality boats and the boats are typically used only 5-6 months each year due to short seasons. With less U/V they also look much newer. And the best reason to buy up there is that you can then visit any/all of N Europe (berth in London or Paris, visit Amsterdam or perhaps enjoy the lovely Scandinavian cruising grounds) before heading South. It''s much easier to get the boat south than it is to get it back N, against the Portuguese Trades...altho'' of course there are always the canals to the Med!