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  #1  
Old 06-28-2001
ejj ejj is offline
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life/live aboard

Hello all,

My wife and I currently are living in the Boston area and have arrived at that point in life where
paying ridiculous prices for rent, ( $1400 month for a 1 bed apt.) is no longer something we want to engage in.
Buying a house/ condo/studio also is unattractive. The last place I went to look at was a 339sq ft studio in the basement of a decrepit complex in an undesirable neighborhood for $65 K. So even though Boston is not the most temperate of climes, the idea of buying a sailboat to live- aboard has been something we have begun to consider. We are looking to buy something in the
< 40K range with plans that over the next 8 10 months or so we would complete any necessary repairs, increase our sailing experience, ( which consists of having crewed on a Challenger 50 for 6 weeks from the P. canal to Ensenada about 6 years ago/ and my wife lived on a sailboat in Martinique some ten years ago for three months with ocassional day sails ect. so our experience is limited at best. We can envision ourselves chartering someday in the next few years where ??? Maybe off the coast of East Africa, Zanzibar ect. We have just begun to look at boats at local yards, internet, particular magazines and have come across a 1972 Colombia 45 which has been out of the water for the past two years. It does not appear as though there have been many renovations so aesthetically it needs some help but as far as its structural soundness I have no idea. The last thing I want to do is to buy a a delaminating lemon.
So here are a few questions?
-Is it better to go through a broker rather than directly with the seller, and if the former is advised does the buyer have any safeguards/ insurance in the event that the boat turns out to be a lemon?
-Comments on the Colombia 45!!
-Could it venture ( safely) in Bluewater?
-Buying boats outside the US, complications with the documentation ect., can one save any money doing so?
-Times of the year/ regions of the country when and where it is best to buy. Common sense would suggest that in the fall/ winter we could find better deals, how much does this effect the type of boat we are looking for i.e. 35-50 ft that needs work.

I certainly could go on and on but then I would probably get no responses so I will stop here. Thank you for your attention all comments are much appreciated.

Eryc
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2001
JeffH
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life/live aboard

You are asking (and implying) a lot of questions here.

"We can envision ourselves chartering someday in the next few years where ??? Maybe off the coast of East Africa, Zanzibar."

First of all if you are both new sailors you are a very long way from being in the charter business. Each country has its own set of regulations governing charter vessels and they regs differ from place to place. Like the U.S. most countries require that your vessel be documented in that country and that the skipper have a captains licence in that country. While getting a captain''s license is not all that difficult, it does requires time and experience to obtain the skills and knowledge that it takes to safely operate a charter boat. Remember that you are responsible for the people on board. Beyond that depending on the country there are restrictions that may require your boat to have been constructed in the country in which it is doing chartr work.

"-Is it better to go through a broker rather than directly with the seller, and if the former is advised does the buyer have any safeguards/ insurance in the event that the boat turns out to be a lemon?"

There are none of the lemon laws on used boats that exist in some states on used cars. Boats are strictly a ''buyer beware'' sort of a world. Brokers are very helpful in finding the right boat and helping to sort through the steps of purchasing a boat. I have not really found that their involvement always adds to the cost of the boat and infact a good broker can be your best ally on getting a good price, especially if you are inexperienced.


-Comments on the Colombia 45!! -Could it venture ( safely) in Bluewater?

The original version of the Columbia 45 had a low ''blister'' type deck house and were pretty good boats for their day. In the late 1960''s (or early 1970''s) or so the design is changed to a ''motorsailor'' type deck house or raised salon type layout. This resulted in huge portlights on three sides of the salon. Besides for the obvious aethetic abomination, (in my opinion this was one of the ugliest cabins ever perpetrated on a nice hull) it raises the height of the cockpit and restricts forward visibility. This higher cockpit is more exposed and more likely to cause seasickness and wear out a crew. The large plexiglass panels are prone to be shattered by large waves in a real storm which are quiet common on the coast of South Africa.

Columbias were heavily built but were built cheaply and were not that well engineered. This is quite an old boat and the problems could be manafest. Judging by the price you can expect to have double in that boat when you are done. For the kind of adventure you are contemplating, chances are this boat needs sails, an engine rebuild or replacement, new water and fuel tanks, new and updated deck hardware, new electronics, new upholstery, new galley equipment, new safety equipment, and a whole lot of structural items such as rudder posts, keel bolts, mast steps, chainplates and chainplate attachment points and so on.

Frankly the hulls on these boats started life as CCA race boats with really short water lines. This means a slow boat with an uncomfortable motion. When you add the top hamper of the raised salon the motion gets worse and speed goes down.

While these boats have done a lot of seamiles, they are by no means anything like my idea of an offshore boat. To a certain extent they are sailing white elephants from another age without any of the virtues found in boats of that era and with all of the disadvantages.

"Buying boats outside the US, complications with the documentation ect., can one save any money doing so?"

You can save a little money if you have something specific in mind but can''t find it here. It is enormous work buying a boat from overseas and it can add a lot of cost. One boat that I am looking for is in South Africa. It looks like it will cost over $20K to bring it back to the U.S. And a boat documented offshore often cannot be documented in the U.S.

-Times of the year/ regions of the country when and where it is best to buy. Common sense would suggest that in the fall/ winter we could find better deals, how much does this effect the type of boat we are looking for i.e. 35-50 ft that needs work.

There is a small advantage to trying to buy a New England boat just before haul out or at the beginning of winter but not much. Boat buying has become so global that boat prices have become more stable.

Jeff
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Old 06-29-2001
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life/live aboard

Jeff has done great service to your questions.

I wanted to add that starting a business venture overseas is quite a risky venture if you are not completely familiar with the rules, customs and laws of that country. Often people will take a local partner or an ''expediter''. But that is another issue.

Your particular price range does limit you severely. I think its likely that you are at present trying to think of doing several completely different things at once. Perhaps if just comes down to an inexpensive, seaworthy livaboard for right now. If so, I wanted to try and be helping in mentioning that you might consider a 1970''s vintage Allied Mistress (39ft).
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Old 07-03-2001
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life/live aboard

I prefer to look for a boat on my own. I tried working with brokers, but it seems that with many of them that if you aren''t spending a small fortune (250K) then they just don''t really want to waste their time. There are so many different search engines and sites where you can look for boats nowadays, and after you find one you are interested in you can contact the owner or their agent and go see the boat. Also doing it this way you can look anytime of day or night...and many sellers and their agents have email.

Buying outside the US:, as one poster said: You can''t document a foreign boat. You would be subject to duties on the vessel upon entry and I would be leery of a purchase such as that unless I could get a 100% guarantee that there were no liens or encumbrances on the title that could follow the vessel.

Business in a foriegn country....tricky at best. Most foreign countries are not like the US. Here anybody, absolutely anybody can start a business.....just go down and pay the license fees. Other countries: You gotta jump through a ton of hoops. I would recommend contacting their consulate and requesting their packet of immigration and business requirements, long before you think you might need them.

A good boat to look at for your purposes might be something like a 38'' or 41'' Morgan.
There are a number of those boats around that were built in the mid-70''s that are in pretty good shape....some may need to some TLC and updating, but they are good stout boats. Not fast, but steady and solid. We live on our 1975 33 OI down here in FL. Not sure I would want to brave a winter up where you are though!
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Old 07-06-2001
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life/live aboard

Hi Eryc,

As one who has embarked on the Private / Charter aspect of boating - I believe that you are probably going to be disappointed if charter income is in your sights with the type of boat you envisage.

We have just gone through the process "certification" of our boat for Charter (she is a Dufour Nautitech 475) and it was no easy feat - and very expensive (Over $US 45,000.00 in additions / modifications)

Our boat already had DNV Classes 1, 2 & 3 certification which is a pre-requisite for ANY type of charter operation, anywhere in the world these days. However, this was not good enough for our authorities (Australia), and we had to complete some re-wiring, add bilge / firefighting pump (1,100 ltr / min & 220v at that), watertight bulkheads & additional floatation. All the relevant safety gear - it all adds up.

It is true that in some areas - and I travel extensively throughout SE Asia - that you could get away with using your boat - after all, foreign currency in developing countries can buy anything.

However, have an accident with no insurance (our Charter Insurance runs to $A 8,000.00 pa) in some of these countries and "Midnight Express" would be a picnic in the park compared with the trouble you could face - and NO embassy will get you out of it !! You must remember that life in these areas is very cheap, and although your lifestyle is a modest one in the Western World - the areas you are planning to go to make you a very wealthy fellow in their eyes, and a target to milk at any opportunity.

Cruisers to these areas may well disagree - but they are not planning to establish a business and are not dealing with locals in business on a daily basis. It is a very different side when you start to mess in marketplaces of the local population. It is also fair to say that some cruisers have established charter operations in SE Asia - but there are not many, and the boats tend to be in the 60'' and above range and of a quality that attracts clientele year after year.

I am not sure of the market you are chasing - but you would need to conduct a fairly carefull evaluation of the boat, its load carrying capacity and its ability to be certified. Once you know your market - then you can look to the boat that best suits your purposes. Perhaps in your situation looking to the ferrying of say "Back packers" could be worthwhile ??

My experience in business (Oil Industry) in these areas extends to Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillippines, Brunei, Myanmar, Thailand and Pakistan, and spans 25 years in these areas. I have already researched the options of sailing these areas and offering our boat into the local charter markets, and to this end, we won''t be bothering !! There is just too much beaucracy to battle, import regulations, residency problems, taxation issues etc etc. and everyone "wants a piece of your ass" !!

Other people have commented about the necessity of having a local agent - you need it - but the biggest single problem is finding someone you can work with, will produce results, and won''t steal from you. This process actually took us 5 years in Indonesia - and we are a multi-national company with fairly healthy resources to fall back on.

My personal opinion, is that you should get the boat within your means, travel / sail to the country and then look to your options. Quite frankly, you would probably be better off supplementing your income by offering services within your own area of expertise. The income from Charter ops is extremely spasmodic and takes many years to build up a clientele.

We even looked to linking up with hotels in these areas, but in order to elicit any interest - you need to have a "showboat" with all the "bells & whistles".

I do apologise for being a little negative here - but please be aware that the sort of operation you are contemplating is fraught with danger.

Like yourself, we have had similar goals - but after spending a good deal of my time in these areas - the dream is vastly different to the reality.

If you want some further insight - please do not hesitate to contact us, and I can go into greater detail - because we have researched it all !!

Cheers
Rodger
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Old 07-06-2001
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life/live aboard

Great post above, really good info. Let me add my $0.02 from chartering my own boat in a busy charter capital - Annapolis MD. After you get through upgrading the boat for charter, paying the slip fees to have it at a prime location marina, insurance, fuel, maintanence, cleaning after each run, constant minor repairs... etc etc: there is really no profit. It is certainly NOT a way to gain income (I do it to gain more experience as a Capt and it can be fun).

Starting a charter biz with other people''s boats... a little better but then there is much competition in the prime spots and again, if you are going to start a biz in somewhere far off, the above post should make you think twice.

Best bet, as mentioned above, get a boat and a budget that are within your means independent of any business. If you have a trade, work on the side.

And just enjoy life.

All the best
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Old 07-07-2001
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life/live aboard

I might add a new wrinkle to think about. There is an Australian lad I ran into recently who purchased a 50+ foot wooden schooner of mid-1950''s vintage and rented a dock in DuBai for it''s berth. He takes folks out on the boat for ~3 hours every afternoon, only soft drinks are gratis, maybe 15-20 European tourist types each time who gladly cough up around 30 bucks a head and, thus he earns his daily upkeep and profit margin. He can single-hand the boat due to power winches and all sheets leading to the cockpit. He makes decent money this way, but gives up the freedom of sailing off into the wild blue at a moment''s notice. Still, if sailing is your passion........
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