Join Date: Sep 2004
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Re: Boat search
Get on the i-net and check out yacht brokers in the following Carribbean locations:
- Sint Maarten
- St Lucia (Rodney Bay)
You're likely to find quite a few boats in the range your looking for and buying in the Caribbean (with proper survey, of course) has the following advantages:
1. You don't have to sail it south in the autumn / winter (harder than you'd think and not easy for someone buying and learning their first boat).
2. You won't have to spend a lot getting the boat ready for offshore or extended passages south. Most sailing in the Eastern Caribbean is day sailing island to island with most passages less than 12 hours, or day sails between anchorages on the lee side of islands. The longest passages you'll have to make are 100 + miles BVI to Sint Maarten and 85 miles Grenada to Trinidad.
3. You are closer to less expensive places to refit (Southern Grenada and Chagauramas, Trinidad) than you'll find in the US. Both locations are outside the hurricane box and reasonable places to lay up for the summer/autumn. If you spend a winter on the boat before a summer lay-up you'll know what you really want to do for a refit.
4. You can have a nice vacation while looking for boats. RT airfares are $800-1000 (winter prices) plus hotels. Look in summer months (when boats will be on the hard) and the hotels and airfares will be cheaper. You'll probably spend a large fraction of that looking around the US.
The number of boats for sale in the Caribbean is not anything like that in the US, but for someone with your interest and price range you'll find something. The market in the Caribbean will be as "soft" as that in the US and in some cases, sellers are more eager. Those selling have probably lost interest and/or don't want to sail a boat to a larger market. And finally, legal systems in the Caribbean are strong enough to give you a good title -- mostly based on US, UK, Dutch or French law. You should get a local lawyer to represent you in the transaction -- brokers could recommend someone, for you could have someone like Marine Documentation out of Newport, RI to help with the paperwork.
No, I haven't bought a boat in the Caribbean (bought mine in Gibraltar), but I've spent enough time in the islands to have seen lots of boats for sale, mostly by absentee owners paying big bucks for someone to store and look after their boat while it's on the market.
PS How could I have forgotten Martinique? Le Marin has one of the biggest marina complexes in the entire basin.
PPS Also forgot a biggie: #5. No sales tax! Buy it for export on any island and flag it US immediately with USCG documentation. You may have some local stamp taxes / transfer fees to pay, but no US sales tax is due until you bring it back and register it in the US, and by then it will be several years older and you can knock the value down well below the purchase price.
Last edited by billyruffn; 09-23-2012 at 03:07 PM.