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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-01-2003 04:03 AM
WHOOSH
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Jeff:

Congrats on all the extra loot you can come up with! There will inevitably be a few things you will struggle with (surprises, money-wise) as the adventure begins, so be sure to hold some of this in reserve. Examples might be a new prop when doing the haul, or more charts than you expected (tho'' you''ll find yachties swapping charts anywhere there''s an architecture firm with a large format copier), or some inland travel expenses when you want to actually *see* the place you''ve anchored off of.

"I can live on a backpacker budget for extended periods..." Well, yes & no. Some places (e.g. the Honduran Bay Is. are set up for the "eco-tourist" - aka: European/U.S. backpacker - but in many E Caribbean islands, this is less true. Their gig is the cash-laden tourist and charterer with less time and more money. Also, don''t overlook the fact that petty crime, including armed assaults, are not unheard of down there. E.g. you don''t want to hike into the bush a 100 yards and spread out your tarp in POS, Trinidad - crime can be a real problem if you put yourself in the wrong (aka: dumb) place at the wrong time. Use common sense and ''no worries''...

Yes, please keep me posted. You''ll see my ''shoreside'' email address posted here.

Jack
01-31-2003 11:28 AM
jeffherz
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Thanks! I''ll check out all of those resources. And, it sounds like I''ll have to up my budget. If I sell both my car and my motorcyle, and a few other things, I may be able to up my limit to $30K. From other posts on this site, it seems like the extra $8K may make a large difference.

As for living like a tourist, I can live on a backpacker budget for extended periods (though travel between islands will cost). But it is supposed to be an adventure, right?

Let me know if you''d like me to keep you posted when it actually happens, and I''ll try to do so.

Jeff
01-31-2003 01:36 AM
WHOOSH
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Oops, neglected to include the SSB Net link:

http://www.islandhopping.com/mmnets.html

This content is authored/edited by Steve Pavlidis. While he''s in Savannah right now, he maintains somewhat of an ongoing network of communication with folks in the islands as he''s working on both Leeward & Windward guides right now, while his Trinidad & Tobago guide has just been released. I''d encourage you to fish around on the above site until you find his hotmail address and shoot him the question you posed here. He might have some excellent suggestions on making contacts where it would make sense. He''s also a great guy and very helpful by nature. Tell him hello from Jack & Pat, too.

Jack
01-31-2003 12:28 AM
WHOOSH
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Jeff, if it''s $22K U.S. with which you plan to buy a boat (including repairs & outfitting) that will allow you to semi-safely cruise parts of South and Central America, then you will find few choices and will also need to focus as much on your methodology for finding the boat and surveying it effectively as on the boat itself. You simply don''t have the money to ''fly down to Trinidad'' e.g. and begin an open-ended search that might require subsequent flights to other islands while living like a tourist.

I''d suggest that your primary candidate pool are small boats owned by younger European cruisers who find themselves running out of money and/or are ready to return home and can''t find the time/money/desire to cross back to Europe. There may be a few American & Canadian boats that also fit your niche, but generally they are bigger, more systems intensive, and more expensive.

By definition for your price range, these cruising boats will be simple, older, and only basically equipped. Even so, the owner(s) have likely been ''living off of'' the boat''s previous level of maintenance, fixed lifespan of equipment, and making do with things not right simply because they had few alternatives. And basic work (a haul & bottom job e.g.) is not cheap there; extensive repairs will eat your budget alive.

Given that there MAY be a suitable boat anywhere in the Caribbean but you have little time and a narrow candidate pool, I''d try to concentrate your efforts in a few specific ways:
1. I''d work hard at plugging into the existing cruiser grapevines available on SSB. To do this you''ll need help from boats with SSBs who participate in the Nets (e.g. Cruiseheimers, Safety & Security, etc. - see link). I''d beat the grapevine bushes hard. (E.g. we found a fully restored 34'' sloop in the Honduran Bay Is. that the owner wanted to dump for less than you have. Yes, it was cheap...but what do you do at that point with no haul out or supply sources?) There''s a chance that Yachties out there will know of a few suitable boats...but communication at that point with owners will be difficult and a huge leap of faith will be required at some point by both you and them.
2. I''d try to exercise the existing publications and brokers as hard as I could. E.g. place a small ad in the Caribbean Compass and the Boca (www.boatersenterprise.com/default.htm) I''d call existing brokers where you choose to concentrate your efforts, and demonstrate my sincerity. At the same time, I''d be screening the brokers to the few deserving of follow-up contact - and I''d work them regularly.
3. Meanwhile, I''d lower my size requirement to 28-30 feet.
4. And...I''d work a 2nd job for the balance of the winter, adding to the kitty. In all probability you''re trying to do too much with too little, altho'' it''s certainly been done before with less.

Good luck...but get off the computer and begin sweating the details. You have much to do in the next few months.

Jack
01-30-2003 01:24 PM
jeffherz
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Jack,

Again, thanks for the info. I am hoping to head to the Caribbean at the beginning of May. Fortunately, I should be able to spend at least a month shopping and comparing. This may be a difficult question, but given my specs (approx $22K for purchase and repair, 30'' to 34'' desired but will go down to 27'' if absolutely necessary, very handy with tools and willing to DIY but not a lot of experience in marine repair) where would you begin? It sounds like St. Martin and Chaguaramas are good bets, perhaps St. Thomas. Are there any other places that I should put at the top of the list?

I''ve looked at the brokerages on the web. As one would guess, they tend to have the newer, higher-priced boats. I think that real shopping will have to wait until I am in the area. I''ll be sure to ask about taxes and other fees, as well as access to local chandleries and yards.

Thanks, Jeff

01-28-2003 12:30 AM
WHOOSH
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Jeff,a couple of follow-on thoughts...
1. You''re geographical ''range'' for boat shopping could easily run from the Virgins down to Trinidad, as the Rio Macarero and the river systems S of it in S America are all within ''reach'' (literally & figuratively) from there. The 4-sale inventory in some of those islands can be quite large (e.g. St. Thomas, St. Martin, Antigua) and, once you narrow the search to ''your'' size, budget, etc. the broader inventory will most likely be quite helpful to you. You don''t sound like a candidate for the (almost always) bigger charter boats that come into the market.
2. Were I you, I''d start on the Web by seeing what (brokerage) advertising I could access in the two Caribbean-wide distributed monthly periodicals: All At Sea and Caribbean Compass. I notice there are a few brokers who also participate in Yachtworld.com tho'' they will tend to have the higher priced inventory. We talked with several owners who had found their boat in this fashion, either when in the islands or from back home, and a thorough, patient search was a key ingredient. Unlike the States, brokers will tend to represent the decrepit, small and/or old boats along with the shiny ones as they''ve found there are buyers for all kinds. Shopping broadly will also dispel somewhat the tendency to want one particular boat intensely, despite price or feature issues, because it otherwise is the only boat that you believe will work for you.
3. When folks buy in the Caribbean, they tend to think about the boat and forget about the prep that follows. E.g. taxes (what nationality is the boat? how long there?), pricing yards, verifying good chandelry support nearby, having an established shipping link from the States, the island nation being easy to work with re: import duty exemptions, etc. E.g. there are now 2 good chandelry chains in the islands (Budget Marine and Island Marine [or World] - that 2nd name may be a bit off) but they are only in a few islands. If you are American, getting things shipped down to St. Thomas is straightforward, chandelries abound, and the expenses don''t include duty. In St. Martin, there''s huge Simpson Lagoon where many owners bring their boats to be sold, and where the French are blase'' about most regs and both brokers and chandelries are located on the Dutch side. I''m not recommending either location specifically, just trying to show why those two locations tend to be favorites for all kinds of boating activity, including selling brokered and privately represented boats. The tough nut to crack is to find the right boat already in one of the ''right'' locations, so the haul, upgrades, repairs and such won''t take terribly long or be horribly expensive. OR you buy a boat you can safely move up or down the chain to one of the ''right'' places.

Given the above issues, that''s how Chaguaramas became so popular in the 90''s with the cruising crowd: infrastructure appeared, lots of talent moved down there to work in or start up niche support businesses (electronics, shipping, systems installs, etc.), the govt. is easy to work with re: importing and immigration, etc. The bad rap now is that overall costs there are comparable to the less expensive parts of the U.S....but what is omitted in that gripe is that the infrastructure is probably better and labor cheaper.

Good luck on the search. And don''t overlook some other relevant web sites such as www.ssca.org and their Flea Market section, where boats are advertised by cruisers. You might find it profitable to benefit by the coconut grapevine a bit, as well.

Jack
01-27-2003 09:32 AM
jeffherz
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Jack, Thanks for the info! My plan was to buy down there regardless of the current situation. I hope to start my trip in that part of the world and end in the States, so it seemed to make sense. The currency situation does not help, though I am not seeking to be a vulture preying on other country''s misfortunes. My plan is to head south to the Amazonian delta before heading north.

I was not aware of Chaguamaras, but that may now be my first stop. As for what I''m looking for - a servicable cruising boat, 32'' to 36'' would be ideal, no need for anything fancy, able to be fitted for single-handing. My ceiling will be about $22K for purchase and repairs, so I will likely end up with something a bit smaller, even if prices are lower there.

Jeff
01-27-2003 09:32 AM
jeffherz
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Jack, Thanks for the info! My plan was to buy down there regardless of the current situation. I hope to start my trip in that part of the world and end in the States, so it seemed to make sense. The currency situation does not help, though I am not seeking to be a vulture preying on other country''s misfortunes. My plan is to head south to the Amazonian delta before heading north.

I was not aware of Chaguamaras, but that may now be my first stop. As for what I''m looking for - a servicable cruising boat, 32'' to 36'' would be ideal, no need for anything fancy, able to be fitted for single-handing. My ceiling will be about $22K for purchase and repairs, so I will likely end up with something a bit smaller, even if prices are lower there.

Jeff
01-25-2003 01:22 AM
WHOOSH
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

Jeff, I''m assuming your ''distant purchase plan'' re: Venezuela is a function of the devaluation of the Bolivar but most of the boats you''ll find down there will be owned by non-VZ folks cruising in the area. Since they are able to relocate, they won''t be priced to the Bolivar. You may find some locally owned boats - what are you looking for? - but if they are not work boats (which will be quite rough, questionably maintained), they will be owned by wealthier Venezuelans who probably have the money to weather the storm vs. selling when they get little real value for the sale. There''s a huge crowd of V''ians right now in S Florida, as they can afford to fly to the States each time things get rough down there. Their boats are probably being maintained by crews who continue to get paid in ever shrinking B''s, which cost the owners less, not more. Amazing how the rich get richer...

Having said all that, the most active boating area - which isn''t saying a lot - is along the N coast of the mainland, generally S of Isla de Margarita (altho'' Margarita does have a boatyard and an active visiting cruising fleet). You can find contact info on the yards and marinas in one of the Caribbean Compass or All At Sea editions (they both have websites), or in Chris Doyle''s cruising guide for that area (see Bluewater Books).

One final downer about buying a boat in VZ is that there are limited supplies of boat gear; many cruisers bring their bottom paint, etc. with them when hauling in VZ. Consequently, you''ll need to find a well-found boat if you hope to move E against the Trades when relocating back to the Caribbean chain and boating supplies. But May/June will be a good time to do that.

Sorry but I can''t help you at all on Brazil. I would post your question on the SSCA Bulletin Board (www.ssca.org) as you''ll have a better chance of finding folks who''ve been there.

Re: boat shopping, why not try the Chaguaramas Bay area outside Port of Spain, Trinidad? There''s a huge comglomeration of yachties, yards, marinas, chandelries, etc. there. Also, it''s only about 40 miles from the VZ border at that point. The local yachtie magazine (The Boca) publisher can be found on the web, which is likely to link to advertisers that include brokers.

Jack
01-24-2003 04:29 PM
jeffherz
Buying in Venezuela or N. Brazil?

I am considering heading down to Belem, in Northern Brazil, or Venezuela, in May to buy a boat. The plan would be to purchase there and sail up to the Caribean for the summer, possibly beyond.

Does anyone have any guidance on places to buy? Relative prices compared to the US? Things to look out for?

I currently have a Cal 27 in San Francisco Bay. This will be my first visit to that part of the world and the first boat I''ve bought solo.

Thanks, Jeff

 
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