Purchasing a live-aboard abroad - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-02-2019 Thread Starter
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Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

I am curious how many of you Americans have purchased your live-aboard in the Med, Carib, or other location and what was the experience like.

I am noticing a significant price difference of basically the same boat (brand/year/model) in the Med vs US west coast. Is it worth the effort if one is planning on sailing the Med for a fair bit of time?

Advise, recommendations are appreciated.

This is my first posting, if I am in the wrong forum, please direct me. Thank you all.
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-02-2019
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

If you consider the time and expense of moving a boat a good bit of the way around the world (west coast to the Med), is it economically worth it to you to move it that far when you consider the cost of a boat where you want to use it?
Good deals can be had in many of what I call 'ports of broken dreams' but the reality of commissioning a boat far from your home and possibly more economical parts outlets, can make a good deal much less so.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-02-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

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Good deals can be had in many of what I call 'ports of broken dreams' but the reality of commissioning a boat far from your home and possibly more economical parts outlets, can make a good deal much less so.
That is a very interesting way to think about it, and quite appropriate. I'd imagine those ports are everywhere, and the US is certainly not immune. Thank you.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-02-2019
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

Caveat is whether he is up for immediate full emersion into cruising and if he wants to see both those cruising grounds.
Being far from home has little meaning if the boat is your home. Being far from your usual suppliers and technical support does. That’s one of the biggest jumps that makes cruising different. Pretty much all the time you are in a place where you need to learn where to get things at the best price and learn who are the right people to hire if it’s something you can’t fix yourself. Fortunately there’s usually a network of other cruisers who will clue you into how to get things done.
Also when purchasing a boat if it’s a going concern and you have had a good survey and you have access to the prior owner there maybe little refitting to do. The prior owner can help you with the contact information to get that done.
So the real questions in my mind is does he want to spend the time refitting, does he want to cruise for awhile where the boat is, and does he want to do the passage to his long term cruising grounds.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-02-2019
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

My SAWG here is that buying a boat in the Eastern Caribbean is not much of an issue provided you can get to St Martin. St Martin has a lot of services, speaks English, and has easy duty free import through Four star Cargo in Miami. Just mail your stuff to them and they ship it across quickly and for reasonable cost.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-02-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

Thanks for that hpeer, I just put that into my database of great gouge!!!
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

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My SAWG here is that buying a boat in the Eastern Caribbean is not much of an issue provided you can get to St Martin. St Martin has a lot of services, speaks English, and has easy duty free import through Four star Cargo in Miami. Just mail your stuff to them and they ship it across quickly and for reasonable cost.
Personally, I didn't find St Martin to be any better than most of the islands for service. When I was looking for a shop to replace a genset (about $15k) I got a very poor response from the agencies there. Thankfully, as that was the Irma/Maria year, their lack of professionalism probably saved my boat, if not my life.
I have found that many well reviewed service personnel by cruisers are not necessarily very good at their jobs either. One very popular company in Grenada, when they couldn't convince me to buy a new refer unit and boxes, suggested I tap a relay with a rubber mallet to get the unit to work. Of course, that was absolutely ridiculous and finally, we found a leak in the system ourselves and repaired it for just a few bucks. All their fancy sniffers, gauges and equipment and not one tech had the knowledge and understanding of refrigeration to actually wipe the refer lines with his hand and find an oily concentration at the leak!
There are only a very few service personnel I'd confidently recommend down here after almost 9 years, so basically we do most ourselves.
As for shipping, Tropical ships to every island and they are amazingly inexpensive. 200 feet of 1/2" chain (600#) was around $140 from Riviera Beach and a genset only about $160. We bring in a big barrel of parts every year for less than $100. Shipping is the easy part. Many islands allow boat parts (not Grenada) in duty free with little or no hassle.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-02-2019
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

Note I did not make any comment about service providers.

I’m sure Tropical is great for big items. Not sure how they work for gadgets you need in a hurry.

And Grenada Customs is a PITA at least.

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post #9 of 10 Old 09-02-2019
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

Fairly close..

Look at available boat in sea of cortez.
Lots of folks moving on to something else
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Re: Purchasing a live-aboard abroad

The answer depends on yourself and your skills.
I did it twice in St Maarten and Tortola in the Caribbean sea.
Yes, you can get good deals.... if you know how to negotiate.
Yes, you can fix, repair and rebuild your boat and for better price, i did it in St Maarten, but you need to have good technical understanding to make sure that you get the right people and supervise them.
But I guess all of it applies to the US too.

So, bottom line, the answer is yes but verify in advance what you need and where to do it. NOT all places are the same.
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