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Old 10-18-2007, 10:48 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2007
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I am considering purchasing a catamaran in the BVI but it will require some refitting for cruising including new navionics, sails rigging, a watermaker and some diesel maintenance.

where is the best place in the carribean to go to have this work done and buy the equipment?

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Old 10-18-2007, 11:36 AM   #2
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Hi ,

Two options appear here - a. Presume you will get a buyer survey done before purchase,

condition of sale to include new requirements.

b. Depending on the survey report - bring the new parts equipment in from the US or Australia.

Difficult to answer where to get the work done as it depends where the cat is bought and how far can it travel without the installation of the new gear.


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Old 10-18-2007, 12:32 PM   #3
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Finding a surveyor might be a bit difficult in the Caribbean, unfortunately. *DO NOT ask the seller to suggest one, though. *The insurance company you go with would be a better source of information about a surveyor they trust.

For gear, Budget Marine is very good. *We started buying from Robbie Ferron more than twenty years ago when he operated out of a ship's container in a driveway in Philipsburg. *It's a much different operation nowadays, but exceptionally convenient, with stores in St. Thomas (USVI), Antgua, St. Maarten, Grenada, Trinidad, Bonaire and Curacao. If you are from the US and want to bring things in from the States, then you would want the boat in the USVIs (NOT the British Virgin Islands or duty would be charged) or Sint Maarten/St. Martin, a duty-free island. *Since Budget Marine has an online catalog, you can price compare before you think about lugging stuff from the States, however.


If the boat is French, you might need French gear (turnbuckles is one item that we found on our French boat could not be obtained elsewhere - different threads, etc.). *Then Guadeloupe, Point-a-Pitre is the place to look - there are a few chandleries there, though I can't remember much about them anymore. *Only place where we could get parts for our Eno stove, though. *Very expensive!

St. Martin can handle hauling a catamaran in various yards. *Maybe Kirk on Gallivanters will check in here and give some advice about the VIs. *Grenada is another option, but I'm not up to date on yards there.

Curacao in many ways is an excellent place to go, but..... once there, returning to the Eastern Caribbean is a lot of hard work.
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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Old 10-18-2007, 12:40 PM   #4
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I bought Imagine in St. Maarten, and everything I purchased there was inexpensive. When I arrived in the BVI I needed some bolts for my windlass. $200.00 WAS THE COST FOR 2 BOLTS!!!!!!!!!! Get to St. Maarten, and you have both the inexpensive Dutch side, and the French side. Also as Jean said there are several facilities to haul the boat. An excellent rigging shop in the south end of the lagoon on the Dutch side. Plus there is Budget Marine next door to the riggers.
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:43 PM   #5
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Greetings from St Thomas!

I can see Tortola (BVI) from the hill above our marina... even on a hazy day!

All fine advice posted above... one thing I can add for your consideration is that in the US Virgin Islands we enjoy the benefit of the US Postal Service, so shipping in new electronics & hardware is easy and most affordable.

Plus - we have Budget Marine, Island Marine and Island Water World which are all well stocked chandleries close-by and at duty free prices and no sales tax. We also enjoy Home Depot, Try-n-Save, nice beaches, great restauraunts and cheaper rum!

If you need to haul out, Independent Boat Yard has a 60 ton travel lift and can handle a 18 ft beam. Anything bigger than that will require hauling at Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola - and they even have a swimming pool right next to the yard! But again - shipping costs are much higher in the BVI and duties are collected.

In my opinion, the ONLY drawback to doing a refit here is that if you plan to hire someone to do your work for you... be prepared to fork-out $50 ~ $90 per hour to get it done. This is definitely not the Land of Cheap Labor! But on the other hand - it's pretty easy to make good money here if you're talented in anything other than (the oldest profession in these parts) smuggling.

Lastly - contrary to current rumors - American citizens do NOT need a passport to visit the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico and we Yanks can stay and work here as long as we like. Easy.

Good luck,

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Old 10-18-2007, 04:52 PM   #6
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Make room I am on my way........LOL
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:04 PM   #7
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I bought a Lagoon 410 in Tortola in early 2005 (incidentally if you're looking for a good surveyor, I found Bill Bailey at Caribbean Marine Surveyors to be excellent).

I found the best place to have work done on the boat was St Martin - only a days sail/motor away - with all the facilities you need, plus the chandlers' prices are cheaper there than their other outlets elsewhere . I had Raymarine C80 fitted, plus wind generator and some rigging refinements. The only other place I found with decent levels of electronics expertise, for example, was Antigua but the advantage in St Martin is that everything is easily accessible if you're in the Lagoon.

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