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Old 06-27-2005, 05:38 AM   #1
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Default Buying USA yachts

I have noted quite a large disparity between yachts in the US and the same size in RSA. In general the yachts found in the US are better equiped and sell for around R200k less than in RSA. Of course I am not talking about specific types of yachts just size and equiped.

Can anyone offer me advice on purchasing a boat there and sailing it back to RSA. In particular I am interested in importation/tax and when would be the best time to buy there as well as when to sail back to RSA.


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Old 06-27-2005, 07:40 PM   #2
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Because there are so many people in the US there are a lot more yachts, and a huge variety of manufacturers, models, and ages of yachts.

There can be a huge difference in price between two same-size yachts simply because of condition, or quality of the construction. In other words, an Island Packet yacht is going to cost a lot more than a Hunter of the same size. Boats that have been in charter fleets will usually sell for less than the same age boat used exclusively by its owner - because usually the charter yacht will be in worse condition. Americans tend to be gadget happy, and electronics are relatively inexpensive here, so you're going to find lots of that kind of stuff on many of the boats for sale.

Research is the only way you're going to separate the good from the bad as far as builder reputation, workmanship, strength, quality.

And look at the age of the boat. 20-year old boats are not uncommon on the market. A 20-year old sailboat will need new standing rigging if you want to cross oceans. Sails are expensive and might be old, too. With so many variables, you need to be fairly knowledgeable to get the best boat for your money.

Only your own country can help you with regard to import duties and taxes. Perhaps you should go to the various entry ports in RSA, such as Durban, to see what yachts that have arrived there are considering selling their boats rather than crossing the Atlantic.

New Zealand or Australia might be a better place to look for a used boat - many US boats land there and are ready to sell their boat rather than continue their journey, and you might find a better bargain there. You might look in the Caribbean, which has some pretty big charter fleets. There are on-line boat offerings that you can search on.

For sailing a boat back to RSA, the British Admiralty Sailing Routes, or Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes would help you plan a sail to RSA from wherever you find a yacht.

Good luck in your search.

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".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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Old 06-27-2005, 10:11 PM   #3
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Thanks alot JeanneP.

I am still amazed at just how cheap they ALL are over there. I have been looking for around 2 years now but only in RSA. So I think a small fact finding mission would be in order. Despite the import duties, great value is to be had over there.


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Old 06-30-2005, 06:20 PM   #4
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Stephan, have a look at my reply to " steel yachts" above. Search the site given.

I also can help you with the sail plan to get her back to RSA as indeed http://www.cruisingconnections.co.za ,can.. Kate or Tony will supply you with an hugh amount of info,sell you charts , talk about weather etc. ( they are really nice people)

I am sure we may even be able to get her back to RSA for you.

rumrunner [}: )][}: )]
<font size="1">"Rumrunner"

Melbourne, Australia.

Web: https://www.sailblogs.com/member/rumrunner/?xjMsgID=5680</font id="size1">
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Old 07-02-2005, 05:28 PM   #5
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thanks rumrunner. I am currently looking at a '83 Lello in the carib. Was an RSA boat. It seems that is not fantastic value, but it might save in the import costs...

So I will take you up on this offer and discuss this in the coming days. As this is the first yacht I will own I don't want to splash out the first time round.

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Old 07-04-2005, 08:32 PM   #6
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Stephan, you've managed to write several BIG questions into one simple query, each potentially requiring a lot of verbage to give a fair answer.

First, North American (don´t overlook Canadian boats which are often priced in cheaper Canadian dollars) boats can appear to be a better value than they are for a RSA sailor because they tend to be "systems intensive". Thus, any listing will give you a long laundry list of all the discrete pieces the owner and builder have added...but not tell you much about the structural quality of the boat. Down where you sail, thinking about boats that are well constructed is your first order of business and all the trinkets are far less meaningful.

While grossly oversimplifying things, I´d describe NA boats as belonging to one of 4 groups:

1. Relatively new "price boats" (boats built to a specific price in order to compete against other volume builders) such as Hunters, Catalinas and French-American Beneteaus and Jeanneaus. Feature rich, in some ways innovative (but sometimes so the builder can make it quicker and cheaper), and probably not up to your needed standards altho´this can be debated if your sailing goals are limited.

2. Older production boats that have been around long enough to build a good reputation and which, because of their build quality, might be worth considering. Tartan, Pearson, Bristol are all examples of builders who build SOME models suitable for your area, altho´ most boats they built will be unsuitable.

3. Current production boats other than the "price boat" builders, such as Tartan, C&C (both now exclusively building in epoxy and carbon fiber spars) and other "known" names like Island Packet and Caliber; these will hardly look like a price bargain but they may be "good value" if you have that kind of budget

4. Custom builders, with prices to match.

Jeanne´s comment about other likely places to look is worth pondering. Europe is clearly not a ´value market' location; used boats have too much tax equity built into them. OTOH N European boats are underuitlized due to short seasons, are often well cared for, and so there´s some offsetting ´value´. Oz and NZ may have good boats offering good value but, as always when shopping for a boat, you have to think about resale when buying...and many of the local boats from those areas may not be known elsewhere. So...think about international designs that seem to be known widely (some of the Petersons e.g.). Jeanne´s right that many NA cruisers end their cruising in NZ or OZ, as the road gets tougher from thereon...but in these days of Dockwise Transport, they often find it inviting to return the boat home vs. sell it at a price demanded by the local economy.

Now for some non-boat issues... Jeanne´s comment needs to be expanded a bit re: duty and tax as you may need to feret out your country´s varying charges on yachts built or registered in different parts of the world. IOW it isn´t a single variable equation; e.g. if you register the boat in Grand Cayman and then initially seek temporary importation in RSA, what duties will apply if any? How long can it stay before RSA registration is mandated? Ever? Also, taxing authorities value a given boat somewhat variably, depending on which region of the country is doing the work and how its done. Do they all work off a common book of values? What paperwork do they use when valuing the boat, and how will that relate to the paperwork you bring with you. (E.g. if you manage a great value purchase and have a bill of sale for $X but insure her for $X plus $20K, does that affect valuation? What about improvements you make to ready her for a sail back, how are those folded into the valuation? My advice is to establish cordial relations with your local-regional taxing authority, help them to understand your questions are iterative in nature, and plan on working your way thru the tax or duty issues over a period of time while displaying much patience and hoping they will display the same. (This is one example of how you will "earn" the extra value in any NA boat you buy; you must become not only boat owner but importer, offshore seaman, etc.).

Finally, think about the logistics & climate which exist where your purchase will come from. Buying a U.S. or Canadian boat on the Great Lakes or out in the Pacific Northwest will yield a boat underutilized (due to the short seasons and limited cruising grounds in the case of the Lakes) with little U/V damage, and therefore be "newer" than one you find in the Caribbean. If buying in the Caribbean, don´t overlook the fact that there are some islands with bountiful but expensive yachtie infrastructure, some with none, and some that have a mix. For "safety" and "seaworthiness" issues, buying "as is, where is" can present some challenges...or at the least, get you familiar with long-distance shipping regs and duty requirements on the island in question.

For sailing her South from NA, you have to plan an extended passage and it won´t be direct. Cross from NA via Bermuda and Azores in May-July. Slide S to the Canaries and then Cape Verdes in the Fall, after which you´ll have to sail some to windward and a knowledge of coastal ports and seasonal wind patterns will be critical to your run. This is a long and challenging task and another reason the "extra value" you get in your boat is earned by you.

Good luck to you: we´ll wait to hear more on your project!

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Old 07-12-2005, 09:49 PM   #7
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Hello there Smourt

I found the same thing! In europe, boats are generally MUCH more expensive, and buying from the States has proved to be cost effective for fitting out too. The main issue for me is that the systems (electric, gas, water) tend to be substandard for ocean passages, and would never pass EU regulations. For me this has meant a near total refit.

However Jack's point is good. Careful of the yacht model, get it checked over before purchase, check it yourself, and replace everything you can afford to anyway.

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