One benefit of sailing your boat to sell it in Australia is that you get to sail across the Pacific. Realistically, that will take you at least two seasons....and it will be heaps of fun. Ocean crossings are not without expense.
A boat well prepared and ready for coastal sailing is a different animal to one prepped for ocean crossing. Sails and rig, safety gear, first aid, electronic equipment and so much more need to be checked, upgraded and or replaced where necessary.
An owner sailed Fountaine Pajot of 39' would sell well in Oz. It is a very desirable boat. However, If it's history is tied in with a charter fleet, it's appeal will be significantly reduced both because of the charter layout and because former 'taxi cabs' don't attract big dollars. Aussies are very particular about the boats they buy,,,low end boats are expected to be projects...high end boats such as yours are expected to be in first class condition.
The Australian market, although slow, will realise you a better return than the US market, but if it will offset the cost of preparing for, then sailing across the Pacific (especially when you factor in a couple of season's lost income), is debatable.
The cost of living aboard in Australia is less than in the US, especially at anchor. Import duties are levied at 5% of the boat's value on the market in it's home port plus 10% GST, and the cost of delivery can be deducted from that value before duties are paid (as long as you don't take years over the delivery). But you would need to register the boat in Australia firstly, before you arrive. The cost of Oz rego is about $1200, not including the cost of formally deregistering the boat through the USCG. (See appended extract from Australian Customs, below)
If you then decide to return to the US after only going say as far as Mexico, you must realise you would be in a foreign registered boat which would then require you to import it back into your home country at some considerable expense.
I have friends who sail one boat from the Americas to Oz every year. They buy only proven cruising boats (their latest was a Hans Christian of about 39'). In 8 years their worst return was 35%, their best 75%. Their boats have all sold within 3 months of arrival. But they don't make as much as this would seem to suggest.
Preparation upgrades, repairs and maintenance eats into their profits, as does the cost of living and sailing thousands of miles, but they are able to sponsor themselves into a wonderful lifestyle. I think if their motive was solely profit, they would find an easier and more lucrative venture.
They tell me they can transport a 40' monohull (a onemaran) on the deck of a boat delivery freighter for about $10,000 from the US west coast to Oz, but again, their objective is not the profit but the trip. A catamaran may well cost twice that, I guess.
I would say that if you want to have a great holiday and to then recoup your costs but not want to make a big profit, you should sail your lovely boat to Australia. If you seek only profit...don't bother, you will be disappointed.
Where the boat is sailed to Australia, overseas freight will be determined having regard to essential sailing costs incurred under the most commercially viable conditions. Such costs would include sailing expenditure necessarily incurred while the vessel is actually sailing (and entering and leaving) those ports of call on the most commercially viable route. It would not include any in port expenditure related to the vessel's period of stopover.
Where supported by sufficient/reliable information, essential sailing costs would also include:
- cost of maps, charts pilot books, light/radio lists, etc.
- crew's hire/wages or forage allowance in lieu
- victualling or food costs (does not include tobacco and alcoholic beverages)
- bunkering or oil/fuel costs.
These costs can be deducted from the surveyor determined value before the cost related to import (duty and GST) are applied, providing the boat is Australian registered and as long as the Australian surveyor (another considerable expense) ratifies the value you claim as valid. In most cases the value will be determined BY THE PURCHASE PRICE...so bring your documents.
The AMSA and Customs inform me privately ( I bought my boat in the US and am sailing it home to Oz) that they have a high degree latitude when assessing each and every case. While there are specific rules governing the import of boats, the differing values and means of delivery call for flexible assessments....I expect sometimes this can be a benefit; other times a liability.