Please see the catamaran questions and answers from clients below. Contact Us for more information and to buy your own catamaran.
Q. I don't have much sailing experience but want to buy and cruise a catamaran. Can I get insurance?
A. When you buy a catamaran the insurance company wants to see some "comparable experience". One way to get some is to get Certified at an accredited sailing school. In North America we have ASA (American Sailing Association) and US Sailing schools coast to coast. I own America's oldest sailing school (Castle Harbor) in Miami and we run ASA classes all year round. But you may find a school closer to your home. You must do the courses in order. The first course is Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA 101) which is usually a 3-4 day course over two weekends. There is a written and practical test on the last day. Then they have Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103) which is a two-day course. Next we have ASA 104 which is also known as Intermediate Coastal Cruising or "Bareboat Chartering" because some charter companies require this level of Certification to charter a yacht from them (especially in Europe). Catamaran Cruising (ASA 114) is a one to two day course. It is possible to do all of these in one week where you live on board a catamaran but you should study the textbooks beforehand because it is a lot to digest.
You can also charter catamarans to get some "comparable experience" for the "sailing resume" the insurance company will want to see. If you don't have enough experience they could say "We will insure you but you must have a licensed captain on board whenever you move the boat" which is impractical and expensive ...so it's good to start now with getting some experience.
Q. I don't need a catamaran until the Spring of next year. You say I can save money buy buying now. But won't the "carrying costs" offset the savings? A. No, not always. Let's say we found a great deal on your ideal model now.
This time of year (summer) you can usually save $15,000-30,000 because it is the "low buying season" compared to the winter months. I can sometimes find a boat already in a charter program that has bookings through, say, March of next year. Because it already has charter bookings, we know approximately what the cash flow will be and this will cover all "carrying costs" like dockage, insurance, maintenance, etc. and you should have some money left over. If you know you need the boat in, say, April of next year, we leave it in charter until then. You can use the boat when it's not out on charter. We survey it now and do a second follow-up survey with the same surveyor at the end of its charter program ...if there is any damage we have a contract-contingency for that. Typically, if there is damage equal to 5% of the purchase price or less, the charter company must fix it to the satisfaction of our surveyor and the deal stands. If damage-value exceeds 5% then you have the right to cancel the deal OR they must fix the damage to the satisfaction of our surveyor. This is a common strategy used by some buyers.
Q. Why is it better to buy in the summer and not the Fall, and save money on the costs of insurance, dockage, maintenance, interest, etc.?
A. The Caribbean market is larger than all the others and it primarily drives world prices. Their high season generally runs from December 1-May 15.
Most of the buyers are Canadians, Northern Europeans and Northern US sailors (we call them "Snowbirds") who want to escape the cold winters. They think they are better off buying at the last minute (Oct-Nov) so they can avoid those "carrying costs" (insurance, dockage, maintenance, etc) and save money. BUT they are wrong because the seasonal price differences greatly outweigh the "carrying cost effect"... I have seen seasonal price tendencies for almost 30 years now and we usually see the least buying competition in the summer months. The lowest prices of the year are usually seen in July and early August. If there are hurricanes churning up the Atlantic this makes under-insured Sellers nervous and some of them panic and drop prices further. Then as more Snowbirds begin calling and asking questions in late August/early Sept, Sellers see this increased interest and get "bulled up" on price. The best deals are usually gone by mid-Sept and prices climb from then until the winter. We often see the highest prices from Nov-Feb. Europe's market is smaller but when their season ends in October we can see good deals and low prices over there. It is usually more expensive to buy in Europe. We often run out of the hottest models (Owner Versions) by November and you cannot find them at any price. This is because generally only 10% of the production models are "Owner Versions" so they are relatively rare and cruisers seek them out because they usually have lower engine hours and more interior space to store your stuff away and "kill the clutter". I hope this helps you understand the market better.
ON FSBO'S (YACHTS FOR SALE BY OWNER)
Q. Can you help me with a FSBO catamaran? The seller is in Panama, the flag is Dutch and he has offered to deliver it to the US for me. What will all this cost ?
A. Yes, I can help with a FSBO and do this all the time.
Remember, there are 10,000 stolen yachts in the world today and the way the bad guys liquidate them and get paid is through FSBO sales. So, we must be extra-vigilant when dealing with these types. I have discovered two stolen yachts and turned them in to Interpol and FBI. One reason the bad guys will not list them with a broker is that most brokers have a fiduciary responsibility to Buyers to check out the title and brokers know the ways to research the title and spot bad titles and stolen vessels. I can't tell you all the secrets here because if the bad guys know about this they can take counter-measures, but there are some other things I do to identify stolen yachts.
I just need a consulting fee to oversee the sale and we must use my IYBA Purchase Agreement and follow the attached protocol so I can protect you. I attached a copy of the Agreement and of the usual procedure. WHEN A SELLER OFFERS TO DELIVER THE YACHT BEWARE! You may pay them and transfer title and they disappear so they can sell it again under a new name, new Hull I.D. number and different paint job.
We need to have a Certified Marine Surveyor (preferably well-experienced in catamaran inspections) to do the survey... another reason some Sellers use FSBO websites is because they know there is a big hidden defect in their boat and they go to "out of the way" places where surveyors are scarce, hoping to find someone who will waive a proper survey and then after they are paid they disappear, never to be seen again. Certified surveyors charge $20-24/foot. So, a 40' boat would cost $800-880 plus haul out fee. Panamanian surveyors may be cheaper. I haven't done one there in a few years.
I can advise the "due diligence" and closing costs if you send me full details on the yacht.
Q.1990's-VINTAGE DESIGNED CATS?
A.I can talk for 20-40 minutes about this issue and since I'm a slow typist I can't easily convey everything. If you need further clarification let's talk on the phone.
This 1997 is a very old design and we have made many advances since this came out so that a current generation 40' Lagoon or Leopard has more usable interior space than this 44' does... So, for around the same price, we can find a newer, albeit smaller LOA catamaran that is less-likely to be an old "Money Pit" like this probably is.
This website you found is likely a host of "phantom listings" which really do not exist. It did exist at one time, but was sold and some agents leave their old "good deal" listings up to attract your call and then tell you "It was sold but the closest thing to it is ____" ... so, it may not be available because I don't see this listing on Yachtworld. The only reliable website that somewhat polices listings for this practice is Yachtworld.com and my website LargeCatamaransForSale.com which is powered by Yachtworld.
This South African brand is a fairly fast sailing hull because they have relatively narrow hulls but this also creates a fast "sink rate"; that is, as you load equipment, people, luggage, fuel, water, provisions, etc., the boat sits lower in the water and this aggravates the "hull slamming" of the bridgedeck. All cats experience this but some are worse than others. I know an experienced catamaran sailor who bought one of these (without my advice), tried to take it to the Bahamas on a rough day in the Gulf Stream and the hull-slamming was so bad that he (and mostly his wife) got scared to death because they thought the boat would break up. They turned around after a couple hours of this, came back to Ft Lauderdale and immediately put the boat up for sale. - the exposed windows in the salon creates a "hothouse effect" in the tropics and semi-tropics during the hottest times of the day which is very hard to control. This means that the interior heats up to 10-15 degrees hotter than the outside temperature.This is precisely why the major manufacturers dumped this impractical old design-concept in the early 2000's and went to vertical windows with an "eyebrow" (Lagoon) OR louvered/shaded windows (Leopard).
This age of a boat is also highly-likely to cause this to be a "Money Pit" I don't recommend something of this age unless you are prepared to be working on it all the time.
Q. I found some Privileges for sale in my budget and I'd like to see some of these or similar models when I come to west Florida. What do you think of these?
A. Privileges have always been known as one of the best-built production cats out there; however, they are slow sailing boats, they don't have a lot of opening hatches so are "under-ventilated", the salons are tiny and the salon windows create a "hothouse effect" in the tropics and semi-tropics so they are not good for "live-aboard" purposes. This means it is like an oven in there even when it's 75 degrees out and even air conditioning cannot keep it cool. Most charter companies in the Caribbean stopped using them because of these reasons....Most everyone in the tropics put covers over the Privilege salon windows which defeats the purpose of having large panoramic views from the salon. These are great boats for northern Europe and high latitude climates but not the tropics.
Most of the cats "live" on Florida's East Coast but I may find some suitable candidates near Tampa. We usually never find "great deals" in Florida. The deals are normally in the Caribbean and I can have them delivered back to the US or wherever for $2-3/mile. But we usually have a pretty good selection here to see what model(s) appeal to you the most.
I usually recommend setting a budget and trying to get the newest boat that fits the budget even if you have to go to a smaller LOA.
Q. We will be cruising full time and attempt a circumnavigation. For the first year probably more local cruising to gather experience. (Med Sea or Caribbean)
A. YES, AS THE OWNER OF AMERICA'S OLDEST SAILING SCHOOL I RECOMMEND YOU TAKE IT SLOW AND EASY AT FIRST.
Q. We will get certified by RYA this summer. (Coastal Skipper, and eventually on the boat the yachtmaster.)
A. EXCELLENT ! YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY WILL WANT TO SEE SOME CERTIFICATION AND "COMPARABLE EXPERIENCE"
Q. TAX exempt?
A. I CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO GET EXEMPTION.
Q. You say all Cats turn into Money Pits eventually. How is it economical to buy one in the first place? Sell it after a few years?
A. THIS IS BEST DISCUSSED BY PHONE. I HAVE DISCOVERED THE KEY TO "MAKING MONEY WHEN YOU BUY A BOAT" OR AT LEAST NOT LOSING MUCH, WHEN YOU GO TO RESELL IT.
THE SHORT ANSWER IS: FIND A VERY POPULAR MODEL, BUY IT IN THE "LOW BUYING SEASON" IN A "LOW DEMAND LOCATION" (LIKE A REMOTE ISLAND AND I'LL MOVE IT FOR YOU) OR FIND A "FRENCH TAX SHELTER BOAT" WHICH CAN BE GREAT DEALS ....KEEP THE ENGINE HOURS AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, KEEP THE BOAT WELL-MAINTAINED, SELL IT IN A "HIGH DEMAND AREA" AND DURING THE TIME OF YEAR WHERE WE SEE MAXIMUM BUYERS.
Q. Can we get a better deal if we pay "cash"?
A. MAYBE, BUT UNLIKE REAL ESTATE, IN THE SELLER'S MIND ALL YACHT DEALS MUST BE SETTLED WITH CASH (A WIRE TRANSFER) SO IT MIGHT NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. LENDERS MAKE THE CLOSING MORE COMPLICATED AND CAUSE DELAYS OF ABOUT 1-2 WEEKS WHICH DOESN'T ALWAYS MATTER TO THE SELLER.
Q. How does altering the interior of a cat affect the reselling price?
A. IT CAN HELP AND YOU CAN MAKE MONEY BY DOING THIS, BUT THIS IS A "SLIPPERY SLOPE" TO CLIMB! YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO IT IN A FIRST-CLASS WAY. IF THE "REMODELING" IS NOT PERFECT IT WILL NEGATIVELY AFFECT VALUE.
Q. Great talking to you today. Huge help as always. I am thinking the Lagoon 410 is the type of boat you are encouraging me to buy because of my limited budget and desire to have a longer waterline cat so I can carry more stuff and not pitch as much while sailing upwind in a chop?
A. Thanks for this. The 410 in CT could be a "rare possible-gem". But we do not know the actual condition because the local agent probably "fluffed up" the listing sheet and didn't want to know about the defects when he took the listing so then he doesn't have to disclose them. This is just the way it usually works. If I am the listing agent, I want to always want to know and disclose the defects up-front so there are minimal "surprises". But many listing agents do not. I owned one of these 410's and they were extraordinary breakthroughs in their day. One of them averaged 21 knots between Ft Lauderdale sea buoy and Palm Beach sea buoy on their GPS (2 knots was Gulf Stream "push" so they were actually averaging 19K through the water. This was on a broad reach in winds of 25-30 knots and they had a Code Zero downwind sail up). This will have 35-50 defects noted at survey like all cats of this vintage so be prepared for that. Some Sellers will make additional price-concessions after survey to cover major "previously undisclosed defects' repairs" and some of them have the attitude that "this is a used-boat at a much-lower used-boat price and this is 'normal wear and tear' so I'm not reducing price to cover any defects. If you want a perfect boat then go buy a new one with a warranty" The solution to this issue issue is not always something we can predict so when you pursue these older boats this is a risk that you will assume. Many sellers are coy about this and will NOT give us a truthful indication before survey about whether they will give further price reductions for defective "surprises" we find at survey. A "mini-survey" is our best tool to get to the truth before we spend money and time to see the boat.
1126 S. Federal Highway (Suite 253)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33316, USA