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Ticket to Paradise?

Start your voyage where someone else stopped.

August 12, 2010
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Ticket to Paradise

Christine is a 47-foot Formosa cruiser built in 1981 with loads of space and stowage. Contact Dynamite Marine Ltd. at (868) 634-4663 or visit www.dynamitemarine.com.

It’s a story we’ve all heard: A boat makes port in some romantic destination. Suddenly seabags are tossed to the dock. Not only does this couple not want to sail together anymore, the word together seems to have taken leave of the collective vocabulary—a grim end to a cruise and a dream, but that boat is still in fine fettle.

These situations are not always a result of a couple dynamic. Take a boat offered by John Dukesherer, a broker at Ala Wai Yacht Brokerage in Honolulu, Hawaii (www.yachtworld.com/alawai). The owner delayed his cruise departure to complete some upgrades. “By then he was really pushing the [weather window],” says Dukesherer, who heard from the owner’s shore-based friend, while the boat was in transit to Hawaii from California. “In the middle of the ocean he got hold of his friend. In 50 knots of wind, I guess he was feeling depressed and stressed, and maybe he didn’t want to do it anymore. By the time he was here, I knew who he was, and he knew who I was, and it took me two hours to list the boat.”

These listings may have benefits that aren’t readily apparent: “One thing about getting a boat in transit,” says Dukesherer. “Usually it’s tried and well equipped— sometimes there’s a lot of new equipment that hasn’t had time to depreciate.”

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Some boats never leave the islands. In fact, many people plan their cruises without any long bluewater passages. Brian Duff, a broker at BVI Yacht Sales Ltd. in Road Town, Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands (www.bviyachtsales.com) sees three kinds of cruiser: “There are people that come to buy a boat here and take it on a cruise,” he says. “You get people that start a cruise somewhere and plan to end it here and sell the boat. And then you get people that buy a boat here, use it here, and sell it here. At a rough guess, I’d say half of the people that I’ve worked with buy a boat and use it here, and sell it here again.” Maybe there’s a proven boat in that resident fleet that would fit the bill for you.

Think you want to pull the trigger? “Too often I see people jump on a plane and come all the way down here to see a boat, only to be disappointed because they haven’t gotten enough information up front,” says Frances Dow, brokerage manager at Dynamite Marine Ltd. Yacht Brokerage in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago (www.dynamitemarine.com). “The best thing is to find a reputable broker and get as much information as you can beforehand. If there are copies of previous surveys, put your hands on those. Pictures are great, make sure you get as many specs and details. The broker thinks it’s a pain in the neck if you’re e-mailing every five minutes, but it’s your money.” Using a reputable broker means that title searches will be completed properly. “Too often people come into my office with boat papers…to sort it out and get the boat registered,” says Dow. “Papers are not in order with customs, so they bought a boat that they can’t leave the island with. That’s not cool.”

If you find a deal, proceed with caution. “Make sure you get your value,” says Dow. “Take a quick trip to see a boat before you put your money down.” There’s not a better reason to buy a ticket to paradise.

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Good Times: Bon Accord is a Mason 44 offshore cruiser built in 1987 with a sturdy reinforced fiberglass hull. Consistent upgrades to rigging and equipment, a plush interior, and five passages from New England to Bermuda recommend this proven cruiser. Contact BVI Yacht Sales at (877) 279-9415 or www.bviyachtsales.com.

Double Your Luck: Fortuna II is a 31-foot Dufour with recent paint and very little sailing time with her current owner. She sleeps six and awaits her new owner in Trinidad and Tobago. Contact Dynamite Marine Ltd. at (868) 634-4663 or visit www.dynamitemarine.com.

Cool Customer: Froia II is a 45-foot Dufour 455 built in 2006. At this writing, the owner has dropped the price to $280,000. Contact Ala Wai Yacht Brokerage at (866) 413-3267 or www.yachtworld.com/alawai.

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