We bought a boat

We bought a boat

7. April 2016 Off By Søren

A lot of thinking has taken place during the last weeks… and a lot of email correspondence and phone calls with yacht brokers, surveyors, our bank, etc. It has all resulted in signing a contract on our new boat.

La Manga

La Manga is the thin isthmus creating the lake “Mar Menor”

The boat is located in La Manga in the southeast Spain. It is a Furia Brisa 40, a Spanish built boat, and not a brand or model we knew about. She is 40 feet (12 meters) long, has two aft cabins and one in the bow, so 3 rooms, where you can close the doors. In total 10 people can get a berth, but it will get very crowded on board then.

We have scanned the internet and looked at several boats. Especially two boats have matched our requirements, one in Ireland and the one we have now bought in Spain. The latter had the best layout, so we started going into details with this boat. However, it was by no means obvious that we should end up buying this boat.

Cheaper than the rest… why?
Comparing this boat to others, we were getting a lot more boat for the money with this boat, and we could not see the reason behind this. Beginning of February, we contact the broker in Torrevieja to get details on the boat, especially focusing on why it seems cheaper than other boats. He explain that this is a project rather than a boat, where we have to do some sanding and painting the floor in the cabin, antifouling, polishing, etc. It is all as expected for a boat at this price, so this does not scare us. We agree with the broker, that he will take pictures of the worst things on the boat to get a better idea of the state. We receive the pictures a few days later, and again we do not find anything scaring us away.

We decide to move on. Next step is to see the boat, preferably at the same time as having a surveyor examine the boat. Getting access to the boat for a survey requires that we sign a pre-sale memo, where we offer to buy the boat, subject to a satisfying survey, no debt in the boat, satisfying documentation (including documentation for paid VAT), and that a contract can be signed by both parties. With this settled we pay 10 % of the given price as a deposit, placed on an account dedicated for this at the broker.

We receive quotes from two different surveyors and pick one of them. A survey consists of an examination of the boat ashore, afloat, and a sea trial. Besides this, a documentation check, so this seems very comforting.

The survey revealed the skeletons in the closet
We organize it, so I can travel down and be part of the survey. This will also be the first time we can see the boat for real and not just pictures, but unfortunately, June is not able to join me.

Below the waterline was an entire ecosystem

The survey starts at 10am. A full day prior to this, the boat was lifted so it is “dry” when the survey starts. The surveyor, Louis, works his way through the boat thoroughly and systematically, and I follow him to hear what he has to say. We will get a full written report, but it is a good opportunity to get some more information and better understand the issues. Now it is clear why this boat is cheaper than the rest, and actually not cheap enough. It has moist in the hull and requires an osmosis treatment, damages on the rudder and keel, some seacocks has corrosion, cracks in the deck, etc. etc. The owner bought the boat 3 years ago with plans of making the boat fit, but for some reason this never really happened.

Damages on the keel

Unfortunately, it was very windy this day, and that made a sea trial impossible. We have to settle with testing the boat floats and that the engine is good. The sails looks old but ok.

At the end of the day, Søren asks Louis for his general opinion of the state of the boat. It is actually an OK boat due to a good thick structure, it is still a lot of boat for the money, but there is a lot of work, with priority to the moisture in the hull. This requires it must be peeled down to the fiberglass and then let it dry for a period.

The extent of the project is now clear to us, and even the broker was surprised. If we buy this boat the plans of sailing this summer has to become plans of working on the boat instead.

Back home, June and I start looking at the boat in Ireland again, and scan the market once more. However, we keep coming back to the boat in Spain. Yes, it is a completely different project now, but if we can push the price down far enough, we still get a lot of boat. We will have to work on every single thing and square inch of the boat, but then we know how to fix every issue when we, sometime in the future, are all alone on a huge ocean with no one around to help.

Documentation of VAT is acceptable; no… yes… no… yes… arrrgh
When buying the boat through a broker, some of the things you need to check are handled by the broker. This includes checking for debt in the boat, identification of the owner, contracts etc. The broker was English, which helped a lot with communication barriers when buying a boat abroad. The broker also provided a receipt of paid VAT, but I wanted to be sure this was 100 % ok, and something I would be able to prove to a customs officer without doubt.

The boat is in Spain, but it is under English flag. At some point the boat has been out of the Spanish boat registry, then back in, and finally out of the registry again. At this time, a new identification number was assigned, which did not match the hull identification number. In total 4 different identification numbers were in play, and I needed full traceability between the current papers on the boat and the previous papers, registered history and receipts showing paid VAT. Not to mention the plate in the boat holding the original identification number, but which was not used in the documentation. There were more to it, but now it has already become too complicated to explain. It really took a lot of energy to sort out, one minute it was ok, the next minute things did not add up.

We sign the contract
After checking with the “Danish Ocean Cruising Association (DOCA), we are finally certain that the documentation is OK. We examine the report from the Survey, get quotes on different jobs required, and assess the value of the boat. Based on this, we put an offer to the broker, which is significantly under the suggested price from the owner.

During the next couple of weeks, we negotiate the price, ending up accepting a price that is still quite good, but also knowing that we are going to invest quite a bit in the boat going forward. The contract is updated, we sign the report and after the broker has received the remaining payment, we get the contract signed by the owner.

We have become boat owners – again. We better sell our Maxi 77.