Firsthand Experience: Buying an Ex-Charter Cat

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In July of 2014 I bought a 2006 Lagoon 410 S2 from Sunsail/Moorings, and the experience overall was very positive.
Sunsail in St. Maarten extensively refitted the boat, including installing one new engine, new engine control panels and controls, a new mainsail (with a new sailbag) and lazyjacks, a new furling genoa, a new trampoline, new shrouds, new navigation lights, two new hatches, a fresh coat of bottom paint, and they repaired some gelcoat dings, including replacing a chunk of one rudder that must have met a rock on a charter.

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The interior was restored with new cushions, new stove, new through-hulls and pumps, some lights, and all equipment was verified as operable. The boat came outfitted with The Moorings standard set of linens, towels, and kitchen charter gear. The boat was in sailaway condition, and we sailed it from St. Maarten to Annapolis shortly after closing the transaction.

The work I have done to the boat since taking delivery includes installing a new headstay (for $2,000) and replacing two motor mounts (for $500). One potential high-dollar repair remaining involves the rudder bushings/bearings, which the surveyor noted are almost out of spec, but I’m holding off on that for now.

The rigging of the new main was a little haphazard, with the halyard and reefing lines being misrouted, which has resulted in chafe and severed lines. I also had to remove one fuel tank and have it professionally cleaned (for $300), as it was contaminated with algae, but this is an issue for many buying boats from the Caribbean. I would recommend bringing as much clean fuel in jugs along for the delivery trip home as you can, including a way to bypass the fuel tanks and feed the engines directly from those jugs. Also bring plenty of filters.

The sales staff at The Moorings in Florida was very easy to deal with, and the base staff in St. Maarten was very accommodating as well—they threw in a Caribe dinghy in lieu of a chartplotter. Overall the price was good and high-pressure sales shenanigans were refreshingly absent. I did not have a broker to represent me as I had been through the boat-buying experience before.

Everything was accomplished via email, phone calls, a few FedExes, and a couple of trips to St. Maarten. This allowed me to spend more money refitting the boat rather than paying commission.

The issue of paperwork is a concern most buyers will have, especially if they are buying from a smaller charter company in the islands where English is not the primary language. In my case the boat had been purchased by The Moorings from the previous private owner and registered in Delaware, so all I had to do was transfer that registration. A friend of mine bought a catamaran from a charter company in the BVI and spent a considerable amount of time straightening out the paperwork and lien releases from the previous owner and his bank in Great Britain. However, if you deal with a major charter company I don’t think this should be too much of an issue. All in all, I got the boat I was looking for at a favorable price and am very satisfied with the purchase.

Read Buying a Catamaran Out of a Charter Fleet here

For more Multihull Sailor, click here

MHS Summer 2015

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