2006 and before...
Our home was Burlington, Ontario until 2001 when we sold
it and moved to Toronto. A few years later,
we decided to search around Toronto and put our
sailing experience and desire to use. Among the
yacht clubs we visited, we found the
Club of Toronto having the best facility,
easiest access, most opportunity to sail, lots
of boats and friendly people. We become crew
members in Spring 2003. After going through the
keelboat sailing course, I started crewing
frequently on racing nights. From there, we
really became frequent users of the yacht club
with racing, dinners, short cruises, etc. We
even rented the club facilities several times
for personal gatherings, music events, and even
for our baby shower, etc.
One of the crew mates was David McGuire. He and
I crewed on a few boats, became friends and
later went to sail with him in Bahamas on his Go
Go Dancer, an Irvin 37. In mid February of 2005,
I flew to Nassau to join him for a two weeks of
sailing excursion which gave me the limited
experience of downside and upside of owning a
After the Bahamas trip, we sailed with Camerons
who had a 2004 Catalina 36 named Lochiel II.
During the 2005 season, I was racing on Mondays,
Tuesdays and Wednesdays with all kinds of
skippers and boats. There I learned great
skills, capabilities of different boats, size,
brands, etc. We had a few days cruising
with Daisy (our Golden Retriever) on board of Lochiel II
which gave us some ideas of living in a sail
boat with a dog.
Fall 2005, Deciding to buy a boat.
Then we started
talking about owning a sail boat. To the
contrary belief of spouse reactions, my wife
enthusiastically agreed. However, when we looked
at our savings, the boats we liked and what
we can afford, it was a huge disappointment. We
started going to boat shows at every
opportunity, gathering ideas and weighing
options. We generally liked the boats that were
live-in types with two or three cabins, 36 feet
and up, decent shape and reliable for blue water
cruising. That also meant that those boats are
priced around $200,000 and up used
ones. We had less than $50,000. So, we decided
to start saving and postpone boat searching for
at least two years.
September 30, 2006, still searching...
In the first year (2005), we saved about
$20,000 and started looking for boat in US$50-70K
range. We found several boats immediately 36+ size
which were 10 years or older. In early spring of
2006, we found a Beneteau 38 (1997) in Florida which was
quite attractive, was put on sale due to health
reason at $80K, I offered $55, made the formal
signed offer at $65, the owner wanted $69. Then,
I got cold feet. It was my first try, here I am
almost buying the boat, thanks to the owner for
not agreeing right away.
At the same time, we attended seminars, read
books and asked around on how to buy a boat.
Gathering information and more confidence, I
started seriously searching for boats on
www.yachtworld.com I found it very
convenient to access to specified range of boats
We also came across
SunSail and its sister company
Moorings. They had scores of boats coming off
the charter and almost all of them were on sale.
For many months, we went back and forth buying a
new boat to charter or buying a boat off charter or
chartering the boat ourselves. I came up with
this rule of
thumb calculation on a 38-43 boat range. The
chartering will give you a five years of freedom
in which you are allowed spend at least two
weeks (more off season) per year on an equivalent sailboat.
It other words, your sailing price is free if
you use it, if you don't it cost approximately $10K
per year plus travel. During the charter period the boat
is fully maintained by the company. The fee is paid up
front as a down payment ($50K) for purchasing
the boat. Then they pay you
approximately $18K per year as income which is mostly spent on financing the
boat. At the end of the term, you own the boat
(or the remains of it) and still owe the remaining
My calculations showed that down payment plus
the proceeds from chartering is almost enough to
cover the value lost on the boat. For example,
at the end of the term, you may have a boat with the residual value
of about $100K and are still
left with over $100K to pay. If you are doing 2-5
weeks of chartering every year, then this option may be a
somewhat reasonable. So, we decided to
pass. However, we did look at a few ex-charter
boats, one Jeanneau 42 (2000), two Gibís Sea 43
(2001), four Beneteau 393 (2001-2003) but could not
agree on the terms, they were either too high in
price or too beaten up.
We generally investigated
well known boat brands like Beneteau,
Jeanneau, Dufour (Gib' Sea), Bavaria, Hanse, C&C
and Hunter within 38-43' range.
In September 2006, I even went to St. Tropez of France to try out this boat. It was a bit worn out and
pricy ($150K+) for our range. Sitting by the villa on a canal in
plush French Riviera, price would be no object for the local would-be buyers, but not
In early February
We located this 39.3 Beneteau Oceanis 2003 in Croatia
named Snow White. Price was right and the dealer wanted to sell it quick. We made an offer, and the offer was accepted
after a few telephone calls and emails. We made arrangements for a survey. Survey results
came in favourable with some minor corrections
which the dealer agreed to fix.
YES! We have agreed on the sales terms and conditions, and
I paid the deposit of 5,000 Euro. Then, I made
arrangements to fly out and see the boat.
Survey and Scare:
Once the dealer informed me that all survey
results were OK and there was not a major issue,
I verified his dealership by calling Beneteau
company in France. I wanted to make sure I
was entering into a legitimate transaction. I
also called and emailed the surveyor asking for
a detailed report. He replied that the survey
was complete and it was handed over to the
dealer. Although I paid for it, he would not
send it to me since he was hired by the dealer
on my behalf. While discussing these issues with
friends at NYC, I was told that the survey might
have had some flaws, that's why the dealer
wasn't sending it. Scared at the prospect, I
called and emailed the dealer to fax me the
survey (30 pages) right away or I would cancel
the trip which was 5 days away. The next day fax
arrived, we went over every detail and found
some more items to question and deal with when I
get to Croatia.
I arrived in Croatia
via Zagreb on March 7, 2007, rented a car and
drove to Sukosan, 250 km away. My first time in
Croatia and I was already impressed with the
roads, scenery and developments. Not so long
ago, this place was a war zone. I was able to
find the marina and the dealer just before it
got dark and checked into a hotel right next to
marina. We met the next day, went over the boat,
and survey items. The boat was in excellent
condition and looked very nice. I added a
couple of more things to do, ordered a paint
job, and agreed to keep the boat on land until
we are ready to survey it again.
We finalized the sales
agreement, in English, and signed it. I was told
that this was sufficient to start the
registration process. A bit naive, I came back
home sort of worrying about it.
Snow White is an upgraded Beneteau 393 with a
Volvo D2-55 (55HP) engine used for approximately
1000 hours. It is built in France, has three
cabins and two heads, 220V wiring, fuel tank, 2
water tanks, electric winch, furling main and
head sails, chart plotter and all other standard
instruments. It was very clean with some minor
wear and tear. We started making the preparations for the
summer and working on the traveling plans through Greece and Turkey.
Our daughter was born
On April 24th, our first child Arsu Karli came
into this world and we immediately nicknamed her
Snow White. She was a healthy 3.5 kg girl born
at Mt. Sinai hospital.
Becky had some
complications during the delivery and had to go
through multiple surgeries due to some
operational procedures that did not go right. We
had suffered through several weeks of difficult
times during recovery which resulted in a heavy
emotional stress for her and me.
We checked with the doctor and were given the
permission to travel after three months. It was
then we decided to take the baby and her to visit
her parents in Turkey. So, we delayed the
departure into early August. They waited for me to
arrive with the boat in Turkey. She and Arsu K
joined us for the Turkish portion of the trip.
That way we hoped to improve her recovery and
get her out of Toronto and its past memories.
Snow White is on sale again? When we saw another
add that pictured Snow White for sale, we really
panicked and thought that dealer is selling the
boat to multiple parties. After a few phone
calls and emails, we verified that this was a
private person, registering the same boat so he
could get a commission if sold and was not
informed by the dealer of our sale's agreement.
Money transfers: I had a couple of lump sum
money transfers from my bank account to a
Croatian bank account. The problem we ran into
wasn't the amount of transfer but the currency
Canadian banks could not deal with Kuna,
Croatian currency, so I had to convert Euro owing to
Canadian and purchase Euro with Canadian dollars
and transfer the amount owing which was paid in
Kuna. This resulted a couple of conversion
losses and added the amount about 1-2% extra.
Travelling to Croatia: On June 6, I arranged to
have the surveyor come up and inspect the
repairs, fixings, etc. on the boat as per the
We reviewed items with surveyor, he pointed out
a couple of additional deficiencies for future
considerations such as auto pilot hydraulic
lines, rope cutter on the propeller, etc. but
all the rest seemed OK.
On June 7, we finalized the payment and sales documentations
and agreed to put to boat on water until sailing
time in late July.
Registering a vessel in Canada
There are different procedures if you are
licensing a vessel as
opposed to registering
a vessel under non commercial pleasure craft
category. Licensing is simple and it is a proof
of ownership in Canadian waters. Registering is
worldwide and has farther implications. It is
required for sailing abroad (outside North
America) and for finance and insurance purposes.
Registering a vessel as a pleasure craft under
40 feet is different than over 40 feet. Latter
requires a tonnage surveyor's report and some
additional documents. Since ours was under 40
feet (conveniently set at 39.3'), it did not
require any tonnage survey. This threshold may
now have changed from 12m to possibly 15m. You would also have
to choose the tonnage from the chart in the
application form not the one you actually have
to make the process smoother.
The first step registering a boat is to have a
name selected. A boat name query system is
available at the official Transport Canada
The name should be approved at the time of
registration. You have to provide three names to
begin the process.
Then you choose a port of registry. The details
of registering process is explained at the
following link of Transport Canada:
1. At least three 4X6 pictures of the boat
showing a side, transom, and front.
2. Sales contract, proof of ownership (out of
64 shares, representing 100%)
3. De-registration document if it is previously
owned, indicating free and clear of any mortgage.
In our case, it was to prove that the boat owned
by the same person who executed the sales
4. Application for registry, Form 1 (make sure
you use the numbers from the tabular form for
"estimated" tonnage, and number of shares 64
5. Tabular method for calculating tonnage, Form
6. Notice of Name or Change of Name, Form 13
7. Declaration of Ownership, Form 3
8. Appointment of authorized representative (if
more than one owner)
9. Builder's certificate (if required)
10. Approximately $300 licensing plus $50
processing fee for a three year
Once you submit all documents and they are all
accepted, the registration should be mailed to
you within a week.
If you opt for a licensing only, you can visit:
In order to operate the boat, you have to have a
"Pleasure Craft Operator" certificate. This can
be obtained via an online exam which is
accessible the on the above link.
Most important information is that the
eligibility to operate a vessel in international
waters requires additional certification such as
yacht captain's certificate.
However, good news is that the Canadian Vessel
Registration document indicated our boat as a
pleasure craft. I had a pleasure craft
operator's card which was sufficient to proof
that I could operate the vessel as captain in
all the countries that we passed through.
None of the
European/non-European countries we sailed asked
for a VHF station licence. We were able to
communicate with all stations in English and did
not have any problem. However, a recent email
from Industry Canada confirmed that you will
need a radio station license on any waters
outside Canada especially in the US. If you own
a Canadian boat, you will need an Restricted
Operator's Certificate (Maritime) to operate any
radio station and a Pleasure Craft Operator Card
to operate a boat. You may not need a radio
station license in Canada. If you plan to go
outside the Canadian waters, then you should
obtain a radio
station license from the Canadian authorities
(assuming your boat is Canadian
can download form IC3020 which is an
application for a maritime radio station
license. It will be good wherever you go in the
world. You can email them at
email@example.com which is the
district office in Toronto.
For detailed license requirements in the US,
Shopping for Insurance:
We shopped around in Canada for a proper
insurance coverage in the Mediterranean. They
were either too expensive or too specific in
where you can sail. For example, passing through
Adriatic, we have to go across to Italian waters
to stay within European borders. We had to have
a special coverage to sail in Turkey.
Then, I asked the
dealer for their insurance company which was
based in Austria. The insurance company,
Pantaenius, provided pretty good coverage in our
sailing destinations at a reasonable price
around Euro 1100 which covered us all the way to
The link is
Getting the boat ready
$, Kuna, Euro, YTL
Getting the boat
ready...buying all that inventory.
Once we had the
documents finalized, we went on a shopping spree
to buy all kinds of beddings, kitchen supplies,
tools, spare parts, charts, books, you name it.
We still have a few suitcases left to take to
the boat whenever the weight limit allows it.
However, there were no shortage of these items
in wherever we sailed to and they were
similarly priced, some were higher due to
expensive Euro but most were much cheaper in
Getting the crew and preparing to sail
Getting the crew was
not very easy. We originally agreed that David
would be joining me then he would go on a
chartered cruise in Turkey. David's schedule
turned into a chaotic one since he had trouble
bringing his boat up from Florida to Canada. It was
one problem after another, then weather was not
cooperating so he got delayed. Meanwhile, Bob
and Elizabeth Cameron agreed to help me out.
They cut their Ontario Lake sailing season
short, hauled out Lochiel II to join me to take Snow White
We had other
interested parties to join but I wanted to
reserve the space for David, in case he decides
to join at some point.
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