How to buy a yacht. The first. If you do not understand this

So, the story of how a couple chose and bought their first boat and what came of it.

A link to the original article of the author with all the accompanying information is given at the end of this text.

As a beginner who does not understand anything in yachts, find, buy and move to live on the yacht with the whole family. How to choose a boat on which you can live? Step by step instructions based on our experience.

When we had the idea to move to live on a yacht, we were completely inexperienced and knowledgeable newbies. Even the collection of information about the purchase was postponed for a long time, because there were a lot of questions in my head, and the process seemed terribly complicated with a lot of pitfalls. Gathered with the forces in July 2016 and for more than two weeks, everyone studied, viewed, bought and moved to the yacht. How it was…

We moved the entire Internet, made huge lists of what and why we need to know / do and quietly were horrified by the amount of our ignorance. But! Everything is actually much easier – this is how to buy a car. Here we will talk about all the issues that we had at the very beginning, and how we solved them.

Remember, buy a yacht, move to live on it and travel – very, very easy!

A list of questions before buying

1. Your budget. In addition to the cost of the yacht, it is also worth laying the costs for the first time (meals), purchasing equipment (if something is missing) and possible repairs. We were guided by the amount of 15,000 euros.

2. Determine the length. There are already three of us. Before that, we traveled by car for 3 years and often stayed in a tent. Life in cramped circumstances and on the move was already well known to us. During long journeys, such as the Arctic Circle, it was necessary to sleep in the car. Therefore, when choosing a comfortable length of the boat, we agreed with the length that was determined by our budget – it is 10, 11 meters. I have to say that if you have the opportunity to take more than a couple of meters, it will be even more convenient. Free space and the ability to move around without crashing into each other are very important. So, we stopped at 10-11 meters. For beginners, it is also a great way to learn, because with a small boat it is easier to understand management, mooring and maintenance. If a rush suddenly hits the sea,

Price, length, and year are a bunch of interdependent quantities, and you need to find a compromise with them. Another myth: the old boats are bad. Our boat of 1972, two owners, caring hands, and her condition, as a result, is good. Do not be afraid of the years, more often more “adult” boats – more reliable. During the selection, it is important to assess the condition and decide how ready you are to deal with it. Year matters and affects cost.

3. From the budget follows the region of purchase. What we learned about it while looking for and driving:

Mediterranean Sea – prices are 20-30% higher at the same size / year than in Scandinavia, plus the fact that the boat does not need to drive through the northern seas;

Scandinavia – many good, designed for the harsh conditions of boats with very low prices (our option);

The USA – in some places the prices are even lower than the Scandinavian ones, they didn’t have time to figure out the manufacturers and reliability of the boats because the shoals of this market are due to the long distance, but their yachts also move briskly across the oceans, that means everything is very good. (Reference to the history of the family who bought the boat in the USA and drove it across the ocean to the Mediterranean – at the end of the article).

Why Scandinavia? – Because reliability and cost. Long maritime traditions, great experience in building boats, a region with harsh weather conditions, which means boats are more reliable.

Countries from our list:

The Netherlands (many yachts, the state is acceptable, most of the boats are small, possibly due to Dutch habits. Of all Scandinavian countries, the highest prices)

Germany – prices are lower, there are large and good options, not so many boats of our length are for sale (there were only a couple on our list).

Denmark – the second place, a lot of great cheap options.

Sweden is the leader in the list in terms of quantity and price.

4. Build a list of boats. So, the budget, size and market are chosen. Now is the time to make a list of the boats themselves.

List of local sites for the sale of boats in Scandinavia – at the end. The main site for finding yachts to buy in Europe. There are a lot of ads from owners on this site – additional savings, no need to pay agents. We bought our yacht first-hand.

How to work with the list? We got a sheet of 160 yachts in 11 countries, we collected and sorted it in 3 days. You can see the list here, in it yacht prices, features. For each boat, they put down a 10-point scale of assessment: the first for the set of equipment and the second assessment – for the appearance, how much we liked what we saw in the photo. About equipment: then we naively thought that the more of it, the better. We did not have a list of the necessary equipment. I will say in advance, here is the minimum that was on the yacht and which was enough for us: a 100l water tank, 60l fuel, an old echo sounder, an old vhf radio, everything else – for extra convenience, and you can live without it. Maps and the weather we had on the phones.

After the evaluation, we dismissed all the options, with scores of less than 7, and 60 boats were left in the list. Additionally, Vasily derived a formula for checking adequacy: the ratio of cost to the square of length – too small values ​​were suspicious, and large ones were not justified.

5. We are going. List of boats, marines and countries is ready. What’s next? We write to the owners of the ads, and we are going to go. It is better to immediately go to a country with a large number of selected boats – save time. Even if you did not receive answers for all the boats that you requested (the owner may be on vacation, you already bought a boat, and this is happening quickly in the north), you can simply find marinas and call in to them on the map. In each office of the captainery, there are announcements about yachts for sale here with photos, descriptions and prices, and you can immediately look at the desired 10 meters live and see what indicators are on your list to review. From our huge list, we looked at the power of 5 boats :), but working with it helped us to tamper and remember a bunch of terms and concepts, especially since it was necessary to communicate in English.

Mobile connection.

In each country, we had to buy local sims, tried to take with the Internet, to update the information on the list, search for marinas and arrange meetings.

Accommodation on the road.

We slept in a tent a couple of times while traveling from Montenegro to Italy, found accommodation through airbnb (Germany and the Netherlands), and slept in a car a couple of times. Hotels did not use.


Cash was taken a little in euros, in case at gas stations or in stores will not accept cards. Mostly used bank cards. Payment for the yacht passed in cash – many times and several days removed the required amount.

6. The first quick inspection, what to check? We recorded a “smart list” with a bunch of nuances to check (list here). During the first inspection there is no need to thoroughly check every locker, this can be done later, if you generally like the situation with the boat. During the first inspections we paid attention, and this is extremely important, to the fact that the boat should stand on the water – so you will be sure that it is a floating craft. This advice to us-newcomers was given by our yachting friends who we met by chance in Montenegro and who we tortured with our own, as it seemed to us endless stupid questions. We also look at the general condition – did they look well behind it, whether the interior was killed, not mold, rust, well-groomed and whether the body is painted – according to this list, you can immediately estimate the amount of work and money that you have to immediately invest. We ask about the equipment and the condition of the sails, the latter is very important if you immediately, like us, go to sea. Just walk around and sit in the cabins, see how comfortable and spacious you are. It is important that during roll and pitching the space inside is significantly reduced, so if you are cramped on standing water, then you will move around the walls in excitement compiling a list of boats from European sites. Basic English is quite enough, sometimes explained simply on the fingers. during roll and pitching, the space inside is significantly reduced, so if you are crowded in standing water, you will move around the walls in excitement 🙂 Yes, look at the list of terms in English in advance, although you can already remember them boats from European sites. Basic English is quite enough, sometimes explained simply on the fingers. during roll and pitching, the space inside is significantly reduced, so if you are crowded in standing water, you will move around the walls in excitement 🙂 Yes, look at the list of terms in English in advance, although you may already have them in memory boats from European sites. Basic English is quite enough, sometimes explained simply on the fingers.

Questions that additionally asked:

  • boat history – were there any accidents;
  • what would the owner do first thing before going to sea;
  • whether he lived and how long the boat went ashore;
  • the most severe conditions in which he had been.

We had about 5 such “quick” and disappointed at the end of the inspections in the Netherlands and Denmark. Then we became more and more convinced that we needed to go north. I will make a reservation, all this time we traveled with our 4-month-old toddler, and he courageously and with pleasure participated in the process. His presence greatly accelerated all our actions – we just had to be as effective as possible. Having turned the wheels to Sweden, we decided to give a chance to one boat from Germany, which was among the leaders, according to our estimates, and which we removed from the list “for viewing” because of too few German boats – we didn’t want to wind kilometers for two echoes. But it turned out to be the same yacht. There were all the parameters: size-price-condition, and we agreed to purchase after 15 minutes of being there, and all other meetings were canceled,

7. Second and thorough inspection. As amateurs in this matter, we tried to climb everywhere, Basil even dived and looked at the condition of the hull, screw and keel under water (the hull was well painted and there were no obvious irregularities and traces of osmosis that the fiberglass hull could get sick of). Tested all pumps and taps (should not leak), fill the tank with water, turn on all the lights and lights (should not blink, but turn on immediately), test all drawers-lockers-payoles (should be dry and without mold), inspected externally and run the engine (oil does not leak, the sound of work is adequate), the alcohol stove (and we have this – filled with alcohol and lit), radio, toilet, batteries and their terminals, walked around the deck, looked at the mast, boom, staysail spin, guys … We climbed into everything and everywhere, asked a bunch of stupid questions, like “what is this pipe and what is it for?” Some of the questions even the owner could not answer. It will be good if during the second inspection you realize that the boat is perfect – so it was with us. And it is not at all disastrous if you find any problems – everything can be corrected, just assess your strengths and capabilities.

8. Test exit to the sea. After the first exit, once again checked the space under the floor for leaks and inspect the engine compartment. After that, we took a contract to read.

9. Contract and payment. For signing the contract, you only needed a passport, a foreign passport, no skipper crusts and licenses – you may not have them yet. We paid only half of the amount according to circumstances, and agreed to immediately move to live on the boat, so as not to spend money on housing and quickly prepare it for driving to the Canaries from Kiel.

Documents on the property.

Your purchase agreement is the entire document. We did not assure him, we just have the original with signatures. The contract lists all available equipment that is on board.

10. Parking in the marina after purchase. The former owner had a contract for seasonal parking in the marina, and until November we could stand and use electricity and water free of charge.

Actually, that’s all the terrible that you have to go through. At the time of purchase the skipper’s license was only mine (3 years ago I studied in Marmaris – 2 week courses at sea. Yuksel School), Vasily first set foot on board and got experience at sea.

Briefly about the license.

To purchase any documents other than a passport is not needed. During the transfer of one license is more than enough, and it does not matter whether RYA or IYT (a license is purely a formality and no one has ever asked it anywhere). License vhf operator – also one is enough for a boat. I took 2 day courses online in Moscow. We did not request a paper license by mail, I just have it in pdf, and no one anywhere else asked us for this license either. (link to online courses VHF operator).

Next steps after purchase: boat registration and insurance. I will describe in more detail in a separate article, but here it is briefly summarized here.

Yacht registration.

Flag under which you go. So far they have not understood what it gives, but we all do the same :). It looks like a car registration in the country. We made a Dutch one for 350 euro (a new extension every year), and a week later we received it by mail. Walking under the EU flag – there were no customs issues in Schengen, and even after leaving Kiel, we haven’t entered any customs yet.


Still in the process of registration. After the purchase, they wrote to 6 insurance companies, including Panthenius, and either did not receive an answer or refused (due to the age of the boat).

A few words about our yacht.

This is Van de Stadt Pionier 10, 33 feet long. 1972. The cost of 9,900 euros.

On board: echo sounder, Gps receiver (besides coordinates shows speed relative to the ground – paired with a log that shows the speed of the water, helps to estimate the speed of the current), hull tilt sensor (not yet found use), vhf radio, 100l water tank, 50l fuel tank, manual toilet, alcohol stove, tender, autopilot (a very important device!), 2002nny 21n / s engine, webasto (ancient heater not working, already repaired, requires improvements, instead use an electric fan), saved raft, saved vests, a bunch of screwdrivers and all sorts of things for Remo nta

Sails: more or less, 2 staysails, storm staysail, grotto, 2 spinnakers (never lifted). All this is enough for life.

At the moment with all this good we have passed 1600 miles.

Do not be afraid to start. Do not be afraid to go to such a goal. The main thing – start to act. A yacht is more than accessible to any person with any income. In Scandinavia, to keep a yacht in the family – how to have a bike with us. It is time to dispel the myth that a yacht is a property that is accessible only to people with a large wallet. And, yes, take your children with you – living and traveling with your family in a boat is a great pleasure.

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