Voyages of "SNOW WHITE"                                

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How did it all start?

 2006 and before...
  Trying in Toronto

At the wheel of Go Go Dancer

Cruising on Lochiel II

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 National Yacht 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 sail boat.

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.
Admiring boats in Monte Carlo

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 worldwide.

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 payments.

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.

Beneteau 393 at St Tropez

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 for us.

 March-April 2007
Snow White in Croatia 

In early February 2007, 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.

  Galley on Snow White

Instrument panel

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.

Stern Cabins (2) 


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.

 Spring 2007 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.

Payments
Layout of Snow White 

What? 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 exchange. 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 sales agreement.

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 website:

http://www.tc.gc.ca/ShipRegistry/menu.asp?lang=e

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:

http://www.tc.gc.ca/marinesafety/CES/Small-Commercial-Vessels/Registration-Licensing.htm

 

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 contract.

4. Application for registry, Form 1 (make sure you use the numbers from the tabular form for "estimated" tonnage, and number of shares 64 being 100%)

5. Tabular method for calculating tonnage, Form 4A

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 registration

 

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: http://www.tc.gc.ca/BoatingSafety/pcl.htm

 

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 registered/licensed).

 

http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/smt-gst.nsf/en/h_sf06007e.html you 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 spectrum.toronto@ic.gc.ca which is the district office in Toronto.

 

For detailed license requirements in the US, click here.

 

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 35į East.

The link is www.pantaenius.com

 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 Turkey.

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 to Turkey.

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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