We are still waiting anxiously to hear back from the bank about the SBA guaranteed portion of our loan. To be fair, the bank is actually waiting to hear back from the SBA. Once this fundamental piece of the puzzle is finalized we will be in a position to find a boat and make an offer on it.
After we find a vessel that suits our needs, the sea trial, haul-out, survey and negotiations begin. We then will close on the boat, sell a bunch more of our belongings, the house, ship our cars/belongings to PR and move aboard the vessel. There are also a million details that need to be worked out regarding the business (advertising, equipment, permits, insurance, marketing, etc) but everything is kind of at a stand-still until we hear from the bank. There are a lot of logistics still but we are trying to just take on one thing at a time. And first thing is having some realistic time frame as to when we will have the closing with the bank.
In an ideal world we will be in PR for the high season starting this November. November is officially seven weeks away! Another consideration for us is that our hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th. We have to consider this because we will have to deliver the boat to PR from wherever we purchase it from.
There are a lot of vessels in Florida and we have been working with a broker, Greg Bracken from East West Yachts. If we find a vessel in FL the trip through the islands would be about two weeks. A weather window is only a week forecast.
There is a great book called Passages South – The Thornless Path To Windward by Bruce Van Sant, that divides the route from FL to Puerto Rico (and all the way to South America) into short passages and “easy’ sails. The passage is from Florida, island hopping, through the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, and up to Puerto Rico. Every small step outlined in the book puts you in a snug harbor in time to fish up dinner and relax. And also has outlined way stations where you can wait for a good weather window before proceeding. If we end up purchasing a boat in Florida, this passage south will be the plan for delivery.
The other option we are looking into is finding a boat in Tortola and sailing it the short distance over to PR. Tortola also has several listings for vessel’s in our price range. Tortola is a British Virgin Island and so we are trying to determine how easy buying a non- US flagged vessel will be for our purpose.
There are pro’s and cons to either scenario for where we purchase the boat from. We are in Florida and so going to look at vessels here is convenient. We also have a lot of resources here for getting acquainted with and equipping our new vessel. However, the delivery of the vessel would be a one day trip if we find one in the BVI’s as opposed to the two-week minimum trip from FL.
In any case, once we have the vessel, we need to get it to San Juan, PR and hand deliver our applications for the permits we need from Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DRNA) and the Tourism Company (Compania de Turismo). In order to obtain those permits we first need the boat. And we have every incentive to secure the permits we need to be able to start doing business ASAP because we will be making payments on our business loan in the interim.
Despite all of the logistics and juggling of so many things on top of having 2 very adorable and also extremely time consuming small children….we are ecstatic, and so excited that everything is finally coming together. And our dream is becoming palpable.
Onward!! Eagerly….back to staring at my email and waiting by the phone for “the call”!