How to find a sailboat in The Netherlands (Part 1/3)

How do you buy a sailboat in the Netherlands? Tips and advice.

In this three-part series we dive into the different aspects we encountered during our search for and purchase of our perfect sailing boat. We share our experience with finding a sailboat, what we paid attention to during the viewings and how the purchasing process went. We benefit greatly from the experiences of other sailors, so we are happy to share our thoughts and tips!

This is part 1 of 3

If you've spoken to us in recent years, there's a good chance we've talked about sailboats. We have thought of almost nothing other than finding the perfect sailboat with which we can explore the world. We found our first sailing boat, Bolle, in three weeks in 2021 via Marktplaats. Our second sailboat, Ori, turned out to be a slightly bigger challenge. A much sought-after size of 12.50 meters, a tight market in the Netherlands and a modest budget meant that we found what we were looking for after more than a year. During our search we came across many channels where you can find second-hand sailboats and we are happy to share them with you!

Online marketplaces

This may seem obvious, but online marketplaces are a popular and widely used option for finding a sailboat. Last summer we found a Beneteau 44 that we almost bought on the well-known Dutch Marktplaats(.nl). Although the competition seems fierce, don't be afraid to respond to popular advertisements. In addition to Marktplaats(.nl), the websites botentekoop(.nl), boat24(.nl) and yachtfocus(.nl) were on our daily list. You can often activate a search that sends the latest sailing boats in your email inbox every morning. We eventually found our Jeanneau Voyage 12.50 on yachtfocus(.nl).

The advantages of online marketplaces are the direct contact with the selling party, negotiating the price and quickly requesting more information. The selling party can be a yacht broker or private individual. If you plan to buy a sailboat from a private individual, we recommend that you keep someone with sales experience, such as a yacht broker, nearby for advice. This way you can ensure that the process goes as expected and that no one is disadvantaged.

Yacht brokers

When purchasing Ori, we did not hire a yacht broker to help us with our search. We wanted to do this ourselves and that turned out to be a great learning experience. During our search through the online marketplaces, we came across many yacht brokers with a wide range of sailing boats on their website. Convenient, because you can then obtain information about different sailing boats through a single point of contact and often receive advice!

We have visited yacht brokerages such as De Valk in Monnickendam several times to view a handful of sailing boats at the same time. It makes the search process faster and easier, because you can immediately compare them for possible subsequent viewings. Yacht brokers are also happy to discuss your wishes and the current of the market with you. Not every yacht broker, I should mention. Some are real salesmen, others are real boat enthusiasts.

Boat fairs and auctions

The HISWA te Water in 2022 was the starting point of our search. This in no way helped us find a boat later on at all. These sailboats were the most expensive and newest, far beyond our budget. We initially went to explore the idea of what kind of sailboat we are looking for. We wouldn't do it again for that reason. The sailing boats at HISWA te Water are different sailing boats than the boats we are looking for. So perfect and polished, shiny and new. So different from the 40-year-olds on Marktplaats. Fortunately, despite this realization, it was a nice day.

Our experience with boat fairs and auctions is limited. If you are a real handyman, you can sometimes find sailboats in shell at auctions for a nice price. Various boat fairs take place in the Netherlands, but we did not use them during the search. It seems like a good idea to visit one as soon as we start providing our current sailboat with new functionality.

Sailing clubs and marinas

We are fortunate that we are located in a fairly large marina on the Markermeer with Ori. In the marina you can find a sailing club and a yacht broker. When we are in the harbor ourselves, we can easily take a look at the selection of sailing boats and view many boats from outside. The advantage of buying through a sailing club or marina is that you are often dealing with boats that are well maintained and whose owners are known within the sailing community. During the short trips we made with our previous sailing boat, we always found some advertisements for sailing boats at the port offices.

Enough options?

This list of options has largely arisen from our experience, but there are probably more channels for finding a sailboat. Despite the possibilities, the search may take a little longer. The demand for sailing boats is extremely high. The Dutch compete not only with each other, but also with their neighbors from Germany and Belgium. Persistence is key though! So give it some time, go see a lot of sailboats and before you know it, you only have to worry about the purchase contract.

How to find a sailboat in The Netherlands (Part 1/3)

How do you buy a sailboat in the Netherlands? Tips and advice.


Melanie de Leeuw

2/9/20244 min read