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Old 02-09-2009
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One of the main reasons to buy new is that when things break (and they do, believe me), someone else fixes them. That may not be the case in the current environment.

You find that most dealers handle the warranty claims and many dealers may not be around if things don't change soon. Of course, the warranty goes through the manufacturer, but even they may struggle to get their parts from other companies if they are going broke. Remember, a sailboat is 99% other peoples products. And why buy new if you have to turn around and put it on yourself?? You will find that a new boat WILL have problems... period. Many of these things seem to want to break in the first 90 days if they are going to fail.

The other benefit of buying new is that you know what has been done to your boat, and what has not. Assuming what you get is as good of a product as the boat before it, that should be fine. However, I doubt any of us know what to expect to be coming out of these companies anymore.

I bet you would be fine with a beneteau or a Catalina. They probably have enough resources and finances to see through these things longer than most. More specialty builders may have more of a problem as their customer base (and likely total income) is less. As far as the Hinkleys/Swan's of the world... I have always wondered if they would even know there is a bad economy. I honestly do not know.

The used market is actually doing pretty well right now. I know several Catalinas and apparently Bene's are holding or increasing their value right now. Depends on the models, I guess.

My theory on boats and te future... it is worth what you are about to pay for it:

I believe this year and next will see massive failures of boat companies, suppliers, third party manufacturers and others. I think a massive percentage of the dealers will go out of business. I think more now than ever, those companies that survive will directly market their boats to control their own costs.

I suspect that in 12 months you will see massvie numbers of boats on the market that were repo'd by the banks. THe banks will offer to sell them for cut rate prices and will offer them for LESS than they have in them... maybe much less. However, I believe that many of these boats will be severly neglected and serious need of maintenance. I mean come on, if you are going to let your boat go to repo, you certainly are not going to be changing the oil every 100 hours!! SO I believe it will be "Buyer Beware" on these boats.

I believe that many of the best boats will be the used boats that are directly sold by the seller or maybe broker. They will cost more than the repo'd boats of the banks, but in much better shape. They will cost a bit less than the new boats coming off the line directly from the manufacturers, but they will be better made and in the long run a better value. I think these boats will be harder to find but will see it through the economic crisis and beyond.

Those are my thoughts. But then again, I thought the Cowboys would go to the Superbowl, so my predictions have not been great lately!!!

Brian
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