Join Date: Oct 2007
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Re: Sailboat Quality
This is a good question and has been asked and answered many times in the past. A rehash it always good though.
Your question is probably not the real question however. The real question is probably more like "How do I go about picking a boat for me?" The underlying assumption is that while you are looking you might as well look at boats with known good quality. Which is logical but misses a lot of reality.
Most of us when looking at boats for the first time use our experience in shopping for cars as a rough guide. This does not however work out as well as one would expect.
One reason the car analogy does not work with boats is because the boats you will most likely be looking at will be from 10 to 30 years old.
Boats are much more complicated than cars having multiple electrical and water and power systems.
Boats are much more likely to be modified, sometimes for the better sometimes for the worst.
A simplistic answer to your question is to check the list price of the boats. One would think that if the vendor was able to get 100,000 or more for the same length boat it would be a better boat.
True but not the whole story. Someone like Catalina or Benateau that takes only days to build a boat has much less labor costs than a builder that takes months to build a boat. The production boat is much better built than the numbers would indicate because the cost of molds and factory setup is spread over so many units.
So to answer your real question you have to decide on:
1. Where you are going to sail it and how often.
2. How many people and for how long at a time (day, weekend, weeks, months)
3. Your budget.
4. Your experience
5. Are you a do-it yourselfer with skills and tools if not are you willing to learn and buy the tools
6. If you have specific goals what are they?
7. How much time will you have?
With these answers we can discuss specific boats and their merits.
To give you a specific example if you were to see a Catalina 25 for $4,000 in impeccable condition and a beat up Swan 42 with a blown motor for 200,000 the Swan is the better pedigree boat.
Which boat if either is the boat for you however depends on the answer to the above questions.
For a simple market value ranking just check prices on yachtworld.