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Old 10-14-2012
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

Deciding to buy a boat after attending a boat show is kind of like deciding you want to get married after watching a dating reality show - the two have virually nothing to do with each other.

If you want to see the reality of boat ownership, don't go to the boat show, go to a marina. Notice that 90% of the boats sit unused for weeks on end. You may, however, see people working on their boats - fixing the engine, oiling/varnishing the brightwork, repairing the systems.

The boating industry is a victim of its own success. The heyday of sailing as a family recreational activity was in the '70s and '80s. The industry has been in decline ever since then. Many wonderful, well-built, dual purpose sailboats were made during the heyday of sailing, and they have lasted far longer than anyone anticipated.

In its heyday, sailing was often introduced to the family by the father, who became the de facto decision maker in the purchase of the boat. As a result, boats were designed for racing and cruising, with fairly spartan interiors. Interior accommondations and comfort in the marina or at anchor were secondary to performance.

Since the number of new boats built has declined, builders have had to differentiate their products through specialized purpose and realize a greater profit margin on each boat built. Consequently, there are mostly larger, more expensive boats built, and usually built either for cruising, racing, or bluewater sailing. Cruising boats have become more luxurious and spacious belowdecks, usually at the expensive of potential sailing ability which could have been realized due to advances in materials, design and technology.

The result is there is a surplus of well-built, rugged, dual purpose boats which can be acquired for one tenth the cost of a new boat, and which only suffer in comparison to interior space and comfort features, aspects which have little actual bearing on the enjoyment of the boat.

The solution is to buy a 30-40 year old boat and learn to enjoy the maintenance as part of the package of admission to the best recreational activity on earth.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 10-15-2012 at 07:22 AM.
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