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SebastienL 09-17-2009 12:40 PM

Average devaluation on sailboat...

I'm currently in the process of trying to estimate the complete cost of owning a sailboat and even after discussing with several owners there is one aspect that I really can't nail down: the loss in value of the boat itself.

So if I am to buy a boat at 150,000$ today, how much should I expect to sell it in 10 years?

I understand this question is loaded with so many variables, but lets assume that in 10 years the boat will be in average condition for a 10 years boat that has seen proper maintenance. Let's also assume that it is made by a builder that has a decent reputation.


k1vsk 09-17-2009 12:58 PM

New - used? What is it's real value at the time you paid $150k? And it does matter what brand boat mfg - some lose their value much slower than others.
How's the economy in 10 years? Clearly, this is un-answerable for no other reason than the economy, as we all know these days, has a significant influence on boat prices.
Probably the only accurate answer you can expect is - it cost what it costs.
For all the permutations of this question, I guess some will continue to plug numbers into spreadsheets in a valiant attempt at answering the impossible to know.

CaptKermie 09-17-2009 01:11 PM

All other variables aside, one particular variable stands out, Electronics, how outdated are they? A prospective buyer may examine the electronics and determine they are all antiquated and require replacing in order to gain some negotiating leverage. Never mind that the electronics still function and they cost you a bundle, they are in fact outdated and worthless in the current market given what is currently available. Electronics also just keep getting better and cheaper to buy. After 10 years you may deduct the entire cost of all electronics from your asking price because the buyer will likely be replacing them.
Are sails something that are maintained or do they finally wear out after 10 years?

CapnSantiago 09-17-2009 01:36 PM

You can probably best answer your own question by researching boats of sim build/quality to what you are wanting to buy that 10 years ago cost 150k. What are they selling for now? I would guess they are at 75k or lower for all but premium blue water boats that have been meticulously maintained and upgraded over the 10 yr period.

I understand your struggle in trying to justify purchase and determine costs regarding sailboat ownership. All that currently own boats have been thru that, but only you can answer what the value is to you and whether or not you can afford it. Buying any kind of pleasure boat is NOT a good financial decision. If you want to make a good financial decision buy real property that appreciates. If you want to have a blast with family and friends buy a sailboat. If you enjoy "messin about on boats" buy a sailboat. If not, prepare to spend significant sums of money for others to maintain your boat.

I'm not trying to scare you, just trying to be real. If you've never owned a boat before it will cost more than you can ever reasonably estimate. I've owned one for 2+ years now meticulously keeping a spread sheet of maintanence, repairs, amd upgrades and I still can't understand where it all goes. I've yet to have experienced the selling side but have low expectations (although I did buy an older boat that already absorbed it's "new boat" depreciation).

On the other hand if it's in your blood your experiences and time on the water will be priceless.

SebastienL 09-17-2009 01:57 PM

Wow, I didn't expect to receive feedback so fast!!!

Ok, I guess I should make my question more specific. I hesitate between 2 alternative sailboats (similar builders, both should be equivalent build quality), on one side are 25-year old boats with asking prices around 40-45k and on the other new or near-new boats at 150-200k.

Most of the boats falling in the used category are still using their original sail, so I'd expect to change those within my 10 years ownership. Using the same logic, I'd expect that the new boat will sell in 10 years with its original sails and electronic. The used boat might necessitate some serious maintenance (engine, deck, etc.) even assuming I choose one with a better than average survey, but how much more costly than a new boat?

I understand that buying a sailboat is not a good financial decision and forward priceless hours on the water! :) But between these two extreme alternatives, I'd like to know what is the real cost difference I should expect... Then I'll be better prepared to decide if this difference is worth the extra pleasure I get from a newer boat!

jameswilson29 09-17-2009 02:10 PM

You could predict future depreciation based on past depreciation by finding the acquisition costs of similar boats 10 years ago, subtract the present fair market value of the boats today, and adjust for the change in buying power of the dollar from 10 years ago to today.

The error you sometimes see on the listserv is not considering the change in value of the dollar from the date of acquisition, ex. "My boat is a good investment because it sells for the same price I paid for it 20 years ago."

CoralReefer 09-17-2009 02:19 PM

Probably the old saying applies here and is so so true... a boat is a hole in the water you throw money into... personal boat ownership cannot be measured in dollars, if you do you will only be miserable. Boat ownership is for the enjoyment that it brings no matter what you have to spend. If you love to be on the water and free, dollars don't matter.

CapnSantiago 09-17-2009 02:32 PM

It's near lunchtime...

If your mechanically inclined (and enjoy messin about as much as sailing) and the older boat isn't too old and is in decent condition (and the parts that aren't are stuff you can fix) I believe it will be cheaper. Also, you can control the pace of how much you spend by how fast/much your work, assuming it's in sailable condition for the "off-work" weekends. If that's not your thing then opt for the newer, they'll be plenty of maintenance and upgrade wants on it too.

It's kinda like finding a woman, when you see the one you can't quit thinking about just go for it with your'll find a way to need everything you can spend on it newer or older...and it'll be worth it.

Back to work...thanks for the break.

CaptainForce 09-17-2009 05:36 PM

I bought a 41' 1973 boat in 1985 for $65,000 and I have confidence that I could sell it today for that same price; however, I have spent money keeping the vessel sound and updated. If I had purchased a similar boat new in 1985 for about $180,000, I would likely be able to sell it today for about $110,000. It's not obvious wether I've gained or not, but then as I'm not planning to sell my boat, it's not an issue. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew

casioqv 09-17-2009 06:00 PM

If you buy a boat that is at least 30 years old but in excellent condition, and learn to keep it in that condition yourself- and you should be able to resell it for as much or more than you paid after 10 years. You might, however spend nearly what you paid again on parts and materials to maintain it- but this is just the operating cost of any boat, and can be reduced significantly with some ingenuity and thrift.

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