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Fishboat 01-28-2004 09:06 AM

Sailboat cost vs Powerboats
I''ll skip the history of how this question came to bug me, but why is it that older powerboats (like a Downeast type or even a small trawler type) are so much more expensive than a comparable size sailboat?

>Lets say 10-15 years old
>powerboat speeds less than 15 knots (250-300hp, inboard diesel)
>maybe around 30 feet LOA for either boat

I realize a powerboat will have a MUCH larger engine/drivetrain than a sailboat, but a sailboat will have all the rigging & sails that the powerboat will not. The costs of either are about a wash.

A powerboat hull would likely need a greater degree of structural support than a sailboat(?) to deal with the higher speeds/stresses in rough water. This isn''t to say that a sailboat doesn''t have to deal with large degrees of stress.

Many power & sailboats have very similar systems with regard to shorepower/battery banks/charging, galley systems, hot/cold pressure water, head/shower, hatches, pumps, berths, ground tackle, electronics.....and yet when you compare the two it seems powerboats can easily run 50-150% more $$ than a comparable size(displacement) sailboat. It seems you can get alot of (sail)boat for a very reasonable amount of money.

Why so much (apparent) difference?

hamiam 01-28-2004 11:51 AM

Sailboat cost vs Powerboats
My first thought is that if you take, say, a 30'' sailboat and a 30'' powerboat, the amount of material needed to build the powerboat is substaintially more that needed for a sailboat typically.

genethompson 01-28-2004 01:06 PM

Sailboat cost vs Powerboats
I would agree that you need to compare a 30 foot power boat to a 38 to 42 foot sail boat, maybe a 36 in a modern wide body sail boat.


DuaneIsing 01-29-2004 02:54 AM

Sailboat cost vs Powerboats
There''s an old expression that boats are sold by the pound, so as the previous posters have alluded, try to compare powerboats and sailboats of approximately equal displacement.

Having said that, to do it right, you should subtract the weight of the sailboat''s keel and adjust the price for the cost of the installed keel.

rskaug 02-01-2004 01:08 PM

Sailboat cost vs Powerboats
I had an interesting(to me at least)exchange with Jeff H about the sailboat market. I believe that even in ''good times'' sailboats are a buyers market. Maybe the powerboat market is more balanced or even a sellers market? I might be interesting to compare new power to new sail on the price per pound basis.

Jeff_H 02-01-2004 02:23 PM

Sailboat cost vs Powerboats
I am not sure that I agree that the current sailboat market is a Buyers market. In a general sense over a long period of time sailboats seem to sell for pretty much what they cost new (without fit out) and seem to hold their value as long as you maintain them.

For a period of years now I have tracked certain models that I like and that I think of as good indicator models and their asking prices seem to be going up (quite sharply in some cases) and they seem to be selling fairly quickly. That sounds like a sellers market. Counter to that, there seems to be a bigger backlog of Hunters, Catalinas, Bavarias and Beneteau Oceanis and number series boats so there may be a bit of a buyers market with the higher production value oriented builders. Counter to that there actually seems to be a shortage of good, clean, higher quality boats on the market than there had been so I guess it depends on what you are trying to buy.


rskaug 02-02-2004 02:31 PM

Sailboat cost vs Powerboats
Sorry, Jeff for the implication you agree with my pessimistic view of the used sailboat market. Its only an academic question with me because when I find my boat I''m going to buy it regardless of where the market seems(to me)to be going.

TOMINDC2 03-12-2007 08:27 PM

Sail vs Power - The difference is not cost but psychology
Everything I have read over the years theorizes that sailboats and powerboats cost about the same to own over the long haul. The psychology of the matter seems more germane to the comparison of propulsion systems. Sailors are an entirely different species of water mammal from power boaters. They just happen to share the same ocean. RSKAUG demonstrates my point nicely: Its only an academic question with me because when I find my boat Im going to buy it regardless of where the market seems(to me)to be going.

astraeus 03-12-2007 08:43 PM

Perhaps this comment is a bit naive and also geographically biased, but it seems that power boats are more in demand. Playing into the basics of economics. From where I sit, it seems that sailors are pushed aside by gas guzzling stink potters. Just my opinion and I am sure that those who disagree will let me know


Sailormann 03-12-2007 11:15 PM

Powerboats have very expensive engines. Don't know enough about them to make an educated guess, but figure the cost of the engine must be half the cost of the boat (maybe more ??).

Maintaining them (the engines) is a lot of work, costs a lot of money. So I think that the amount of money invested in a powerboat is quite a bit greater on a foot-by-foot basis, both at initial purchase, and for ongoing maintenance.

Powerboating is easier than sailing. You turn a key and go, don't have to hoist, pull, tack, gibe, reef, hike, etc. The first few times out sailing on your own can be frustrating, if you are not comfortable on the water to begin with, it can be scary.

So on one hand the (power)boats cost more to buy and maintain hence owners have made a bigger investment in them than a comparably sized sailboat, and on the other hand, they are easier to deal with than sailboats.

I think the former accounts for their higher price, and the latter factor accounts for their popularity.

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