I thought some of you might be interested in reading this article from IBI detailing the state of the sailboat industry in N.America in 2007. Here's the link:
North American sailboat production declines by 5 per cent for 2007
- Biz was down 5% in units.
- 14,158 hulls were produced...but of that total 11,265 were 19' or under leaving only 2893 over 19' ...2284 were 20-40'...40-45' were 609 and just 250 over 46'. Isn't it amazing how really small the sailing business is?
- This is the 7th straight year of production decline for sailboats. $$'s are growing a little because of the shift to more 46+ boats sold...the only category with a gain.
That is not much of a suprise, but unfortunate.
I think that the trend in sailboats is to make them more appealing to those who might otherwise have interest in motor boats and trawlers. I would expect the high oil prices to make them even more attractive, though they have an impact on the manufacture of sailboats too. Just makes sailboats cheaper to operate.
But lets talk economics... in order to get many of those creature comforts on a boat, it requires room and power... both of which exponentially add to the cost of a boat - especially a sailboat. And the boats have already gotten rediculously expensive. A new 40+ Catalina will run you close to 300k (or more) by the time you get her outfitted. Let's not even talk about a Hylas or other high end boat.
As such, it make you wonder if they are pricing themselves out of the market. It is not uncommon today to pay MORE for a boat than you do your house. That is a tough pill for many retiree's to swallow (and almost impossible for young families), espcially with the real and likely notion that it will depreciate AND that does not even cover the cost of owning a boat (maintenance, repair, operation, and let's not forget a slip!!!). In many instances, the cost of ownership is more than the monthly payment of the boat.
As such, it is no wonder to me the business is hurting. In S Florida, for example, they have constructed very large barns to house motor boats (even large cruisers... like Sea Rays). It is a big business, and realtively expensive, but at least it gives motor boaters an ability to house their boat and a reasonable cost. That option is typically not available for sailboats because the mast prevents it. There is no stacking and generally no putting it in a barn. It requires land to dry dock, which is VERY expensive real estate as it would be waterfront.
In essence, what you save on Diesel you will likely spend on maintenance - assuming you can get a slip at all.
I do not see a big turn around, ever. I would expect to see used sailboats maintaining or increasing their value. It is very suprising to me that they have not already and that the used market is not red hot.
Just my opinions.