Is the sailboat market really this bad?
I have just had an unreal weekend.
My wife and I attended the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum annual boat auction. We went last year and saw some good deals on various boats. They had listed several racers that are in my club race fleets so I was in the market for a potentially cheap racer. Specifically a Comet, a couple of Lightnings and two Star boats. Last year, a Star needing serious TLC sold for $200. My wife was looking for a potential play powerboat for the river.
This year made that look good.
This is a no-reserve auction. Highest bid, no matter how low, takes it.
Most of the powerboats went for $1000-$7000. The two jet boats my wife liked, an Avon Seasport DL 400 jet RIB and a Regal 1700 jet boat sold for $6600 and $3600, respectively. Well beyond our self-imposed budget of $2000. The Avon new is a $28K boat. Lowest was a wood Chris Craft 23 that sold for $600. Guy bought it for the trailer and was going to scrap the rest. Sad.
If you were a sailor looking for your first boat or a hell of a bargain, this was your day.
A clean Tanzer 22 on trailer with 7hp outboard: $250
A very clean, ready-to-sail Tanzer 22 on stands, no motor: $50
Venture 24, no trailer: $50
Venture 22, no trailer: $25 (would have sold for that, no bidders)
An almost-new looking Macgregor 26 water-ballasted sailboat with 8hp electric start outboard on trailer: $500
Restored 1938 Comet wood sailboat: $1300 (some bastard stole the boom the day before the auction)
1970s era Star #5406 on trailer, 2 sets of sails, needs some TLC: $400
Wooden 40s-era Star sailboat on trailer, needs restoration: $50
28 foot double-ender sloop, 4 cylinder diesel: $1300
Hunter 30, Yanmar diesel, needed a bath, new bottom paint, in the water in sailaway condition: $750.
Morgan 34: $7100
Columbia 9.6: $3400
30 foot wooden sloop: $5700
No, I did not leave zeroes off the ends of most of those numbers. Someone bought a mid-80s Hunter 30 with a clean Yanmar diesel for $750.
If you were looking for a first, cheap or throwaway sailboat, this was your chance. My wife and I kept looking at each other in disbelief at what some of these boats were selling for. And kicking ourselves for not buying more. I would've bought that Hunter and either took it to my local broker and sold it for 5 times that or pried the Yanmar out of it, repowered my C27 and scrapped/parted out the remainder. Would've been worth the month or two of storage costs.
Mostly, the powerboats sold reasonably well and the sailboats mostly ignored. Some oddballs were a Point Jude 14 without trailer that sold for $2800, an old Optimist hull (no rig) for $900 and two Dyer Dhow dinghies with wooden sail rigs that both fetched well north of $2000 each (one went for $2800, I don't remember the other).
I bought what I went for: Star #5406. I would've got it for $100 but someone bid us up and stopped at $400. I reflect on the fact that at the same time last year I bought my Laser for $400. This year I got a Star for the same price.
Either the sailboat market is really this bad or people just don't want boats anymore given state of the economy. Some of these boats I would have happily bought and thought nothing of donating back a year or two later, considering the costs in the meantime a cheap rental.
I'd say it was unbelievable but I was there and saw it. We couldn't pry ourselves away from what had essentially become a form of auction horror show. The Museum raised money, which is the purpose of the auction, but sad to see so many boats essentially given away. Cheaper to sell them for whatever they can get than clutter up their storage area, I guess.
SV South Paw
2000 Hunter 340
South River, MD
Last edited by mpickering; 09-05-2011 at 06:17 PM.