How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-13-2012 Thread Starter
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How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

So my favourite type of sailboat are pilothouse sailboats; it's actually the kind of sailboat that I would preferably like to own in my future-- but the thing is. Why so expensive?!

Producers of Ocean-worthy (by the Offshore List) PH Sailboats like Nauticat, Sceptre, Crealock, and Corbin are all so expensive for their corresponding sizes to a non-PH sailboat!

Even the "cheap" PH sailboats (like Endurance line) still have a hefty price to an equally well-equipped non-PH sailboat of the same length.

And the only inexpensive PH sailboats are too small (Saturna, Fisher, LM) to really comfortably live on (my happy length is about 35'... That sounds wrong )

So. Why are they so expensive?! I mean, just adding a pilothouse shouldnt bump up resale value by over 20k, right? Or are there ocean-worthy, inexpensive PH sailboats that are not on the Offshore list that I'm missing?

What's the deal?
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post #2 of 16 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

Since there are fewer built and available they tend to generate a premium over larger production runs. I've seen a few conversions that have worked out well. But you need to consider added weight, windage and structure changes - things that really deserve input from a designer.

While many PH seem to be quality proceed with caution on the owner finished selection like Corbin. Certainly an offshore design but my experience in service and brokerage was a wide range of finish quality when it came to execution of interiors, systems and installations. Similarly, Hughes offered kit boats and I rewired plenty that were owner finished with shore bound wiring used in houses rather than tinned copper. Caveat emptor prevails - save money, get a thorough survey.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

Until you've been aboard a few boats, don't get fixated on "comfortable" size. A 30' pilothouse may have more usable living space than a 35' open cockpit boat. Compare a 32' Beneteau Evasion
Beneteau 1979 Evasion 32 Motor Sailor
to a
Beneteau First 32
1983 Beneteau First 32 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

A whole lot of people have done a whole lot of living and cruising on boats under 35'.

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post #4 of 16 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

I like well-executed pilothouse designs as well, however, I can easily understand why they're more expensive. In addition to the custom and/or limited builds, in a pilothouse you are adding more expansive (and expensive) pilothouse windshields and side windows as well as more expansive (expensive) companionway architecture and more materials for the pilothouse than a conventional design. Those windshields are often equipped with wipers and defrosters . . . the dollars start adding up fast. Also not to be taken lightly from an expense perspective are the dual steering and motor controls and often a slightly larger engine than an equivalent length conventional design. Dual helms can mean dual sets of instrumentation and on, and on, and on . . .

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post #5 of 16 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

The economy of scale just isn't there.
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

On the used market I'd be thinking supply and demand. Funny thing is that PHs and DSs are sought after used yet few are ever built.

Me, if I lived in a cooler climate I'd have one in a flash.

Otoh ... a fully enclosed or enclosable cockpit is a pretty good alternative.

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― Terry Pratchett, Nation

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post #7 of 16 Old 08-14-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

I understand that they take a little more wood, metal and glass to make, but... the price difference just isn't there. I see over $20,000+ over a similar non-PH simply for the PH. I thought 20k worth of wood, metal and glass could build a LOT more than just the PH. Where'd the extra cash go?

And I suppose that they are in less demand and in less stock, but wouldn't that even out to be reasonable prices?
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

No. It wouldn't! (IMHO)
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

The top deck on most boats is one piece, popped out of a glass mold. The mold for a pilothouse would either have to somehow accommodate the ph (unlikely or maybe impossible in a true ph boat), or else the pilot house would have to be built over the deck structure by hand. Then add up the cost of all those windows, which have to be installed by hand as well. It just costs more I get it.
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-15-2012
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Re: How come pilothouse sailboats are so expensive?

There aren't that many around for sale and those who have them tend to hold on to them. Generally anyone that buys a PH knows that is what they want and they're very happy with them. So there isn't a great deal of turnover, which keeps the demand, and prices, high. Both of the PH's that I've had were project boats, not that I wanted a project, but that was what was available, and both ended up being worth the time and effort.

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