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Thread: How much more "gracefully" do high-quality older boats age than mass-production ones? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-19-2008 12:57 PM
Zanshin Rancho - good point, I did some sample boat value comparisons and see that that under that aspect the TCO is higher on a new but more depreciable production boat.
03-19-2008 12:46 PM
Rancho Hi Zanshin, as a newbe I don't want to make any waves but what will your Jeanneau be worth 10 years from now? My bet is that the HR will lose a lot less of it's today value. Depreciation of your boat is part of the cost of going cruising. For that money you can do a lot of refitting on the HR and end up with a better boat. Besides that I'll take the peace of mind of a well proven boat anytime.
03-19-2008 12:22 PM
Zanshin Rancho - I am using Euros, so the price of European boats has remained the same, but the price of US boats has gone down. I am quite careful about using terms like "everybody" or "anyone" since there are always exceptions. If the answer were so easy, everyone would have an old HR or similar and this thread wouldn't even have merited a snigle response.

I am enjoying the back-and-forth on this topic though!

I consider a well-found Jeanneau 49DS to be a bluewater boat, so comparing
an almost new Jeanneau 49DS with full cruising gear (extra batteries,Wind,Solar,Gen,radar,sails,watermaker, etc.) with a 49" HR built 1993 with the same accessories (albeit 10 years old) that has already circumnavigated is a matter of
difficulty. My main consideration is safe travel with minimum delays due to major components going *poof* in the middle of nowhere.

(Previous post got away from me, I was going to erase the whole last paragraph, but it is too late now)
03-19-2008 12:06 PM
Rancho Anybody who has ever sailed on an old Oyster, Hallberg Rassy etc. and on a new lightweight mass produced boat (tupperware) will know the answer to your question. Just don't go shopping in Europe at the moment, even a new Benneteau has gone up in price but not in quality.
03-17-2008 10:13 AM
blt2ski An educated buyer "MAY" buy the older Oyster if you will over a newer boat, such as the Grand Soliel or Jeanneau. "BUT" an educated buyer may not want an older hull shape or form if it is say a racer built and designed under the IOR rules vs newer hull forms with better performance and sea kindlyness < if this is a word?

Personally, I do feel a better built boat if you will, will age better, this of course is assuming both get the same maintenance. As an Oyster built with solid wood will be better than a plywood model to some degree, not to say that building things with plywood would not be good if done correctly.

I would look at it from a what was original cost, vs selling the same two now? Have both lost say 60% of original value? then to me it is a wash. If the oyster lost 50%, and the Jeanneau lost 60% or the other way around, then the one that lost the 60% is NOT the one that is best bought new per say.

Personally I do not feel there is a right or wrong. One has to look at what the boat was designed to do etc. A Jeanneau is not built to the same specs as an oyster, nor were they designed to do the same type of sailing etc, so one would or should expect to see different build qualities and levels. With the way Zan is going thru boats, ie every 2-3 what your heart desires right now. If on the other hand one is buying for a 5-10 yr run........different answer, go for the better built one if you will! My 02, for what is is worth!

03-17-2008 07:29 AM
Maine Sail
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
I don't think that many would choose a 1985 Oyster over an identically sized 2006 Grand Soleil when both cost the same.

On the contrary I think the educated buyer would choose the Oyster even if it was an 85 over a 2006 Grand Soleil every day of the week.

Comparing parts and pieces such as a macerator or water pump gives me no piece of mind. I owned a brand new boat in 2005 and still had to replace parts even within the first two years such as a windlass motor, a water pump and a head pump.. Older boats usually have the bugs worked out new boats don't especially if they have been "lightly used".

I would not be caught dead buying a Grand Soleil over an Oyster if I had the opportunity. I'm of the opinion that steel, even galvanized steel, we've all seen older galvanized boat trailers, has NO place as the structural backbone and support for a 45+ foot fiberglass boat. This galvanized backbone is a COST savings approach ONLY. If they were really interested in quality, longevity and rigidity they'd build a boat the way Hinckley does with directional Kevlar & Carbon Fiber cloth and the SCRIMP process using only epoxy or vinylester resins. Grand Soleil makes NO mention of the type of cloth used or the resisns..??

Of course that would add a few hundred thousand dollars to the price of a Grand Soleil and with good reason...

I'll buy an old Steinway grand piano over a new Yamaha grand piano every day of the week and I'd still buy an 85 Oyster over a Grand Soleil every day of the week. There is a REASON why an older Oyster is the SAME price as a NEW Grand Soleil and that reason is LONG TERM quality..

Keep in mind these are just my opinions after having worked on and sailed many production boats and high end boats. A good survey by a KNOWLEDGEABLE surveyor will tell you more about a boat than what model year it is and you can't paint any boat with a broad brush, by the year it was built, only.. Parts are parts and they WILL fail on a 2006 model just as easily as they will on an well maintained and kept 85 model. Thinking parts won't fail on a newer boat is.... well.... perhaps ....delusional.

I had more parts fail on my brand new 2005 boat, in the two years I owned it (working the bugs out), than I have had fail on my well maintained and kept 1979 since I bought it.... My 1979 is a far better constructed vessel than my 2005 was and even at 29 years old and 40,000 plus km's under her keel she is showing less wear and tear in terms of structure, stress cracks and the like than my 2005 did after only two years....

I'd suggest sailing both a 1985 mass production boat and a 1985 high end boat, of similar length and displacements, in 25-30 knots before you even consider buying.. I'll say no more on this because I know the differences, and you will too, after a test sail on similarly aged boats of differing qualities...
03-17-2008 04:28 AM
Zanshin Thanks all for the comments.
Halekai - What you have articulated is what I have been pondering; but as other posters have mentioned there are parts of a boat that will age regardless of how well they are maintained. I am trying to find that elusive dividing line in terms of age where a well-maintained top quality older boat will become more of a problem than a mass-production new(ish) boat.
My expectation will be that something major will only go wrong when at least 1000 miles from the nearest chandlery so just calling up on the phone and expecting a FedEx package the next day is out of the question.
I don't think that many would choose a 1985 Oyster over an identically sized 2006 Grand Soleil when both cost the same.
03-16-2008 09:45 PM
Maine Sail

A few things to consider..

1) Quality construction - Swan, HR, Malo, Oyster, Hylas, Hinckley, Morris et. al are all FAR, FAR better built than any Grand Soliel, Beneteau or Jenneau. Having crawled around bilges, watched construction, sailed on and inspected close up many of the top quality vessels you mentioned I can assure you the top quality boats are not even in the same league. Comparing a Swan to Grand Soliel or Jenneau in terms of quality is like pitting Rosie O'Donnell against Bode Miller in a ski race there is NO comparison.

2) Reputation - The high end boats have earned their place and their reputations and it's reflected in their re-sale values. There are many Hinckley and Morris models that sell now for more than they did new and the same goes for Swan. I've never seen a Jenneau or Grand Soliel sell for anywhere near what it sold for new.

3) Previous Owners - Customers buying Swans or Oysters usually cut no corners on maintenance and up keep. I know this because when I was younger I worked for some of these types of owners and watched as the production "boatominiums" sat unused and un-maintained week after week and month after month other than for dock side dining.

The high end owners sought out quality, paid for it, and 9 out of 10 times maintained it to the utmost. One boat owner I worked for had a professional varnisher on his boat a minimum of one or two days per week all season long. I bet he spent 10k per season on varnish work on his beautiful Alden and that was just varnish! The typical 45+ foot production boat buyer is looking for a show piece for dock side dining and impressing the boys at the law office. They are usually cluless about maintenance and up keep other than the occasion bottom painting so buying newer is a wise choice.

For me, I would not even consider a Beneteau, Hunter, Jenneau, Bavaria, Grand Soliel or other production boat if I could afford an older higher quality boat such as a Hinckley, Swan, Halberg Rassy, Passport, Morris etc..

Having sailed many models of both top quality semi custom and full custom and regular production boats here is no question in my mind, at all that, I would buy the top quality vessel, even if it was older, over a newer production boat 10 time out of 10 every time!

If you can afford it buy a boat that has earned it's reputation!!
03-15-2008 01:52 PM
BarryL Hello,

What wears out as a boat ages? Things like engines, transmissions, sails, lines, rigging, etc. are all obvious answers. And, none of those things are made by the boat manufacturer. A Yanmar engine doesn't know if it is in a Catalina or a Swan (assuming that Swan uses Universal).

Other things may or may not be better on the Swan. Who makes the interior fabric? I'm sure the joinery is better, but that doesn't really wear out anyway. What about the galley? The Swan probably has better cabinets, counters, fixtures, etc., but if you don't care about that, then it's not so important.

Does the newer boat have gear or other features that were not commonly available when the older boat was made? Most boats today have swim platform, very few older boats do. What about a separate shower stall, or exterior shower?

Either way, you can't really lose.

Good luck with whatever you get.

03-15-2008 11:35 AM
tdw How's it going Zanshin ?

I have to admit I prefer used . Something about brand new boats just doesn't appeal which may be just an old fart thing of course.

Financially new has to be a bugger. Even a twelve month old boat from what I've seen, seems to represent better value than brand new.

On the other hand if I could afford to have a custom built job it would be mighty tempting.
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