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  Topic Review (Newest First)
1 Hour Ago 12:54 AM
robert sailor
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?

I have been buying and selling boats for 35 years, for personal use. So over that time period I have bought and sold 7 sailboats. If you buy a commodity boat (entry level production boat) it had better to be clean and well cared for because commodity boats are pretty much about price because there are so many built. If the market is tough price is the only thing going for a commodity boat and only those that are in excellent condition sell. The other commodity boats will sit for months until the price has been set at the giveaway level and then they sell. If you can find a nice boat that has a following and is considered by most to be a better built boat and it has been maintained and is in real nice shape this boat will always sell in pretty much any market.
OK now the is damn hard to find a older better built boat that is in excellent condition as there just not that many around. These boats get snaped up by savy buyers in fairly short order. There are tons of used sailboats out there but there are very few that are in excellent condition.
2 Hours Ago 11:53 PM
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?


All I can say is that last year I was trying to sell my 1986 Oday 35. I thought my boat was in good condition It had a 2012 main sail, new standng rigging, good headsail, 2012 furler, decent electronics, looked nice, etc. It took some time, but I think I sold it for a fair price and te new owner got a god deal.

Boats that are priced right sell, boats that are priced too high don't. It's as simple s that.

My o'day wasnt perfect. The engine had over 4000 hours, there were some dings in the hull and some gel coat cracks. But it was a solid boat in good condition that could be used right away.

4 Hours Ago 09:09 PM
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?

Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
...The fact is that boats are much more like houses in that context - they require maintenance and repair in an entirely different manner than cars. You don't get rust rotted quarter panels and rocker sills in a boat. (and yes...I know all about wet core)...
The ravages of water, salt, and UV exposure don't stop at the shoreline. Indeed, they can be just as bad - or worse - on a boat. And the cost and time to do repairs can far exceed the value of the boat. In that respect, boats are far more like cars than they are like houses.
5 Hours Ago 09:03 PM
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?

I get the feeling that a lot of the commentary here is based on an underlying attitude that boats are similar to cars in terms of ownership - "end of life" and so forth.

The fact is that boats are much more like houses in that context - they require maintenance and repair in an entirely different manner than cars. You don't get rust rotted quarter panels and rocker sills in a boat. (and yes...I know all about wet core).

I have found the boat market to be firming up around here but prices are way down from several years ago. It appears to me that the pricing structure of old boats has simply become a lot more realistic that it used to be. As I recall, older boats used to retain way too much value instead of depreciating appropriately. People got used to the prices of new stuff inflating and expected their old boats to do the same instead of decreasing in value.

You still see some of it on CL and other sites - 40+ year old C&C 27's asking nearly $30 grand and so forth but the bulk of the market seems to simply have become restructured to a more realistic scale of pricing.
6 Hours Ago 07:15 PM
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?

Although I spelled out my beliefs of why wage stagnation and concentration of wealth may be killing the market for boats, Jeff_H's explanation underscores one fact that is totally unrelated to the health of the market: Perhaps those '60s and '70s vintage boats whose prices are plummeting are actually reaching end-of-life. It happens. Nothing lasts forever. I'd be careful to use data from end-of-life boats as an indication of the overall marketplace.

There does come a time when the smart money goes for newer boats. Spending more up front for a serviceable boat that will retain its value with moderate maintenance may well be a wiser way to spend your money than to get a nearly-free boat that will suck you dry and end up being worth what you paid for it (which means nearly nothing).
7 Hours Ago 06:50 PM
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?

As Bubs said, the market is really that bad - no doubt about it! One of the reasons is most younger people want things that require little or no work to operate and that go very fast - just the opposite of a sailboat. The older folks, a category of which I'm a card carrying member, tend to enjoy sailboats a lot more, but most are unwilling to take the time to learn to sail.

My first sailboat was a Catalina 27, 1983 vintage, that had sat as a derelict in an eastern shore, Maryland marina for 5 years before it was donated to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Living Classrooms Division. I picked it up for $2,000, it had five sails, four of which were nearly new, an A4 engine that just needed a new carb, points and plugs in order to get it running, and lots of cleaning of the interior and exterior from 5 years of neglect. I sailed it for 5 years before upgrading to my Morgan 33 OI. The only upgrades I did, other than cleaning and polishing, was to add roller furling and a new Lowrance GPS plotter/fish finder, which went with the boat. I sold it for $4,000 to a couple in Baltimore and they were absolutely delighted with the boat and still sail it our of Canton.

All the best,

7 Hours Ago 06:13 PM
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?

I track a variety of makes and models on Yachtworld, watching individual examples of these makes and models and in particular their asking prices, length of time on market, how the price of a particular boat goes down, and whether I see a, "under contract" show up.

My sense is that all of the boats that I track went through a major correction in price (20-30%) perhaps 2-3 years ago, but since then these boats have been selling much more quickly, and that the prices have started creeping up again on individual models, yet even with the higher asking prices they still seem to be selling faster than a few years ago.

That is borne out by broker friends as well. According to my broker friends, serious cruising boats like Valiants, Passports, Hallberg Rassey, and Pacific Seacraft seemed to have a strong continued market interest and seem to be holding their value a little better and selling a little faster. Some higher end boats are very hard to get rid of. Island Packet was cited as being almost impossible to resell, but it was commented that IP owners seem unwilling to compromise on price. Commodity boats seem to be selling but there are a lot on the market so it's the "clean examples" which sell and the beat up boats which languish. As one broker put it, you can't give them away if they have any issues and people seem more willing to go to survey but then reject the boat rather than negotiate a lower price to compensate for discovered issues.

There is no doubt that it has gotten much harder to sell older boats from the 1960's and 1970's. They have seemed to have dropped around 50% or more in price. There are a lot more of them sitting unsold on the market. In the past, These were the boats that new sailors and budget constrained sailors would have bought . These days There seems to be a broader understanding that unless someone has restored one and done a first class job, these boats are projects to own. The problem is that a restoration cost or even keeping current on long term maintenance costs so much that even at fraction of the outlayed cost, the asking price for a restored version will seem too high for the relative value of the boat.

On the other hand, buyers also seem to understand that buying a project boat can mean huge expenditures over time, and that for the price of the boat, combined with the cost of the fix up, they can buy newer and much nicer boats, and these newer boats will offer better accommodations, construction, and sailing abilities than these older boats.

There was a time when folks did all thier own maintenance and upgrades. While boats were way simpler back then, my generation of sailors pretty much did everything on thier boats. It was the norm and not the exception up to pretty large boats.

When I talk to younger people, or people who are new to sailing, increasingly they know nothing about basic engine mechanics, splicing, painting, electrical troubleshooting, simple winch maintenance, or any of the dozens of basic skills that I have always taken for granted. And they don't seem to want to learn either. So the option of buying a cheap older boat that is down on its luck becomes daunting to bring back with their own hands and prohibitive to write checks.

Adding to the problem with older boats is that the 60's and 70's were the period of largest annual production numbers but people from that era typically expected less amenities and smaller boats than their 2015 era replacements.

At least that is my take,
9 Hours Ago 04:30 PM
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?

The middle class is dying. The vast majority of people who have the money for a boat do not have the time to enjoy it. The few who have time and money generally want power. Sailors are a small fraction of an already small socioeconomic demographic. And that demographic will continue to shrink unless the political partisanship changes.
10 Hours Ago 03:16 PM
joe beagle
Re: Is the sailboat market really this bad?

While I have never registered until now, I am a frequent visitor, and appreciate the knowledge that many of you have.
I found this post while doing a google search on the sailboat market, and thought it might be worthwhile bumping it to the top to see how things look a couple of years down the road.
My impression is that things have not improved and maybe have gotten worse. Plastic classics that were bringing $12-15,000 a few years ago are going for $5,000-$6,000 or less.
Many wooden boats cannot be given away.
Trailer sailors seem to be moving, but not all that briskly.
So, do any of you agree? And, will there be a recovery, or has the Golden Age of Everyman yachting passed us by?
(Sorry if this topic has already been recently revisited. I did a few searches, but nothing came up.)
02-10-2012 11:11 PM
neverknow I think the boating market all around is bad. I just saw a Carver 3227 just like ours sell for $12000 at auction and it was in great shape. That boat a few yrs ago was double that.

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