Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?
To a great extent. This is a 'how long is a piece of string' question. There are so many variables that there is no one size fits all answer. There are many basic truths within the discussion points above. The reality is that no matter how much stuff that you put aboard a boat, an older boat will always have it's upper value limited by being a somewhat obsolete design, and if poorly maintained and upgraded it can easily have a negative value.
The upper value of an older boat will barely increase no matter how much equipment and upgrades are added to the boat, since the fundamental fact that the design and basic equipment are out of date is not changed by adding a lot of expensive items to the boat. That is further compounded by the fact that items that are added are used at the time that the boat is being sold.
Additionally 30-40 years ago was not a great time in boat building, especially for companies like Pearson. It was a time when the better boat builder were investing in better quality control and engineering to produce lighter stronger boats. Companies like Morgan, Pearson, Cal, and O'Day were struggling financially and could not put out the capital to improve their build quality and engineering, so continued building comparatively crude designs that were also crudely built. Much of the corners which were cut impacts the long term strength of the hull and the ease of maintenance and updating these boats.
On used boats that are reasonably well maintained, equipped, and maintained they typically reach a floor after 25-30 years where their maximum value doesn't really depreciate any further and their sales price value is solely controlled by their condition.
The way that I have generally priced boats is that I will track a number of similar designs from a number of different manufacturers on Yachtworld and other online sites. I log every one that I find with the asking price when listed, equipment, and price drops, how long it was on the market, and the last price before it was sold. I produce a base price which is the average of the last listed prices, with 10% and 15% knocked off of that number. I typically add 20% of the new cost of each item of recently added gear that is not on all the other boats (i.e. one boat had a new $3500 radar installation, I added $700 to the value of the boat.)
There are owners who buy an older boat, dump a lot of money into the boat and insist that the sales price should reimburse them for most or all of their outlay. Those owners are being unrealistic and frankly usually are not worth negotiating with since they will be typically looking for 20-50% more than that boat would ever be worth and they rarely budge enough to get the price down to something realistic until something changes and they eventually need to sell at a lower more reasonable price. .
And while all of that might suggest that buying a newer design might make sense, I am not sure that it does. There have been several huge jumps in boat prices over the past 30 years. And with those jumps, newer boats tend to be much more expensive to buy, and also tend to have a lot more depreciation over time. After about 10 years of age the boat also moves into a more expensive maintenance cycle of any older boat as sails, standing and running rigging, engine, electronics and so on approach the end of their useful lifespan.
So the only accurate answer on this is 'it all depends'.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 09-23-2018 at 11:22 AM.