Don- maybe it's like pornography. " you know it when you see it". But I don't think so. I don't think it's expense. X yachts, Passports, HRs and IPs are more money than mine. Morris, oysters and Hinckley are ~ twice as much.
I don't think it's brand. Beneteau has a cadre of excellent N.A.s and craftsmen. As long as you are writing good checks you can have pretty much what you want. As Bob pointed out same with PSC.
I agree. It never occurred to me that my boat was anything but a production boat. Sure I had some changes made but that is no different than ordering an option on a new Ford or Chevrolet. Outbound's boat is--in my mind and apparently in his--a production boat also.
Others may disagree but I do think Bob Perry's carbon cutters currently in build are not production boats.
There are low volume production boats and high volume production boats but as soon as people at the design office and at the builder start dividing costs over a production run, getting sizable discounts on engines and winches and wire, and dividing up fabrication by shop (think skill sets) instead of by boat it is a production boat.
Economies of scale are wonderful things. Things like structural grids are tremendously strong and effective but the work, including computer modeling, can be expensive. Dividing that cost up over 1,000 boats instead of 10 (or 4) makes that less painful, especially when you get a better, stronger product at less manufacturing cost.
Just because some characteristics (like liners) are common to less expensive production boats doesn't mean that only those boats with those characteristics are production boats. After pulling cable through a lot of boats and helping track down leaks that required cutting big holes I don't like liners (mostly - limited application in things like heads with sufficient access can circumvent problems for owners down the stream). My dislike for liners doesn't mean I don't like production boats. I OWN a production boat albeit one with low volume.
Smack, I don't think there is a rush to join the group. Swan, HR, Grand Soliel don't want to be Hunter. There is no rush by quality builders to be at the bottom.
That depends on what group you are talking about. There are surely high, medium, and low quality production boats. Quality and price-point don't always have deterministic relationship. Sometimes you pay more for easier maintenance or longer service life. Sometimes there are marketing costs, or marketing that hide real costs like outfitting. Accordingly not every Hunter is like every Hunter or every Beneteau like every Beneteau. Too many boats have system issues that are a result of outfitting by third parties of dubious capability. In my opinion this is why IP has been making more and more systems available as factory options instead of third party outfit installations.
Ultimately I think this whole thread has swirled around a vocabulary that the participants don't agree on that don't relate to particularly important things. Of course to do otherwise would require more thought, some footnotes, and perhaps some math (and no, "ratios" aren't math). You might as well sit around a bar arguing over whether Ford or Chevrolet trucks are better while some guy with a Dodge truck siphons gas from your tanks.
You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.