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post #21 of 33 Old 10-23-2016
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re: disappearing boat manufacturers

IMHO boats are labor intensive to manufacture. Molds are loaded with gel coat, FG cloth, and resin by people. People then pull stuff out of molds and trim the edges. People then fasten the modled parts together. Some of the internal furniture even in production boats is hand built. Systems are installed by hand. Plumbing is by hand. Electrical wiring is by hand. Engines are put in by people.

Forget material cost and just try to add up total employee hours per boat, then multiply by any reasonable or even unreasonable hourly rate.

Add to this that pretty much everything is low volume, making it hard to justify further automation. There might be even a reverse Moore's law for boats.

It's a tough business. I think people who go into any type of marine business must be driven by love not money.
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post #22 of 33 Old 10-23-2016
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Lightbulb re: disappearing boat manufacturers

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Originally Posted by capecodda View Post
IMHO boats are labor intensive to manufacture. Molds are loaded with gel coat, FG cloth, and resin by people. People then pull stuff out of molds and trim the edges. People then fasten the modled parts together. Some of the internal furniture even in production boats is hand built. Systems are installed by hand. Plumbing is by hand. Electrical wiring is by hand. Engines are put in by people.

Forget material cost and just try to add up total employee hours per boat, then multiply by any reasonable or even unreasonable hourly rate.

Add to this that pretty much everything is low volume, making it hard to justify further automation. There might be even a reverse Moore's law for boats.

It's a tough business. I think people who go into any type of marine business must be driven by love not money.
Crazy Love, but "love" indeed!

While I realize that things change over time, but perhaps they remain somewhat the same. Back in 1980 I decided to sell small sailboats for a small builder in the NW. Dinghies up to a 24' performance cruiser. My "gross profit" on any and all was about 17%.
What with advertising, the occasional boat show, delivery trips, and other expenses, in order to show any 'income' my time was valued at a tad above zero.
I liked sailing a lot, and still do.... but after three years I gave it up.
It was a Good thing I had a day job.
I have no regrets, but in talking to others in the industry, there was little profit sloshing around for any of them!
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post #23 of 33 Old 10-23-2016
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re: disappearing boat manufacturers

We gripe and moan, but think about the size inflation. 40' is the new 35', or even 30'. Don't even talk sailing dinghies--they don't think that is dignified sailing.

We need 5-10,000 integrated electronic nav. Perfect fit and finish. All the latest. Unfortunately, unlike other goods, production costs have not been reduced by modernization.

What do we expect? We did it to ourselves.

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post #24 of 33 Old 10-23-2016
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Re: disappearing boat manufacturers

I'm pretty sure CapeCodda nailed the big part of it. Labor costs are the anchor strapped to every business's waist, and sales volume is the PFD. If you're lucky enough to make it to land (profit, in this ridiculous metaphor), your competitors are there trying to shove you back in the water.

The second problem is that yachting is in fact super popular. So popular that buying a yacht is little more than the price of admission. Marina costs, and marine service costs, have zoomed to the moon, pushing the cost of ownership out of reach even of those who can afford to buy. That's a function of demand, which is directly related to the number of people involved in yachting -- a growing number. People buy a used yacht as much as anything in order to move some of their budget from the purchase price to the ownership costs. So to some extent, the slowdown in some yacht sales is a direct result of the popularity of yachting ...

To be fair, boat ownership seems to be what is popular, since so many rarely actually leave the marina and go sailing ... but of course this still qualifies as demand, pushing the costs up. And the costs push entry level buyers out.

It's kind of a push-pull scenario that will thus always seek equilibrium. And I wonder if the highly constrained supply that is even growing smaller in some areas is a large factor. (Only so much coastline; only so many places for marinas; and marina real estate use often loses out to more profitable condos or homes with docks.) This is even true inland on fresh water reservoirs.

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post #25 of 33 Old 10-23-2016
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Re: disappearing boat manufacturers

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Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
I guess what I should have said is there aren't a lot of cruising options from the more affordable manufacturers between 22 and 31 feet. Compared to the 70's and 80's any way.
Well, its the same as TV sets.

In the 1970s we loved the 12 inch screen.
So the price of the average Tv set should have plumeted!
No. The average TV screen is now bloody HUGE! And it doesnt work until you buy a Set Top Box. Or a Decoder thingo, or pay out for cable.


People nowadays dont have a TV. They have a Home Cinema.
They dont have a Camper or Caravan they have a Mobile Home bigger than where I was brought up.
They dont have a 26 foot racer/cruiser... They have a substantial sailing vessel with all mod-cons incl ice maker.

So who are we to force people to buy a 12 inch TV again? It is nice to lament it a little bit.


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post #26 of 33 Old 10-24-2016
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Re: disappearing boat manufacturers

Somewhere reported that Bavaria Yachts GMBH got a court order and had the sheriffs seize the boat(s) that the US distributor was going to show at Annapolis. If that is true, this is probably because of payments for boats going astray. Boat dealers and manufacturers have always been a thin market industry. A hiccup in the economy, tax laws by 'politics of envy' legislatures, ocean front property being way more valuable as a condo than a marina, and expensive slip rent for those marinas still around make it really hard to get people to buy boats Couple that with the outrageous prices for new boats and boating is becoming the province of the super rich only.
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post #27 of 33 Old 10-24-2016
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Re: disappearing boat manufacturers

Niche markets... they come and go.

I don't think we should see the closures of sailboat manufacturers as an indicator of the boating market.
It seems by these closings that sales of monohulls are going down, multis may be going up or steady.
Also, with low fuel prices, I bet the motor boat market isn't hurting either.
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post #28 of 33 Old 10-24-2016
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Re: disappearing boat manufacturers

The Beneteau 25 costs $100,000 new---rediculous.


[quote=MarkofSeaLife;3707129]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
Perfect answer in my opinion. The industry caters to the needs of wealthy retirees only. Neither Hunter nor Beneteau offers an entry level cruiser below 30'. Catalina only has the 275.
QUOTE]



Ummmmmmmmm, exactly correct except Beneteau has a 20, 22 and a 25 footer.....



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post #29 of 33 Old 10-25-2016
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Re: disappearing boat manufacturers

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Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post
I spoke to someone who went to the Annapolis show and he mentioned that Bavaria announced they were leaving the US market, is that true? Their website appears to be down. I know they have been struggling in recent years, and cut back a lot fo their dealers, including one local to me. I doubt I would be interested in one, but it is sad to see yet another manufacturer leave our market.
Bavaria indeed has a problem. Its call Hanse.

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post #30 of 33 Old 10-31-2016
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Re: disappearing boat manufacturers

When we were building our Westsail 32 in Costa Mesa, CA it seemed like there was a boat manufacturer on every corner, Islander, Ericson, Cal, Yankee, Columbia, Alajuela, Westsail, and probably some more. None of those companies are still in business. California's anti business attitude, Politics of Envy by State and Federal Government, skyrocketing real estate values and a changing market has wiped out those businesses. There were little boatyards scattered throughout Costa Mesa and a lot of boats being built in backyards but those yards and backyards are now high end condo's or mamoth residences. The US boat building industry has moved to lower labor and real estate states and the ranks have been greatly thinned. The few remaining US boat builders are either small custom yards or hanging on by the skin of their teeth, Pacific Sea Craft. Costs for entry boats has gone through the roof and bigger boats are out of sight. The market for older boats is soft even though they are typically a 1/3rd or less of a new boat. At least in SoCal marina slips are expensive, $370 a month for a 29' slip seem typical, and the marinas have a wait list especially for slips over 40'. Virtually no new marinas have been built in the last 30 years thanks to the Coastal Commission and highest and best use of water front for condominiums. San Francisco Bay has been somewhat better for cost though forget living aboard as those slips are scarce as hens teeth thanks to the government. Even there there is constant pressure on the marine industry. In Alameda, Svendsens yard, the adjoining marina, boat storage yard and marine commercial area is up for redevelopment as high end condo's with virtually none of the marine use remaining. Several other of the older, funkier marinas are probably going to go soon as the City Fathers want the tax revenue and don't care about the maritime history and use of the property. Given all these negatives, little wonder that there is a dwindling number of boat builders and boat ownership.
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