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richardfrance 04-27-2008 06:56 PM

A Fistfull of Euros
Now that the world has gone topsy-turvy, arse-over-elbow and to-hell-in-a-handbag . . . it has suddenly become possible to think of America as a country, like any other. Not a far-away, never-never-land, too wealthy by far and unattainable by 'the-likes-of-us'. Just another country on the map. To plunder. To pillage. So - back to the good old days of the Vikings when a bison-burger could be had for nothing, and a helmet-full of coffee was yours for the asking. Now is our revenge for all those 1920's Yanks-in-Gay-Paree, scooping up our art and our women with a handful of change from their remittances. Hemingway - we're after your boats.
In particular,we are after your big comfortable cruisers. We've got the Euros now, Old Man. And if it wasn't for your infuriating addiction to 110 volts, plus the Schengen Tax - there wouldn't be a decent boat left in American waters - we'd have them all back here.
Because we just don't seem to make them the way you do. Not in the variety : the configurations of keel and rig and deck and layout. The cabins and pullmans, showers and galleys, stowage and davitts. Oh! and the air-conditioning. I don't care if I don't need it off Galway Bay - I want it. And I have the Euros. You gave us sub-prime-onomics. Now eat boatonomics.

Your boats run the full gamut: from Allieds to Sabres, with Cals and Pearsons, Island Packets and C & Cs in between. Some blue-blooded Brit will jump in here and reel off a list of our finest boats - but I defy him to come up with a list as rich and diverse. [I'm English, I can handle him]

And the reason for our paucity of design lies in language.
You have an enormous country and coastline - but you also have the ICW, your one and only canal network. It links the north to the south. But whether north or south - you all speak the same language. It may not be English and it may be uncouth - but you all speak it. Thus you may think you have your local sailing-grounds - your Chesapeakes, your Cays - but in fact you all share one vast language-ground. Your boat, its needs, your needs can all be expressed in one parlance. That enables you to move freely over huge distances, through major climate differences, demanding great flexibility in your boats. Thus greater willingness to get into a boat. Thus great designs for all these people.

We in Europe - you may have noticed this over the last century or so - have had our little differences. It means we have much smaller cruising-grounds in common. Thus our boats are more ground-specific : regionally-adapted, and not at ease in a variety of contexts or climates.
Certainly we were well able to produce those old slim fast globe-runners - but not the boat that was well-thought-out for the retired couple wanting to cruise some blue water. And where is our blue water? In another country, with a language we'd rather not speak. We'd sooner put up with no headroom and a cramped North Sea cockpit.
Until the French came along - still smarting from Agincourt and Waterloo - and beat us all at boat-design. They simply made a boat for the Med. No tide, light summer winds, big kitchen and lots of cabins.
And that's where we're at, at the moment: hair-shirt old Brit boats [a slop of North Sea in your porridge will make a man of you, m'boy!] or a Viking ship with no windows, or a French dining-room with swim-ladders.
That's why I'm coming over with a Fistfull Of Euros. Lock up your daughters, and your fine cruisers.

Rockter 04-27-2008 07:07 PM

Yea, I went over to Houston and bought one in 1992....

Image of Crinan Canal Summer 2007 - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I've still got it, and I am keeping it.

Its classy lines now grace the peaty waters of Loch Ness.

It was the best money I ever spent..... very, very good value for money..... good electrics, alternator, rig, sails. The 110 volt ac was not a disadvantage... I never use it.

Be careful of buying a newer ship though. Those Europeans that gave you the euro are likely to obstruct you with red tape. They will want 20% of what it's worth when you arrive.

Be careful.

xort 04-27-2008 07:09 PM

There's a Macgregor with your name on it, just waiting!!!

teshannon 04-27-2008 07:15 PM

Ah, you buy our boats now but we don't buy your wine any more.:) :) :) The $ really sucks.

richardfrance 04-27-2008 07:26 PM

The MacGregor, is, I would hazard, a Scottish design. Being Welsh-ish, I would never venture out to sea in anything other than a curragh.
Richard, of the vast Williams Clan.

richardfrance 04-27-2008 07:28 PM

Less wine for you, more wine for me.

Giulietta 04-27-2008 07:39 PM

Hate to tell you...but you woke up late.....

Many and many and many have been doing this since 2003....

I built a whole boat with 75% material bought in the US..

By the way....there is a nice tayana 52 on sale now...Ask Camaraderie..that would be a good boat for you

camaraderie 04-27-2008 11:18 PM

That would be neat...Camaraderie with a French flag and a jaunt into Estoril to show Giu what a really GOOD boat looks like! :D
I was looking at Contest and Njaads a few years back when the Euro was 70 at $1.60 those boats are more than 100% more expensive BEFORE actual price increases from oil etc. are factored in. Hard to even think about paying those prices for the same boat. The market for Euro sailboats here has to be drying up...what will Jeanneau/Bavaria... large production makers do as their boats won't be able o compete with Hunter/Catalina and US built Beneteaus? Tough times here.

Valiente 04-28-2008 01:18 AM

I wouldn't buy most current production boats at any price. I don't consider some of them seaworthy, or at least seaworthy enough. Some older boats, yes, and some ridiculously expensive boats, absolutely.

But the "average" 40 footer of today? A nice coastal daysailer, or something that will make you puke in the Caribbean when the wind pipes up.

Maybe it's just because we launched about 200 boats yesterday, and as I was driving the club crash boat in case some of the "pushers" fell in (the membership does this job...only the crane operators are pros), I saw from a perfect distance a vast variety of hulls, Canadian, American, French, German, custom, you name it. I was certainly struck by how some boats that race share certain characteristics, even the now-elderly ones, and how other, more cruising oriented, had different features, and how the true passagemakers shared a family resemblance that owed little to the other two.

Of course, 90% of the owners of 90% of the boats will not sail in anything but moderate conditions, and even racers will come in if it gets too rough, and so I can't criticize the market for providing style and focusing on "livability" at dock or anchor, but I find a lot of boats today seem...skimpy...when you start looking at the construction details. This goes for Hanses and Dufours as well as Hunters and Catalinas, and if it sells boats, I can't object.

But I cringe when I hear of these boats, most of them inexplicably rated "offshore Class A" by Lloyd's, actually venture out of sight of land, where their big portlight are stove in, their dodgers are ripped off and their spade rudders go to the bottom, all while their crews are bouncing off the tasteful fittings in the 14 foot wide saloon.

I think it's not really good for the cruising lifestyle when more people need to be rescued because they are the wrong people in the wrong boats. That is ultimately a higher price to pay than the difference between dollars and euros in my opinion.

JiffyLube 04-28-2008 02:15 AM


Originally Posted by richardfrance (Post 305910)
Less wine for you, more wine for me.

The more boats we sell to you, the richer we's about time the trade deficits changed in our favor.:D

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