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Bob - here's a question for you. I've always been curious as to the type of people that actually obtained one of these amazing bluewater boats. After all, even in the 70s/80s there were production builders of mass market boats like Catalina, Hunter, Irwin, Morgan...etc. Then there were the Valiants, Babas, Pacific Seacrafts too.

So, in terms of relative affordability...what did a boat like a Baba 40 run for in the days it was first released? I recently inquired about a Norstar 40 and the sailaway price was near $500k. Half-way to a millionaire to afford a good bluewater Perry design brand new!!!! Was it that way in the 70s/80s? Or was it more in reach of the everyman?

Love your thoughts on this!
 

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Owl:
In the mid 70's the buyers of these boats could be a couple of school teachers. Financing was easy and you did not have to be wealthy to buy a cruising boat. I don't recall prices except one. When the Valiant 40 was introduced as I recall the base price was $63,500 but to really sail it away was around $74,000. I think I paid $63,000 for my Esprit 37.

My buddy Bernie got one of the last Valiant 42/40's built and I think he had almost $500,000 into it.

"Strange times Archie, strange times."

Why did I not get involved building the boat and selling them? I had many chances to do this but I never wanted to be a boat salesman.
$500k sounds about right for the last of the Valiant 42s. I have a quote somewhere or other from the factory on one of the last ones and I seem to recall mid-400s without sails and key upgrades (refrigeration, etc).

So, back to the inflation question. If we plug that $75k # into our CPI calculator provided by the "gub-ment"....that points to a $325k cost in 2014 dollars. I dont fully believe that calculator, but still, I think a pair of school teachers would have to be at the apex of their career to afford that kind of money. Maybe school principals.. :) However a pair of professionals CERTAINLY within reach.

So the question is, where did that extra $175k go!!! Seems like it has to be materials and/or wages (Americans get higher pay than back then)...and probably $500k isn't enough to keep bluewater builders in business as there are fewer and fewer every year.

Conversely, how do Beneteau, Catalina, etc make a 40 foot coastal cruiser for *HALF* of a bluewater cruiser now ($270k). . Would be interesting to find out what a 40 fo0t Morgan, Endeavour, or Iwrin from the mid-70s cost. Was it half of a $75k Valiant ...or more. That would help gauge the efficiency of these modern builders vs their ancestors.

On another point...as the number of bluewater builders fades away, I think the production builders are REALLY going to raise their prices for new boats. This would explain some of the other threads about sticker shock on new boat prices.

Sadly, this sees like a classic consolidation/roll-up happening in the market :(
 
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