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The brokers are telling me that they are listing and selling a lot of boats. They suggested that a lot of the new buyers are expecting to find a buyers market. That does not appear to be the case. It seems like there aren't enough good boats on the market to meet demand so the good boats are ending up selling very quickly, and they mentioned even having had a bidding war on a couple boats. There are boats that I have watched languish on the market for years that suddenly are showing up with 'Under Contract' notices.

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...They suggested that a lot of the new buyers are expecting to find a buyers market. That does not appear to be the case. It seems like there aren't enough good boats on the market to meet demand so the good boats are ending up selling very quickly, and they mentioned even having had a bidding war on a couple boats...
This has been the case for as long as I've been buying and selling my own boats. The whole "buyer's market" claim, with "hundreds of boats just waiting to be snatched up" is a fallacy. There are thousands of boats that nobody but the most gullible would want, for obvious reasons once a knowledgeable person looks closely at them. Any "free boat" is almost always the most expensive boat you will find.
...There are boats that I have watched languish on the market for years that suddenly are showing up with 'Under Contract' notices.
It's possible that this speaks to the gullibility of first-time buyers who are looking for a quick, inexpensive social distancing vacation. But that's just my speculation. If true, I hope that they at least have ended up with a boat that is safe, and that they can resell if/when the dream dies.
 
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It's possible that this speaks to the gullibility of first-time buyers who are looking for a quick, inexpensive social distancing vacation. But that's just my speculation. If true, I hope that they at least have ended up with a boat that is safe, and that they can resell if/when the dream dies.
I think that may be true, but there may be more to it than that. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of older people and a lot of careers. In talking with my friends who are 'post medicare age', as they face their mortality, and work has slowed down. many of us are talking about retiring for real and enjoying whatever life we have left. As my stepfather used to say, "Its time to buy a boat and call it 'Quits'".

Maybe this will put some of this in perspective. At any given time over the years, I get requests from people asking me to help them get into sailing and to mentor them through the learning process and boat buying process. In a normal year, maybe 1-5 people(families) a year ask me for assistance and collaborate with me. That has suddenly become something of a flood. Some of these people are younger and others are of retirement age, but the number of people I am assisting these days is much larger than I can remember at any time in the past.

Its clear that some of these folks who are getting into sailing have no idea what they are getting into and may not have the disposition to become sailors. Others have done the hard work of learning and growing in the sport. But what has struck me is the broad demographic and the sudden uptick in interest.

Jeff
 

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I think that may be true, but there may be more to it than that. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of older people and a lot of careers. In talking with my friends who are 'post medicare age', as they face their mortality, and work has slowed down. many of us are talking about retiring for real and enjoying whatever life we have left. As my stepfather used to say, "Its time to buy a boat and call it 'Quits'"...
Although I am a few years short of Medicare, this otherwise describes me exactly. I'm 7 weeks into a 10 week furlough, and after "trying out retirement" for several weeks, I'm starting to think that if I don't get called back, I may have no regrets. I have a couple of options for medical coverage to take me through the next few years, and I'm enjoying being able to pick my sailing days (and work around the house) without worrying about work conflicts.
...At any given time over the years, I get requests from people asking me to help them get into sailing and to mentor them through the learning process and boat buying process. In a normal year, maybe 1-5 people(families) a year ask me for assistance and collaborate with me. That has suddenly become something of a flood. Some of these people are younger and others are of retirement age, but the number of people I am assisting these days is much larger than I can remember at any time in the past...
That's a very good perspective, and I'm glad to see that my speculation was a little off. It's very selfless of you to help these people out. I hope you're able to get some consulting fees, or at least some good beer/wine/food out of it. I'm aware of one couple doing YouTube videos that seem to reference you pretty frequently, and it seems that you've been very patient with them. I look at their channel occasionally, mostly wondering when they're actually going to do some sailing. :(
 

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That's a very good perspective, and I'm glad to see that my speculation was a little off. It's very selfless of you to help these people out. I hope you're able to get some consulting fees, or at least some good beer/wine/food out of it. I'm aware of one couple doing YouTube videos that seem to reference you pretty frequently, and it seems that you've been very patient with them. I look at their channel occasionally, mostly wondering when they're actually going to do some sailing. :(
Thank you for the kind words. I don't charge fees. I see what I do in a number of ways. First and foremost, throughout my life people have been kind enough to help me in all kinds of ways but particularly in providing me with the gifts of knowledge and wisdom free of charge. That knowledge has helped me in my day to day life, my career, and in my hobbies. I help others as a way of paying back the gifts I have been given. But I also like helping people so it really isn't a burden.

I also do not charge people for boating advice because I see myself as strictly an amateur so my free advice is only worth what they pay for it. (It would be different if I was providing help within my career of architecture where I see myself as an expert at what I do.)

I like that I sometimes have research a solution or an answer and so learn more myself.

But lastly, I genuinely enjoy knowing most of the people that I have helped and so enjoy any time that is spent with them along the way.

As to the couple with the YouTube channel, I am in the process of delivering their boat to my dock so we can straighten it out once and for all. Last weekend I sailed it from Hampton to Deltaville, and this weekend plan to make the jump to Solomon's. Hopefully, they will be producing sailing videos soon that actually show them sailing.

To the point about mentoring, I have had a friend along on the deliveries, who is a younger man than I, and who was given an older 30 foot race boat that we have been working on restoring. He and I cut out and replaced the rotten sections of the bulkheads and reinstalled the chainplates. He has been rebuilding the diesel engine and turning the boat back into a boat. I met him a few years ago during one of the nights that I was working at West Marine. I have been mentoring his progress into the sport. first helping him put a small daysailer into shape and now fixing up the 30 footer.

Its all in a day off,

Jeff
 

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Perhaps the interest in used cruising sail boats by noobs may be a realization that have a cruiser is many things... it's something the whole family can do... or do with some friends... race... and it's a weekend home... and though smaller it's on the water... and like an RV you can be in many places.

I have always thought of owning a boat therapeutic... especially for seniors. It gets them off the couch... gets them moving their limbs... and maybe more importantly it challenges their minds... repair, maintenance, upgrades, navigation, cooking... and and on. A boat is a universe. And one that can take you somewhere... that puts you SMACK in the middle of nature. This is good for the body and the mind and I think "seniors" of any age are realizing this. You never stop learning things. So it's really a wonderful thing to possess.
 

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I've mentioned to my wife dozens of times over the past months that we are so fortunate to have sailing as our primary spring/summer hobby, since it is the ideal social distancing activity. She then usually reminds me that HER primary hobby is swimming laps, and until our community pool opens she's not happy. I then remind her that the marina pool is open, and though it's only 60' long, that's still 80% of an official US lap pool. At some point I'll convince her to spend a night in the marina and we can go to the marina pool as soon as it opens at 8 (well before the others have recovered from their hangovers).
 

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So 17 days on the Bay seeing nary a soul we had a lot of time to talk about retiring. We both are the Medicare demographic you referred to. Covid definitely put a spin on both of us and our jobs. Today my wife went back to work , the virus is not gone..just a little more subdued.

Our conclusion was it’s our time to give working up. We are arranging our health care options and going to live our lives without work. This was not necessarily the way we wanted to end our careers. We both feel we have a lot to live. But it’s too risky. We both have jobs surrounded by people. We have evidenced the new generations “ don’t give a crap selfishness about only considering their own plight. Our jobs have changed. Hers is a business not a hospital anymore. Mine was always bottom line oriented but now without loyalty to their employees and completely bottom line driven now.

We don’t want to waste anymore of our precious time worrying about making society better. We want to enjoy the fruits of hard years of work we put in and live in some form of peace. We don’t want to deal with our HR departments or bosses anymore. I don’t want to be the boss anymore. It’s funny my friends all told me I would know when I was done. I laughed....but they were right. I do know now. While I still have my health I don’t want to waste any more time not living or having my job interfere with it.

It’s not my age, it’s not mental frailty, it’s not physical ailments or restrictions. It’s quite frankly I don’t enjoy working anymore. I have slowly been edging to this decision over the last few years I realize.

My two surgeries ( back and knee ) were successful and I am without pain or restrictive movement for the first time in many years. I want to take advantage of the new time not waste it working.

As many know I have worked at the Capitol which was quite frustrating atmosphere. Just watch the news. I was in the middle of this negativity in government no matter which party and it wears on you. The scare of getting sick and losing my health or life with the Pandemic was real to us. It wears on us. I realized I am tired of all the intellectual arguments and points of view. I’m tired of watching people getting beaten up and gassed for expressing their opinion. I lived through that in the 60s and 70s. I’m disappointed we have not moved forward in 60 years with regards to prejudice and bigotry. I never thought I’d see the day a peace officer would willfully kill someone because of race, and the Chief Executive would turn their back on it and condone it. But we all witnessed it in living color.

My wife and I have decided we’ve had enough. We want to live in peace somewhere away from the masses. That’s our mission now....to find a quiet place to live where we can sail....till we can’t. Where we can live a simple uncomplicated life. Where we can just ignore politics. Where it’s relatively safe from diseases which run rampant due to population density.

So we are mapping out our exit strategy. We want to enjoy each other’s company till we can’t and not have work take the time away from us being together.

I imagine this pandemic has caused similar reevaluations in my age group. When you don’t work and you don’t have children living with you you don’t need to live around others. You just need to live close enough to good medical facility’s. The winds of change are blowing through my household. Time to begin another chapter in our book. I doubt this age group will be getting into more or bigger boating.

We aren’t selling our boat. In fact she needs a new engine as her 36 year old, 12,000 hr Yanmar has given up the ghost ( on our last day of vacation) . We intend to keep sailing after giving Haleakula a heart transplant.
 

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It will be very interesting to see boat values play themselves out. At the moment, I too am hearing of boats selling. Two buy demos have been identified. One is the imminent retiree, who may have planned to wait a few years, but are going to jump now and buy that boat they've always wanted. The other are those realize boating is a great way to spend summers, safely. They will not be spending money on traveling elsewhere to vacations. I have friend that installs very expensive back yard inground pools. He is fully sold out for all of 2020 and the phone is ringing off the hook. He usually does well, but he'd typically be booking Aug installs right now and selling. He nearly just took orders this Spring.

I'm not sure either hold up for much longer. That demand surge is finite. I predict the vast majority of the economy comes back by next year. However, it doesn't take much decline in consumer spending to be very burdensome. If job losses are permanent by more than a few percentage points, it will slow the economy and pricing has to suffer.
 

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...... Time to begin another chapter in our book. I doubt this age group will be getting into more or bigger boating.

We aren’t selling our boat. In fact she needs a new engine as her 36 year old, 12,000 hr Yanmar has given up the ghost ( on our last day of vacation) . We intend to keep sailing after giving Haleakula a heart transplant.
Interesting comment. Very thought provoking. There are several major threads that appear in our lives... many shared and some not. The final chapters are will be different.

I noticed that you didn't mention children or grand children... or an extended family. For many this is an thread which continues when one ends their career for any reason.

Both of you work for large organizations and this is very different from someone who works on their or free lances or say has a small shop or is a consultant... who don't commute or deal with office dynamics.

It's also hard to tune out the world. Things are boiling and society is going to have some unavoidable reckonings and they can't be avoided unless you escape to a deserted anchorage in some quiet island. We have a population reckoning, and environmental one, a food one along with race, economics, energy and so on. Yet there is a lot of incredible things humans have and continue to create... art, music, dance, theater, literature, movies... and so on. And you won't find them in that quiet far away anchorage.

I have always been a "creative" person... did this for a living and do it for a past time. I like to make things, design them, fixed them, improve them, understand them and so on. I don't know that I can "retire" from this need. Much of it is channeled into my boat. It's work to some... some work to others... or "play". It's a good thing to keep the boat for as I wrote earlier it IS therapeutic. That will keep you busy body and brain.... and it's probably good for your soul.
 

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Kids are fine they work we will visit as we now will have more time.

On my vacation we saw lots of very rural areas within 100 miles. We are moving to Antartica or a Caribbean Island .Peace and quiet is attainable in many areas

We aren’t withdrawing from society, just retiring. No need to live in a densely populated area.
 

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In another thread a few weeks ago, I speculated a case could be made that boat sales could be strong this spring. This conjecture was based on the demand for RVs and beach house rentals, and that many would be unwilling to fly somewhere for summer vacation. However it's not a complete seller's market as a good friend has had his super clean Cat 350 for sale since last fall and no offers yet.
 

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For sure the current economy is anecdotal, propped up my massive spending, government grants and loan payment deferrals, none of which are permanently sustainable. There is no text book or past experience to reference what's most likely to happen. Current spending and patterns are, at most, 90 days old. We'll see.

The stock market will be an indicator, which is on an expected roller coaster ride. When the market it up, most boat buyers feel better about their buying ability, whether they intend to sell investments or not. Just seeing one's 401k plummet will affect demand negatively. Then it's back up. Get dramamine. I think current demand is based on the finite short term phenomena described above: accelerated retirements and avoiding long distance vacations in dense resorts and transportation. Let's see what happens.

There is boat I had a contract on 18 months ago. That deal fell through, when the seller didn't want to comply with a term. He must regret it now. That boat is now listed for 6% less than our deal back then. I may make another offer this summer, when it gets back from the Caribbean. It will be for 20% less than my last. Not trying to steal it, that's a factor of being older and the upcoming market, IMO.
 

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Friends have been reporting business as usual, yesterday a friend said he had 8 boats under contract to sell this week, a new record for him and he was top sales in his office last year. More could be sold but there are not enough to meet demand. Lot of buyers are seeking alternatives to travel and other recreational plans.
 

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While brokers always seem to be begging for more listings, the advertised tone this spring in the NW seems more shrill. At least for some of them.
As other posters have noted, we are all contemplating and focusing on mortality, and the need/desire for this singular type of recreation. Being on the water is Good for the soul!

Also like some others, we are using the pandemic and the closures of most of our cruising destinations to justify some upgrade projects. Currently we are a month into preparing to repaint and refurbish the whole exterior...
We've wanted to do so for several years, but just kept on sailing. After a new engine/powertrain in 2018, we really wanted to make the rest of the boat 'new' again, anyway. :)
We will never (unless winning a lottery) be able to afford a new performance cruiser of this size, so this "Refit" will get us mostly there for lots less $.
Being well into retirement, it's been interesting to again have a "job" to go to every day. o_O
By fall we hope to be on the water again.
Fair Winds to you all!
 

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I don't know what the market is like, but around here it is the buisiest boating season I have ever seen, and not by a small margin.

We haven't even been able to get our boat in the water yet due to crowding at all public boat launches. It used to be bad in Saturday's and Sundays, but now, it seems these days even Monday mornings the boat launches have crowds.

It's gotten to the point we have been shopping around for a yacht club so we can avoid the launches. But they seem to have waiting lists too.

I get the impression that for many working from home is a chance to go midweek boating.
 

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I never met a broker (could be real estate, boat, or rv) who said it was a bad time to buy!

Two weeks ago, I listed my trailerable sailboat on a Tuesday night and she went to her new home that Friday. Had her for 10 years, kept her in great shape, and priced her fairly, and the model does have a cult-like following.

My guess is that there will be brisk sales in inexpensive boats (like the one I sold) and higher-end boats. Not so sure about moderately priced boats. I think there will be a lot of boats for sale this Fall as some folks find out the can no longer keep their boats and the noobs find out how expensive boat ownership can really be.

I had planned to look for our retirement boat this Summer. With the current health situation, we will likely wait until next Spring to start looking. In the meantime we will spend this Summer/Fall enjoying our new land toys.

Jim
 

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It's odd, because my marina is not full, a lot of people chose not to go in this summer, yet the 'sale pending' notices on local boats are higher than I have ever seen. Can't really tell if it's new boaters or not. Some of the choices are a bit questionable for great lakes day sailing, ie -albergs and the like, which leads me to believe the buyers knowledge of sailboats may be a bit lacking, or maybe they are seasoned owners who know what they are getting...dunno.
 
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