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Discussion Starter #1
It seems most people here buy their sailboats used. I imagine cost is a factor. But more importantly, I think one really needs to understand a boat in order to fully enjoy sailing. Buying a used boat, fixing it up, its part of the process to understand the boat, to make it "my" boat and to become a sailor.

I can see the car market being totally different, most people just want to get a new car and drive off the lot. Of couse, there are plenty of car enthusiasts that like to work their cars too.

I wonder who buys new sailboat, and what the ratio of sales in primary vs secondary market.
 

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Seems there are quite a few buyers out there with plenty of disposable income and the dealerships seem to be doing quite well, thank you....

At the same time fiberglass boats don't especially deteriorate and the used market is flooded to the point that (with rare exceptions) anything older than around 1990 can be literally had for a song. This fact certainly broadens the market and makes it possible for the a wider range of the population to get into sailing at a good price and with a reasonably sized boat.

I think it would be hard to get a real solid grasp on how the two markets compare...

Buying new you get new but you also have to buy new the literally thousands of dollars worth of ancillary equipment that usually comes 'included' in a used boat. A used boat will have had all the bugs worked out (if it isn't 'worn out' or otherwise compromised first) and often one can get a very well equipped boat for good dollar.

Sometimes it's not fair. We've had our 1984 boat for 10 years now and have upgraded a great deal; batteries, charging systems, sails, solar, but we'd be lucky to get half of what we paid 10 years ago, and would have to double our receipts from that sale to move to something similar even just 10 years newer - and that boat probably needs many of the upgrades we've just finished putting on the current boat.

Optimally I think you let the 'new' buyer take the depreciation hit and let him/her fully equip the boat and then buy it about 5 years later at a good price and you've got a 'newish' boat for probably the best overall deal.
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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I rarely buy new.. even some of the stuff I am putting onto my Fifty-one year old boat is stuff I have bought used (usually it is vintage stuff) and refurbished.

But here is the rub.. even if you buy used, you have two choices. Buy the best and most expensive used boat you can to minimize the amount of work you need to do (do not kid yourself, it will still need work) or you can buy a project boat (like I tend to do) to minimize your initial outlay, but maximize your workout when you are refitting.

Not to brag.. but if you check out my blog, you can see how much elbow grease I have put into my boat
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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What a great question!! Do you think there's an answer beyond those who can afford to buy a new boat, will probably buy a new boat??
of course there are people who can afford new who will buy old. There are people like myself who do not like the looks of the new boats.. and of course there are those people with enough disposable income to buy something 100 years old and spend millions on a complete refit so they can do the classic circuit.
 

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of course there are people who can afford new who will buy old. There are people like myself who do not like the looks of the new boats.. and of course there are those people with enough disposable income to buy something 100 years old and spend millions on a complete refit so they can do the classic circuit.
Like Elizabeth Meyers, for example (though she may well have a brand new boat TOO!! ;))
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What a great question!! Do you think there's an answer beyond those who can afford to buy a new boat, will probably buy a new boat??

I would venture to say there are plent of people buy a used boat, even if they can afford a brand new one. For me, working to fix something on a car or boat, enhance the sense of ownership for me.

I did some research. the ratio of secondary to primary market sales in the automobile sector is 3:1. Just a hunch but I think the ratio in sailboat market got to be much higher.
 

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Freedom isn't free
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Some of us are looking for specific boats, that are no longer made. Not always because they are the best, but because they best fit what we are trying to do.

Probably the craziest examples of this are One Design racers. They buy their boat because there is an already established fleet of a particular One Design. OD racing is an extreme version of used boat buying (or new). There are classes that are still active but boats aren't made (J24 comes to mind)... also classes that have existed for quite a while where boats are still made (thinking Star perhaps). Then still others where the boats are new and still have a huge growing group of buyers, J/70.

I sold my Capri 25, and "upgraded" to an S2 7.9, not because its really a better boat, but because my local mixed fleet has a growing fleet of 7.9s (6 now?)... the boat cost is roughly the same, the size is similar, 24'7" feet versus 25'11" Maybe we can eventually create a true OD class in our races.
 

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It is a no brainer!

Then again, many of the new boat buyers may not have a brain...
Gee James, how do you really feel? :rolleyes:

There's no right or wrong answer here, it's what's best for you, your financial situation and your dreams.

Is new or used better? It's like asking what's the perfect size boat. Everyone's taste is different.
 
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My wife and I can afford new, but won't. I will let someone else take the largest portion of the depreciation hit. Also, I like the idea that a boat has had the bugs worked out and has been outfitted with all the 'extras' that are needed. We will get in the 5 year old range.
 

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With extreme patience, a lotta look-see time and a modicum of $$, you can find a previously owned boat that will exceed specs on a new one.

Take your time. Look twice, then look twice again.. Save your $$ and then save some more while the . search is on. There are more boats around that a caring and meticulous PO has re-fitted most of. the boat; even problems that come fromthe factory with a new boat.

Figure you tolerance levelfor fixing/replacing gear, then look for a boat that. suits your tastes and pocketbook. :)
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I think there would only be two reasons why I would buy new:
a) money is absolutely no object (actually don't need to go on to the second one now but I will)
b) I wanted an absolutely custom boat and wanted to sit down with Bob Perry and future out exactly what the boat should be like.

If I am in looking at a production boat, even if it is seven figures (again, as if), I would be with the five year old boat crowd, especially being on the lookout for a boat owned by a very knowledgeable person with deep pockets. Our current boat was certainly not five years old, but we have been pleased that the original owner basically bought the entire options list.
 

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Buying a new boat makes perfect sense if you intend to keep it for a long time. I bought a new boat and sailed it for 23 years, and enjoyed minimal maintenance or repair costs, and it had a reasonable value when I sold it. The cost per year, when amortized, was very reasonable.
 

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I think the car comparison is a bad one. Comparing to a house is better. There are people who want a "new house", but most people don't really care. And older house will often take a ton of work to "modernize" it unless the PO did that already. A house takes thousands of dollars a year of maintenance and upgrades to keep it in good shape. If buying a house you are often choosing between an expensive custom home, a cheaper spec home, or a used home. In the used market, anything goes from a classic to a spec home that is just a few years old. Most people go in with a dollar figure in mind, so if looking at spec homes, they are comparing a smaller new home to a larger used.

All this is pretty much exactly how boats work.
 

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I have commissioned a number of new boats for owners. Some, right off the ship, and others as the owner's representative in a build situation. None has gone as one would have expected or wished.
Worst case scenario; arbitration and lawsuits. Best, thousands of dollars and at least several weeks, dealing with manufacturers or their reps to solve the problems.
I don't know that there is a way around this; boats are complicated bits of equipment, but it can take a really exciting prospect and turn it into a nightmare project. What a shame.
 

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It seems most people here buy their sailboats used. I imagine cost is a factor. But more importantly, I think one really needs to understand a boat in order to fully enjoy sailing. Buying a used boat, fixing it up, its part of the process to understand the boat, to make it "my" boat and to become a sailor.

I can see the car market being totally different, most people just want to get a new car and drive off the lot. Of couse, there are plenty of car enthusiasts that like to work their cars too.

I wonder who buys new sailboat, and what the ratio of sales in primary vs secondary market.
I will be buying a new boat this year. Why? because I want to and I can. and the most important reason is the Wife thinks we should stopping fixing and go sailing.
I have owned many boats and have worked on them myself and have loved the challenge of doing the work to repair and refit them my way. As I get older fixing things that the PO screwed up is loosing some of the fun and just becoming a chore. A new boat would not need to be fixed up but would need to be outfitted. I will enjoy outfitting a boat for my use without having to fix things that were not done properly in the first place.
The boats I am looking at are new designs in the 30' to 33' range and are suited to be sailed short handed. Pogo 30 , Beneteau first 30 and Elan 320 are on the top of the list.
Will it depreciate? maybe. I may never know because when I can't sail it anymore my kids will or they will sell it and they will see the depreciation, not me. so If I sail it for another ten years and it is worth nothing when I am done with it, the money spent will have been worth it. you can't take it with you.
So there are reasons to buy new. It's a no brainer for me.
Then again many new boat owners have the money for a new boat because they do have a brain.
 

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Having bought 2 sailboats new and much stuff used the new ones were fairly expensive compared to are income 30 years ago

Kind of funny were very happy with a 1970 boat now
 
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