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Old 27-08-2006, 00:14   #1
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I want to buy a big, fat 45' Leopard cat that has only had one previous owner that never chartered it. As a newly, if I have to sell my property to fund it, I'm just wondering what the life expectancy will be, as it devaluates and I'll basically be paying $ 300 000 for a fantastic lifestyle. I just want to know that the thrills will last long enough...
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Old 27-08-2006, 05:41   #2
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Boats hold value more than you may think but the maintenance costs are quite high. The more you spend the more you spend along the way to maintain. After you are at the end of your sailing life you may have lost only some small value but will have paid maybe as much to maintain and own as it you did to purchase.

The smaller the boat the less it will cost to purchase and maintain. Buying more boat than you need requires you to spend far far more money than you imagine.
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Old 27-08-2006, 07:14   #3
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That is a good question about life expectancy. I have been trying to get a feel for that myself. If I sell my house and buy a CAT as a home, how long will the hull last. If you look at different cats for sale on yachworld.com, there are many cats in excellent shape for sale that are over 10 years old.

I agree with Pblais about the size of the boat and maintenance costs. That is true with houses too.

As far as holding the price, I am finding that the cat market is going through some changes as more and more of the production cats start hitting the used market. The cat manufacturers at all the shows like to give examples on how after a couple of years the owners sell their new boats for more than they paid. That appears to have been true to some extent because demand was outstripping supply. Recently, it looks like this has changed probably due to the amount of cats that are being manufactured and the amount of used cats hitting the market from the charter industry and slowing in many countriesd economies. Remember, the cat "explosion" is somewhat recent.

Here are some examples:

Here is a Leopard 43 that is less than a year old. It was originally listed at $459K USD and after 2 price reductions it sold at or probably below (sice they only show the asking price) $375K USD.

http://www.2hulls.com/usedcatamaran-...y_In_Blue.html

Here is a Lagoon 410 that was originally listed at $450K and was reduced to $384K. It is still on the market.

http://www.2hulls.com/usedcatamaran-2005/Waypoint.html

How about a 2002 Wildcat that was listed at $195K originally and was reduced twice to $139K. It is still on the market.

http://www.2hulls.com/usedcatamaran-2005/IIIPipach.html

Those are some serious price reduction that I did not see lat year at this time.

On yachtworld there are about 20 Leopard 45's for sale so you should be able to get a good price which will leave you more money for maintenance and get a lot of the appreciation out of the boat before you buy it.

As I make my own personal plans I have seen an apparent shift from a sellers market to a much more of a buyers market for cats just over the past year. One more interesting thing I notice was how the pricing changes depending on the time of the year. It seems that peak prices start in September with the Newport boat show and remain peaked until the Miami show in February. In March, the deals start appearing because the boats weren't sold during the showtime selling season. In some cases there are some very good deals to be had on the demo boats the big manufacturers brought to the show. March through August seem to be the better time to buy a used cat in my opinion.
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Old 27-08-2006, 07:40   #4
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Like the overheated housing market, some cats were selling at grossly overinflated prices. If the boats that were sold for charter are now coming on the market, the glut should bring prices down considerably. Having said that, "caveat emptor" seems appropriate for the charter fleet. If I were you, I would stick with a one-owner, non-charter cat.

Will the thrills last? Hard to say. It's kind of like getting/being married. The thrills in the early days do tend to fade some over time, only to be replaced with a more comfortable if less passionate relationship. We've been aboard for nearly 4 years, and we still love the lifestyle. But I remember when polishing the stainless was a "fun" chore, whereas now it's just a chore.

Laser - most of the demo boats you see at the major boat shows have already been sold and the owners are permitting the boat to go into the show for some financial consideration on the part of the manufacturer. Given the options available on most cruising cats, mfrs. are not going to build a boat in the hopes that it will meet a buyer's specs.
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Old 27-08-2006, 08:22   #5
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Hello Harriett:

Now if only those Mantas could come down in price! We may have met at the shows as we have our sights on the Manata for probably all the same reasons as you. By the way, please keep sharing your experiences on your Manta. I very much appreciate learning from your posts. Was your Manta one that I spent some time on?

I agree that many of the smaller manufacturers use owner boats at the shows. But even recently I am getting emails from the Leopard folks, the Broadblue folks, the Seawind folks and others with deals on the same boats I walked on at the shows. Although the Manta owners are happy and dont want to part with their boats, it seems many of the owned boats at the shows are boats that are there because thay are being sold by their owners. Its not necessarily the new introduction boats (although Broadblue, Seawind and Leopard sent me special offer emails a few months after the Miami show) but the previous year's model. Many of these boats are still on the market.

Personally I am more interested in the longevity aspect of the original question (although I took it in a couple of other directions). As I do our planning I am taking a worst case look at the picture. Since a boat is a depreciating asset I need to consider that when the need to move back on land arrives for whatever reason, I have a plan to live without the original investment I made in the boat. How much less...time will tell.

As with other items like cars, the better they are made and how they are used will determine the resale value. Mantas and Privileges and several others seem to depreciate a lot less than some of the others.

Happy sailing!
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Old 27-08-2006, 09:14   #6
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Laser - If you attended the 2004 Annapolis Boat Show, you were on my boat, Perseverance.

And I agree that plunking down lots of hard-earned cash for an asset that is going to depreciate requires very careful consideration. All things being equal, when I look at a house I am more interested in whether I will be happy in it than the resale value at some undefined point in time. Same goes for the boat. Find what you like, knowing that it will lose a little value over time.

I also agree with Paul in that maintenance will be more costly than you think, and certainly more than in a house. But there are other line item expenses that you won't have, such as new clothing (how much can you spend on shorts and T-shirts?), auto expenses (fuel, insurance, etc.), mindless shopping (you won't have room for extraneous "stuff").

In a worst case scenario, you cruise for a year and decide it's not for you. The boat will not have depreciated that much in a year's time, and if the housing market continues to soften, you won't be that much in the hole when you return to living on dirt. Conversely, if you love the lifestyle and the boat, you may use it for 5-10 years or so, at which point you've gotten your money's worth out of it.

Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 27-08-2006, 09:14   #7
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Some boats will last for many years. I am very happy in my 1982 Catalac, but like many British Cats of that era, it is built very strong. Prouts are the same, there are lots running round 20 years old that are coming up to major re-fit time, but the hulls are fine. Headlinings and equipment will need replacement (done all that on mine) and should last for at least another 20 years. However, these are boats that have solid hulls, not a foam or balsa core.

Other french manufacturers tend to build a bit lighter so lifetimes are shorter. An ex-charter boat will have had 15 years normal service or more in a 5 year timescale, so some of them will be totally worn out.

Large boats are rather like large cars, the initial purchase is so expensive and so are the running costs, so people want new ones, thus the second hand value appears to be good, but berths are expensive, rigging, sails, etc etc etc are all much more money, so second hand values have to be low to entice people to buy.

There are a couple of cats, whose reputation (i.e. the builders) is such that wise people who do their research will stay well clear of Wildcat is one of those.
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Old 27-08-2006, 19:49   #8
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Boats depreciate very slowly if they are (a) well built, and (b) well looked after. But "well looked after" might mean 5% or more of the original purchase price per year spent on upkeep, maintenance, etc. So, for a $200k Cat, you mightwant to budget $10k or more for mainenance and upkeep (and that doesn't include insurance or berthing fees).
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Old 28-08-2006, 18:47   #9
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This coming March 2007, my CSK catamaran will be 44 years old! ....and she's still got a long way to go on her keels!
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Old 28-08-2006, 21:03   #10
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Life expectancy of a fiberglass hull, properly designed and maintained? 50+ years, possibly a hundred.

Of course, you'll need to invest maintenance including hull waxing and periodic refinishing. Engine overhauls. Sail replacements. All the good stuff.

But you can go online and check out the BUC BOOK or perhaps borrow one from a broker, and see what a five or ten year old boat of that model is selling for now. Then check out what it cost back when it was new. There are real numbers out there, you can find them up and do a real analysis, including changing market conditions and the economy.
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Old 04-09-2006, 05:09   #11
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Sold my 430 voyage for 50k more than I bought her new, but broke even with all the goodys I put on her. I owned it for 5 years. Bought a new voyage500. I call it my apartment. All things considered there is not a better life style on earth.
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Old 04-09-2006, 20:56   #12
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I can't see how the maintenance can be that great? Is this based on owner self maintenance or upon hiring the work out?
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Old 19-09-2006, 11:42   #13
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I've bought and sold a cat recently. Work hard on finding a cat which is a bargain and you'll save a lot in the end. Our mistake was buying in a buyers market without really knowing what we were doing and paying too high a price. A buyers boat broker might be able to help in that area. As to devaluation, expect around a 5% devaluation in cats over 40 ft until they hit around 200k. A 40+ ft cat with a good layout and in well maintained condition should sell for a minimum of 200k. Also, understand that you will be losing 10% of the value of the boat from the moment you buy, because to sell it you'll have a 10% commision fee. For your boat you're looking at a 30k immediate loss if you were to try to sell it 6 months from now.

Finally, regarding upkeep, assume you'll be replacing ground tackle, sails and soft bimini every 10 years (for those three things you'll be looking at 12-15k for your boat), and also assume that about half of your electronics won't be working a year from now. For diesel engines assume another $500 a year in maintenence if you do it yourself. As to the total lifespan of a catamaran, prouts have balsa cores and they've been cruising around for 40+ years with no problems.

Good luck!!!!
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Old 19-09-2006, 12:09   #14
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prouts have balsa cores and they've been cruising around for 40+ years with no problems.
Prouts only have a balsa core on the superstructure. The hulls are solid laminate (except for the Escale which has foam core on the hull above the waterline, but solid below)

Cored hulls will fail much sooner.
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Old 20-09-2006, 15:39   #15
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OK, I'll bite. Granted, solid glass is stronger than cored glass because it typically has many more layers of glass, but every catamaran out there which has been made in the last 20 years has foam or balsa cores above the waterline and solid glass below the water line. Over the past decade of living aboard different catamarans I've seen delamination on cats due to constuction defects or being improperly reinforced. But it wasn't related to time in the water. PDQ for instance has been making foam cored boats since the late 80s and none of them have had delamination problems. I would think that the life of a fiberglass boat with care is indefinite. Really the only things I've seen destroy fiberglass boats are collisions which so warp the structure of the boat you can't patch it together again (there's a powerboat cabincruiser in the marina next to ours where they were drunk, put it on autopilot, and then smashed it into the chesapeake bay bridge embuttment at 15 knots, it's totalled!) or fire. A friend of mine says "almost every fiberglass boat ever built is still out there". I think there's some truth to that.
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