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Old 02-01-2009, 06:11   #1
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boat pricing/flashy/brand names

I hope to have my house sold sometime soon and replace it with a boat. Have been looking at boats on-line for three years (have seen some boat listings now for 3 years with their "recent" price reductions that haven't changed a dime). When I started looking I stated at about $250k and then just kept lowering the number till I couldn't find a selection of boats that matched my wants. This finally got be to $100k and less where I still end up with 6 or so boats on my list to possibly go see. So I started moving back up in price to see if it was worth spending more (I made a add-on price list to help in figuring out whether the extra equipment was worth the higher pricing to me). What I have figured out from this is that an extra $50k:
* Doesn't seem to really have impact on the quality of boat.
*Anyways pops up a model where someone thinks their boat is worth $50k more than everyone elses samething.
* Gets a boat with more "flash" for same size/space etc. And this is beyound what I already considered as nice flash to start with.
* Doesn't seem to weed out some of the lower rep production boats (for all the bad mouthing mid 40' Hunters have same or higher pricing than lots of brands that are thought of as "better" if reading in forums)

Besides the flash the one thing that is really starting to show up is whether the manufacturer is still in business. If the company is still in business their boats are priced higher. It is almost like the thinking is that if a company closed they couldn't possibly have built as good a boat as one that managed to stay in business. As an example a mid 80s Hunter is more than the same Pearson. While I guess you could make the case that a company that closed couldn't be building as good a product so it's price should be lower I don't think this is true.

So to a question: In a mid/low 40' cruiser boat less than $150k, do you think it is worth $30-50k to have a brand name that is still in business (all other things about the boats being the same). If so or not; why?
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:33   #2

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas
... So to a question: In a mid/low 40' cruiser boat less than $150k, do you think it is worth $30-50k to have a brand name that is still in business (all other things about the boats being the same). If so or not; why?
All other things being equal, I’d put more value on a boat’s public documentation* than the builder’s current status.
Many fine higher-quality boatbuilders are no longer with us, often due to poor marketing or business plans, or just unlucky (economic) timing.
Many lower-quality builders are also still with us.

* Public Documentation might include such things as “reputation”, and an active & informative Owner’s Group.
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:35   #3
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IMHO boat parts and service are not as brand specific as cars. Unless you are looking for a floating condo, I don't expect much argument that Bristol Channel Cutter, Cape Dory, and Pacific Seacraft are all better boats than Hunters and their ilk, yet these three builders either ceased, or went through bankruptcy. Taste in boats has changed some, you can take advantage of this if you don't want the spacious dock boat whose manufacturer is still in business.

You probably won't have as much need for brand specific parts like rudders if you stick with the more traditional, initially more expensive boats, which includes some whose builders are out of business.

Good luck with your search, fair winds.
Chuck Paine Sarah 32 under construction
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Old 02-01-2009, 13:47   #4
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No. What can an original design manufacturer provide a replacement for that cannot be custom made for substantially less than $30-$50K?
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Old 02-01-2009, 14:35   #5
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Well, if I bought a new Pacific Seacraft in 2007 for $250K and then lost my warranty in the 2008 bankruptcy, I might feel like I lost $30-50K in value. But for older boats about the only advantages of a still-existing manufacturer is the parts inventory and factory tech support. Most long term cruisers of older boats aren't too concerned about resale value, and ROI is measured in terms of enjoyment rather than dollars. With older cruising boats, it's all about condition (and finding two boats built by different manufacturers that are truly in the "same" condition is not a trivial task). An old but well maintained good condition Hunter may well make a better cruiser and be worth more to a potential cruiser than a needs some work Cape Dory.
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
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