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Old 26-12-2007, 06:19   #31
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Seems to me a weakening in any recreational “industry” (especially one that survives on the sale of high-end toys on credit) is to be expected when the economy is slowing, or perceived to be slowing…

Belt-tightening is natural when folks feel their livelihood/nest-egg/disposable-income is threatened or unlikely to continue at the current rate; and like several other adult-toy businesses have discovered, as the largest boat-buying generation in history slides toward fixed-income status, they’re just not as inclined to trade in the ol’ Bayliner for Hinckley… (PWC’s don’t count… for much). More likely the Bayliner eventually gets traded in for a Lazy-Boy with matching slippers… The perceived frailty in the economy and simple demographics are taking their toll…
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Old 29-12-2007, 17:04   #32
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It has certainly hit me hard in some ways and been good in others. I have a boat I can't sell, the 38 foot Hughes, but then again I might not be needing to sell it if I didn't buy a boat I never dreamed I could afford. The people in the market for my 38 would be the middle class, but it takes cash on the barrel to buy a 30 year old boat, and the middle class has no disposable income right now. The higher class with the money will buy a newer boat costing 10 time this. I expected to have a hard time selling my 30 footer because the market is flooded with them. That's the boat I thought I would be stuck with. I expected the 38 to sell like hot cakes on a cold day, I was wrong, they can afford the 30 but not the 38. I had 17,000 people look at my ebay add for the 38, 2500 were watching it but not one bid. People want it but can't afford it. The price was good $15,000, for a 38, pretty much ready to go, not bad in my book, but not one taker. Bad economy, real bad....

The 38 is what is keeping me form starting my circumnavigation, one too many boats to worry about. Actually I like to think it was just luck that got me my dream boat, not the economy. Just lucky to be the right person in the right place at the right time. It was a pig in a poke and I had the right tools, the willingness to take a chance and the desire to get it out. In the end it will probably be the best day of my life. Check out my website for the story.
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Old 30-12-2007, 07:57   #33
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<I was wrong, they can afford the 30 but not the 38….>

From my end of the peanut gallery, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head…. I recall going to sailboat shows in the early-to-mid 80s – many of us were in $100K boats already and counting the days (and ways) we could move up to $250K boats, to ditch it all and do the world-wanderer thing… and many of us were just yuppy nine-to-fivers… good jobs, lots of unused credit, multiple recreational interests and dreams as big as all outdoors…

The luxury tax fiasco sifted the boating industry rather harshly back then, followed by the economic downturn of the early nineties – frankly, except at the high end, I don’t think the momentum of the 80s has ever been re-achieved in recreational boating, and now that many of the baby-boom generation are drifting into one of two (elderly) camps, either 1) semi-paralyzed by debt, or 2) strictly cash-and-carry toy purchases, thoughts of a major run of purchasers on credit – helping to ensure the volume that makes the unit cost affordable –can’t be too encouraging…

Of course there are another one or two generations who are just now achieving their peek earning years, so it isn’t all that dire for the manufacturers who remain healthy, but given the longer-life of GRP boats, the used boat trade is a target-rich, buyer’s market… When fortune smiled and I was able to again harbor thoughts of another boat (three or so years ago – after a dozen year hiatus) I was astonished at the number, size and quality of the modestly priced options available – modestly priced compared to what I had remembered… ultimately, I realized that many vessels in my target group (30’+/-) were priced far below what I’d expected… fortuities being what they are, we got a smaller boat (a target of opportunity…) but I think your observations are correct…

The thirty-foot or less, quarter-century old, size is a cash and carry market but as a potential buyer gets above thirty-five feet, traditional pricing likely moves the vessel into the credit category for most buyers – credit, or personal inclination, that may be in short supply at present…
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Old 30-12-2007, 22:50   #34
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I am curious as to what you guys think this will do to the repair and maintenance costs of boats. Will the belt tightening cause parts and labor to go up, or will competition over a shrinking market lower prices?

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Old 31-12-2007, 04:18   #35
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No surprise to me that the market is collapsing. A new Etap 28 is $140k, a new J122 is $450k, a new Orana 44 is $540k. The day of buying a new family racer cruiser is gone for the average Joe.

For the most part, the entry level boat is now priced out of reach for most. Builders are either moving into the large high end boats, catering to the charter market, or working very hard to find ways to lower manufacturing costs.

Who is left to fill the entry level? Hunter and Catalina are all that come to mind but even a new Hunter 27 is priced around $75k all up.

Sadly, I don't see sailing getting more affordable for the masses, politics aside.
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Old 31-12-2007, 08:23   #36
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Boating Industry Slump Could Signal Recession

NPR : Boating Industry Slump Could Signal Recession
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Old 31-12-2007, 11:17   #37

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Zach, I suspect that as some yards find they have less work (from fewer boats) they may try to fight the loss of income by raising prices. But there's no reason a drop in boat sales should cause repair/maintenance costs to go up, and anyone raising thi prices to compensate might very easily find themselves driving away the remaining customers--who are also having financial concerns and not willing to spend "more".

Places that have already raised their rates to "all the market will bear" will probably be especially loathe to raise it past that point. One never knows. What does the straw that breaks the camel's back look like, anyway?
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