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Used Boat News 17 Sep 2017

The latest news is at the start of this article.

17 Sep 2017 - Trump, Trump, Trump has changed our boat business. Business has improved and clean used boats sold well during the first half of 2017. New boats also sold well during the first 6 months of 2017 and continue to sell well. Com-Pac is very busy. Sailboats that use trailers continue to be very popular. Used boats that are in the water boats are slow sellers. I can tell by the vacant slips at marinas. Most marinas have slips available and that wasn’t the case back in the good old days. A military marina close to me only has a few boats in their 75+ slips. They may have too many rules and their rent is a little high. A contractor runs the marina and that may add to the cost.

Boats that are in poor condition bring cheap prices and boats in great condition are worth more. Maybe twice as much. Not many sailors today are interested in project boats. Project boats are cheap to buy, but they cost lots of money to make useable. Boat parts and pieces are not cheap.

The Com-Pac 23 has joined our trailable fleet of sailboats. It was an in-the-water boat before. Com-Pac is building a mast raising system for the 23 and “The Sailboat Company” has an electric mast raising system for the 23. The boat has always been an excellent sailboat with just that one small flaw, getting the mast up and down was difficult. Push a button and watch the mast go up is really cool. With the mast raising system, the 23 is a true go anywhere and see everything boat.

We just installed a Yanmar 2YM15 in a Com-Pac 25. That's going to be the replacement engine for the 27s and maybe the 23s. Com-Pac does that engine in their new 23Ds and just maybe we can do it as a replacement in older 23Ds and maybe outboard 23s too. A mast raising system and a diesel on trailer is an interesting combination.

The boom gallows on the 16 (really a mast gallows) makes a 16 really sell well. It's a great option. The 16s still lead the market in sell ability.

Used 19s and Cat Boats have all but disappeared on the used boat market. The most popular new boat at Com-Pac is the Sun Cat. When you don't have any used boats, you have to buy new.

12 Dec 2016 - We had an election and the used boat business has changed again. Used boat prices are going up. That had to happen because the cost of doing business keeps getting more expensive. Old boats in poor condition will continue to be cheap. They will never gain in value unless someone pays the price of recondition. A reconditioned boat cost about half the price of a new boat and about twice as much as an average boat that hasn't been reconditioned. The retail price of a new Com-Pac Legacy and trailer cost bout $15K. On average, a reconditioned Com-Pac 16 cost about half that amount or $7.5K and the average boat that hasn't been reconditioned should sell for about haft that amount or $3.7K. People that recondition boats keep track of costs. That's the only way to stay in business.

Com-Pac normally doesn't inventory boats. They build them when they are ordered. Because of the slow down in new boat sales this year, Com-Pac had an inventory of six boats in stock that were ordered and not paid for. All six boats were sold the week before the election. I think they had a party at the factory. This tells me that 2017 is going to be a big year for used boats. The people that didn't buy a boat in 2016, but wanted one are going to get one in 2017. Trying to find a nice boat that was sailed on Sundays by that little old lady will be hard to find. Most of our used boat inventory was built between 1980 and the early 1990s. Most if not all of those boats need to be reconditioned.

People selling clean used boats in 2017 should ask more money for their used boats? Using the real world used boat price stepladder above is a good staring point. Start with the price of a new boat and work your way down. If you are selling your boat, you know its condition and that’s the most important factor. Sailboats are sold by condition, not by model year. Add up the cost of repairs; item-by-item and reduce the selling price by that amount. Most dealers discount new boat by 10% and you may want to follow their lead as a fair asking price.

15 May 2016 - The used market has changed since my last report. Our used boats have almost disappeared. All the inexpensive clean used boats are long gone. Most used boats today were built back in the 1980s and restoration is getting expensive. Even boats in fair condition are hard to find. Some people are selecting project boats and actually building their own boat. The definition of a junk boat has changed. New boats may be coming back because a good clean used boat is going to cost more money one way or the other. The good news is that used boats are selling for more money today than they did before. Some of my customers are asking more than what they paid for their boat back when. I always said sailboats were a good investment.

27 August 2015 - It's been a hot summer with sailing and sailboat sales slowing down to a crawl. Of course the economy isn't zipping along either. We have seen some bait and switch pricing from some of our venders. Not good for business, but I think they are just hanging on in this bad economy. Other venders have more retail business than they can handle and that makes selling wholesale difficult. Clean used sailboats are still the most popular sailboat on the market. Installing some of the new options on older boats has also been very popular. Used boats are the best candidates for customization. Who wants to cut up a new boat? Most used sailboats need to be reconditioned every 10 years. That's the tipping point for price. An old boat that hasn't been reconditioned should be very cheap and one that's been reconditioned will be worth more money. Customized for a sailing area, great condition with user-needed options make for a more valuable boat.

14 June 2015 - The spring has been very busy for The Sailboat Company. The availability of Com-Pac 16s is still a good measurement of the used market. We sold all of our used 16s and we don't currently have any for sale. The boats that we sold went out the door with lots of options. The big news in the used boat business is that options are available on used boats. A well-designed boom gallows or rowing oars on your new purchase will make it more versatile. Our customers are tying to fit their boat purchase into their area and lifestyle needs. The more choices a used boat buyer has, the better. Larger boats over $10K are still slow.

28 February 2015 - The big time buyer's market is gone for Com-Pac 16s. No used boats are currently on the market. The availability of Com-Pac 16s is a good measurement of our used market health. Larger boats over $10K are still slow. Used sailboats that can be restored are still the best bargain in a used sailboat. Most new owners buy their accessories and what the boat needs when they buy their boat. We currently have maintenance business through May. Most dealers don't restore boats and their customers get to live with the same problems the last owner had. All sailboats need to be looked at and repaired if needed every 5 years.

17 September 2014 - It's still a big time buyer's market. We have used boats everywhere selling for low, low prices. When an owner needs to sell his or her boat and can't, they keep cutting the price until the boat gets sold (maybe). They really have to get cheap to sell in this market and doing the price reduction trick doesn't work that well. Most boats need lots of improvements when boats are sold owner to owner. The old saying "pay me now or pay me later" is valid in today’s used boat market.

You can count the questions on my Q&A page over the last few years. I put dates on my Q&A for a reason. The questions slowed and almost stopped last November or maybe a little before. Sailing is going downhill in this economy and that's not good for sailing. We need to keep the value of our boats high if sailing is going to be a popular sport for small sailboat sailors. When a new trailer cost more than your boat is worth, buying a new trailer will be difficult. Maybe that's why everyone wants to buy a used trailer.

22 June 2014 - The best way to change boats these days is to trade boats. We are currently selling used canoes, kayaks and Jon boats. That makes these type boats eligible as trade-ins on our fleet of sailboats. Trading-in 2 kayaks on a Com-Pac 16 can reduce the price of going sailing.

5 June 2014 - The late model Com-Pac 23 in Jacksonville, FL has been reduced in price to $9,900. The boat has been restored and it has a new motor and canvas. A think it's a real bargain. A 1989 Com-Pac 23D with a rebuilt motor and lots of extras is also on the market. This boat is going to sell at a bargain price. Trailers are available for both boats. Give Keith a call if you are interested.

28 May 2014 - It's still a buyer's market. Good quality used sailboats are inexpensive and available. Some sailors have become two boat owners. They purchased their new boat without selling or trading their old boat. Selling sailboats for fair value is currently very difficult. The 2014 sailboat business in general has been very slow.

24 December 2013 - This was a good year if you were buying a used boat. Most of the boats sold for less than fair value and it was a buyer's market. Condition was everything and late models in great shape sold well. Older boats that were restored or very clean also sold well. Boats had to be super clean and a bargain at the same time.

The market has opened up for open day boats. Stable un-ballasted boats are hard to find and sailors have been asking for them this year. The most popular new Com-Pac boat this year is the Picnic Cat. People may be looking for a less complicated life style? Of course it may have to do with the economy.

Used 23-foot sailboats with used diesel motors are going to be a new market category. Motors are currently available from boats that were lost to the recession. Marry a diesel to an outboard boat and the result is a better boat. We currently have a San Juan 23 that may get a used diesel for power soon. The price of a used boat and a used diesel is going to make this type of project possible.

2014 looks like fewer used boats on the market. The price should be going up.

29 August 2013 - The 23 Com-Pac Pilothouse is going to stay around for a while and maybe a trade might be possible. The 23s are hot this year and we selling just about all we can find. We are going to spread out some with a facility in Jacksonville, FL. Com-Pac had a big dealer there 20 years ago and the area still has old Com-Pac on the market from time to time. Next year used boat projects are the Hermann Cat, a 23-foot San Juan and a 1985 22-foot Catalina. The Com-Pac 23 Trawler should be going through sea trials this fall. This has been a busy year and our project boats are not where they should be. The 19-foot O'Day Launch has a home in the mountains when we get it finished. We will be painting tomorrow.

25 July 2013 - Mid summer 2013 looks a little different than 2012 and 2011. The little boats bargains (real value $3.5K to $4.5K) are gone. Sometimes you would see them for $2.5K or less and they were bargains. Today, we still have some of the more expensive boats on the market at a discount price. An example is our 2012 CP-23PH that cost $80K and is currently priced at $65K. It's going back to Canada on the 15th of August it's going to be gone. I anticipate the price of all the used boat in our limited use market will be on the increase. The Cape Island 21 that we have forsale was under priced. A new Retro (Cape Island) 25 base price is $99K.

18 July 2013 - We have had some customers exchange boats on our yard. Many sailors that are selling their boats just want a different boat. If they can find one on my yard, we just might find a way to swap boats. It's cheap and everyone gets what he or she wants.

A used 26-foot Nimble Trawler was launched at Falls Lake north of Raleigh and is currently the Queen of the Lake. Everyone on the lake wanted to see the boat's inside steering.

30 June 2013 - Good used boats are available with some exceptions. Used Com-Pac 19s are no longer available with only a boat now then coming up for sale. Our glut of sailboats from the 80s is getting older and they need more restoration to bring them up to acceptable levels. You can see a big difference in cost between boats of the same year. At one time, all sailboats of the same brand and year were worth about the same amount. That's not true anymore. The condition of the boat determines the price and they vary greatly. Bargains are still available in late model used boats. They are currently selling 25% below true market value. Restoration boats fall into the same category. Sailors are currently selling them cheap or they have decided to wait for better times.

The Internet continues to be the best way to price a used boat. You have to keep in mind that the prices you see on the Internet may be years old and no longer valid. Lots of people don't maintain their Web sites. New boats have come up in popularity. With the selection of used boats being smaller, new boats have found a better market. Not big yet, but better than it was.

Trading boats was a big deal back in the 80s and it could be again. I currently have several customers that are willing to trade boats. I sold the same customers 5 boats by using the trade method. It works well for everyone. The future of used sailboats is not going to be that good over time. Fewer new boats being sold will reduce the used sailboat market in time. Of course I'm talking about little sailboats.

Our local news is the 85 Com-Pac 23 on our yard will be going home on the 28th of July. It will be on the market until that time at a reduced price. I don't think the Mark I Com-Pac 23 is going to make it to our yard anytime soon. We will be getting a used Mark II Com-Pac 23D in July. It's a nice boat that's been restored and has lots of options. We also have a 1982 San Juan 23 coming that should be ready for sale in August or September. We think the O'Day launch is sold and it is in the building process. The windows have been ordered and we are painting the hull and deck. The Hermann Cat Boat is on our list for restoration, but we might not get started until next year. We have a pretty Sea Ray powerboat on the yard that may get restored next year with a hard top and a new outboard motor. It's going to be a fast trawler when we get it finished. We plan on keeping the Com-Pac 23 Trawler that's in work. It should be finished before the end of year. We may take it down the St. John's River in Florida next year.

Used boats on our Used Boat List that are owned by sailors that will consider a trade-in are marked with a "T" following the price.

The Sailboat Company
Richlands, NC 910-324-4005