Take five minutes…

To steal a line from Dickens…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”
From where I sit those words have a lot to do with the current state of affairs where boats are concerned. I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention on the price of good used boats lately but, just in case you haven’t, the cost of boats in reasonable condition is at an all time low. Spend five minutes on just about any sailboat listing page, Craig’s List, or owners associations and you’ll find boats at rock bottom prices selling for pennies on the dollar… That’s the “best of times” part.
Of course, one of the reasons the price of good boats has fallen so low is a horrible economy for those folks who used to be able to afford a boat, the rent on a marina berth to put it in, and had spare time to be able to go sailing but, sadly, for a lot of people in the rapidly disappearing middle class a boat no longer represents fun and freedom but simply a financial burden they can no longer afford… Interesting how the “best” and “worse” go hand in hand like that.
I won’t bore you with my thoughts on the “wisdom” and “foolishness” because there’s so much foolishness about it’s hard to miss and, as far as wisdom is concerned, while something of a rarity these days there is still enough to go around…
Which brings me to a boat I saw for sale up in MD. A 1968 Columbia 36 selling for less than $8K. Now the thing I found remarkable is the fact that less than $8000 for a boat in apparently good shape with pretty much all the needful gear is not very remarkable at all these days. 
It’s just normal.

Share this post

4 thoughts on “Take five minutes…”

  1. Unbelievable – I sailed on a Columbia 36 in the late 60's/70 on Chesapeake Bay. It was keep at marina just South of the naval academy. It was quite a sailboat- 8K is far less than I paid for my used 2006 explorer – Crazy! – Unfortunately dock fees and upkeep would probably break the average worker bee today

  2. In terms of the economics of boat ownership, I'm persuaded that a core VolksCruiser pillar is to MOVE ABOARD.

    The macro-economics driving prices down relates to the fact that these boats are toys, incidental to the lives of their owners, and therefore liabilities in hard times. That's driving the extreme buyer's market in used boats.

    But move aboard and suddenly, the MICRO-economic picture shifts radically in our favor…

    The toy is now an inexpensive home. Utilites are cheap. Marina rent (if you must) is cheaper than rent or payments ashore. Vacation travel and accommodations are largely covered. Ditch the car, lawn and ulcer. Maybe even the job, if we're in touch with the creative scavenger within!

    Throw back the hatch, smell the salt air… and pity those poor wage slaves, ashore.

    It's the NEW normal!

    Dave Z

  3. Lunas 2 lugsails (and blocks and running rigging) have now gotten 60 miles from the Guatemalan border and still nothing to hang them on yet. I tell my wife it's time to go back to Florida and snag one of these awesome bargains.

    Back in 2005, when the USA still had some semblance of a economy intact, we found a 32 Pearson Vanguard for $3K in Tampa. No mast but all sails, a good diesel, sound hull, and the interior about 80% completed. We sold off the sails, put in a steel pipe mast (to the keel), and the first chinese lugsail was a huge polytarp monster (435 ft. sqr.). Worked well!! And now, potentially happy campers of Pogo Pogo, even better deals fronting themselves nationally. What a awesome time to get into a independent systems, collapse resistant, just plain delightful to live in/on home. We can help those poor devils who just can't afford the weekend toy anymore.

  4. I always told folks the only two sailboats to purchase were a "big" boat if you lived aboard or the biggest trailerable you could manage. There was no way to justify the cost of a non-trailerable sailboat unless living aboard it; as Dave said, economics. Many people have a had time putting a dollar value on this hobby (i.e., after it's said and done, how many times do I have to sail each year to internally satisfy myself that I'm getting a good value.) On the other hand, having a trailerable means zombie insurance. Great insight Bob.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top