Multihulls are HIP and as a result multihulls demand a higher price and this includes used boats. Which, I suppose, is good news if you happen to be selling a catamaran but bad news if you want to buy one. In my opinion, multihull prices are mostly inflated and don’t quite reflect their actual value.
Here’s an example;
I’ve been following an Iroquois 30 catamaran built in 1969 that has been for sale for ages at $45K but recently came down to $35K. Maybe it’s just me but I think that either price is way too high for a fifty-two year old boat. As the Iroquois has a displacement of 6560 pounds that’s right around $6.86 a pound at $45K and $5.34 at $35K.
As it happens, “So It Goes” is a 1969 CAL 34 and I also tend to track what the model sells for and, by my addition, a 1969 Cal 34 costs between $5K in OK condition to $20K where the boat is pretty much pristine. So, by my figuring, the average price of a good to very good CAL 34 hovers around $14K. That said, with a displacement of 9500 pounds the CAL 34 is a lot more boat than the Iroquois but sells less at $1.48 per pound.
The big question for me is whether or not the hipness factor of a 52 year old geriatric catamaran is worth the extra cost. The fact is if you were to base the value of the Iroquois on its displacement which, by rights it should be you’d be able to buy the Iroquois for around $2 a pound which would be along the lines of $13K which is very close to several other Iroquois cats I’ve seen over the last few years.
Most builders I know tend to budget a sailboat based on how much it weighs and not so much on what you can sell the boat for. Working out what a boat is worth in terms of weight/displacement is a great way to sort out what you should be willing to pay for a given multihull.
So, what’s a person going to do if he/she want a multihull on a VolkCruiser budget?
Well for starters, I’d take a look at smaller designs like the Heavenly Twins, Iroquois, and Prout Sirocco because they’re good boats and long enough in the tooth and in a less-than-hip size to have a few out there at reasonable prices.
If those boats are a bit small for your tastes you might check what you can find in the 30-35 foot niche but be warned that deals are very few and far between.
While I’ve not mentioned multhulls of the DIY sort I’ll go on record and say that finding an inexpensive multihull in the under 40-foot niche is, more than likely going to be a DIY boat. The downside is that a lot of folks consider home-built boats inferior and, to be honest, there’s a valid reason as the old adage of…
“You build your first boat for your worst enemy, the second for a friend, and the third for yourself.”
… which has more than a passing resemblance to reality and, as a result, there are some truly heinous examples of boat butchery laying in wait with a “For Sale” sign laying in wait for the unwary.
More on the subject of home-built designs, what they should cost and building yourself in the near future…