My answer to Is it worth it to own a sailboat?
Answer by Desmond Last:
Buy right and you will not lose your money.
Both the Powerboat and Yacht markets post World War Two, were specialized markets. You had to be a real boat person to want a boat.
Marinas were not so numerous as they are today and the disposable income was lower. Boats were not as user-friendly as they are now, and production was mostly for the domestic markets.
Fiber-glass post-war was still a ‘new’ material. Many boats manufactures relied on non-production methods of construction with the consequent high cost.
Then in 1979 oil prices doubled from $52 a barrel to $111 a barrel. 1979 energy crisis
As oil is used to make fiber-glass resin a lot of the small boat manufacturers went out of business.
Production did not get going again till the mid-eighties Then the large manufactures began to export. The economies of scale brought about by mass production created barriers to entry for new small manufacturers.
The world climbed out of recession. Economic reform and import controls freed up capital – the boat industry took off.
When I was selling boats from my brokerage on Sydney Harbor – Sydney Boat Sales, there was one yacht in particular which was money in the bank. The Compass 29. It was made from 1974–79. It only ever gained in price.
As more people enter the boating market the boats that were made in that period, between 1979 and the mid-eighties, are much sought after. Boats made after that period increased in price considerably, and the Beneteau style with fin keel became the vogue. Fixed keel were too slow and expensive to build.
Buy a yacht from that period and you will not lose, you may even gain in price. But be careful. Buying older yachts can be a minefield.
Golden rule number one is do not buy a boat without an out of water survey by a qualified marine surveyor.
Osmosis, which is the deterioration of the layers of fiber glass with water ingress, should be checked for by your surveyor. It was a problem in the late seventies as the high oil price produced cheaper resins.
As the boat market continues to increase, the pool of yachts built when demand was lower, have become much sought-after. They represent very good value.
Even though I was based in Sydney we sold boats overseas, and sold boats for owners bringing them into Australia. The value of older boats is the same all over the world.
Buy well, look after well and you will get your money back.