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Sailing Boom... and we don't mean your spar

Phil Herring

Dethroned Admin
Mar 25, 1997
4,700
Hunter 450 Bainbridge Island
Life is most definitely not normal in 2020, and in some unexpected ways. Outdoor recreation is in the spotlight this summer, causing a boom in recreational sailing.

Used boats are selling again, the world has used the entire Sunbrella supply, and we saw an ad this week for backup offers on new catamarans.

This is not normal.

What's going on in your sailing grounds? Are there more boats on the water? More boats in boatyards? Are brokers buying new(er) cars?

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May 1, 2011
1,468
Pearson 37 Lusby MD
Lots of big boats were out on the mouth of the Patuxent River Saturday afternoon. There are more boats than usual still on the hard.
 
Jan 11, 2014
5,784
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
In Central NY there are very few if any new trailerable power boats available, there are no $500 recreational kayaks available, and it is very hard to find Clausen Deli Dill pickles (the refrigerated kind).

The theory is people are taking vacation money they can't spend and buying toys like powerboats. What that means for the used boat market in a few years is anybody's guess. I suspect there will be a lot boats for sale once things settle back down and the pandemic fades away.
 
Feb 20, 2011
7,410
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
Well, my part of Mexico has decided to stop fining recreational sailing as of yesterday.
We'll still practice proper procedures.
 
Jun 3, 2004
31
Catalina 34MKII 1717 Merritt Island, FL
I have not seen much change in the Merritt Island, FL area. I have been sailing 1-2 times per week.
 

DougM

.
Jul 24, 2005
1,887
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
I’m beginning to think I might as well sell my boat. Its sitting on the hard and I am a thousand miles away. Where the boat is located, the water level is at a near record high, making the boat vulnerable to damage where I dock it. That means I have to pay additional storage costs. Where I am right now its too blasted hot to sail and there isn’t much wind anyway. Oh well, I suppose life could be worse.
 
Feb 3, 2015
281
Marlow Hunter 37 Reefpoint Marina Racine, WI
In my area, more boats still on the hard. Marina itself is about the same due to Illinois harbors being closed for some time and a few other harbors damaged due to high water.
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,616
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
There is activity out on the water. During my weekday 3 day cruise we saw other boaters in the anchorage land using the state bouys. Looking more like normal summer time activity.

I have heard from one boat manufacturer that they are running 2 shifts and have more orders than they have boats (Smoker Craft). A NW trailer manufacturer is also dealing with more demand than supply. So I guess it can be called a boom.

At the marina still an awful lot of the boats are sitting in their slips. Looks like less than 20% are out on the water.

There are boats being listed with some craft having brokers signs marking them available. Only one flyer, where there were 6 or so Last year, hung on the community bulletin board near the dock gates.

It is good to see owners working on their boats in the marina. Even better to see that some of the older project boats have new sails and are now being tested by the owners to see if the work they have done has improved their boat.

My last observation was at the North Sail loft in Seattle. On a Monday the unpacking area was full of boxes. They have had a busy sales season. A fair number of boat owners will be flying new canvas this year. It is tough to reach Jack, the Manager, even on the phone. So suspect this has been a good year for the sail manufacturer.

Is this a new norm or just the frenzy before a new storm. My crystal ball is pretty murky.
 
Jan 19, 2010
8,520
Hunter 26 Charleston
I went sailing yesterday. Not much wind so motored more than sailed. I was the only sailboat on the water. Saw a few pontoon boats and a few jet skis but no other sailboats.

Of course, as soon as I got home the wind picked up...:banghead:
 
Jan 11, 2014
5,784
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
My last observation was at the North Sail loft in Seattle. On a Monday the unpacking area was full of boxes. They have had a busy sales season. A fair number of boat owners will be flying new canvas this year. It is tough to reach Jack, the Manager, even on the phone. So suspect this has been a good year for the sail manufacturer.

Is this a new norm or just the frenzy before a new storm. My crystal ball is pretty murky.
If you go to the Defender website they have a disclaimer about same day shipping. The couple of orders I've made have been shipped the same day, but they were small orders. I"ve heard through the grapevine, Defender is busier than ever.

I think this is the frenzy in the middle of the store. Eventually there will be a vaccine, eventually there will be more effective treatments, and most folks who adopted boating as a new activity will go back to old pastimes. Of course, if some of them don't change their ways now, there may not be any one left to buy their powerboats. Last weekend there was a raft up of somewhere around 20-30 boats and no social distancing or masks.
 

Ferina

.
Sep 7, 2015
7
Hunter 25.5 Longboat Key
My son's friend works for MaxMarine here in Florida and says that boats are selling fast and people are settling for second choices as their first choice has already gone.
 
Jun 28, 2020
1
Laguna Laguna 22 Geneva Lake
I would certainly agree that life is not the same this year on the water. Our area on Geneva Lake in WI has been so busy that we made CNN with the crowds. Part of that was during the time window when IL was still locked up and WI opened. The result was wall to wall boats in the bays. No way one could sail. By chance, we had put our Laguna 22 up for sale and I did get a rash of contacts from brokers but not much attention by individuals. Unfortunately had to move to power this year but still will not go out on weekends.

I also noticed that the West Marine I went to was very low on stock and items I tried to order were delayed or out of stock. Same with some of the other online vendors. The water world is going crazy. Most of our local dealers have very few used boats on hand. When we finally recover from this pandemic, I suspect there will be a lot of boats of all kinds on the market.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,361
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
Starting this spring, our local sailboat racing groups officially canceled summer racing. Almost immediately all the groups scheduled informal no-trophy races for the same weekends and evenings. Social distancing was mandated (single hand or family groups), and a visible number of sailboats are out on the water, regularly. No club or social activities are available for after-race, or before.
As for sales, there are persistant rumors that brokers are really seeking new listings, but I have no data to prove it.
It would be interesting to see the actual title transfer info part of the state's boating database....
(?)
 
Jun 8, 2004
2,393
Catalina 320 Dana Point
Few months ago the year round "run what you brung" Thursday afternoon "retired guy" races were down to half a dozen boats, this week was back to over 20. We haven't been to the boat since Friday because it gets too crowded on weekends in the harbor and it's like playing frogger trying to get from the car to the dock gate. Broker friends were working 7 days a week but they are running out of boats to sell.
Oh, the Yacht Clubs have begun their sanctioned race series with masks worn.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,335
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Life is most definitely not normal in 2020, and in some unexpected ways. Outdoor recreation is in the spotlight this summer, causing a boom in recreational sailing.

Used boats are selling again, the world has used the entire Sunbrella supply, and we saw an ad this week for backup offers on new catamarans.

This is not normal.

What's going on in your sailing grounds? Are there more boats on the water? More boats in boatyards? Are brokers buying new(er) cars?

View attachment 182784
A friend who runs an inland storage yard of mostly sailboats told me season 2020 is hectic. Not only with launchings but also people looking for used boats. He said it's been crazy. But that's just one reference.

Boat traffic is lighter than usual but still strong, especially in smaller paddle craft. Everybody wants onto the water right now as daytime temps are nearing 90 and our harbor water has gone as high as 70.

Realestate brokers are the other hand are reporting brisk activity. A broker friend has had a couple of sales sight -unseen. He just flashed some video from his phone to an out of state buyer (likely an urban dweller), who made an offer on the spot. Some just want out.

Everything has changed.
 
Sep 25, 2018
219
Catalina Capri 22 Capri EXPO 14.2 1282 Stony Point
On the Hudson most boats are on the hard. At best a third of slips are being used. I launched in May but haven't sailed much because of the heat. I cannot remember such a hot and dry June and July hasn't gotten better. 90-95 every day with humidly to match. In the mornings there is no wind. when the wind kicks up so does the temperature. Still locked at home and no good use of this time (plenty of fix it's but no sailing). Can't imaging how August will be. That's the month I rarely go sailing because of the heat.
See you in September.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,161
Hunter 30 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Most boats up my way are on land. We have a lot of Canadians that come across the border to sail but the border is closed so none of them can get to their boats. My marina is so blocked up with boats that can't go in the water, many of us can't move our boats. Mine is wedged in a corner where I can't get it out. Plus, where I have a mooring, no moorings have been put out due to sundry difficulties. I won't be able to sail this year. Sigh....

dj
 
Jan 22, 2008
648
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
I don't know if boat sales have increased around here in SE Texas, but in the last few months, one couple that sails with me sold their Hunter 31 and bought and moved aboard a Morgan 40 something, and a dockmate moved up from a Tartan 28 to a Beneteau 36.7. Two other regular crew are both looking at the same 38 footer.
My marina seems to have more open slips, but larger boats in the occupied slips.
I have sailed a lot this year. We missed a couple weekends during the total county lockdowns around March and with Hanna, last weekend. Otherwise in 2020, I've done 29 single race, one day local bay regattas, a couple day sails, and a race as crew on another boat. Some of the races were 50 boats, some were 5 boats.
Lately, there are a lot of boats on the bay, more than usual, from pontoon boats to 100' motor yachts.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,840
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
We went out to check on the boat last night, in a 35 minute drive, we counted 28 boats on trailers heading back to the city. On a Tuesday night?
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,811
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
We netted 9 new members so far this year. It's hard to figure the demographics. Both young and old are joining.