Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-22-2015, 07:52 PM   #1
Guru
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 660
Where Have All The Smaller Trawlers Gone?

I know I cannot be the only one noticing the ongoing trend of builders no longer offering their smaller models as they focus on larger new designs and chase the higher rate of returns on their investments. While business decisions are the reasons provided when you ask the question, one has to wonder if the builders lust to greater profits isn't the real reason. It doesn't take a CEO Business person to recognize if a company expands to build larger boats, the capital costs and overhead required to support the build process of these higher cost boats has to spread over every boat. Thus the boat that once represented the beginning of their product line is no longer. If a builder does offer to build the smaller boat the costs will shock you.

This trend is not just with trawlers, today I was reading about a builders new 50' day boat and read where he discontinued two of his smaller models including the smallest boat in the line-up.

So what does this add up to for everyone (who is not wealthy) looking for the entry level boat in a specific builders line-up? Instead of viewing this as the "glass half empty" I have to wonder if this increasing void is a business opportunity for a few high quality builders?

Curious to hear what other have to say about this trend.

John T.
__________________
Advertisement

N4061 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 09:10 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
City: Bohemia
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 140
I think that trend is what the public wants. As a former sail boater, I have seen this happen in front of my eyes/ I joined a sailing club in 1989, I had a 25' Catalina. There were 22 boats. A few 22', a bunch of 25' and some 30' and (2) 34'. I was in that club for 15 years. When I left, the smallest boat was a 28; and we went up to 42'. Now, according to the magazines, the most popular boats are 45 - 50 footers. It's what the "boomers" want, and I guess they have the money.
__________________

chester613 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 09:27 PM   #3
Guru
 
healhustler's Avatar
 
City: Longboat Key, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bucky
Vessel Model: Krogen Manatee 36 North Sea
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,181
Quote:
Originally Posted by N4061 View Post
So what does this add up to for everyone (who is not wealthy) looking for the entry level boat in a specific builders line-up?

John T.
Entry level!? When I take a look at what's available from outfits like Selene, KK, Nordhavn and many others, I'm not sure that term is any part of a philosophy or intention. I suppose Searay, Bayliner and the sub 25 ft. Mfgrs. will need to defend the term. I was sad to see the 39 KK dropped from the line, but market talks.
__________________
Larry

"I'd rather be happy than dignified".
healhustler is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 09:37 PM   #4
Guru
 
O C Diver's Avatar
 
City: Fort Myers, FL... Summers in Crisfield, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Slow Hand
Vessel Model: Cherubini Independence 45
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4,823
This is not a new concept. One only has to look to the automotive industry. When foreign car manufactures enter the USA market, they almost invariably started with small economy cars. After building brand loyalty, they start to build larger more comfortable cars with greater profit margins. The business model assumes that as there customers age and become more financially successful they will want more luxury and are willing to pay a higher price to a company they have brand loyalty with. One can look to companies like Grand Banks, Nordic Tug, maybe Nordhaven, and Kadey Krogan as examples of this business model. This model runs into trouble when they stop building the smaller models where younger consumers start.

Ted
__________________
Blog: mvslowhand.com
I'm tired of fast moves, I've got a slow groove, on my mind.....
I want to spend some time, Not come and go in a heated rush.....
"Slow Hand" by The Pointer Sisters
O C Diver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 09:48 PM   #5
Guru
 
Nomad Willy's Avatar
 
City: Concrete Washington State
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Willy
Vessel Model: Willard Nomad 30'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,724
The reason to drop the smallest boats in the line up is that as a manufacturer grows they optimize the facility for the new bigger boats. It is expensive to build a small boat in a big boat manufacturing facility.

How did Chris Craft do it? They had a line of boats that ranged from an 8' plywood kit boat to a 62' motor yacht. I'll bet they had several different size and types of facilities.

That's my theory anyway.
__________________
Eric

North Western Washington State USA
Nomad Willy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 09:51 PM   #6
Art
Guru
 
Art's Avatar
 
City: SF Bay Area
Country: USA
Vessel Model: Tollycraft 34' Tri Cabin
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 7,986
There are many, many relatively small (30' to 40') "Entry Level" pleasure cruisers (often called trawlers) available... nearly everywhere. It's just that they are usually a couple decades or more old... but they are here being sold. Some come from great builders as well as still being in really good condition. Just make sure the one you get had great upkeep from its PO. And, these small to mid sized babys are really, really inexpensive compared to new boats. They are a win-win. Just as much fun, often at less than 1/10th the cost! Also, they have already depreciated so at resale you don't get knocked for a loop!

Used boats purchased with cash have class. New boats too often have $$$ payments.

Each to their own!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Craig, Taune, Linda Morning Coffee.jpg
Views:	118
Size:	196.5 KB
ID:	47589  
Art is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 09:55 PM   #7
Guru
 
MYTraveler's Avatar
 
City: West Coast
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 853
Quote:
Originally Posted by N4061 View Post
the ongoing trend of builders no longer offering their smaller models as they focus on larger new designs and chase the higher rate of returns on their investments. While business decisions are the reasons provided when you ask the question, one has to wonder if the builders lust to greater profits isn't the real reason.
As a business guy, let me confirm that 98% of our major decisions (in my industry -- industrial real estate development) are focused on what to build to meet the demand of our customers. We try to build exactly what will be in demand, while consciously avoiding the influence of what we think should be demanded. Landscaping is an example. We try hard to hit the sweet spot, not too much (which looks great, but at the expense of the tenants, since the leases are NNN), or too little (which saves money, but looks like hell).
As much as we "lust" for profit, it is a dog-eat-dog world, and real estate (like recreational boat building) is very cyclical, so we are actually focused more on not losing money. I suspect boat builders, or at least the successful ones, approach these decisions the same way.
MYTraveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 10:01 PM   #8
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,380
The small trawler business is pretty strong. Ranger Tug sales are booming. Both AT and NT have pretty decent sales numbers reported for the 32 and 34 foot models. Back Cove is doing quite well. North Pacific continues to make decent vessels. Helmsman is moving a few new ones. Yada yada.

The market remains rife with decent 35 to 40 footers in the used recycle bin. John T, they are out there, not sure I understand the concern.
sunchaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 11:08 PM   #9
Veteran Member
 
City: Toledo
Country: USA
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 86
I think a lot of it probably has to do with the cost of the guts that get put into boats and that is shifting the curve in the express cruiser/center console market as well. Engines, electronics, running gear etc have gotten to be so expensive that even a small cruiser/center console is out of the reach of people shopping on price (It takes a pretty decent income to drop even 35-50k on a starter boat)the incremental cost to go up a few feet is not that significant, and for people who are going to spend 35k on a 20 footer it can seem like common sense to spend another 10 if it will get you into a 23 or 24 footer with all of the extra comfort that entails. When you start to talk about bigger boats in general the effect is multiplied. If I'm shopping for a 300-400k boat then I've got to be making enough money that another 100k is doable if the builder can make a case for it.

Too Long Didn't Read Version: Income inequality/bifurcation - the people buying big boats now are making way more money than the people buying boats 20-30 years ago.
devorenm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 11:42 PM   #10
Guru
 
Nomad Willy's Avatar
 
City: Concrete Washington State
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Willy
Vessel Model: Willard Nomad 30'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,724
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
The small trawler business is pretty strong. Ranger Tug sales are booming. Both AT and NT have pretty decent sales numbers reported for the 32 and 34 foot models. Back Cove is doing quite well. North Pacific continues to make decent vessels. Helmsman is moving a few new ones. Yada yada.

The market remains rife with decent 35 to 40 footers in the used recycle bin. John T, they are out there, not sure I understand the concern.
Tom,
Everything is relative so you're notion that a 34' boat is small dosn't float w me. A 32' NT is a lot bigger than my 30' boat and I'll bet the OP was talking about boats less than 30'. Like a 25' Albin or 26' NT.
__________________
Eric

North Western Washington State USA
Nomad Willy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 12:16 AM   #11
Al
Guru
 
Al's Avatar
 
City: ketchikan, Alaska
Country: usa
Vessel Name: 'SLO'~BELLE
Vessel Model: 1978 Marben-27' Flybridge Trawler Pilothouse Pocket Cruiser[
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,695
Didn't Nordic Tug revive the 26 footer a year or so ago?

Art comes close to a market segment, well kept smaller trawlers kept in excellent condition are available at a lesser cost.
These pocket trawlers usually have acquired a nice inventory of accessories in the area of electronics plus the usual 'after purchase' items making the deal even sweeter.
This from a fellow who always lets the first person take the depreciation hit, be it boat or car.
Besides, when invested in the used market, the 'two footitis' game is so much fun to play!!

Al-Ketchikan
Al is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 12:28 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Capn Craig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 418
New boat offerings and prices make no sense if you stop to think what your getting into. Fortunately for builders, dealers and lenders most people don't or can't think. I was absolutely amazed several years ago when a local dealer had an in the water boat shoe at my marina.
I walked around in disbelief one evening after returning from a fabulous day on the river in my 15 thousand dollar 'yacht'. I saw that i could own a new 20 something foot runabout for five or six times the price of what I had, and not have half what i already had (and paid for). The prices were not easily spotted, but what was easy to spot was how, for a few hundred a month, i could own one of these gems. You had to read the fine print to see you were signing up for a 15 to 20 year mortgage. Any of the offerings would be landfill stuff long before the note was paid off. The bigger stuff, might sell for 400K and you could buy it for a boat unit or so per month, (more months than the boat would live). What a deal, why would anyone pay 50K cash for a used one out of pocket w/ no financing available, when a new one was 1k/ month. They apparently sold lots of boats that weekend to poor unsuspecting fools.
a few years later, I had a boat in the slip next to mine that was for sale for 4 tears that I know of. Probably still for sale, the guy owed double what the thing was worth. He would come down to the slip every weekend and party on the dock, he really couldn;t afford to run it, a pair of 454 inboards can suck up a lot of gas on a day trip to sand bar 20 miles upriver. He couldn't afford to sell it for what it was worth, because he would have to come up with an equal amount of money out of pocket to pay off the ban k. so he partied at the dock as the boat continued to depreciate. How sad, but in reality it was a problem of his own creation.
I see pontoon boats selling for 100K+ that will be junk in 5 to 7 years when the the upholstery rots in the sun. And it is designed in way that it really can't be replaced economically. If you really want to see an economic disaster in the works, look at new houseboats.
Boat builders have to make a profit if they want to stay boat builders. The reality is that a big boat might sell for three or four times as much as a smaller one but may cost only twice as much to build. At the end of the day money matters.
There aren't nearly as many boaters as there used to be. Money is harder to get and way too many people are upside down on there boat loans. its not too surprising to me.
My boat is paid for, it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles and needs stuff but it's mine. I would love to be in the position to commission a new build, but its not going to happen. every boat I will ever own is already built. New builders are in a tough spot, they are not cultivating new buyers 10, 20 years down the road. My years in the agricultural equipment business showed me a small machine costs 80% of the cost of a big machine to build, same number of parts tends to cost the same, but needs to sell for half as much. It's a tough situation.
Capn Craig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 12:33 AM   #13
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Where there is a market, there will be a product. What I find far more intriguing to contemplate than big boats/small boats is what I think will be a huge change in the market for "stuff."

The boatbuilders today are riding the coat-tails of the baby-boom generation. Right now they're the ones with money and the desire to spend it on "big stuff." They are the ones who carried the American dream flag on the final leg of its journey. The house, the cars, the secure job with good pay, good pensions, and so on.

I think it's all going to change and change very fast as the baby boomers die off at an accelerating rate.

With the current exception of the tech industries, the fields that offered Americans good, steady, well-paying jobs, pensions, etc. are fading fast. For example the pension plan at the company I work for, Boeing, is ending at the end of this month. "Legacy" employees still have their pensions but they will no longer acquire "time" after December 31st. Instead the company will contribute more to an employee's 401K plan-- for awhile. But even this is going to be scaled back over the next few years. From here forward all employees hired by this company, including employees who were hired within the last x-years, will have no pension at all.

What used to be considered well-paying jobs and careers are increasingly being moved to other countries and regions with equal (or higher) productivity and quality but lower costs.

While it's more a discussion for OTDE, I think the day of the "affluent" average American is drawing to a close. I am meeting more and more people in the age range of 22 to 30 who make but a fraction of what I made when I was the same age and that's allowing for inflation and the changing value of the dollar. It's not that these folks are dumb or incapable, it's that the huge variety of jobs that were available to me are no longer available to them.

What this does to the boat-manufacturing market remains to be seen, but I suspect the business model they have been pursuing that has led them to produce ever-larger and more expensive boats is going to fade away, at least in this country. The market that will develop for those Americans who are interested in boating--- and where that number goes is a whole other topic--- will be for boats this emerging market can afford. And when discretionary income goes down it affects what companies build and try to sell.

So the trick is not to try to figure out what the boat makers will do. They'll do-- or at least try to do-- what the market dictates. The trick is to figure out how, as the country moves from the current normal to the new normal, this will affect the boat-buying market.

My gut feel is that it's not going to be pretty. But for the boat manufacturers I think there is a silver lining to all this. As Americans' buying power descends, the buying power in the regions that are increasingly doing the kind of work that used to be done here will see their buying power increase.

China is a great example of this. A few years ago I spent two months working in Xiamen, a smallish city on an island connected the southeast mainland by a set of bridges. Xiamen happens to be the location of the Nordhavn plant that builds the larger models.

For a lot of reasons, Xiamen is booming. New upmarket housing developments, some with man-made lagoons and waterways and docks. There were SeaRay billboards all over the place. The city boasted Ferrari, Maserati, Bentley, and Land Rover/Range Rover dealerships and Porsches were scurrying around like cockroaches.

So for the upmarket boat manufacturers, if they keep abreast of the global shifting of their market, they have the potential to keep right on doing what they're doing but for buyers other than Americans as that market slowly dies.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 12:41 AM   #14
Guru
 
City: Sydney
Country: Australia
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 1,354
Talking to a local boat builder about a month ago I asked the same question whats happened to smaller craft 26 to 30" not been built quick answer was they take about the same time and materials and no one will pay for what they cost to build !
gaston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 04:52 AM   #15
TF Site Team
 
Bay Pelican's Avatar
 
City: Chicago, IL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bay Pelican
Vessel Model: Krogen 42
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,796
The sense I have is that the market, as represented by the buyers' wants, has moved to larger boats. When I was looking for a trawler in the 90s the sweet spot in size was around 36 feet. There were all sorts of trawlers in this size range and at the end of the 90s Nordhavn came down from its initial 46 by introducting a 40 footer.

Made a conscious decision of which I was somewhat uncomfortable at the time of going with a large boat, a Krogen 42. Decades later the sweet spot appears to be 44 to 48 feet. The younger crowd (50-60) appear to be going for the 48s and 49s if not into the 50 footers. I have had several new owners tell me that they looked at the Krogen 42 and the Krogen 44 and found them to small for their needs.

Just as houses have more than doubled in size since 1960 it appears that the concept of what is needed on a boat has increased in size.

Fortunately, the fiberglass hulls of our current trawlers mean that those who are looking for boats in the 36-44 foot range will have a large selection of used boats from which to choose and at a price a fraction of the price for the larger boats.
__________________
Marty
Bay Pelican is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 07:27 AM   #16
Senior Member
 
David Rive's Avatar
 
City: Markham
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Loons Nest
Vessel Model: 2003 American Tug 34
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 236
Great Harbour has announce a trailerable trawler powered by 2 outboards. If I read their website correctly it will be 35 feet long. Introductory price is $215k. Built in Florida. It will be interesting to see if they get many takers.
David Rive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 07:52 AM   #17
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,380
Don't forget, SLOW trawlers are a niche boat. Slow means time and distance lost for the multitudes who enjoy weekends only. Maybe the "Paridise Lost" feeling is nothing more than a sign of growing older and being a bunch of grumpy old men.
sunchaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 08:32 AM   #18
Guru
 
Pgitug's Avatar
 
City: Punta Gorda, fl
Country: Usa
Vessel Name: Escapade
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 37 2002
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 989
Bigger is always better? For those of us that spend six months a year traveling and living on our boats one has to consider time and cost. Time to maintain and wash. Cost of dockage by the foot and fuel to travel. My top end choice was a 37 Nordic Tug. Two state rooms a must. NO canvas or plastic Windows! The 42 Nordic was so much heavier and burned 30% more fuel at the same speeds. The generator used 30% more fuel also. The larger vessel advantage was a second head. So the 37 was our best choice. Buy what fits your needs and enjoy the benefits of not being too big.
Pgitug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 09:29 AM   #19
Guru
 
City: Fort Myers
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 956
Bingo, profit margin is also much much less, one 50-60 footer reaps far more profit then a few 35's. The very wealthy will always have money, the middle class has been struggling for over a decade. The only turn helping the boating industry is falling fuel prices.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaston View Post
Talking to a local boat builder about a month ago I asked the same question whats happened to smaller craft 26 to 30" not been built quick answer was they take about the same time and materials and no one will pay for what they cost to build !
Marlinmike is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 10:34 AM   #20
Guru
 
TDunn's Avatar
 
City: Maine Coast
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Tortuga
Vessel Model: Nunes Brothers Raised Deck Cruiser
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 672
There is another factor that hasn't been explicitly discussed. The used boat market. I see that hitting our local boat builders. Over time they have gradually moved "up" in size. One builder started out building 26 footers and now mostly builds 40+ footers. Back when they were building smaller boats they found that after a few years their new builds were competing with their own boats being sold in the used market. People were making the decision to buy a 5 year old boat rather than spend 30-40% more for a new boat. So the builder started building larger models. Wash-rinse-repeat.

Also as stated above, the build time for a boat doesn't vary much from 26 to 35 feet. The per unit costs are higher for the larger boats, but not hugely so. So if you are looking at a new build occupying a space for 6 months would you choose to use that space to build a $100K boat with a 2% profit or a $300K boat with a 2% profit. On top of that options are a profit center. You can sell more expensive options on a $300K boat than on a $100K boat.

Finally, has anyone looked at the asking prices for new small trawler/tug yachts? Taking a look at the Ranger web site is interesting. Ranger's newest model, the outboard powered R-23 starts at $95K, an R-25 is $130K, the R-27 is $160K, the R29 is $210K to $225K and the R31 is $$270K-$280K. A new Nordic 26 starts at $225K. These "small" boats are simply out of reach for most people looking to get into boating. You can buy a lot of boat in the used boat market for a fraction of what a Nordic 26 or Ranger 29 costs.
__________________

TDunn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012