Archive for » August 16th, 2014«

Buyer's market for old sail boats



Glitzy yacht marinas throughout New Zealand are hiding a dirty little secret – thousands of worthless boats riddled with “pox”.

Pox affects many of the older New Zealand-made fibreglass or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) boats that created a cheap entry to what was previously a rich person’s pastime, in the 1980s and 90s. Pox makes the hull look like it’s covered in blisters but the end result is a hull that will eventually let in water, creating the floating equivalent of a leaky building.

Pox, or osmosis, is similar to rust in a car – treatable, but expensive. “Osmosis isn’t the kiss of death, but it is kissing away $30,000 on a 40-foot boat. It’s curable but it costs money,” says Christine Bird, of Auckland’s Busfield Marine Brokers.

Pox, coupled with a downturn in those entering the market for a boat since the 2008 global financial crisis, has created a band of owners with unsellable boats.

“The market is pretty sad,” Bird says.

“Auckland is still a city of sails but there are a huge number of used boats on the market.”

Marine Inspections’ Mike Menzies, a specialist in GRP boats, is equally gloomy. “They are shabby and tired,” he says of the old GRP boats, “they are just worn out. The fleet is getting to the age where time is catching up.”

Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie also concedes there are problems selling boats. “The buyer has the upper hand these days.”

The sinking boat market has been dominating the country’s most popular sailing web discussion panel at crew.org.nz with some contributors suggesting that talking about the problem isn’t helping sell boats. The discussion was kicked off by a person claiming that the number of sailors had fallen sharply. “Who is going to buy our used yachts?” he asked.

Trade Me this week had 1090 yachts for sale. The nation’s keeler fleet is about 6000 boats, many 20 to 30 years old.

Another sailor said his yacht “sucks money” but no one wanted to buy it so he was trapped with it.

Menzies said anyone thinking the time was right for a bargain might be right but warned that fixing an old boat isn’t cheap. “They are full of osmosis, stuffed engines, original wiring and when you add it all up I just say to people, ‘[the seller] should just give you the boat’. They get to the stage where they are worth nothing.”

Bird doesn’t solely blame pox for the ebbing market, with the high kiwi dollar also playing a role.

She says a new imported 12-metre Bavaria 41 keeler can be purchased for $325,000 with extras. Similar-sized New Zealand second-hand boats are going for $270,000, and “they’re old boats with old issues”, she said.

– Sunday Star Times



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Officials set to begin investigation of sailing tragedy

Officials from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board arrived in West Cork to begin their probe into the sailing tragedy that took the life of a 66-year-old English man and forced his two elderly friends to swim a kilometre to shore.

Douglas Perrin died when his 5.5m yacht capsized off Schull on Wednesday evening. Mr Perrin had a holiday home at nearby Dunbeacon with his wife Judith who raised the alarm when he, and two friends who were staying at their home, didn’t return from a day sailing.

Marian Browne, aged in her 60s and her partner Pat Anwyl, in his 70s, were rescued by Schull Inshore Lifeboat 12 hours after the Zillah is believed to have overturned in what may have been a sudden squall on an otherwise calm Wednesday evening. They were taken to Bantry General Hospital where they were being treated for hypothermia.

It is understood Mr Perrin and his friends attempted to swim to shore as the boat drifted, but he could not make the distance.

The dead man was an experienced yachtsman. His body, which was found about 300m off Sherkin Island on Thursday morning, was taken to Cork University Hospital, where an autopsy took place that night.

The three abandoned the capsized Drascombe Lugger vessel, but only two of them managed the 1km swim to the north-west corner of Castle Island.

The pair spent the night on cliffs on the island but due to their high location, search teams had been unable to detect them earlier. They were found at 6.15am on Thursday.

After a medical assessment by the inshore lifeboat crew, the Shannon-based Helicopter Rescue 117 lifted the couple. It is understood they suffered minor injuries.

The upturned yacht was found aground on the western tip of the Southern Carthy Island later. It may have drifted for up to 6.5km from west of the area known as Amelia Rock.

According to the RNLI, the Drascombe Lugger, a day sailing boat, is popular in the area. Just last week, 20-30 of the boats had been in Schull for a Drascombe Lugger rally around West Cork islands and coast.

Lifeboat crews recovered the man’s body nearly 12 hours after the search began at 9pm on Wednesday.


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