Discussion of market for small sailboats referencing Talman Menemsha 24 and Katama 25

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Stephen Ditmore, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Waterwitch
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    Waterwitch Senior Member

    Off the top of my head builders of fiberglass traditional boats of that size include. Cape Cod Ship Builders, Classic Boat Shop, and Marshall Marine,
    as far as potential competition goes. Plenty of wooden boat builders who work in that size range too, if your potential customer wanted a real wooden boat.
    I built a Bob Baker designed 20 ft sloop, his boats are pretty sweet looking.
     
  2. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Normally the high end downsize type is 65 or 70 years old !!!!! with bad knees and a need to go pee pee way to often

    Im sure each has his own particular need in a boat.

    Ive got a client now that is 84. He has owned many boats...racing yachts, cruisers and has hundreds of thousands of sailing miles. When I walk down the dock with him talking about shipyard work or the latest Yard bill , his eyes wander to small motorboats.
    No more crew, no more hassle , just jump in ,twist the key and enjoy the day.
    A small...25 to 30 ft ...highly detailed motorboat is a winner.

    By highly detailed Im mean user friendly for old people. Easy to get off , easy to get on after a swim, proper ergonomics, a proper head shower arrangement, a big ship like wheelhouse and nav station to hang out in, quite so that you can tell sea stories while underway, thrifty with a long fuel range so that you dont have to fight at the fuel dock on saturday morning and most important ....good looking, distintive lines..... so that when you wave at your mates in their 100 footers they recognize you.

    Too many times I see motorboats with nicely drawn lines, but when I look closely the designer has fallen short and detailed the boat for THE MASSES. All things for all people. Huge interior, sleeps six, with a cabin house the comes to the shear and no side deck, making fore and aft movement on deck impossible for old timers.

    I would be a good design addition to your portfolio...the senior yachtsmans day cruiser motorboat. Not too big, not too small.
     
  3. Dryfeet
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    Dryfeet Junior Member

    Trailerable is over rated unless it can be towed behind today's small cars and hybrids. The Katama/Menemsha is a pretty boat but way too heavy to reasonably be considered trailerable (unless it's once in the spring and once in the fall).

    You'll be hard pressed to produce it for $125k and even 150k. Very small market. Even a Stuart Knockabout, (an open 28' daysailer) runs $85k plus these days.

    Go light weight. Go fuel efficient. Use modern technology and design. Btw, How do you make a million bucks in the Marine business?

    Start with 2 (or 3) million.... Get out before it's gone!
     
  4. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    Before you burst a blood vessel take a look at my post #2.
     
  5. Dryfeet
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    Dryfeet Junior Member

    Doood. Sounds to me like I was reinforcing that and giving good reasons. No bursting going on here. Follow your dreams, laddy!
     
  6. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    Sorry for the snark. My point is I'm OK with light & modern if that's what the market's looking for. Is it?
     
  7. Chenier
    Joined: Oct 2012
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    Chenier Junior Member

    I looked at a decent Menemsha recently. The purchase price would have probably been about $5k by the time we got through. The primary reason I might have gone that high was the boat's low-hours Yanmar, which had some real value. As noted in the original post, one of the main appeals was the relative trailerability. The width really is the advertised 8 feet, and the skeg keel is manageable for trailering. The keel is also ideal for its namesake sailing venue (the name adds a bit to the cache in these parts, of course, though that may not be so much appreciated outside New England, and in any event may be a separate issue, as I'll get to). The ‘problem’ is the Menemsha's weight, at 6,000 pounds (3,000 in the keel) is too much for any of my current trailers or my current tow vehicle.

    The main reason for my considering this at all is price-for-the-size boat and engine. It would be difficult to envision buying one of these new under any circumstances. To have that kind of demand, a boat type has to have two elements -- and even that may not be enough, as many well-regarded builders of well-regarded boats have learned:
    1. A strong class association
    2. Active and competitive racing (especially important for generating new-boat demand)

    Looking at other ‘classic’ racing classes that are still building – Marshall for a good example, or maybe the resilient Beetle Cats – those two factors are key drivers.

    Competitive sailors want fast boats and don’t mind paying up to be competitive (nice, competitive versions of the small Beetle Cat will often command a higher sale price than a pristine Menemsha). The paradox for the industry is that I’d be willing to pay more even for a new Laser -- which I would use exclusively as a race boat -- than I would for a Menemsha. For competitive racing, the seemingly small differences matter and sailors will pay up for new boats (and even still, with continued Olympic status, Laser’s US builder is now seriously struggling - it's tough out there!).

    If I were going to spring for a new trailerable ‘classic , I might consider a Marshall 18 (Sanderling) which weighs in at 2,200 – which is within the range of my trailers and vehicle – but which more importantly is a strong class with active racing. The Sanderling's $38k price tag might give me pause, but if I were really into that class I might rationalize it. If I was looking for something in the Menemsha’s size and displacement range for local cruising use, shallow draft, and decent accommodations, I might look at a Marshall 22 (available also with some attractive rig alternatives) which in sloop rig has a classic look and much friendlier accommodations than the Menemsha. But even with that, at the Marshall's $80k new price there are some other wonderful used boats. I'm probably rambling - these are simply a couple of examples out of many - but the point is that to rationalize new construction, you need the demand of an active and competitive class.

    If you were looking to revive and build a classic in that size and price general category, you might look at something along the lines of a Cape Dory 25D (but not the Cape Dory 25 of course) – not really trailerable but a well-regarded and still sought-after boat. The cost-to-build to original specs might be prohibitive, but that's true with all of these.

    If you were going to build and market Menemsha’s you might also remember that it appears you are getting the molds only and not the brand name. We see that the original builder (not Chase) is still selling just the plans for the Menemsha that anyone can pick up and build if they want. You would possibly still have to acquire the brand if you were going to market this. If anyone was into really into it, they might end-run your efforts. If you didn't also get the brand rights, you might have an uphill marketing battle.

    Anyway, just some thoughts. Before jumping into something like this, I’d join a class that I loved and appreciated and if anything maybe revive some class that has an enthusiastic following. Some classic boats are truly missed, but even so their builders couldn't make a living building them. If you can find one and do better, good luck. I would use current resale as a tell-tale for current consumer demand for any model or type. But before I went too far with the Menemsha, I would work up an estimate of cost-to-construct. That would be particularly interesting for this thread, so if you would like to share those projections at some point that would be educational, and appreciated.
     
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  8. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    Having also grown up in Massachusetts I'm certainly familiar with the Cape Dory, but to me the Menemsha/Katama looks like something out of Chapelle, while the Cape Dory doesn't. Since my inclination at the moment is to back away from building this boat I probably never will work up a detailed estimate, but my feeling is that if the molds are usable the cost could be kept under 6 figures.

    I think you've hit the nail on the head that any market discussion involves looking at what motivates people to sail and what's going to get them excited enough to meet the cost. What sort of boat could get you to ditch your Laser were a fleet forming in your area? Are you like me, Chenier, potentially interested in everything from Atlantic Class to A-Cats?

    I prefer a development classes to one-design, with handicap racing somewhere between. I like seeing different designs compete.
     
  9. salglesser
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    salglesser Junior Member

    Hi Stephen,

    We recently began a new boat company. We began with the designer in 2009. Proto tested in 2010. First production boat in the summer of 2011. We're making a 17' high tech "Pocket Cruiser". Sage Marine.com

    Sharpii2 had some good advice about trailer sailors. Small Craft Advisor is THE magazine for small craft. They do a good job. The SCAMP was created by Small Craft Advisor. There is currently a company tooling up for fiberglass production. (Gig Harbor)

    As far as the trailer sailor market, there is a sailing event in Arizona in February called the "Havasu Pocket Cruiser Convention", put on by Sean Mulligan. Great event for the genre. Already almost 200 boats signed up of many marques. A visit during the show would offer much information about the trailer sailboats and the market.

    Building sailboats is a labor of love. Not for making big money unless you're Macgregor or Catalina.

    sal
     
  10. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    Would you be interested in making lots of these boats !! send me PM
     
  11. salglesser
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    salglesser Junior Member

    Hi Tunnels, Thanx for the offer.

    I just got back from China Monday. I travel there regularly.

    We thought about production in China, we make other products there, but decided against it at this time. We're laying up the boats in Colorado and it's just a small production facility. Lot of carbon fiber in the layup. At this time, I question whether the market is large enough for high production. It's a very specialized niche design.

    Do you build boats?

    sal
     
  12. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    Thanks, Sal! I may want to contact you and learn more about your experience sometime, if you're willing. I'm leaning toward starting with kits and beginning with canoes, then perhaps kayaks, with the labor of love being trimaran sailing versions.

    CLC is the big player in the kit game these days, of course. I like the stuff Chris Ostlind is doing, and PAR. But I'm one who tends to think if what I'm doing isn't a little different it's not worth doing, so hopefully my designs will distinguish themselves, and perhaps I can help others do panel expansions along the way or become the go-to guy for some other specific thing.

    My avitar is a launch I sketched a while back to have a wake-cancelling semi-displacement hull. Now I see some designs like it. But it seems most powerboat buyers want a high top-end speed, so even if they're not going that fast most of the time you're forced to design for it. Perhaps powerboats are an area where I'll continue to hang back for now, but it gets me a little when I see something and think "I was sketching that a decade ago!" I'm probably not the only one to have that reaction to the "Working Class Wing" article in the new issue of Professional Boat Builder, but I gotta give the Johnston brothers credit for making it happen. And they claim to have had the initial idea quite a while back, so if the article has the timeline right I can't claim to have been ahead of them. Despite my tinge of envy I'd really like to do a boat with their rig.

    I just looked at your website. For some reason I was thinking I was going to see a 17' powerboat. Now that I see it and re-read your post, it should have been clear to me. If you should want to expand your line I'd be happy to trade some sketches and see if there's a meeting of the minds.

    I'm also curious to know what you're working on, Tunnels. We have to find a market before we can fill it - but that's what this thread is all about. I'm wondering if the Korean market might grow - what sort of boat might a Korean buy? [My 18 year old daughter will be visiting Korea with her Korean boyfriend next month.]
     
  13. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    Hi
    From a personal point i also am not really wanting high production either have been there and done that half my life but would like to get into the type of work you are doing in a niche market of things specialized rather than just everyday production making things by the dozen .
    Apart from the building and manufacturing i have some one that would be interested in sales in anothe part of the planet !!
    Can we us PM from here on in !!! ;)
     
  14. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    They need to find mr Dong Young Kim he is mr marine industry in South korea He is the person that kicked it into gear back in 2007/8 he know everyone and everything happening there . i will have to go searching for is contact details if it can be of help !;)
     

  15. Stephen Ditmore
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    A little like this?
    http://www.frontstreetshipyard.com/boats/Lionheart-29.php
     
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