Sunday, January 17, 2010

Market Update: Alerion Express

The brokerage market has shown an encouraging level of activity over the last 8 weeks - typically one of the quietest periods of the year. This indicates an even more robust selling season between now and May, a period when more buyers enter the market. Nationally, sailboat sales in December were up 42% over the same month for 2008.

The Alerion Express market continues to be one of the bright spots here at McMichael. In addition to the 5 NEW Alerions sold by McMichael in November (see November's Market Update), we have closed deals on 4 brokerage AE-28's since December 1st.

With the Alerion factory booked through to July, the brokerage market should continue to heat up; if you're interested in a brokerage Alerion for this Spring, the time to act is now! Click here to see our listings.

All of the activity has kept me quite busy, working six days a week to keep up with the inbound inquiries, monitor the new boats I have in production, and continue to market my listings aggressively. It's not such a glamorous job in the winter: there's nothing like running around a frozen boatyard to find an aluminum ladder, climbing ten feet up to an icy deck and sitting in a cabin to talk about a boat's merits while you can see your breath!

Monday, December 21, 2009

J/95, J/97, Summit 35 All Win "Boat of the Year" Awards

Just a quick post to highlight some "Boat of the Year" awards that have just been announced in the sailing press. We're happy to have our lines at the top of the list!

SAIL Magazine 2010 Boat of the Year, Performance category
Sailing World 2010 Overall Boat of the Year
Cruising World 2010 Domestic Boat of the Year
Cruising World 2010 Boat of the Year, "Weekender" category

Sailing World 2010 Boat of the Year, Club Racer category

Summit 35:
Sailing World "Best IRC Racer" 2010

Monday, December 14, 2009

J/111: Made to Go Fast

There has been a tremendous amount of buzz surrounding the J/111 since the new design was announced at the Annapolis Boat Show. Many people have noted that some of the styling is a subtle departure from typical J designs, but overall it is pure J/Boat. The development of the 111 was motivated by an owner looking for a new boat for the Sydney-Hobart race - he'll be racing hull #1 in that event in December 2010.

We now have the full specs and pricing for the boat, and I'm really excited about what the team at J/Boats has put together. This is a boat that is going to be fast, versatile, and easy to sail. And did I already say fast?

Unlike the latest crop of IRC-optimized designs that have higher displacement numbers, the 111 is a lightweight boat, made to get up on a plane downwind and hit double-digit speeds. A carbon fiber mast, high sail area to displacement ratio, two-metal keel and low cabin house make this possible. The standing headroom, functional galley and nav station assure broad enough market appeal that a One Design class should take shape. Here are some dimension comparisons that you should find enlightening:

All that power is made manageable with the deck features you expect from a J/Boat - outboard shrouds for a non-overlapping headsail, floor mounted traveler and a retractable sprit. This will be a very easy boat to sail, and it will sail very fast.

The J/111 will be built at CCFC in Bristol RI - same builder as the J/95 and J/100. So far I've been impressed with their work and they have the capacity to ramp up production as needed. With nearly 20 J/111 hulls reserved so far, it might be needed!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

J/95 Fixed Keel Renderings

J/95 #9 molds next week, and the engineering to replace the keel/centerboard with a fixed keel is in place. Comparing the K/CB version side-by-side to the fixed keel version (drawing 5'6") really helps you see the difference in chord length, and I can't wait to see how she sails in comparison to the standard K/CB configuration which performs great!

This stage is really my favorite part of the job - only with a new boat does every option get chosen purely based on how well it serves the client's needs. Finalizing decisions from sails & electronics to more cosmetic items like Awlgrip & upholstery is a detail-rich process, and watching the boat come together is fun too!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Market Update

Time for a long-overdue look at how the market is bearing up in the last quarter of 2009.

Going into the Newport International Boat Show this year, my biggest question was would we see new boat sales return this Fall (the usual season for ordering new boats for Spring delivery). Remember, the Lehman Brothers collapse came on the last day of 2008's Newport show - an unfortunate bit of timing.

This year's Newport show was considerably smaller (for example, Tartan/C&C had just one boat on display, instead of their usual 5+), but the mood of show-goers was much more positive, with some people ready to move forward on new boats. Their were only a handful of truly new boats at the show, and McMichael was proud to be representing most of them: the Summit 35, the J/95 and J/97, and the MJM 40z.

In the weeks after the show, my big question was answered: I was able to finalize sales on a new J/95 (the first to come to WLIS) and a new Alerion Express 28. The rest of the McMichael team secured a Summit 35 sale (also the first in the area), 3 more Alerion 28's and an Alerion 38. Not bad at all!

The brokerage market continues to be extremely competitive (sellers competing for buyers) and getting a deal done takes more effort than ever. Another reason to have a good broker working for you! We now have some hard data for 2009 that compares units sold and value between 2008 and 2009. Did you buy a boat in the first half of 2009? Then congratulations, you timed the bottom of the market correctly. But values are STILL down over 10%, and some outstanding deals remain available. The good new for sellers is that units sold on a per-month basis have finally returned to 2008 levels. The table below provides some interesting data (click for larger size):

Monday, September 21, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes

The 2009 Newport International Boat Show has come and gone, and it was a big change from last year. The mood in 2008 was already cautious, and when Lehman Brothers collapsed on the last day of the show it didn't exactly lift spirits.

Fortunately, this year's show arrived on a rising tide of economic optimism, and attendees were clearly in a better mood. I can't speak for everyone, but I have more prospects for new boat sales this winter than last.

The in-water portion of the show was noticeably smaller than last year, with fewer boats on display. But the McMichael crew was busy with the debut of FOUR brand new models, plus the full fleet of Alerion Express yachts.

The Summit 35 from designer Mark Mills hit the water just in time for the show, and build quality (from Edgewater in Florida) was excellent. Designer Mark Mills was on hand to discuss how owners could further optimize this IRC-rocket for their particular sailing venue. The Summit 35's big sister, the King 40, was at the show as well.

J/Boats has continued their tradition of bringing innovation to a lagging market, with the arrival of the first J/97 racer/cruiser from France, and the J/95 keel/centerboard daysailor. A beautiful Stars & Stripes blue J/100 was also on hand. Since all three boats are between 31 and 33 feet, the most common question at the J booth was "How are these different?" Here's a quick answer:


A truly dual-purpose boat with the potential for racing at the most competitive level, as well as comfortable cruising for a small family - full galley, enclosed aft cabin, great interior.


A keel/centerboard daysailor for those that want J-level performance, but the ability to sail or dock the boat in just 3 feet of water. Spacious and ergonomic cockpit with wheel steering and plenty or room to move around.

J/100 - The purist's daysailor: very fast, very simple, with tiller steering and a carbon rig for an optimal sailing experience.

Finally, the MJM booth proudly displayed the new 40z. This one has been out for awhile but was making her first boat show appearance in the Northeast, to rave reviews.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by, especially the ones who mentioned this blog! You know who you are...