Click for Burger Click for Ocean Alexander Click for Fendertex Click for Cross Click for Westport

Is the big SF market dead?

Discussion in 'General Sportfish Discussion' started by SHAZAM, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. SHAZAM

    SHAZAM Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    605
    Location:
    The Ghetto
    Is it just me or does it seem like there's literally no activity in this market for late model or new SF's (50'+)? Seems like everyone's gravitated towards the big center console market and the big old battle wagons are dead. Has the big SF gone the way of the dinosaur?
  2. Manny

    Manny Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    You know, I've been noticing the same thing. I've also noticed that center consoles are getting much bigger...
  3. SHAZAM

    SHAZAM Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    605
    Location:
    The Ghetto
    It seems that the only new stuff that's selling is being sold for well below cost (profit, what's that?), not to mention I've seen a lot of this going on as well. I've made my rounds over the last year or so and haven't seen anyone starting any new builds (custom and semi custom builders) and I've actually joked that if someone could figure out how to build a brand new used boat that they could sell for 60% off that their order books would be full!

    What remains to be seen a few years down the road is what's going to happen to the secondary market when there hasn't been new big SF's built for a while, that is unless the market segment and style of boat is on it's way out permanently?
  4. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    575
    Location:
    Windsor On. Canada
    I suspect $ is the driving force. Back when money grew on trees we didn't care where our descrencionary was spent because we just went back to the well as required. Now that well is a whole lot smaller for most folk so we're getting smarter and looking at ways to achieve our goals and desires (fun times that is) without spending as much.
    Just my opinion.
  5. SHAZAM

    SHAZAM Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    605
    Location:
    The Ghetto

    Of course, but those who were relying on easy borrowed money for their boats and hobbies are long gone. From what I've seen the remaining money is spent on cruisers and European style vessels and not on sf's.
  6. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,040
    Location:
    In The Bilge
    Several orders for eighty foot plus battle wagons are being completed by the custom builders in Stuart, Fl. Do a little digging on line and you'll find a treasure trove of pre sold new builds however, There are some builders in the states that have built on spec that havent had any luck selling their larger completed product such as Tribute custom yachts and a couple of others.
  7. SHAZAM

    SHAZAM Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    605
    Location:
    The Ghetto


    The fact that tribute is still sitting on that boat underscores the point I'm making. I knew there were a couple of bigger boats being built up there, perhaps I should refine my original post to boats from 40 to 75'?
  8. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    575
    Location:
    Windsor On. Canada
    I believe we are talking two different kinds of boater here as well, SF vs cruiser.
  9. Manny

    Manny Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    It seems like age is also a driving factor. In the case of a lot of my friends(and even I'm beginning to reach that point), the age of going sport fishing every weekend is starting to settle down. Most of my friends that own SF's decided they don't want to fish anymore and want to move to a motor yacht or sport cruiser, and some just want to get rid of boating all together. I think I'm keeping my SF just because my son loves fishing, so might as well keep him happy!
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    12,729
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Yes, this market from what I can see is very dead, the motoryacht market in this size has a little bit of action, but not as much. I think there are several factors......The biggest being the economy in many parts of the world..........Manny hit the nail on the head with the age, I had one owner that owned a 63' Ocean from 1988 to 2009 when he sold it and that was due to age......he did keep his 35' Marlago to use.......

    Another factor is fuel, another factor is that the tournaments are dead, and that drove a lot of sales and new buyers were found so they could compete. Another factor is the fishing is not as good as it used to be even 10 years ago in many places......and the next factor is there aren't young buyers coming in to replace the old ones and even if they want to they either cannot get insured now (due to stricter insurance requirements on that size for owner/operators) and a lack of financing.
  11. C team

    C team Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Upper Chesapeake Bay
    I'm not sure it is dead. I know Paul Mann has been building big battle wagons. Also, Weaver boat works and F&S has orders for boats.
  12. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,018
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    The new big SF market is not dead, but I think it is on life support.....

    I think the mid range SF market is slower.

    Also, SF boats have become much larger.

    A small SF is now a 40 footer...
  13. SHAZAM

    SHAZAM Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    605
    Location:
    The Ghetto
    I was sitting at a friends house yesterday just across Bertram's old test center thinking about this very subject. I was trying to reconcile what it looked like over the last few years to what it looked like 30 years ago with 28's, 33's, 35's, 42's, 46's, etc littered all over the place waiting to get sea trialed and delivered. Regardless of how bad the economy is now I think we've been through much worse, luxury tax, double digit interest rates, etc. Granted Bertram may be a bad example but I don't see their competitors in much better shape.
  14. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    19,683
    Location:
    South Florida
    About a month ago, I had a discussion about this very subject with the builder of a popular line of super-size center consoles, named after the islands east of Florida. He charges upwards of $500k for a full-Furuno, tower-topped, triple outboard. I'm still in sticker shock, but asked where his customers are coming from? He said most of them are down-sizing from big SF's.
  15. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,143
    Location:
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    The only fish that come on my SF are wrapped in white paper and missing their heads. My wife loves everything about our boat for cruising - except the near vertical ladder to the bridge. Guests always look at that climb with some trepidation. But any guest who does make it up there is always amazed by the excellent visability and room.

    Azimut has a large east coast dealership at our marina. They are a very popular boat design.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    12,729
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Heck, Pipewelders would be a better example. You'd go there and they'd have sportfishes of all makes and sizes stacked up all over waiting for towers and outriggers, some out of the water in the yard getting transducers and stuff put in.......now you go there and it looks like a ghost town.......

    I too feel the center console market has encroached on some of the sportfish market. They're just a whole lot easier to take out with a couple of guys, you can cover more ground, and easier to fish.

    ALSO, the fishing has changed. 15 years ago you either went trolling or bottom fishing. Live Bait- what's that????? Now it's all about live baiting, and it is a royal pain in the butt to live bait (or swordfish) from a sportfish. Between keeping the lines behind the boat, the bow into the wind and keeping the kite lines adjusted everytime you bump it in gear. A center console, you stop the boat and drift, the kite stays mostly at the same height, and you fish the entire side of the boat and don't have to mess with operating the boat at all until your drift is over.
  17. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,018
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    In the late 90's the Down Easter style fishing boat started making a showing in the sport fish crowd in the North East.

    The Down East trend has eased somewhat and you see alot of large center Consoles on the fishing grounds (Yellow Fins, Jupiter, Everglades, Contenders). I think the Down East boats have lost some popularity due to lack of speed.

    There was also a trend towards the express style SF.

    Now you are just as likely to see a large centerconsole zoom out to the canyon and back as you are to see a larger tradtional SF lumber out there at 120 gph at maybe 25-30 kts.

    Most of the larger traditional SF crowd stayed tied to the dock this year at Jacksons.
  18. MSviking

    MSviking New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    OB Alabama
    I recently went the other way, 36 Yellowfin to a 54 Viking. While the Yellowfin was fast and a blast to run, it completely lacked creature comforts. For me and my family the lack of ability to get out of the heat/weather and rest were huge factors. Having said that, I just have to believe its more about the poor economy and lack of disposable income that would normally go towards things like SF boats.

    On a positive note the tournament turn outs were good this summer (when weather allowed). I kept thinking fuel prices were going to hurt the numbers, but it did not appear to in my area.

    Robert
  19. SHAZAM

    SHAZAM Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    605
    Location:
    The Ghetto
    Thank you for trading up Rob, I agree with you whole heartedly. Even if you don't fish a big sf I still prefer the design as the cockpit is like a back porch for people to chill in. I also prefer the engine room layout of a properly designed and built sf to any cruiser, euro or otherwise.

    My next question to my YF brethren regards the express market, some say that it's a fad on the way out, what do you guys think?
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    12,729
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    I think the express offers a lot of nice features if you're going to day fish. Everybody on the boat is within talking distance.....including those in the cockpit and helm deck. Everything is an easy reach, and it's easier to keep track of kids as they're either in the helm deck with you or behind you or down below. Drinks, head, and food is all in easier reach......and you don't have to deal with up an down a ladder all day.......Great view of both the cockpit and behind you at the same time. Easier to hear and talk to the cockpit. More stability.

    They do have negatives, less visibility, less space (mostly interior) more noise at helm.

    I used to run a 45' Cabo down in Belize, it worked out great. We'd usually pile anywhere from 10-16 people on the boat and run 72 NM out to the owner's island......maybe fish a few hours of it.....The wives stayed in the helm a/c and had their own conversation, the guys in the cockpit.....2 seperate area's but very easy to float back and forth between the two.......when we'd get to the island everyone would get off and stay in cabana's.......then we'd do a 1/2 day here and there fishing......

    The mate I had was inexperienced with wiring Marlin. I'd run the boat from the helm, the owner could proficiently run the boat, so I kept gloves at the helm and put them on when fighing a Marlin and when the leader was close to the boat, I'd have the owner take the helm and I'd run back to the cockpit and leader the fish in.......it worked out very well.....but couldn't be done with a FB boat, it'd take too much time to get to the cockpit......We'd usually catch a Marlin every weekend we fished.....along with wahoo etc etc....... Average size down there was only 130-300lbs.....but was fun on 30's or 50's.......