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How Much Do Catamarans Depreciate? (Tips For Better Value)

If you’re looking for a pre-owned catamaran, it means you are shopping on a budget. I understand the importance of getting value for your money, which is why it’s vital to know how much these boats depreciate. We all know that boats degrade over time. 

Catamarans’ depreciation is a major concern for a person buying one. Someone calling a brokerage and asking, “How much will I lose within the next few years if I get this catamaran?” happens often. This is a question that no broker in their right mind could answer outright.

Pre-owned catamarans’ resale value is affected by an array of variables that shift frequently. Consider the impact of shifting currency values as well as the state of a boat’s structure, plus any value-added alternatives. Let’s get started with money, which is critical in the catamaran industry.

Let’s look in-depth at how cats depreciate and ways you can help maintain their value.


How Much Do Catamarans Depreciate?

With certain catamarans keeping their worth much better than others, there is no hard and fast depreciation scale. There is an expected 10% to 15% depreciation during year one and a 2% reduction annually until the boat is over a decade old. At that point, the drop is 10 percent each year.

The exchange rate of a country’s currency also has a vast impact on the price of new and used catamarans. That’s due to the vast majority of them being built outside of the United States. More than 60% of cats are built in France, making them a wager on the country’s currency.

A French cat’s resale value is heavily influenced by the cost of a new one. If a new model is available for less than half a million dollars when the euro was weak against the dollar, buying one now will cost at least 30% more than if you waited. 

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The Catana 431 you bought a few years ago is now worth close to what you spent on it. The 431 is still in high demand, but there is a limited number of them available. Because a brand-new 431 is so expensive, many buyers must depend on the brokerage market for relief. 

Buying a South African Cat is the same. Due to the steep rise in the price of a new Voyage 430/440, the value of one that’s pre-owned has decreased significantly.

You’re taking a bigger risk than usual when you buy a boat if you think the dollar will appreciate greatly against the euro or the rand after you buy it. After all, you’ll be investing in a currency that is on the verge of devaluation. 

A foreign-built cat, however,  might be an excellent investment if you foresee the dollar falling after you purchase one. For the next few years, the dollar’s long-term odds are sad at best.

What Leads to Catamaran Depreciation?

There are several factors that we’ll explain in-depth as you continue reading.

Condition of the Catamaran

how well does a catamaran handle a storm

The fastest way to see the value of your boat drop is to abuse it severely. Many surveys show that sellers lose a lot of money if they don’t follow the most basic rules of boat upkeep. Zinc replacement, generators, sail drives, engine oil, filter changes, etc. 

The value of a sailor’s boat can be significantly reduced if they neglect to do these vital upkeep actions.

When it comes to yacht depreciation, a well-maintained yacht is like an airplane. Buyers are wary of anything that has been used for long periods in the bareboat charter market. That’s due to the importance of caring for a well-used vessel. 

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Ex-charter yachts are expected to be in awful shape. This means that when a boat is put on charter, its resale value drops soon, even if it has not been misused. That’s even though this is a frequent misperception. 

Several charter firms do a better job of keeping their fleets in good shape than the rest. Also, certain vessels are used for charters a lot more than others. 

If you’re looking for a used catamaran, an ex-charter boat may be an excellent option because, often, they’re well-maintained. However, unless a neutral surveyor has done a rigid review, it is impossible to identify the true state of a boat whether or not it’s chartered.

Catamaran’s Configuration

The resale value of the cat you buy will be greatly influenced by how she is set up when you buy her. Right now, this is how the supply-demand curve looks:

First-time bareboat catamaran charters are in high demand. Until the late 1990s, true owner version boats, which are meant for personal use rather than charter, were not widely used. The value of a cat that has been retained by its original owner is currently higher than that of any other configuration.

Catamarans that have only been lightly chartered by their owners are in high demand as the next option. The urge for an owner’s version often outweighs the desire to avoid an ex-charter cat. Most buyers will go to great lengths to get the owner’s version, even if it was included in their charter.

A four-cabin, two-head catamaran that has never been chartered is the third most popular option for most buyers. Aftermarket buyers prefer cats with two huge central heads rather than four small ones, and this configuration was common in the late 1990s.

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Four cabins and two head catamarans with charter history are in high demand. As I said, the word “charter” conjures up images of abuse in most people’s minds.

Since a lot of catamarans are included in the fleet of charter vessels, there’s often a large number of widely used boats having four heads and cabins available for sale.

As a result of a lack of demand and a large supply of identical models, the value of these boats is lower than for identical models that haven’t been chartered or converted into two-head or owner’s versions.

Catamaran Brands

Catamaran Brands

To calculate depreciation, it is important to take into account the brand’s name recognition. Selling a used cat is easier when the buyer doesn’t have to go halfway around the world to choose between a few brands. 

Catamaran buyers are likely to be familiar with the brands that are displayed at major exhibitions before making a purchase.

Only the Brazilian Dolphin 60 and the South African Gunboat are available in North America as production-built, highly high-performance catamaran brands right now. An extremely small group of buyers will not be satisfied with anything less than exceptional performance under sail in this area of the market. 

Catamaran New Construction Costs

In addition to brand recognition, new boat prices have a considerable impact on the price of a secondhand boat. In times when new boat prices increase, used boat values climb. 

Also, the rising cost of foam, resin, and petroleum-based fiberglass has had a substantial impact on the price of new boats over the past two years. The cost of raw materials in the maritime sector has gone up significantly. 

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Prices for newly made boats will continue to grow, which means that used boats will depreciate less. And some people will appreciate it.

Ways to Improve Your Catamaran Deal

offshore vs inshore catamrans for distance travel

According to popular belief, boats with more options would sell for greater money. There are exceptions to every rule. Depreciation on a new boat is reduced if you select fewer options since the boat is configured to your specifications rather than those of a third-party seller. A boat that is only two years old or near-new on the secondhand market will always be able to compete with brand new yachts.

It’s not uncommon to see these options in the standard cruising catamaran.

  • Improved powertrains
  • Refrigerators and freezers are included.
  • Icegenerator
  • An air conditioner with a generator
  • An owner version setup with a water maker, radar, and upgraded electronics increase the worth of the boat when it is sold or rented.

You’ll receive less value out of these:

  • A more powerful screecher and a more effective bowsprit
  • Wind turbine and solar panels
  • Carbon-fiber mast and pylon
  • Spectra Electric motors power the rigging and halyards.
  • Improved sails

A high-performance cruising cat will benefit most from the following:

  • Refrigeration
  • Top-of-the-line electronics and radar
  • Screechers and spinners
  • Wind turbines and solar panels
  • Radios with a single sideband or satellite
  • Watermakers
  • A new set of anchors and storm protection gear

You’ll get less bang for your buck by:

  • Carbon fiber-only rigs
  • Improved sails
  • Enhanced engine capacity
  • Generator and air conditioning

How much do catamarans depreciate: Bottomline

After the first two years of ownership, I’ve found that the value of a well-branded cat doesn’t decrease by more than 7% every year when all other things are held constant. Most of the expense of upkeep gets covered by the first four or five years of ownership. 

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Most decent cats have not devalued due to the strength of the euro and rand, which has pushed up new boat prices and pushed up broker fees over the last three years.