Random thoughts on the nautical world >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News


RCR Yachts CEO Don Finkle has been with the company since its inception in 1972, facilitating the sale of new and used boats. In this report, he shares his observation of boaters’ trends:


We have witnessed and experienced many changes over the years. Obviously, the design of boats has evolved. The way people use their boats is different today and this has led to changes in the design of boats. We see more people sailing for short periods of time, like an afternoon or evening instead of all day or all weekend, or a weekend instead of a week. Busy lives mean it’s important that we can get started and put away faster. Boats installed for convenience are used more often.

Not only that, but who uses the boats is different now than when I started a long time ago. At the time, it was mainly the head of the family (almost always a man) who directed the purchasing decision and the time spent on the water. The family was less involved. This has completely changed and we are seeing a lot more influence from the spouse and the family as a whole. It is a very good thing.

In the last year of the pandemic, we have seen greater use of boats in general and more boats used by families, couples and friends with whom they feel safe. It is far from being a local phenomenon and we believe it bodes well for the future.

The boat business is a bit of an unconventional industry that those outside often find it difficult to understand. Why can’t we get this part? Why does it take so long to get a response from the factory or supplier?

The point is, this is truly a cottage industry overrun with growth and there is still a lot to be done by hand, in small numbers, by a dwindling number of suppliers, and on a seasonal basis to get started. . Our team gets frustrated at times, but I remind them that this is job security for the dealership as builders and suppliers need boots in the field to take care of the customer.

We hear a certain lament that “the boats are not built like they used to be”. It’s true, but it’s almost always for the best now. Boats are built with the technology and materials in place at the time, and those times have changed. When we witness a used boat investigation, we see firsthand the construction shortcomings in play at the time, as this is what they had to work with.

It can be noted that today’s boats have less woodwork and deduce that this means less quality. In fact, most homeowners don’t want the upkeep that comes with all that wood, and the wood used as part of the building process tends to not hold up so well over time (read water damage ).

What seems most important to us is how the design has evolved to better suit typical boaters today. It all comes down to design, an underestimated aspect of any boat.


About Patricia Kilgore

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