Cat Advantage 12: Strong resale value
If you're shopping for a new boat, one thing you might hear is that old cats have a low resale value. Someone might tell you the market for cat trade-ins is poor, and you'll have trouble moving a used cat. But if you've a savvy shopper, it might occur to you to check out the book value on used cats as opposed to used monohulls. You might check the NADA listings, and discover that a 2005 26' Glacier Bay Canyon Runner or a World Cat 250 has an average resale value that sits right in-between a 25' Grady-White and a 26' Sailfish. That sounds mighty strange for a boat that doesn't have a good resale value, doesn't it?
Here's the real scoop on re-selling a cat: it's no different than selling any other used boat. It may take a while to sell and you will have to find the right buyer, but believe me, he'll be out there. Want an example? When I sold my 2002 19' cat, in 2008--during the recession and one of the worst boat markets in memory, mind you--it took about five months. I ended up accepting a little over half of the boat's original "new" selling price. Considering that the boat was in good cosmetic shape but had about 600 hours on the engine, this is a perfectly acceptable, normal, common, average re-sale. And considering the state of the economy when it was sold, it's rather amazing that it didn't take even longer to sell. There were other people interested in the boat when it sold, and after the transaction was complete I had several other people get in touch with me. About half of them were extremely familiar with the specific model. And this leads us to an interesting little quirk about cats that sometimes makes them even easier to re-sell than your average monohull: people that experience them become dedicated fans.
The phenomenon is similar to that seen with a handful of classic monohulls, like the Bertram 31 or the Grady-White 208 Adventure. These boats were a tremendous success in their time, were copied by numerous builders, and have a following that has near cult-like dedication. The same is true, in a broader sense, of cats. When an experienced cat owner goes looking for a new mid-sized center console, he's likely to whittle down the field to two or three models--say, that Glacier Bay Canyon Runner or World Cat 250—and focus on them with an intensity. A monohull owner, on the other hand, is likely to go looking at a zillion different model 24' to 27' center consoles, until he finds one that fits. Here's another example I can give you first-hand: when I wanted to up-size from the 19' I knew I wanted a 22' Glacier Bay, period. I looked at a half a dozen hulls before finding the one that I thought was priced right and in the proper condition, and pulled the trigger in short order.
The bottom line? None of us buy boats as "investments," we buy them because we want to use them. But at the same time, we don't want to make a ruinous decision. Lucky for us, this isn't likely to be a problem, for a cat owner.