Sunday, February 19, 2017

Some thoughts on buying used stuff for boats...

Words, some bad (though much deserved) news for Utah, and a little depressing math...

OK, I'll admit it, at least once every week I check out eBay to see what's for sale in the boat gear category. Partly because you always need something for your boat and partly because it's good to know what stuff is worth.

That said, eBay is no longer the extended yard sale/swap meet it used to be and not really a good place to check prices because the greed has taken hold with a vengeance. Take self-steering gears for instance. You will often see used gears for silly prices. I suppose the fact that most new self-steering gears being stupidly expensive is a factor but still something used really should come with a price that reflects the fact that it used or, in far too many cases, used and abused.

Once upon a time I used to work in a consignment store selling boat gear. It was not a bad job as things go and it did teach me a lot about gear not to have on a boat and how the whole used gear thing actually works in practice. Being a consignment store it also taught a lot more on how not to sell things.

Which sorta/kinda brings us to the rule of half/half again... Let's say you have a self-steering gear on your new used boat you don't want and you want to sell it. Let's also say that you can buy the very same gear from its builder for $6K in spite of it having a retail price of $6.5K (face it everybody discounts). What would/should you price it at if you actually wanted to, you know, sell it?

Well, a guy on eBay today seems to think $5.5K which equals out to a $500 discount for a gear that predates his ownership of the boat, so it could be a decade or so old, possibly needs some work, and new bearings. At that price we'd never have been able to sell the beast in the store unless we lucked onto someone exceptionally stupid and drunk... Nope, at that price it would just sit in the corner and gather dust.

The fact is, used boat stuff really does not move until it hits the half off level rounded down to the nearest round with a kiss off that number... So, for the windvane in question, half of $6.5K is $3250 then rounded to $2999 is a price where it might actually sell for if it was in like-new condition, had all its bits, spares, and documentation. Truth be told, anything that was once bolted to a transom would fall into the half again rule where it might sell for $1500 at most.

Since one is predisposed to spend more in an actual brick & mortar store than from some dude on the internet selling off stuff he no longer wants, $1500 is actually way more than most people would fork out unless, of course, they were of the exceptionally stupid and/or drunk variety. A real world price is more likely to be under $1K.

As a consumer, you already know this to be true to one degree or another but there is a lot of pressure, both peer and otherwise, to forget the common sense you were born with and spend boat bucks like a drunken sailor (spelled exceptionally stupid and drunk) because... you know... you get what you pay for.

Working at the store taught me that the half/half again is just based on what good used stuff is really worth and nowhere near rocket science or voodoo. More importantly, it also taught me that there is always new old gear coming to the market all the time. If the guy selling that old funky winch for $500 or the $5.5K windvane won't come down to a real world price, someone else will have the same thing or a reasonable facsimile in the not too far distant future. All you have to do is keep looking and be patient...

Plus, the folks with the too-high gear will still be selling their gear next month or next year because it just ain't going to move anytime soon.

Listening to Barbagallo

So it goes...

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

3 1/2 sheets of plywood and the stupid it burns...

Seriously fucked up, a film you may want to catch, and in the "a fascinating time to be alive" department...


If you find this boat of interest maybe I could tell you about a slightly used steel tower I have for sale in Paris...

Listening to a Coverfolk mix

So it goes...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Some good news from South Africa...

A false narrative, some good thinking, and about 1939/2017...

Of late I've been looking for a building site for the new boat as well as sourcing the materials to build it and, to put it mildly, a somewhat depressing exercise as the cost of stuff these days can be a real downer.

Some years ago talking to Roy at  CKD Boats in South Africa about his kits for the Dudley Dix DIDI 38/40 design the price for a fully cut CKD kit shipped to me here in the Caribbean was actually quite a bit less than my going to a local wood merchant and buying 70-odd sheets of plywood...

Think about the economics of that statement for just a moment.

Now, as it happens, Roy is in the process of pricing out a kit for the SKROWL 900.


Good stuff!

I'll be letting you know more in the not-too-distant-future but, in the meantime, you may want to bookmark Roy's blog as there is always something interesting going on there...

Listening to DNA Baks (because too much SKA is just enough)

So it goes...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Color me impressed

Some Mexico/USA border situational awareness, some lucid thoughts on incompetence, and the Snarky Penguin makes an important distinction...

Just way cool.


La voie du pôle 2018 - TEASER-HD from Arnaud MANSAT on Vimeo.

More on the project here.

Listening to Rude Bones (some more Japanese SKA)

So it goes...



Saturday, February 11, 2017

A very good cause that could use some help...

An American of note that I'd be proud to shake hands with, just because s-c-i-e-n-c-e is way hipper than i-d-i-o-c-y, and about not walking the talk (filed in the "don't color me surprised" department)...

Over on the shore across from where we are anchored there's an extended family of black feral cats that we enjoy watching while we have our evening sundowner on the foredeck. We like cats and have often wondered just what we could do to make their lives easier. Obviously they need to be spayed for starters and the best option would be to find some folks who'd be interested in adopting them.

It's not easy being a cat or a dog in the Caribbean. What people consider normal pet care in the Caribbean in a lot of places would be considered borderline abuse and the way a lot of people here treat animals is way over the line and deep into the abuse zone.

Then again, down here, you find some people caring for pets that have been abandoned and mistreated. One place in particular that springs to mind is the Bahia Redonda Marina in Venezuela...


Things are not going well in Venezuela these days and it's no longer on most peoples places to cruise in the Caribbean so a marina/cat sanctuary doing very good work could really use some help so please be generous and do the right thing.

Listening to Skaff-Links

So it goes...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Just a quick note on the consumerism as disease thang...

SNL on the front lines of struggle, more in the ongoing war against science, and in the "so dumb they couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery" department...

So, yesterday I was bitching about the variety of prices of a specific product and, surprisingly I got a couple of emails explaining to me that I did not understand that, on a boat, gear is a safety concern so buying the best is all about s-a-f-e-t-y. Also that you get what you pay for.

OK, maybe I wasn't clear... The item in question for sale at different stores was the exact same bit of gear, All the same model built by the same company, and all having the very same manufacturers suggested retail price of $22.95. Seriously, how can anyone think that someone charging $49 for a $23 item makes any kind of sense at all?

It's not a safety issue. It is, however, a greed issue on the part of the sellers who are, for want of a better word, gouging.

It is also an issue for us if we have been trained/indoctrinated in consumerist-speak to the point that when confronted with the same exact item at two very different prices that the knee-jerk reaction is to buy the more expensive because... you know... "you get what you pay for and umm, you know... safety" part of the brainwashing kicks in.

In point of fact, the very idea that folks would write to defend this sort of abuse of customers by a bunch of vendors smacks of the same kind of logic that makes battered spouses or children defend their abusers and it's more than obvious that at some point consumerism is no longer just about buying stuff but over the edge of being a disease.

Of course, there's a simple cure for this kind of thing. All you have to do is do a little research on the stuff you need, know what it should cost, and become a smart consumer. It will save you lots of money and strike fear into the hearts of greedheads everywhere.

Rant over.

Listening to Mirel Wagner's very interesting Ramones cover

So it goes...

Thursday, February 09, 2017

On the gouge conundrum or why it pays to shop...

Some needful reading from Wendig, just follow the money, and stupid/crazy/evil...

This morning my plan was to buy  four Tylaska spools like this one...

Checking around for the price of the size I needed I came up with a spread that ranged from a low of $15 to a high of $49 and change each.

Just think about that for a minute or two.

The real question is just how stupid do some people think we are?

Listening to Hula Hi-Fi

So it goes...

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

An apology to non-USA readers...


Some needful reading, a depressing agenda, just basic logic, and Moldy Chum...

...has

...some

...Real

...Good

...ADVICE
Boat stuff will resume tomorrow.

Listening to Pegi Young and the Survivors

So it goes...

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Some worthwhile reading...

Wall street bankers/golf, just in case you're planning to cruise Norway, and in the "Nope, nopity nope" department...

Yachting Monthly has some excellent information on the subject of harnesses.  Go check it out!

Listening to Gateballers

So it goes.