Decline slows in sailboat sales

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Sailboat brokerage sales continued to fall in July, but the decline was less severe than earlier this year, according to the latest report from YachtWorld.com and Sail America.

Unit sales were down by 23 percent and the value of boats sold was down by 21 percent last month compared to July 2008. However, earlier this year unit sales were down closer to 30 percent and boat valuation was off by more than 40 percent.

For three consecutive months during the May-July period, U.S. brokerage sailboat sales have been steady at 500-plus boats and roughly $40 million in value, based on figures reported by broker members of YachtWorld.com. Averaged against the same three months in 2008, unit sales are down about 20 percent and the valuation of boats sold is down about 25 percent.

Sales by length in July remained relatively weak in most size ranges, according to the report. As in previous months, the under-26-foot category showed the smallest year-over-year decline compared to other size ranges of boats up to 55 feet.

At the far end of the scale, July was a great month for brokers selling boats of more than 55 feet. Several more boats were reported sold than a year ago. However, that only now brings big-boat unit sales to parity for 2009 with most of the other categories - down about 30 percent.

"Looking at the value of boats sold year-to-date, big boats remain the big loser, with only $13.54 million in sales. A year ago, brokers reported $29.01 million in sales for the same seven-month period," John Burnham, editorial director of YachtWorld.com, said in the report.

YachtWorld.com and Soundings Publications are both divisions of Dominion Enterprises.

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