What Classic Boats are (1967-1998) and why they are worth more


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The Farr 40 built by Carroll Marine is a “Classic Boat” par excellence. (Image taken from the volume “The Fabulous 40s”

If you own or are looking for a used boat read more here. We explain why boats that are at least 25 years old become historic “Classic Boats.” But some are more valuable than others. Therefore, we have selected 100 boats built from 1967 to 1998 that are more valuable than others, which we will present to you in 20 dedicated articles. Welcome to the magical world of Classic Boats.

What are Classic Boats

Not all used boats are the same, especially if they have several years on their shoulders. And not all of them are worth the same, despite being the same age. The big difference is the beauty and uniqueness of the boat. Forget the old evaluation parameters. Here not only the yard that built it and the annual depreciation from the price of new should be considered. In the case of boats that are more than 25 years old, there is more that determines the extra value. Starting with the signature of the person who designed it. In summary, there are boats that are more apt than others. Some were born better.

This “beautiful/less beautiful” difference is partly about the sphere of subjectivity, but not that much. But what boats are we talking about? Of those built since 1967, when with the advent of fiberglass as a construction material, they are built in series. Since that year, finally, even in boating, boats are no longer like an original painting, one different from the other. There are more boats all the same. Mass production is born.

Baltic – Baltic 42 DP

Because some are worth more

The year of mass production does not alone determine the value of the used car. Always where mass production has existed for more than a hundred years, the value is not the same for all models. Mind you, the value of cars, motorcycles, watches, furniture depends on the individual model and not the year of production. The most successful products are worth more. In practice, not all objects are worth the same. And here again the beautiful/less beautiful criterion determines the value of the object.

The quotation transcends the age of the artifact built in multiple examples and focuses on historical value, its recognized aesthetic, technical, and qualitative originality.

Becomes historic after 25 years

Our survey focuses on the mass-produced fiberglass boats of the first generation, those built between 1967 and 1998. These are the boats from the early days of serial construction, which are at least 25 years old. An age sufficient to classify them as historic, according to the parameter defined by the FIVA (International Federation of Older Vehicles) charter created to classify and preserve the historic interest of cars and, in general, moving objects. Criteria that also fit well with boats.

In short, after 25 years even a boat can be called of historical value.

Classic Boats Mariver - Pierrot
Mariver – Pierrot

It turns out that fiberglass is eternal

Let us go back for a moment to clarify why the 1967 date is crucial. Before that time, boats were built in one-offs or very small series, always made one by one, by hand. The material used was mainly wood, some made of iron or ferrocement, the most sophisticated of aluminum. Then comes the fiberglass revolution that makes it possible to “mold” more shells and blankets all the same. Thus industrial mass production takes off. And finally the one-piece boats, like an artist’s painting, are replicated.

At first there was a looming unknown. The question was, “How long will a fiberglass hull last?” Today, after almost sixty years, we can say that the fiberglass boat is practically eternal, does not destroy and indeed, if well maintained, lives intact. Much more long-lived and with less refit costs than a historic car, which deteriorates much more.

Let’s call them Classic Boats

With 25 years minimum of life, we have defined the period when a used boat can bear the designation of a historic boat. But do we want to give this nascent category a name, one that differentiates it from the vintage boats, which are built in one piece and almost always made of wood? We called them Classic Boats. It sounds good and takes its cue from the car world, which precisely is divided into “classic cars” and “classic or historic cars” for those that are at least 20 years old.

Alpa – Alpa 12.70

The value of the signature

As we said at the beginning, not all series-built used fiberglass boats that are at least 25 years old are the same. There are those that have greater historical value, others less. Again to exemplify, some came out better, some worse. To make a classification, there is not only the aesthetic parameter to classify a “Classic Boat” of excellence. The signature is a relevant element of evaluation. Even more so at that time.

Thanks to the emergence of production boats in 1967, new boatyards were born from scratch. These yards drew on a new generation of formidable planners/designers, children of the world economic boom. They had courage, they were innovating. Many designers of this new generation, have become archistars. Rest assured, a signed boat is worth more than one without noble fathers. Signature matters, to determine the value of the object, in the world of fashion, furniture and even cars. And so also in the world of boats.

Not all models are the same

But not all boats are the same, even if they are built by a famous shipyard and designed by a top designer. To determine a selection of historical value, additional evaluation criteria intervene: the degree of innovation, quality, sailing characteristics, and the originality of the boat as a whole.

This is where we at the Sailing Journal step in. We have existed for 48 years, we have an immense archive containing all the information and data necessary to classify which models of used boats at least 25 years old, built from 1967 to 1998, have greater historical value than others.

Classic Boats Cantiere del Pardo - Grand Soleil 34
Cantiere del Pardo – Grand Soleil 34

The 100 Memorable Classic Boats

After a great deal of selection work, we have selected 100 Classic Boats for you. One hundred boats that, starting Friday, March 24, we will present five at a time, in order of increasing length. Let me be clear, this is not a definitive list. We will update it, as we go along, also with your suggestions, which you can email us at deluise@panamaeditore.it .

But these 100 Classic Boats are definitely cult objects that have a history, a signature, and a value that will grow over time.

If you own one of these 100 Classic Boats, you are in luck. If you are planning to buy a used Classic Boat, on the other hand, follow this series of articles, learn about the boats and read about their features and motivations, and look at the photos. You are sure to find the right boat for you. A special boat, destined to enhance itself. As long as you keep it well. Boats, like people, should be loved and preserved.

Three “tidbits” about Classic Boats




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