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How big a boat does $1,000,000 buy today?

How Big A Boat

How big a boat does $1,000,000 buy today?

So the other day, my daughter asked me how big of a new vessel $1,000,000 will buy. The question got me thinking. To me, and presumably most people reading this blog, $1,000,000 is a LOT of money. More money than many can accumulate in a lifetime.  And certainly more than most can spend on a boat even if we have that much in retirement or home value.  If you are thinking it buys the boat in the picture, you, like I would be surprised and wrong.

The question got me thinking back to when I was a boy on a family vacation in Maine. Standing on the balcony of a motel overlooking a harbor, looking across the way at a large yacht that had just arrived (picture above). I recall my father telling me the name of the vessel was Jardel and she was a 116’ Feadship owned by the founder of Ryder Trucking.  He told me that she cost $3,000,000. How he knew this I am not quite sure given my father was not a big boater of yacht aficionado. To me, that yacht was everything! She represented beauty, grace and style in the world of boats. I do believe it was the start of my lifetime love affair with all things boats and yachting. While I didn’t necessarily aspire to own such a vessel then, and still do not today, that yacht, her name and look, burned a picture in my mind that I keep to this day.  

So when the question came up of how much of a boat does $1,000,000 buy two thoughts entered my mind. One, “I wonder what ever happened to Jardel ?”, and two, “ what does one million dollars by today ?”  The answer to the first question is, Jardel, was sold three years later when the owner commissioned a larger vessel and today she resides in Florida, having been sold again for $1.9m under the name of Utopia II, pictured above.

The answer to the second question came, coincidenty enough with the arrival of this month’s Boating Magazine and the compendium Boat Buyers Guide.  As I flipped through the pages, two things stuck out at me. First, the number of boats that now come with outboard power including large cruisers, and two, the cost of the boats. I discussed the subject of the growth of outboard powered boats in a post in 2019. That trend has not abated. 

 I came across brief reviews of the following new boats in the issue. Cruisers Yachts 42 GLS – a coupe style boat, powered by three 400hp Mercury Verados and features an open fordeck for lounging. Price; $928,340. Tiara Sport 43 LE, powered by three 450hp Mercury racing outboards. This boat features a fold down panel on the aft cockpit port side, creating a terrace. Price; $1,092,900.  Lasty, the Regal 42 FXO, powered by three 450hp Yamaha XTOs.The boat has a flying bridge for expanded outdoor living and two heads. Price; $1,008,920.

What these three beautiful new boats share in common in addition to their outboard power is they are all about the same size as Calypso II and they all cost ~ $1,000,000 dollars. These boats have the latest features and power and are capable of speeds once reserved for sport boats. That’s breathtaking. To be clear, these boats and manufacturers represent the high water mark for vessels of this size and similar boats with lesser power can be had quite a bit cheaper.  Depending on the manufacturer, $1,000,000 can get you as large as 55’.  On the used market, $1,000,000 can go very far indeed including vessels over 100’

When Calypso II was new in 2001, she sold for approximately $450k-$500k , I don’t have the exact price.  That was with diesel power, something none of these boats have.  If equipped with gas engines which was standard on the Sea Ray 400 Sedanbridge the price would have been under $450k. 

For reference,  $3,000,000 today buys you a new or nearly new 70’ from Azimut, Sunseeker or similar, or a 58 foot Flemming long distance cruiser, depending on the year. There is no doubt that todays boats, not unlike today’s automobiles, can offer so much more than those of the Calypso IIs era.  But is it worth it?  Do you need to cruise at 32 plus knots and top out at 50? Is a fold out side terrace going to put a spring in your step?  If it does, great! Those are decisions for you and your wallet to make. Either way, get out on the water in whatever you can afford and, Cruise Often, Cruise Fun, Cruise Safe!

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