The calendar says we have about 90 days to splash 2022. This got me thinking about getting Relentless ready and mapping out our summer adventures.

How about you? We’re now going on year three of the Covid Craziness that had a profound impact on the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and there’s no telling how 2022 will shape up.

However, several things brewing could mess with our fun if we don’t get out in front of them now.

Repairs and Upgrades

In case you missed it, the entire world is experiencing a supply chain crisis. I certainly experienced it in 2021.

In 2020 when Relentless arrived, I asked SK Marine to upgrade a whole slew of electronics before the autumn cruising season. They did everything in a week except for the sound system. JL Audio was quoting a 12 week lead time on amplifiers.

In fact, the amps didn’t arrive until May of 2021!

I spoke to Ned Kaiser at Mattapoisett Boatyard about their lead times for repairs and upgrades going into the 2022 season last week.

“It’s January, and we’ve got 23 guys working out straight,” Ned Said. “We might be able to squeeze a few small jobs in this spring, but that’s about it.

Ned went on to tell me that virtually every part order is delayed. Whereas 90% of the parts he needed were available overnight in the past, now most are taking two weeks or longer.

He also said that they were pretty much shut down for their #1 offseason upgrade project – boat repowering. “We’re seeing a one-year backlog for new outboard engines,” reported Kaiser.

Labor is also a huge problem. “I ran three ads for new hires, got a lot of applicants, but no one showed up for an interview,” lamented Kaiser.

If you’re thinking about upgrading something on your boat and you don’t have it booked and scheduled, you may be out of luck next season.

Launch Day

Ned did tell me that 90% of MBY’s customers had launch days booked on their master calendar. And although they have a little wiggle room, he needs it to deal with launches that inevitably get delayed by engine or system failures when boats come out of their winter hibernation.

Now is a great time to confirm your launch day and go over your punch list from haul out day and make sure you’ll be good to go.

In the past, you might be able to get a repair on the fly if you run into a problem on launch day. In 2022, you might lose a month on the water.

Slip Shortages

As I reported last fall, we’re looking to move up to a Maritimo M55 in 2023. Before making our deposit, I shopped around for a seasonal slip big enough to dock her.

I met with the owners at Fairhaven Shipyard, and they agreed to do winter storage but said they didn’t have any slips open in the foreseeable future.

I left that meeting and met with Dave Kaiser – MBY Owner, and we came up with a couple of scenarios to get us a slip for the 55 when the time comes.

Relentless’s Slip – January 2022 (Photo courtesy of Seth Hiller)

If you’re thinking about moving up to a bigger boat (see below), make sure you have a big enough slip before you pull the trigger.

Build Yourself a Cruise Spreadsheet

I exchanged texts with Becky at Dockwa to get a feel for marina availability in 2022. As you may know, it’s was a huge problem in 2021, and Dockwa tells me bookings for next season are already up 300% over the same time last year.

I just got an email from Dockwa announcing that Champlin’s and Oak Bluffs were opening this week…

Dockwa recently published a great blog post with the Opening Booking Day for dozens of marinas.

I plan to book most of my summer slips and create a cruising spreadsheet before the end of February. The spreadsheet will keep track of all the dates I have to cancel or reschedule without penalty. I’ll then set notifications in my google calendar to remind me that the deadline to cancel is approaching.

I’m Gonna Buy Me A Boat

My favorite new country song is Buy Me A Boat by Chris Jansen. This is clearly the best time in history to sell your boat, and it may well be the best time in history to buy you a boat as well.

According to the NMMA, U.S Boat Sales hit a 13 year high in 2020, a trend that has continued in 2021 as Q1 boat sales were up another 30% from the prior year.

I spoke to Mike Myers – the owner of Boston Yacht Sales, and Dave Northrop – President of Maritimo America’s, to get a read on the 2022 boat market. Here’s what I learned:

  • Both told me that used boats are selling for more than they cost the original owners when they were purchased new.
  • Northrop told me they are anxious to take used Maritimo’s in trade to give his salespeople product to sell.
  • Myers said they can generally sell a trade-in before the new boat contract closes.
  • Most boat builders are not locking in the final price when they’re taking a refundable deposit to hold a delivery date.
  • Maritimo is locking in prices, but it’s not clear how long they’ll be doing so. As of early January, new Maritimo’s were sold out through late summer 2024. I’m guessing it’s probably 2025 by now.
  • Myers told me there were only 23 used Sabre’s and Back Coves for sale on the entire east coast. BYS is quoting 12-18 months for new builds, which does mean a 2023 delivery is still in play.
  • Northrop told me Maritimo had already raised prices on the M55 by about 15% since we closed. We saw the M55 (hull #7) in October, and it was the first one delivered to America. Our boat will be hull #44, and they just booked the M55 hull #67. Historically Maritimo has built 40 boats a year across all models.

The Right Time To Buy?

Face it, the only challenge in buying a brand new boat is coming up with the do-ri-me to pay for it. On the other hand, selling a used boat or getting what your boat is worth in a trade has always been painful. In the summer of 2020, I owned two boats for about 90 minutes and I was sweating.

Yes, you’ll pay more for your brand new 2023 or 2024 build, but if you shop around, you may get lucky and find a builder who’ll lock in 2022 prices. Meanwhile, your old boat won’t depreciate, and you’ll never find a better seller’s market.

To quote Mike Myers…

“I would suggest that if you want to buy or sell your boat this is an unusual time and the best market I have seen in my 47 year tenure. Don’t wait as this is the new normal for the next 12 to at least 18 months.”

Parting Images

Perhaps the best thing about social media is seeing real-time photos from all over the world. I collect them just to share…

January 12, 2022

Mattapoisett Boatyard (courtesy of Seth Hiller)
Mattapoisett Boatyard (courtesy of Seth Hiller)

January 17, 2022

Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Shipyard Park – Mattapoisett

January 29, 2022

Oak Bluffs (courtesy of Crossroads Gallery)
Oak Bluffs (courtesy of Crossroads Gallery)
Oak Bluffs (courtesy of Crossroads Gallery)
Oak Bluffs (courtesy of Crossroads Gallery)
Easy Street Nantucket

January 30, 2022

Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Cuttyhunk (photo courtesy of Mike Orsatti)
Mattapoisett Boatyard (courtesy of Seth Hiller)