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Second-hand Multihulls - In the wake of the newbuild market, another sector is growing fast!

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At the time of writing, inflation seems to have reached its peak, with new-build prices rising by almost 30% over the past two years - the first time this has happened since the 1980s. At the same time, rising interest rates, which have hit the real estate market worldwide, could well dampen the spirits of some buyers. In fact, for over a year now, demand for new multihulls seems to have been declining somewhat, and uncertainties over inflation are making the shipyards cautious about their prices. However, delivery times are still measured in years rather than months...
In this context, second-hand catamarans and trimarans seem to be the ideal refuge. In fact, the pre-owned market is the adjustment variable for the overall market, and not a competitor for new boats, as some manufacturers sometimes fear. Used boats are therefore the indirect beneficiaries of new boats. The dynamism of the new multihull market is therefore reflected in a high level of de mand for pre-owned boats - which could ease in the months to come. It’s a complex situation, and one that merits a closer look.

The post-Covid big bang

Back in 2020, after the shock of the global pandemic and production stoppages, order books for new multihulls were holding up well and remain full now. At the Cannes Yachting Festival 2021, the first major post-lockdown show, demand exploded. However, it is very rare to find a boat with less than eighteen months’ lead time. For certain niche builders, or for some of the most prominent models from «industrialized» shipyards, purchase orders are signed for delivery in three or four years, often with a price review clause. Of course, blue water cruising projects are prepared well in advance, but what do you do when you want to set off next year, or in two years’ time, knowing that you need a good year’s preparation before casting off? And not everyone wants to sail around the world. Having your own multihull also gives you the chance to experience unique getaways, for a weekend just a few miles from your homeport. You can also enjoy a dream summer with the whole family or luxuriate in Caribbean or Floridian warmth in the middle of a northern hemisphere winter.

So if the urge is there, why wait? Why not go for a second- hand multihull? Let’s make a quick estimate: Lagoon claims to have produced 6,000 units since 1984, Fountaine Pajot over 4,000, Leopard 2,600. These three manufacturers account for 80% of the market in volume terms, resulting in an estimated 16,000 multihulls in circulation. In a fleet of thousands, there has to be a model to match your ideal project, right? Yes, because as far as we know, with rare exceptions (shipwrecks, hurricanes...), the life expectancy of our modern multihulls is very high - several decades, which is almost a lifetime on the scale of our everyday consumer products. And that’s great news as we become increasingly aware of our impact on the environment.
Last year’s Route du Rhum featured the aptly named Use ...

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