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Broker Insight: What’s the Market for Buddy Davis Sportfishing Boats?

Iain Lawrie, Bradford Marine;

“I think that people who actually are looking for a classic Carolina sportfishing boat will find the Buddy Davis to be a more affordable choice than other boats out there. They’re fiberglass and they made a lot of them, and they were all powered mainly with the 8V92 Detroit Diesels so they become very affordable to people who are looking to restore them and bring them back to their former glory. A fully restored Buddy Davis looks as nice today as it did 25 or 30 years ago, whereas 20-year-old boats from other builders look old—they just don’t have any any curb appeal. I had a buddy Davis in the Miami boat show last year for a lot more money that I’m asking for this one now, but it was the most visited boat of the 12 boats we had at the show, and we had an Azimut 116 and a Riva motoryacht. The appeal of that boat is quite astounding. It’s iconic. They’re still building boats today with the big flared bow. Obviously today’s are lighter and faster and more fuel-efficient. I think everybody’s going to want to go fishing, but I believe this boat has gotten to the point where it has become a classic, and it’s not going to go down in value if you preserve it. Many of them have interiors that look dated. So if you put in a fresh new interior that will match the timeless exterior, you’d be in business. If you wanted to change out the engines for something more powerful, you’ve got that option as well because the boats have the space in the engine room. The thing that I’m finding is that buyers on the market want one that’s original—so they can completely redo it—or find one that’s completely redone. With the buyers of these boats, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. Someone either wants to do everything or they want to do nothing: Nobody wants half of a project. When you look at the comparable boats from other builders at that age, and put them side-by-side ten times out of ten your eye goes to the flared bow of the the Davis.”

Steve Castellini, United Yacht Sales;

“The first thing I do is ask, What do you want to do with the boat? Do you want to cruise? Do you want to fish? Do you want to do a little bit of both? I try to put them in the right boat that fits their needs. I actually own one myself, a 1987 model I’ve had for 20 years, so I know all the history of the Buddy Davis boats. What I do with the Buddy Davis boats now, I try to look for the newer motors but the 1989 I have listed has the CAT C-12s in it. I try to look for still under warranty: Caterpillar will warrantee their engines for 10 years. While these boats are definitely fishing boats, they’re more of a seaboat, and more comfortable to fish that some others. I’m selling this 1989 boat for my client because he is looking for a bigger one now. If they want to cruise and they need accommodations I often will steer them away from the Buddy Davis because with all that flare you’re losing a lot of stowage. But if you’re going to be working out of one port and fishing when it’s rough, the Buddy Davis is the one that's going to get you home in comfort every time. It’s a fiberglass boat so you don’t have any wood rot. The Buddy Davis name is been around for a long time and Buddy Davis himself was one of the pioneers in the sportfishing industry with all of those custom Carolina boats he pretty much led the way. They were really big at one point in Puerto Rico. I would say 90 to 95 percent of the buyers that call me about the boats are fishermen and have had boats in the past. Some are looking to move up and some are looking to move down in size.”