We Have An Idea Or Two About Selling Your Classic Cruiser!


Betsy being shipped years ago

OK, this may be a whacked idea.. Even a bad idea, but certainly worth a conversation. I will admit it, I have a weak spot for a nice cruiser. My dream one is about 40-50 ft is, Chris Craft or Trumpy… I fall for them all the time, I even got a thing for a 42 ft 1966-69 Glass Commander. The prices these days are insane good. You can pick up one of these in perfect restored condition for under 100K and a user for .. FREE! So whats the hold up.. Ya ya, there is the cost of restoration.. SO? Try and go buy a new 40-50 ft boat.. GO ahead.. 1 million, two million.. And they don’t have half the character. You dump 500K into a sweet 45 footer and you are a god on the water. BUT…. what really holds me back… Shipping! Thats’ right..

Classic Boat name

The idea of shipping a 45 foot boat from Portland aint gonna happen. Dear god! That’s gotta be at least 10K maybe more. Not to mention the lagistics and what a trip that long could do the craft. OK, OK, not that its not done.. Alot.. Its just the part that always holds me back.. So here is my big idea.. Offer free shipping to the buyer.. Thats right.. Got a 20K boat that is a somewhat risky buy. Offer free shipping up to 1000 miles.. Do the research yourself, have it all ready on the ebay listing. OK, OK, seems like its strange. But as a marketing proffesional of over 33 years. People buy based on emotion, and look for things to talk them out of stuff ..like… wood cruisers. They fear the headaches and the unknown.. Give away the shipping, and for gods sake, talk about how strong the bottom is and transom! These are the real fears. Not that the carpeting needs replacing or it needs some paint or varnish.. Its fear of unknown bottom issues and shipping.. These cruisers are selling, for real money, when they are restored and a broker makes it easy to get to you.. ….

30 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I think you have an interesting point there Matt.

    The only part that does not hold water on your side of the story is that there have been some real nice Cruisers go across the blocks that are right there in the bay. Just a nice weekend cruise and you are home in Reedville.

  2. Tom
    Tom says:

    I’ve done two long distance moves with my boat and found uship.com to be a great marketplace for shipping. It’s an eBay company so you probably can link it to your post with credit.

  3. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    The expense and trouble of owning a classic cruiser is basically the same of owning a smaller boat times a factor of 10. Ten times more expensive , ten times more trouble, but a thousand times more fun.


  4. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Matt, one of those boats in your header just happens to be for sale. I bet you could negotiate free shipping. A great Michigan chapter boat looking for a new home!

  5. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Life at 8 knots is hard to beat. John in VA thinks that is a little fast.

    I am trying to figure out a way to retire earlier than planned and go LOOPING!

  6. 7FTCWBY
    7FTCWBY says:

    I agree, I would have loved free shipping. I am headed on a 3000 mile trip in two weeks to pick up our new old floater. Granted it is only 17 feet and glass but it is a cruiser. Shipping was quoted at $2000 and with gas along the way around 2 bucks a gallon the drive is a $1000. I figure the adventure will be worth the savings. However I would have certainly chose shipping had the seller offered a reliable/reasonable service as the leg work to locate a shipper for a one way trip even on Uship was a bit excessive.

  7. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    well, as the senior, resident cruiser NUT, guess I have to check in….as I have been called out:
    I would say the free shipping idea is a very good one….
    Having sold my much loved cruiser for one dollar and bought the great “next one”….I can say with authority that a cruiser is a fine thing to have and a tough thing to get rid of. Heart and Head battle on this all the time…bottom line: make it easier for someone to pull the trigger and buy your boat….whatever it takes. Troy is right…there are plenty of great cruisers on the bay here so Matt can join the party easily. His 42 Commander fetish is a good one. There was a super example of that boat called Jellicle Cat….for sale a couple of years ago up in Maryland…bet she is still for sale..and was a high end restoration too. Troy is also correct that I now see 7 knots as adequate, fun, and calming….I need calming…..so does Matt….and Troy….and…..all cruiser nuts.
    John in Va.

  8. Allen
    Allen says:

    I got it figured out….the best of both worlds….here’s Half and Half ……working on the shipping part !!!

  9. Sean
    Sean says:

    I paid $2,150 to ship my 18′ DONZI from Seattle to Toronto via U-ship. The delivery took only 3 days and I can’t express enough just how impressed I was.

    I figured this was about 1/3 of what it would cost me to go get this boat personally. I added the cost of shipping to the boat purchase and still had a number less than I could buy local turnkey boats for.

    Some might remember I dragged home another Donzi (a 16′ project) from Long Island, NY to Toronto… a great short trip and economically better than hiring someone. And now I have just acquired a new project down in Florida… I’m thinking I’d like to go get this one personally too :).

    Shipping scenarios depend on the boat, the distance and personal factors. However, if it was offered free…… that’s a no-brainer. (except the cost of a divorce for having too many boats)

    • Sean
      Sean says:

      However, IF you get a nice big cruiser for free (like this 1947 40′ CC currently on BYB) how do you ask for free shipping too?

  10. Rob
    Rob says:

    Sell our antique cruiser? Are you daft? Picture of a picture, circa 1990, cruising the Toronto islands at 3mph. Re-launch scheduled for June 2017…ish

  11. mark
    mark says:

    the family sure misses the big sport fish, great boat with lots of good times, easy sell when delivered locally

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      That was and still is my favorite cruiser. It appears you found a great steward for your Sportfisherman, Mark.

  12. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    That option has been in the back of my mind — great idea. As far as Uship goes, Antique Boat has related poor experiences with them as I’ve picked up boats to deliver for them – don’t know details tho. Realize a commercial shipper, by DOT regs, has to bind his load with those big yellow straps or chains and then uses a pipe to ratchet it down to the bed to prevent shifting. Think about that going across your deck and transom using a shipper, its mandated by DOT. Having delivered woodies for 30 years for friends, I have a lot of respect for truck drivers subjected to construction delays, road rage, weigh stations, poor food choices on the road, high diesel prices, gov’t regs, and weather extremes.

  13. kw
    kw says:

    Matt, my brother just happens to have a 1970 42′ commander for sale at their Grand Haven Mi Skipper buds location. You could buy it and run it home on her keel. tour the great lakes Erie canal etc. go to Mackinac island visit Hessel make it an adventure.

  14. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Shipping? Did I hear you say shipping? I really like this idea. I’m going to ask Seth to pay the shipping of the Arabian to New Zealand. Wish me luck.

  15. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    In the 1990′ while we owned a marina in Michigan, we wintered in Florida, and I had my 13 meter Trojan Express shipped up and down twice, big deal you may ask? Well she was 16 foot wide and needed front and rear escorts, and could not travel I hour before sunset and 1 hour after sunrise. THAT was a bill I hated to see, but still cheaper than running her on her bottom, which I also did in the fall od 1998.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      Found the picture of “Blackjack” arriving at my marina, up from Lauderdale. Yes she is 16 ft 3 inches wide, a real “Wide Load”…

  16. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    I also have a soft spot for the big cruisers, had two, a Christ Craft 410 flush Deck motor yacht and a 420 Commander.

  17. Warren
    Warren says:

    Truth be known, that is exactly how I purchased my boat. I made the deal that he deliver the boat and I would pay full price. My worries were the trailer had not been on the road for 10+ years and I of course did not have it registered in my name. At the end, it cost the seller a tank of gas and an 8 hour road trip. We both got what we wanted.

  18. Nautilus
    Nautilus says:

    My Dreamboat: 1955 Trumpy 80-footer, originally named “Rumak III.” Watched her pull up to Shaefer’s Canal House on the C&D canal around 1960. Besides the owner and his wife, she had three crewmen all dressed in white. The docking was perfectly choreographed and I remember it like it was yesterday. My father must have shaken his head and said “Damn!” about 10 times. Rumak was drop dead gorgeous and I have never forgotten her.

  19. K.Brennan
    K.Brennan says:

    Dennis, do you mind if I ask what marina you owned in Mi? My family owned Brennan Marine in Bay City Mi, you may know a lot of them. I grew up admiring wooden boats but I have yet to own one. My uncle Tom has a 65′ Mathews that gave everyone in the bay region varnish envy.

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