Word out there is that when Donzi Marine re-opens its doors it will do so as a “custom builder.” With floor-plan financing—at least for go-fast boats—a thing of the past, the economy still limping and the market still saturated with new and used product, that makes sense. It will be interesting to see how, exactly, Sarasota, Fla.-based Donzi pulls it off. If it does, it’s a safe bet that Fountain and Baja by Fountain, after reemerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing earlier this year, will follow suit.
Will Donzi, Fountain and Baja be able to compete with the likes of Cigarette and Outerlimits in the custom realm? No way—Cigarette and Outerlimits have been at it for too long and have an insurmountable head start. But the production builders “going custom” will have one advantage over the their “OC” (Originally Custom, yes you read it here first) competitors. They’ll be cheaper, though they won’t be quite as “custom.”
I know that “cheaper” is supposed to be a dirty word in the new-boat world, but when one 38-foot-boat costs half or even less than half of another 38-foot-boat, calling it “less expensive” just doesn’t cut it. And it’s safe to say that Donzi, Fountain and Baja models will be cheaper than their Cigarette and Outerlimits counterparts.—Matt Trulio