Notice of name and policy changes
GENERAL BOATS has been in business for over 60 years. The Rhodes 22 has been in production for over 50 of those years. We understand the sailboat industry. It is singularly different from other industries. It is unusually sensitive to the world we live in, from changes in the economy on down. The total number of new boats built from year to year varies marketly; last year, encompassing every size sailboat made, an infinitesimal 7,000 units. Sailboat business policies cannot be expected to be the same as found in industries that produce products by the millions. Yet Sailboat buyers are no different than car buyers when it comes to not wanting their investment to suddenly be worthless because they cannot replace a needed part. This issue becomes further authenticated when considering a Rhodes; a boat with many ongoing innovations only serviceable and replaceable through General Boats. This value of 'a-boat-in-production-consideration' is countered by price. Boats no longer in production are drastically lower in cost. However, bowing to initial cost as decision maker, can early on prove a costly rational. More on this debate as we continue with "Background" and GB's business plan policy changes:
In the 50s, the arrival of fiberglass had a host of sailors becoming sailboat builders (GB included). The remaining sailboat enthusiasts scrambled for dealerships. (GB decided to sell buyer-direct). For a decade or more the world of sailing was good; good until the first hint of an economy softening. Sailboats, being the last thing the family needs to survive, are the first to be dropped from most discretionary spending lists. Dealer ordering slowed a bit, they had plenty of inventory to satisfy a sluggish demand. Filling dealer pipe lines had created booming sales which also increased builder's financing requirments to increase production. The first sign of dealer order slackening had indebted builders feeling a bit pressured. Most looked to the conventional road: When dealer pipelines are clogged with one model, bring out another model. Hesitating dealers risked loosing their dealership. GB having neither another model or dealers, looked about for a different way to go, and found It. With the fact that, unlike most other products, used sailboats refused to go away, GB turned to the proverb: "if you can't beat them, join them". Why not sell used Rhodes, but recycle them to look like new, have new boat guarantees and sell at half the price. It worked. The production line kept going. New Rhodes were occasionally tossed in for those who had the wherewithal to buy mega yachts, and also liked the idea of having a new Rhodes for the fun of single handing. A few in their crowd periodically replaced their Rhodes with new ones, as they did with their cars. One bought 3 Rhodes, leaving each at different sailing venues so he could step aboard and be sailing in seconds when at that local. But this was a relatively small now and then market.
Recycled Rhodes, although still more costly than used Rhodes, worked for the next decade or so. It worked until it started not to work. Why? What was happening. Several years earlier GB noticed the wealth distribution charts, having been attuned in parallel to ripples in the economy, now had started to diverge. At the past Annapolis show that divergence had reached bubble proportions. Our tiny industry was becoming two tinier industries. From my ringside seat I saw more and more houses with sails being exhibited and less and less of Rhodes size offerings: No Catalina 22, no Hunters (bankrupt), no MacGregors (retired and closed), no Precession 23 ? At the same time, around the country, Rhodes sales were proceeding at record paces. Not New Rhodes. Not Recycled Rhodes. The jump was in sales of used Rhodes; direct seller to buyer transactions. For the Rhodes to continue a boat in production; time for another business plan change to go with today's reality. We would draw from what we learned from the Certificate of Support program.
THE RHODES OWNERS COOPERATIVE (ROC)
The umbrella for the reinventing of the Used Rhodes Sailboat Market
To make it fair, simple and unambiguous: All Rhodes owners of boats purchased from General Boats, plus all Rhodes owners with a Certificate Of Support, are automatically enrolled in the Rhodes Owners Cooperative. Anyone purchasing a Rhodes from any other source can become a member of this community by submitting their name, address and boat hull number along with a membership fee of 10% of the boat's full purchase cost, where such fee is to be no less than $300 and no more than $3K. This one time, life time Membership fee is effective from the date of purchase to the date of transfer of that hull numbered boat to the next owner. An appreciation of the value of ROC membership starts with the invaluable pros of owning a boat in production:
Availability of proprietary parts (there is no other source for Rhodes IMF Spars). Lower cost financing. Availability of specialized repairs. Higher (much higher) resale value. Compatible owner inspired, innovated upgradings. An expanding owners base of assistance as contrasted with dying chat rooms; for the Rhodes it is: <Rhodes22email@example.com> Timely Web Sites (3, more coming). High Search Engine presence. Ongoing Boat Show presence. But, per TV, "Wait, there is more": The publishing of the RHODES 22 MARKET EXCHANGE: The worlds only (and therefore largest) internet forum dedicated solely for used Rhodes wannabes ready to buy and Rhodes owners ready to sell. Listings by State. 100% Free. No advertising. No time limits. And wait. Still more: (A) Buyers, wanting more boat but short of up front cash, and (B) Sellers wanting to sell faster by having a broader market, are now both blessed by ROC's simplified, low cost in-house financing !
Parroting the only Con, "No other outfit insists I do anything like this after I buy their product" is a myopic take on the Coop's one time, life time membership fee. Membership is not a cost; it is an investment. An investment that returns a profit. Not mandatory, ROC will have its pro and con camps. Diluting the program to satisfy both camps is to negate its worth. In fairness, that will not be done. 60 years experience knows that, after taking their own good time, reanalysis will have all Rhodes owners 'getting it' and appreciating what ROC will accomplish on their behalf; benefits they would never have been able to accomplished individually.
In reanalysis, look at it this way: A company is either 100% union or 100% non union. Who would join the union (or stay in the union) if union gained benefits where also available to non union members. A loose simile for underlining that Rhodes owners, wanting their boat to remain in production, should not be expected to subsidize those going along for the ride. The benefits gained by ROC, accrue to members. In all fairness they can not be shared with non members. It has to be all or nothing at all. Here "nothing at all" equates to GB no longer considering boats of non members as still being in existence. That means that all the good stuff under the ROC umbrella is for members only: A Parts web site, the only source for proprietary Rhodes parts. The Used Rhodes Market Place, a site for Rhodes wannabes to post what they are specifically searching for. A site for Rhodes sellers to tell and show what they have to offer. The GB Finance division, only for used Rhodes, (no others) at the best market terms. Ongoing contact with GB for any reason. More and more benefits to make Used Rhodes Sailboats a star in their own imperative world.
Summing up GB's second business course correction in the past 60 years: In view of where the entry size sailboat market is today, General Boats has elected to bring its experience and creativity to the private sales, used Rhodes, market: To make it less costly and more comfortable for engaging Rhodes wannabes to enter. To make it easy to leave, for Rhodes owners having to sell. To have a side effect that enhances the building of New Rhodes so the brand continues a boat in production. You may be saying, good trick if you can do it. We say we can, with an obverse approach. For instance: Now that used Rhodes have gone from an unruly bunch in the corner, to the head of the class, Rhodes for sale should not be buried on pages of scattered "sailboats for sale" web sites. They should be on the one web site dedicated exclusively to used Rhodes 22s for sale. Buyers will love the knowing where to go, the saving of time, the comparison shopping. Sellers will love no cost listings and being tuned into any competition. Reinventing the way to find used Rhodes sailboats for sale that are posted at endless boat yards and are bleeps in used boats for sail web sites, also now compiled in one committed internet location, will have the used Rhodes sailboat industry growing and benefitting from a host of amazing new programs. The "Rhodes Only" fast and simplified in house financing, will skyrocket the number of the sellers' prospects. The other side of the equation: buyers able to invest more in their purchase : That self-tending jib for single handing. Or, even a younger, more recent Rhodes.
Financing a used boat has always been more costly, often impossible. With ROC's financing only for Rhodes, rates and terms can be the best. The intended consequences from this program will be a stimulated used Rhodes marketplace which will contribute to the costs of keeping new Rhodes in production, which in turn feeds an increasing number of available used Rhodes sailboats into the used Rhodes market; which in turn eventually has many used Rhodes sailors graduating to New Rhodes. (Who said there is no such thing as perpetual motion).
A contributor to making it all work is the growth of the Coop. True, becoming a member of ROC is not compulsory. Nor is it written anywhere that the benefits of ROC membership be available to non ROC members. Sustaining parts for members only is one of the hard calls that had to be made in fairness to the majority's emphatic wanting of their boat to remain in production. Benefits of membership will keep growing beyond unfettered access to parts and free access to the Rhodes Market Exchange and easy in-house financing and higher resale values. When ready to sell, one or more ROC's assets could be the "closer". Maybe a decaying wood tiller shouting, I'm an old Rhodes, replaced with a stunningly beautiful, lifetime guarantee, maintenance free, solid fiber glass Rhodes tiller shouting, "Look at me, I'm up to date".
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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the RHODES OWNER'S COOPERATIVE
In addition to being able to see so many Rhodes in a single location without having to go to all points of the country to look at single choices, purchasing your used Rhodes from the GB Used Boat Corral has the exclusive feature of being able to purchase a boat with the unheard of right to opt for a NEW or updated RECYCLED version with 100% of the purchase price of the original boat applied to the purchase price of the newer model. This amazing program effectively allows sailing a Rhodes for up to two years with no depreciation cost penalty should you and your family decide that you then would like to move up to a New or Recycled "new boat guarantee" Rhodes having the color scheme and features you now want in your next Rhodes. Also, Boats purchased from the Corral Automatically come with ROC membership.
Lots of boat owners collected lots of money from lots of insurance companies in the afterwake of
storm Sandy's wind and rain drowning of New Jersey's barrier islands. There are a number of
Rhodies sailing Barnegate Bay, but for some reason Rhodes sailboats were treated as Neptune's
chosen. See the story of the Flying Dutchman below. Membership in the Rhodes Owners Coop
picks up where the insurance company leaves off. ROC makes your sailing life whole again. And
does it all, faster and better than any other benefactor you can count on.
formally: the Rhodes Certificate of Support:
a Win, Win, Win
Rhodes community program
City eating storm Sandy, partnering with impossible odds, joined to support our boast that the Rhodes is one smart boat. This Rhodes, seeing the mess its marina inhabitants were heading, took off on its own the instant arguing storm wind and water popped it off it's land bound boat stands Skipperless, it set sail on a less used course 'til finding what it wanted in the small protected yard of a still standing house. .
As the sea returned to its normal business the Rhodes settled on its keel without a degree of list. Without a list of scars. Credit what or who you may, we are sticking to our new slogan:
"The Rhodes is one smart built Boat".