FLEMING AND BURR YACHT SALES FAQ’S
1- How long have Burr Yacht Sales and Fleming been in business?
We have been in business since 1963. The Flemings have been in production since 1986.
2- How many Fleming 50’s have been built to date?
There were only eleven 50 footers with the last one being hull 18 which was completed in early 1990. Several were shipped to the California dealer but the majority went to England. Most of the 50’s on the East Coast were brought back to the US by speculators in the mid 90’s. They all had to be converted back from European 220 volt 50Hz shore power to US 60Hz 120 volt power. Most have had aftermarket A/C installed but we are not aware of any that have been stabilized or have bow thrusters. All were powered with the naturally aspirated 210HP Caterpillars and are basically 10 knot boats
3- How many Fleming 53’s have been built to date?
There were only seventeen 53 footers built and that the last one built was hull 33 which was shipped to California in 1992. Most of these boats went to either California or Venezuela. Most of the Venezuelan boats were being kept in Bonaire and have since come back to the US East Coast. Most were powered with the 375 HP turbo Caterpillars. While capable of significantly better performance than the 50’s it was not until the advent of the 55 footer with the 425HP Caterpillars that a 15 knot cruising speed became a reality.
4- Were the 50’s, 53’s, and 55’s all built in the same mold?
Yes. The boat was originally designed as a 55 footer. The mold was simply dammed off to build the shorter boats. Incidentally the rudder locations, keel configuration, and shaft angles were independently optimized for each model.
5- How many Fleming 55’s have been built to date?
Hull 229 will be completed in the winter of 2014. Since there was no hull 13 and this number includes the twenty two 50’s and 53’s, that would indicate that 206 55’s have been completed. Incidentally, Fleming always starts with hull number one, whereas many manufacturers start with numbers like 51, 101 or even 501. It is also not uncommon for manufacturers to skip blocks of hull numbers, particularly during early construction. For example it is possible that a hull 5 could really be only the second boat built.
6- How many Fleming 65’s have been built to date?
Hull 39 will be outfitted in the late fall of 2013. The Fleming 65 debuted in 2005 and quickly gained a following. Tony Fleming built the first one for himself and took some well earned rest while cruising her from the Pacific Northwest up to Alaska and then down the coast to Mexico. In the spring and summer of 2008 he cruised her down to the Cocos Islands, onward to the Galapagos Archipelago, up through the Panama Canal, up the east coast to the Hudson River, out the St. Lawrence Seaway, around Nova Scotia and back to Maryland. A trip of over 9000 miles. Then, in 2010, Tony Fleming has cruised 2,677nm in Hull 24,”Venture II” from the UK to Iceland and returning to Southampton. Incidentally, Tony is a very accomplished videographer and has created a spectacular DVD of his cruising experiences which also includes some interesting footage of the construction and delivery process of this new model. If you would be interested in viewing it, please give us a call.
7- How many Fleming 75’s have been built to date?
Sixteen, plus the prototype, which was the only 72 foot Fleming ever built. The 72 did not have the outstanding crew quarters, or the covered aft deck lounge area, that are some of the main features of the 75. Burr Yacht Sales has sold ten of these beautiful yachts and has also handled the resale of seven.
8- How many Fleming 78’s have been built to date and what is the difference between a 75 and 78?
There have been 3 Fleming 78’s delivered. The 78 has an increased waterline, lengthened keel, and an optional bulbous bow for improved efficiency.
9- How many Flemings have been sold or resold by Burr Yacht Sales?
According to our records as of August 2013, we have sold 137 new Flemings and we have handled just over 161 Fleming resales since we delivered our first Fleming in 1993.
10- When did Fleming start installing factory air conditioning in the Flemings and did any of the 50’s or 53’s have factory air conditioning?
The original Flemings were built for the Southern California and the European markets where there was little interest in air conditioning. Burr Yacht Sales, working with the Cruisair factory, designed the first fully integrated air conditioning system for our first boat which was hull 29. Factory installed air conditioning based on this design was offered as an option on all Flemings starting with hull 37. All subsequent Burr Yacht Sales Flemings had factory installed air conditioning, however since there was still little call for it in Southern California it was not until many years later that it was made standard. At this point, aftermarket air conditioning has been installed in most of the California boats; however the modular units normally installed were much noisier and less desirable than the factory installations.
11- If Burr Yacht Sales sells so many used Flemings why don’t I see them advertised in the national boating magazines?
The intent of most national advertising is to generate sales leads for independent brokers as opposed to selling a specific boat. That is one of the primary reasons why brokers try to get Fleming listings. To get these listings they frequently promise potential sellers a sale at well over the market price. They can afford to do this because they sell all kinds of boats and normally do not really care about selling a particular boat. At the first sign of price resistance, which may or may not be justifiable, they try to switch the customer to another boat. A practice commonly known as “bait and switch”, although the bigger problem is that the independent brokers rarely have a clue as to how to explain a Fleming to a prospective buyer. From our standpoint the lead times for the national magazine advertising is such that we would normally have sold a newly listed boat before the magazine would have come out and we believe it creates a bad atmosphere to continually advertise boats that are already sold. We normally have a waiting list of people interested in clean, fairly priced Flemings, so in most cases the sales are consummated without the boat ever being advertised. If you have an interest in a pre-owned Fleming the best way to find a good Fleming is to keep us apprised of your interest.
12- If Burr Yacht Sales sells so many Flemings why would a seller list with an independent broker?
In most cases it is not in the seller’s best interest; however there is usually a logical reason. The bottom line however is that these reasons usually work against both the buyer and the seller. Sometimes it is just the convenience of a friendly broker in the seller’s marina. More often the seller is simply lured by a broker promising a sale at well above what we have already advised them would be a fair market price. It is quite understandable, particularly if the boat is not seriously for sale, that they would list their boats with this pied piper, however the mythical sale very rarely materializes, and the boat just sits on the market doing little more than generating new prospects for the broker. Burr Yacht Sales has no interest in trying to market boats that are not seriously for sale or realistically priced. There are also, I regret to say, occasionally times when a seller might also prefer that his broker not know quite as much about the history of his boat as we do. A broker that doesn’t know all of the details, is not going to tell a potential buyer that the boat he is offering once sunk in its slip due to the failure of an aftermarket air conditioning fitting, or that a boat with a very custom interior was, in fact, a boat that was completely rebuilt after being written off as a total loss by an insurance company, and is a boat that doesn’t even exist as far as Fleming is concerned. We also rarely get the listings on the few boats that were originally sold in California, and were subsequently brought to the East Coast. The primary reason is that they normally do not show well in comparison with the boats that we have outfitted. Sometimes a seller just feels that his boat cannot compete with the other boats that we have for sale. What the seller fails to realize is what a small world it is and that he will still be competing, but without the other advantages that we offer our buyers. All of these scenarios have happened in the past and some are directly applicable to boats on the market with independent brokers as of this very moment. The truth is that Burr Yacht Sales can almost always find you the best boat and the best deal and if we cannot we will tell you so. If the best boat for you is a boat listed elsewhere we will still be happy to sell it to you. We always use our knowledge for your benefit and we will not knowingly engage in any deceptive practices. Our goal is your complete satisfaction, without any after sale surprises. We want you to join with the nineteen other happy Fleming owners that are on their second or third or fourth Fleming from Burr Yacht Sales. A real testimonial to their love affair with this vessel.
13- If we find an interesting Fleming that is for sale with another broker will you tell us everything you know about the boat?
Of course we will if you want us to handle the purchase for you, however if you are already committed to another broker we will not normally get involved. It is not our objective to interfere in someone else’s transaction. If the owner had asked us to give him our opinion of the market value of his boat, we may tell you what we told him. We may give you basic information such as whether or not we had originally outfitted the boat, or whether we had sold the boat new, or to the present owner. The biggest advantage to a prospective Fleming buyer in dealing with us is our unmatchable product knowledge. We also actively participate in the survey process for the benefit of both buyer and seller. We occasionally find and report issues that may have been overlooked by the surveyor and we provide the surveyor with the kind of information that he needs to do a thorough job without having to waste all his time familiarizing himself with the boat systems. As a result many survey items are disposed of before the survey is even finished. When we participate in a sea trial we know if the boat is still running the way it did when new.
14- I have heard that many twin engine boats handle very poorly if one engine becomes inoperable. How does the Fleming 55 do in these circumstances?
The Fleming 55 is exceptional in this regard. While many twin engine boats need almost all of the available rudder deflection to travel in a straight line when running on one engine, the Fleming 55 requires less than one third of the available deflection, so it still has a tremendous amount of reserve rudder to handle adverse wind or sea conditions.
15- How does Burr Yacht Sales establish the resale price of a used Fleming?
We don’t. The prices are established by a willing buyer and a willing seller in the open market. For every boat there is a price range within which the buyer and the seller should each feel comfortable that it is a fair deal. What we do is provide both buyer and seller with the information necessary to arrive at an appropriate figure. We are the only ones that have all of the information concerning the actual sale prices of used Flemings and what the differences were between each of those boats and how they compare with the boats currently being offered. Without this kind of detailed information, which other brokers do not have, you are flying blind.
16- I have just talked to a broker who claims to be a Fleming specialist. Do you know him?
Quite probably, but talk is cheap and exaggerated claims from commission based yacht brokers are commonplace. The numbers tell the story. All told we have sold over 161 pre-owned Flemings as of August 2013. For the past few years we have averaged better than one used Fleming sale per month. On the other hand, all of the brokers on the East Coast combined have sold perhaps a dozen in the past thirteen years. An average of about one a year.
17- I have been told that none of the Burr Yacht Sales people are on commission. Is that true? Isn’t that unusual for the marine industry?
Yes, that is the case, and yes it is very unusual. Basically all of our employees started as dock boys and have all been involved in virtually every phase of the outfitting and delivery process. Most of the senior people have been with us for 25 years or more. You can buy a boat from our office manager, from our service manager or, for that matter, from our secretary if you like. Our Sales manager can and will fix your water pump if need be. We operate like a big family with only one goal, to outfit and deliver the best boats in the world to some of the nicest people in the world.
18- Is the Fleming easy to maneuver around the dock?
Yes it is. Even without the bow thrusters that are installed on all Flemings, the deep keel and the large rudders combine with the weight of the boat in making docking a breeze. The majority of the boats have the cockpit controls and boats built in the last seven years all have a fourth control station on the boatdeck. Many of the newer boats even have stern thrusters, (which are also being retrofitted to some of the older boats). Be prepared however to have an audience. Whenever a Fleming pulls into a marina it is invariably the center of attention. We have had Fleming owners tell us about other boaters requesting permission to come aboard to see their boat before they even have their lines secured.
19- I understand that the Fleming 55 has undergone many improvements over the years. Can you provide a list of all of the improvements that have been made?
To provide a complete list would be extremely difficult. During the mid to late 90’s we were averaging about 40 improvements per boat. Today we are still making small improvements on almost every boat, albeit in greatly reduced numbers. If you are working with us we will have a better idea of which improvements are most significant to you and can guide you towards the best Fleming for your purpose and for your pocketbook. The general rule however, is to buy the newest boat that meets your requirements and that is still within your budget.
20- Are there specific model years when significant improvements were made?
Fleming doesn’t really have any model years. We go entirely by hull numbers, not model years. Changes are made whenever a potential improvement is identified. For example, on boats earlier than hull 37 the side boarding gates swung outward. This was inconvenient when lying broadside to a fixed pier, made the gate vulnerable to damage if left open, and created a safety issue since it could pop open if someone leaned against it when it was not fully latched. Originally Tony felt, despite the very wide walkways on the Fleming, that an inward opening gate would restrict the passageway excessively. After trying it on hull 37 at our insistence, however, he immediately recognized what a difference it made, and inward opening gates immediately became standard. It should also be remembered that the Flemings are really semi-custom yachts and that many of the improvements have come about as a result of customer experiences and suggestions. It was quite common for major improvements to be added immediately, as extra cost options, and then to become standard at the next pricing review.
21- I have been told by another manufacturer that the reason that your Flemings cost more than his boats is because Tony Fleming sells through dealers whereas he sells his boats direct to the public. It certainly sounds reasonable. Is it true?
Absolutely not! As logical as it may sound, this is one of the biggest myths in the boating world. It should be pretty obvious if you just stop to think about it for a moment. There is a very good reason why most of the highly respected manufacturers have dealer organizations rather than sell direct. What they are doing is essentially outsourcing the sales, marketing and service aspects of their business to people who are better qualified, thereby leaving the manufacturer free to do what he does best, which is to build the boats. If Tony Fleming wanted to do all of his selling direct to the public he would simply need to do everything that we do since we already sell the vast majority of his product. The hitch is that he would then need our multi-million dollar facility, all of our employees, all of our sales and marketing expenses, boat show expenses, insurance expenses, etc. If you simply consider the fact that a dealership like ours, which is devoted exclusively to the sales and service of Fleming Yachts, does well to end the year with a profit of 4% of gross sales, you will quickly realize that reducing all of our prices by as little as 5% would turn our business into a money losing proposition. Furthermore I could not image any manufacturer doing everything that we do for zero profit. Any manufacturer that is successfully selling directly to the public has to sell at essentially the same prices that a dealer would be asking if he had a dealer organization. In fact the biggest reason a manufacturer has for selling direct is to control the retail pricing and to make the retail end of the business more profitable. He simply becomes the exclusive dealer with no competition.
22- An independent broker has advised me to look for a Fleming through him because a new boat dealer’s primary objective is to keep the prices up. Would you care to comment?
This is a common misconception and in fact the opposite is more likely to be the truth. Our primary objective is to get the pre-owned yacht sold as quickly as possible and at a price that makes both buyer and seller happy. Certainly we try to keep the resale value high because that is a responsibility that we have to all of our customers, which includes both potential buyers and the present sellers. We also believe that a high resale value is the best reason for anyone to buy any boat, new or used. We do it however not by trying to control prices, but by making sure that the boats we sell are in great condition and represent a very good value. We also put a great deal of effort into making sure that there are no hidden problems to surprise a new owner. The boats we sell normally sail through surveys. Because of the great relationship that we have with our owners they normally advise us of anything that they think may need attention and authorize us to make the boat pristine before the boat is even listed. Furthermore, they normally give us a blank check to correct any additional problems that we might find. There are the occasional exceptions, but as a whole, Fleming owners are really a class act. They normally take a great deal of pride in their boats and really want the next owner to enjoy their boat as much as they did. It is also worth noting that a very high percentage of our used Fleming buyers promptly fall in love with their new acquisition and quickly decide to move up to a new, or at least a newer, Fleming. The last thing we would want to happen is to have to tell a customer that he paid too much for a boat that we had just sold him. The fact is that the boats that we have for sale normally represent a much better value than the average boat being sold by independent brokers, which is why our listings normally sell so much faster. It is not our customers, but rather the people who have bought elsewhere, that are most likely to find that they overpaid or bought the wrong boat.
23- How long is a used Fleming normally on the market?
Before the downturn of 08’-09’, our average time on the market for a reasonably priced, late model Fleming 55 was probably less than thirty days. An exceptional boat may well have been sold in 48 hours or less. Recently times have changed and some boats have remained on the market a bit longer. Today’s buyers are driven towards boats that represent excellent value and high quality construction. A well maintained and well marketed Fleming is still likely to sell quickly to a knowledgeable buyer.
24- The Fleming appears to be more sophisticated than most of the other boats that I have looked at. Can I really learn how to operate all of the systems?
Absolutely, but you are quite correct, the Fleming systems do provide added features normally found only in much larger custom yachts. The Fleming systems have been designed to provide the cruising owner with great flexibility. While it can be rather overwhelming when you try to look at everything at once, when taken individually, each system is quite logical and easily understood. Manuals are provided for virtually all of the installed components and safeguards are incorporated so at the worst you can simply operate the yacht without taking advantage of all the available options. Personal instruction is strongly recommended however, in order that you can take full advantage of what the Fleming has to offer. If you buy your boat from Burr Yacht Sales this instruction is automatically provided at no charge. As part of our delivery process we make a major effort to insure that every purchaser of a new or pre-owned Fleming fully understands and is comfortable with the operation of the boat and all of its systems. Additionally, having just delivered the vessel to you we are aware of its current status and are available to you 24/7 to answer any questions that may come up as you start using the boat, After sale service that no other broker can offer.
25- I would like my wife to be able to handle the boat in case something happens to me. Do you think my wife can do this?
Certainly. We have had many cases where the wives have actually become the primary boat handlers with the husbands taking over the dock line duties We always encourage our customers to have their wives fully participate in the initial check out process, as well as in the boat handling lessons that we also provide to every new Fleming owner at the time of delivery. Even experienced boat handlers can benefit from some of the tips that we provide.
26- I have heard that you do not work with other brokers. Is that true?
Not really. We do work with a limited number of very reputable brokers. The problem is that, in the best interest of the potential buyer, we insist on being fully involved in the entire sale process, especially in the survey and delivery, which is important to the buyer but means less profit for the other brokers. It is also quite common for us to have below market commissions for our customers who are moving up to newer boats. Again, smaller commissions mean smaller profits for other brokers, so they normally prefer to switch buyers to boats where they can make more money.
27- Are there any advantages to owning a Fleming that are not in the brochure?
Absolutely. One of the biggest is that you will find yourself in the company of some of the nicest people that you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. We think that our Fleming owners are very special people and I am sure that you will too. When you buy a Fleming from us you are joining a great family of boaters
28- With all that you have to offer a potential Fleming owner why would someone buy a pre-owned Fleming elsewhere?
A question we cannot answer because we cannot come up with any good reason.