This column is the last of a three-part series reviewing the history of boatbuilding in Costa Mesa.
"I never noticed an industry fall so fast and so complete," Roger MacGregor, founder of MacGregor Yacht Co., recalled.
The year was 1980 and the screws were tightened on credit. Kind of sounds familiar to today, doesn't it?
"The federal clamp down on consumer credit is not only taking its toll on the housing and auto industries, but on Orange Country multi-million dollar boat building enterprises," John Longwell wrote in a May 1980 article headlined "Boating Blues."
The article included quotes from Bob McCafferty of Down East Yachts, Buster Hammond of Islander Yachts, and Dick Valdes of Lancer Yachts. They all explained the cutbacks they were taking to survive through the lull.
Interest rates were at 18% and "either the buyers settle for a smaller boat or they wait."
Valdes was quoted as saying: "Sophisticated money is waiting out the market, [and] even though they have the money they're taking a wait-and-see attitude."