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Old 12-11-2011, 07:12   #16
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post

Can any "skilled worker" do a task better than a CNC machine?
A skilled worker will operate the CNC machine better than an unskilled one.

It depends very much on what the job at hand is and how important knowledge is in the production process (knowledge vs. skill). Today, many production processes are optimised to the level that you can take a skilled CNC operator from any industry and have them build boats tomorrow. Knowledge of boat building is not required, as long as particular skills are up to the job.

This is, however, next to impossible in productions where a small team builds a one-off. With the price of skilled workforce WHO UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE DOING the prices of the unit go over the roof - just look up the yachtworld and you will see it is so.

Then again, when repair time comes, try to convince anybody to use skilled (and knowledgeable) workforce. ... ;-) ... See thread: "Where is the cheapest place I can ...." and so on&forth, ad infinitum. Yachting no longer is the sport of gentlepersons.

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Old 12-11-2011, 07:26   #17
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

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A skilled worker will operate the CNC machine better than an unskilled one.

b.

It that a skilled worker, or a trained worker? I go to some automotive related manufacturing plants as part of my job. All the worker is doing is puting something on the table and then taking it off. Not much skill involved!

Now the person who programmed the CNC machine or did the design model the programming came from is a different story.

And it is not my intent to trash good skilled people. Skill is skill, but a production plant isn't always about worker "skill".
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:28   #18
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

There are several things I like about shopping for production boats:

1. More volume produced means more experiences to determine the probability of problems.

2. More owner reports and reviews of the boat. - Again more information out there.

3. Better known market value.

4. More boats on the market at any given time and if you miss one, you know more will come up for sale soon.

5. Easier to get parts.

Basically what I like about production boats is that that it is fairly easy to learn about any given model and then shop from several options of that model available.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:43   #19
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Another point in favor of a production boat IMHO is from the R&D side. Manufactures of production boats simply have more money to spend on research and development to refine and optimize their boats and designs.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:45   #20
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

During my two tours through the Hunter factory in Alachua, FL, I was impressed by the specialization of each person on the assembly line. The cabinet makers built cabinets, the resin rollers rolled resin, the electricians wired, the stainless fabricators fabricated 316L stainless fittings, the plumbers plumbed, and so on. Many of the workers have been with Hunter for over a decade and a good number over two decades; they are overall very experienced in their specialties. The economies of scale and the precision of computerized cutters add to the cost savings.

In a custom or semi-custom yard, the workers often need to re-learn the next task as they flip from glassing to wiring to cabinetry to plumbing. I much prefer the experienced specialist approach to boat building.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:53   #21
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

If the original question was a serious one, I would think the odds of a custom boat having problems are far greater. What looks good on paper doesnt always work out so well. Doing something for the first time always has a learning curve to get a 'best' method of manufacture. etc....
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:32   #22
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

FWIW we have a custom built boat, however the reason we have is we could not afford the production boats we wanted so bought a professionally built hull and then fitted it out ourselves. (Still are fitting it out to be honest). As neither my wife or I are 'craftsmen' the quality of the fit out is nowhere near as good as any production boat, and I can assure you we have had problems along the way and have spent time and effort fixing them. The one advantage I can see is that I know where everything is and how to fix it when it goes wrong. Also as we sail the boat as a 'work in progress' - 3,000 miles to date - we can amend things easily when we find that they are not perfect as is. Also everything that is fitted is exactly what we want and within the confines of a 10 metre hull where we want it. (Mind you if I knew at the beginning of this project what I know now I'd have begged, borrowed or stolen the money to buy what I wanted! I HATE DIY!! ) So bottom line - if you are happy with whatever you've got - sod any so and so who looks down his nose at you and yours.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:11   #23
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

Very good points Steve. I built a couple when I was younger, and you do get to know every little thing along the way. I guess you do with a major refit also. My ending sentiment was much like yours though: "why didnt I just buy a working boat and go sailing!"
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:42   #24
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

Oh Don, you really are a boat lothario..you use her for one season and then something pretty comes by and off you go. What type of Swan did you see anyhow?

Todd
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Old 12-11-2011, 15:23   #25
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post

It that a skilled worker, or a trained worker?

(...)

All the worker is doing is puting something on the table and then taking it off. Not much skill involved!

(...)

Now the person who programmed the CNC machine or did the design model the programming came from is a different story.
Yes. We will tend to understate blue collar work vs. white collar work. Maybe even more so if we do a white collar one.

Now my professional background is mixed and from there I can tell you that there are more moron designers / programmers than you can wish for in nearly any production company. Not to say that a similar offense towards moron workers would be too difficult to substantiate.

Skill comes from training and training may include both knowledge transfer and hands on experience. Some brains go a long way too as does some talent. But above all, it is the exercise and the time. To say it in a different way: putting the thing on the table and taking it off ONLY LOOKS so easy (maybe even more so to someone who does the design and programming).

Now if you go to mobile phone forums and read from there you will be surprised how many posters will insist on the fact that a hand-made, one-off mobile phone is the best way to build a cellular.

Alas, from the point of view of the manufacturer, it is less than desirable to have a professor of physics assemble mobiles on the production line. And building boats is 100% like building anything else - you are efficient, you survive. If not, your romantic adventure with boat building lasts only as long as your pocket is deep.

Now about the only way to jump over the economical factors (but not the quality factors!) is to build custom one-offs. One look at relevant quotes at Yachtworld tell us the rest of the story and we will agree (will we not?) that we are in fact BLESSED with cheapo.

BTW For quality in top shelf, one-off, custom boat building please refer to VOR website, department of retirements and abandonments. ;-)

Hugs,
b.
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Old 12-11-2011, 15:41   #26
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

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This high end boats never having a problem is just a BS agruement and isn't really anything other than a class warfare type of statement.
Can you point me to someone saying "high end boats never have problems"? I've been on boating forums for over 14 years and that is certainly not a common theme I have picked up on?

I work on all types of boats from Halberg-Rassy & Hinckley to Oday & Catalina and Bayliners to Rybovich.

The problems with ANY boat are less often the boat and almost always the systems or installation of the systems. Considering we have very few manufacturers left in the marine market expensive boats and production boats very often share the same products used to put them together, Yanmar, Isomat, Xantrex, Raymarine, Edson, Lewmar, Harken, Ronstan, Garhauer etc. etc...

I see little diference in "failures" or "issues" between production and semi-custom or custom. While there are certainly differneces in construction techniques and "fit & finish" these are not the issues I see as most common..
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Old 12-11-2011, 22:10   #27
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This is getting a bit ludicrous here. Don, are you suggesting that the fit and finish on a production boat is the same as say the fit and finish on a Morris or Hinkley? I am not one to trash production boats at all. They are functional and make it so more of us can afford to sail, but the materials used aren't even similar. You get laminates, more fiberglass, etc. on the interior of a production boat generally as opposed to solid hardwoods. That doesn't say either one functions differently, but CNCd pieces of plywood that just fit together are not the same as solid cherry and teak. In a past life I built fine homes with my father. He always hated CNCd plywood cabinets and would try to discourage folks from going that route. Why? Because they are sloppier than custom cabinets. Two boats out of the same mold will settle differently. CNCd panels need to have enough slop in the tolerance to make them fit. If the materials are the same, then all else aside that may be fine, but often engineered cabinets are poorly engineered. They will cut a groove into the side rather than attach a support because the computer can do that, but a support costs man hours. I love (and own a) production boat, but I have no illusions about what I would be getting for my money if I could afford a higher end boat. Construction details like liners that make access to the hull impossible, or glued in supports rather than properly tabbed in supports are very common issues on production boats. Trashing the people who can afford to buy a high end boat as a snob because they did is just as stupid as someone with a Hans Christian trashing your Hunter because you didn't. Boats go places. Cheap ones and expensive ones. At the same time the dodger you get in your production boat is not the same as the custom bent leather reinforced one with extra large handrails that a custom boat may have. People are not just burning money when they buy expensive boats, but for many of us the ability to be out there is more important than those details. That's why I have a production boat, but I acknowledge that I would prefer a Caliber or a Swan to my old 1970s plastic classic. Not because it would take me places any different, but because I would love the details. I am sure I have offended someone here. Oh well.
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Old 13-11-2011, 02:42   #28
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

As someone building a semi-custom in Australia, there are other reasons why one might choose the semi-custom path. If I was in America there is a much bigger range of cruising boats to choose from. If you want a boat with a skeg hung rudder, integral lead keel and high tankage capacities that is predominantly designed for crossing oceans, then there might be a range of production boats available to you. Not so in Australia, being such a small market that is far from civilisation. If we lived in America or Europe perhaps we could buy genuine cruising boats that are built on a production line, thus saving the inefficiencies of the low volume builder. A semi-custom boat in Australia costs significantly less than it does to import a Hallberg Rassey, Oyster, Island Packet or similar, so there genuine economic as well as the geographic reasons.
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Old 13-11-2011, 09:31   #29
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

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At the same time the dodger you get in your production boat is not the same as the custom bent leather reinforced one with extra large handrails that a custom boat may have.
Wouldnt agree with that.. I'm in the custom canvas business.. and have built for a couple factories including IP and Catalina.. They get the same stainless, and the same material, it all depends on how its spec-ed out..
The difference is, the the specs of the dodger built might include the extras like the hand rails or oversize tubes (1&1/4).. you dont just get the custom bent leather reinforsed one with the upper end boat, you have to pay for it..
But the same option is still avalable for production boats..all you have to do is ask, and I get a phone call or a fax..
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Old 13-11-2011, 09:41   #30
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Re: Production vs Custom Boats

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This is getting a bit ludicrous here. Don, are you suggesting that the fit and finish on a production boat is the same as say the fit and finish on a Morris or Hinkley? .

No I'm not saying that. I'm saying just because a production boat has less finish (I feel the fit is as good) that it doesn't mean it less worthy of a boat.

Never been on one of these "super nice" boats. I'm sure if I had the money I would probably get something higher end. But it would be "just because" not that I'm getting a more seaworthy, safer, better sailing boat.
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