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Old 11-06-2014, 02:12   #16
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

BandB,

As was previously stated... There is custom and then there is custom. A yacht builder that builds maybe 100 boats in a high production year vs the multiple hundreds produced by the manufacturers one usually associates with "production" yachts ie Bavaria, Catalina, jeaunneau, beneteau etc

That being said, I appreciate the way you explained to compare the boats as "just boats" post production.. Valid point. That actually helps me to keep things in perspective when comparing. Great tip -

However, when looking at buying a used boat, how can you substantiate the price differences between makes if you disregard the build process?

What are your thoughts?
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:40   #17
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

One of the most expensive part of boatbuilding in many countries will be the labour costs and this is where custom will be greater..

Say a 45/50ft vessel that takes 10,000 hours to build for high quality finish
Numbers could be done at 15,000 hours. In Australian tradesman labour rate at least $50/hr whilst in Thailand,Peru/Phillipines probably less than $10/hr

10000 hours at $50 is $500,000
10000 hours at $10 is $100,000

A difference of $400,000 and if the building hours way 15,000 it would be $600,00.

So in summary I suggest labour is possibly the the biggest factor for boatbuilding so manufacturers need to manage the labour rate and the hours of build to manage their costs.

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Old 11-06-2014, 04:15   #18
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

Someone said that Oysters are "production" boats. Well all boats are "produced" -- I think what is meant here is "mass production", and Oysters are not that.

Mass produced boats are usually a much better value for the money, because they take advantage of efficiency you get in mass production. Components are much cheaper when bought in large quantities, and the cost of tooling and engineering is amortized over a much bigger quantity of examples built, etc., etc., etc. Theoretically, you can engineer a mass produced boat much better, because you can spend a lot more on design and engineering a boat which is going to be produced in a large series.

"Low production" boats -- so not mass produced boats, like Oysters, Contests, HR, Swan, Najad, etc., etc., etc. -- are much more expensive because of the much higher cost of production. And so once you have given up the chance of cost efficiency by the method of production, you can also spend more on some other aspects of the boat as well -- since you already lost the cost-conscious market. Expensive boats are in my opinion () sold more for their fitouts than anything else, so here you see great attention paid to the joinery, which is often hand made and gorgeous, and this is what really distinguishes the low-production boat from the mass-produced boat, which has joinery more akin to what you get from Ikea. But stick-built fitouts have other advantages besides beauty -- they are typically more rigid and durable, and do not interfere with access to the hull like pan liners do.

So after that, low-production boats simply have, usually, a better specification, because the makers, in view of their target market, are not saving every penny, like Beneteau Group is doing. So you might (maybe) see better materials, a more elaborate rig, heavier built hull, maybe a fully cored hull (much more expensive, but lighter and stronger), lead keel instead of cast iron, etc., etc., etc. But it's not always like that -- for example, Oysters have solid rather than cored hulls (unlike most expensive boats), and some of them have very lightly specified rigs (as I found out when trying to buy an Oyster 485 some years ago). People buy boats for different reasons, and the makers of course try to offer something that appeals specifically to their own specific target market. In my opinion, the common denominator of expensive low-production boats is an exquisite fitout, which is in my opinion what the buyers of such boats are looking for first and foremost.

That expensive low-production boats are usually also more strongly built and better specified is more the result of cost being of less concern in that specific market, rather than the target buyers of such boats being more likely to use the boats for anything other than pleasant coastal sailing. In my opinion. I realize that this will sound somewhat heretical to the "you must have an expensive non-production boat to cross oceans or you will die" crowd, but I think it's actually true.


In my opinion, it should be possible to create an absolutely superior boat using mass production techniques -- a better boat than can be hand built. The best and highest performance cars, after all, are mass produced -- superior hand-made cars disappeared before WWII, I think. That is because the efficiency of mass production can be used for purposes other than just making a boat cheaper. And if you produce enough units of something, you can amortize a much greater engineering investment, than is possible with a low-production boat. I don't think it's been done yet -- the yacht-building industry is about a century behind the car industry (natural enough considering the volumes involved).

I don't know how many units a year Beneteau Group produces, but I bet it's not orders of magnitude more than Ferrari's 7,000. Ferrari produces only four or five models; so it's total mass production -- no kind of hand or custom building -- although of course low volume compared to other manufacturers. But not compared to boat makers, even what we consider "high production".
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:29   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Someone said that Oysters are "production" boats. Well all boats are "produced" -- I think what is meant here is "mass production", and Oysters are not that.

Mass produced boats are usually a much better value for the money, because they take advantage of efficiency you get in mass production. Components are much cheaper when bought in large quantities, and the cost of tooling and engineering is amortized over a much bigger quantity of examples built, etc., etc., etc. Theoretically, you can engineer a mass produced boat much better, because you can spend a lot more on design and engineering a boat which is going to be produced in a large series.

"Low production" boats -- so not mass produced boats, like Oysters, Contests, HR, Swan, Najad, etc., etc., etc. -- are much more expensive because of the much higher cost of production. And so once you have given up the chance of cost efficiency by the method of production, you can also spend more on some other aspects of the boat as well -- since you already lost the cost-conscious market. Expensive boats are in my opinion () sold more for their fitouts than anything else, so here you see great attention paid to the joinery, which is often hand made and gorgeous, and this is what really distinguishes the low-production boat from the mass-produced boat, which has joinery more akin to what you get from Ikea. But stick-built fitouts have other advantages besides beauty -- they are typically more rigid and durable, and do not interfere with access to the hull like pan liners do.

So after that, low-production boats simply have, usually, a better specification, because the makers, in view of their target market, are not saving every penny, like Beneteau Group is doing. So you might (maybe) see better materials, a more elaborate rig, heavier built hull, maybe a fully cored hull (much more expensive, but lighter and stronger), lead keel instead of cast iron, etc., etc., etc. But it's not always like that -- for example, Oysters have solid rather than cored hulls (unlike most expensive boats), and some of them have very lightly specified rigs (as I found out when trying to buy an Oyster 485 some years ago). People buy boats for different reasons, and the makers of course try to offer something that appeals specifically to their own specific target market. In my opinion, the common denominator of expensive low-production boats is an exquisite fitout, which is in my opinion what the buyers of such boats are looking for first and foremost.

That expensive low-production boats are usually also more strongly built and better specified is more the result of cost being of less concern in that specific market, rather than the target buyers of such boats being more likely to use the boats for anything other than pleasant coastal sailing. In my opinion. I realize that this will sound somewhat heretical to the "you must have an expensive non-production boat to cross oceans or you will die" crowd, but I think it's actually true.

In my opinion, it should be possible to create an absolutely superior boat using mass production techniques -- a better boat than can be hand built. The best and highest performance cars, after all, are mass produced -- superior hand-made cars disappeared before WWII, I think. That is because the efficiency of mass production can be used for purposes other than just making a boat cheaper. And if you produce enough units of something, you can amortize a much greater engineering investment, than is possible with a low-production boat. I don't think it's been done yet -- the yacht-building industry is about a century behind the car industry (natural enough considering the volumes involved).

I don't know how many units a year Beneteau Group produces, but I bet it's not orders of magnitude more than Ferrari's 7,000. Ferrari produces only four or five models; so it's total mass production -- no kind of hand or custom building -- although of course low volume compared to other manufacturers. But not compared to boat makers, even what we consider "high production".
Very interesting post.
Agree on the car analogy. I can't think of a better quality car than my Honda. Mass production efficiency and quality to the max. There may be faster, more plush cars, but for design brief of get from A to B reliably, it now is at 8 years and 120K miles without even a hiccup or single non-maintenance repair. Imagine that with a boat.

My main problem with mass production boats right now is they are in some ways like the cheaper cars of the 80s and employ cheaper materials without the same design longevity. Examples are iron keels, brass through hulls, questionable rudders....
One manufacturer that I think is trying to fill the "honda" niche is Catalina- seem to be better than average component design and build quality these days, though I don't own one.
My own boat was semi-custom built in NY in the 1960s- hence stick built and as creak free as the day she was built. I think when buying older used boats the quality of build process makes a big difference. With solid FBG hull, older low end production boats used to (still do?) use a lot of Matte or chopper gun. far inferior to hand laid cloths. Of course best is modern high end build techniques with coring, vacuum bagging, advanced composites....
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:17   #20
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Originally Posted by malbert73 View Post
Very interesting post.
Agree on the car analogy. I can't think of a better quality car than my Honda. Mass production efficiency and quality to the max. There may be faster, more plush cars, but for design brief of get from A to B reliably, it now is at 8 years and 120K miles without even a hiccup or single non-maintenance repair. Imagine that with a boat..
You got very lucky with your Honda. Our Honda Civic blew through two engines before 120k miles due to crappy cooling system design. A $25 thermostat took out the first engine at 65k, the same problem took out engine #2 at 120k, then at 160k... the same thing sent it to the junk yard. One of the worst cars we ever owned. A Chevy Malibu has top honors at being the worst... only lasted 70k miles till it was done.

Lesson learned: Sometimes in life, you get what you pay for. No more Chevys or Hondas in our garage.
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:18   #21
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

If a person wants the best quality of every material going into the boat and money isn't an obstacle then custom or semi custom is great, but for 99% of boaters it is a matter of diminishing returns for a level of quality that is nice but not needed. For a true custom or highly limited semi production boat, what really becomes problematic is finding replacement parts and repairs...this us where the costs really add up.
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:20   #22
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Originally Posted by seaturkey View Post

However, when looking at buying a used boat, how can you substantiate the price differences between makes if you disregard the build process?
?
Quality and perceived quality. Talking actual quality, we're talking two boats that may have very different building quality, from hull design and thickness to mechanical components. Even as far as paint and upholstery. Then we're talking perception. One brand may have established itself with a better reputation than another.

One difference you'll often find is just electronics. You can have considerable difference very easily. One is minimum and original. The other is maximum and up to date. Size and quality of gen or watermaker or inverter and battery bank. Quality of engines or sails. Of hardware. For instance all stainless rails versus anodized aluminum.

Hull thickness. Bulkheads. Design. Performance of two very similar boats may be very different.
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:23   #23
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Originally Posted by dMAC View Post
If a person wants the best quality of every material going into the boat and money isn't an obstacle then custom or semi custom is great, but for 99% of boaters it is a matter of diminishing returns for a level of quality that is nice but not needed. For a true custom or highly limited semi production boat, what really becomes problematic is finding replacement parts and repairs...this us where the costs really add up.
Quality of production may exceed custom though. Just depends. There are custom manufacturers who have unique designs but don't choose exceptional components or build exception hulls. There are some production boats that have done things so many times they are delivered nearly flawlessly.
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:42   #24
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

Gentleman,

Thank you so much thus far for the info and the subsequent debate... Dockhead, wow - thank you as essentially that was precisely the info I was looking for..

Now to take this conversation to its next level, let's talk about what is needed for a guy like me....? Looking as stated to only do coastal cruising in fare weather.. How much benefit would I get ( if any ) from purchasing a "low production" yacht versus a "high production" one. My only requirement is that it has 3 staterooms.. And that I don't end up with a former charter boat. Newish model year 1999-2008 at the most. Nicely outfitted.. Doesn't need every option but amenities are a plus. I'm new to sailing but not so new to boating in general to not be aware that everything on a sailboat is a trade off in one way or another.

What would you all recommend as an appropriate boat and why?

Thanks again for all the input this far
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:58   #25
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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For a true custom or highly limited semi production boat, what really becomes problematic is finding replacement parts and repairs...this us where the costs really add up.
Not always true. If I need something for the boat, I call Oyster yachts, and the item is waiting for me at my next stop, usually at the same cost as through West Marine/Port Supply. Try that with Hunter.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:05   #26
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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. Try that with Hunter.

I always have gotten excellent support from Hunter when I needed something. I needed info on a mast stunt 2 weeks ago and emailed them and they responded in 2 hours on a SUNDAY. Next day I had the technical drawings for the part.

Then again I don't contact them for "normal" stuff like pumps. I just look up the part in my owners manual.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:09   #27
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

Kenomac, I see your point and the ability to call the manufacturer directly is clearly an advantage... Akin to a warranty on a car... Direct to the dealer - and it's fixed... But I don't think I'll have that luxury since I'm looking at pre-owned boats... I highly doubt the previous owner or the yacht broker would be willing to offer that kind of support...
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:13   #28
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Can anyone shed any light on the "real" differences between custom boats and production boats? Are there really any significant differences in build quality or is it more just the level of customization that affects the pricing?
The difference is money. If you have the money and am willing to spend it you will find a way to justify it, even if it is just a fancier model from the same manufacturer. Boats aren't any different any other product. Are higher end boats nicer, of course. Do you NEED one, of course not. Are you willing to spend the money, maybe. Do you really expect an answer from an internet forum that matches what you want it to be, of course you will.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:19   #29
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

Touché sailorboy

But to clarify, I wasn't looking for the forum to "match" what i want it to be. I am only looking for input and opinion so that I can enhance my own education through the experience of others whom are likely more knowledgable than me about a subject matter that is relatively new to me.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:21   #30
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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The difference is money. If you have the money and am willing to spend it you will find a way to justify it, even if it is just a fancier model from the same manufacturer. Boats aren't any different any other product. Are higher end boats nicer, of course. Do you NEED one, of course not. Are you willing to spend the money, maybe. .
Read, then re-read Dockhead's prior post. He nailed it. Sailorboy, take your Hunter down to Antarctica and see how well it does. The difference is more than just money.

To the OP: The Jeanneau will make an excellent choice for your needs. Also look at some of the catamarans which might fall in your price range. For coastal cruising, nothing beats having a 360 degree view from inside your living room. If I ever decide to purchase another boat, it will be either an Oyster 575 or a Sunreef 58 catamaran. It's nice to not have to worry about how shallow the water is.
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