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Old 11-06-2014, 19:05   #46
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Originally Posted by Sailor Doug View Post
To design a aluminum boat and systems for $3,000 would be a stretch even if you went to china.
"No tooling for an aluminum boat. No 'software' expense. And a total cost of $3000 for engineering - we basically just took an already existing successful design and doubled it structurally."

Doug, looks like they used a stock plan from Van de Stadt Design.
It could have been this one called the Samoa 47. The price for the full build plans are EUR 5800, but they purchased nearly 20 years ago so well within the 3K range or maybe the money was spent on customized changes.
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Old 11-06-2014, 19:18   #47
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

I'm still saving up for custom fitted sheets.

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Old 12-06-2014, 07:24   #48
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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.
Out of curiosity, which car do you have in your garage that exceeds the reliability/cost of a Honda or Toyota?
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:39   #49
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Out of curiosity, which car do you have in your garage that exceeds the reliability/cost of a Honda or Toyota?
Scion XB and a Ferrari 308gtsi
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:52   #50
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

It starts with the original design, if it's sound, OK, if not it doesn't matter who built it, it will still be a piece of crap.
Custom built or production it all depends on the original design and how faithfully the design was built by the shipyard/manufacturer.
THere are significant differences in build quality within custom boat builders just as there are significant differences in custom builders.
In most cases you get what you pay for, cost is directly tied to the quality of the build and the quality of the components. In most cases, not all cases.
The semi-custom builders like Swan, Hylas, Oyster, etc are probably the best cost/benefit ratio builders in that aspect, there are several others, I just used those as examples so I'm not getting into arguments about that. You get a proven hull, with most of the main components already specified and can choose layout's hardware, motors, running gear, etc, etc. Of course the more you stray from their standard packages the more costly it gets, but the main cost factors are absorbed over the run of the model and you can still pretty much get what you want, to a point.
Is the quality better? Usually, but like all things it's up to the buyer and the buyers agent to determine that.
OF course there are some pretty good, quality built production boats but they are usually at the higher end of the price spectrum and don't offer the customization you can get with the other semi-custom builders.
If you go to a full on custom you better be pretty savvy, pick the right marine architect or design house, have a trusted expert to guide you through the process and have DEEP pockets, it's a long and involved process.
It all depends on how much money you have and how particular you are.
Can you get a similar quality boat for much less in a semi-custom? Most likely, it just depends on what you want.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:30   #51
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Scion XB and a Ferrari 308gtsi
Scion is, in the matter of fact, a brand of Toyota, isn't it?

And F 308 GTSi is a real beauty (But You will not catch me )

Cheers
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:30   #52
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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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
SeaTurkey,

I really depends. Would you get some benefit? Absolutely, but the benefit is greatly dependent on the specific boats. Would you appreciate the benefit, probably not.

Eliminating race boats entirely. Most custom or even semi-custom cruising boats dedicate a lot of time and money to beefing up the structual integrity of the hull, and increasing reliability of the equipment.

For a coastal cruiser it frankly isn't all that important to have redundant water pumps. Worst case is you pull into port, head to WestMarine and are back in operation in a couple of hours. But when you are a 1000 miles from the nearest airport it may be a huge deal. Not just to take a shower, but to access water in your holding tanks.

There are other things found on custom or semi-custom boats that you may care about, like larger winches, upgraded electronics, more comfortable seats, ect. But many of these are very hard to spot if you don't know what is typical in the industry, and while they are nice to have don't make much difference so long as what is there is reasonable.

As for boat recomendations... Until you have a lot more experience stick with something like a Beneteau, Hunter, or Jeneau. The newer ones are designed to do exactly what you are envisioning and will be both cheaper than other options, and easier to sell than custom boats. I love Oysters, and Swans, I have tons of miles on Andrews and Santa Cruize customs, the family have owned everything from full custom boats to cookie cutter ones, and while the custom boats are very good for their intended purpose, to spend the money on one without needing it is a little silly.

My neighbor at the dock has a beautiful new Oyster 545 that has never been more than 25 miles offshore, and it makes me cry a little every time I see her.
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:47   #53
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

Stumble,

Thank you... That was essentially my like of thought and just wanted to ensure that I wasn't too off base in approaching things with that thought process...

The only justification for me (given the circumstances of intended use) would be in the "you never know" if :

- I get caught in a bad place,
- I at one point decided to sail offshore

Both of those scenarios however are extremely unlikely as I'm by trade fairly adept at weather planning and am conservative in my sailing... (I typically plan to not even cruise at night unless absolutely necessary; it makes the admiral nervous.)

I'm relatively certain a 'high volume' production boat would than adequately serve my needs -
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:00   #54
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

Most of the high end custom boats cost is in fit, finish and high end toys.

You can double the hull thickness and beef up the rigging for 10-20% increase in cost over a similar boat.

Production - Custom is really a specturm:
- I've yet to see a production boat that doesn't offer options.
- It's pretty rare to see what I see as a "true" custom boat. That would imply in my mind drawing everything up from scratch.

Oyster is in my mind a production boat that offers more options. Even the aluminim example isn't really a true custom, it's a standard design that has been tweaked a bit.

If you do go the custom route, I would suggest letting the builder know up front that if he sees something stupid that you suggested, it's OK to point it out to you. Strange design features can really kill resale value.
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Old 12-06-2014, 13:27   #55
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

SeaTurkey,

Don't allow yourself to fall into the "what if" trap. It is incredibly common among sailors and it's just silly and expensive thinking. As a coastal cruiser you will get caught out in unexpected squalls, but so what, any reasonable production boat will handle these fine. The advantage of a really heavy weather boat is when you get caught in unexpected hurricanes (yes it happens).

If your cruising plans put you a week or more from the nearest shelter then a boat that can handle anything becomes a much more important issue. But for a coastal cruiser this type of unexpected severe weather just doesn't happen with modern weather forcasting and sattelite internet.

If and when you decide to head off into this type of cruising, then it becomes time to sell what you have and buy something designed for it. But buying it now... Well think of it this way, if you currently owned a hobie 16 (about 500lbs including the trailer) and needed a tow vehicle, would you 1) buy a F150 with a tow hitch, or 2) but a F450 diesel dually with 35,000lbs towing capacity because you might one day decide to tow a house?

Weirdly most of us would buy the smaller, cheaper, easier to operate truck and upgrade when necessary. But when it comes to boats many people buy the bigger one 'just in case'.
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Old 13-06-2014, 11:58   #56
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

Dockhead summed it up pretty well on the first page of this thread.

My own opinion of mass-produced boats changed dramatically with my previous purchase. It was a mass-produced boat, which I'd always sort of mistrusted. Here in New England we have a lot of low-volume builders that make some beautiful boats. I've run many of them, and really admire them.

My stamped-out factory boat had none of that fine craftsmanship.

But after using it a few years, I really came to appreciate all the little "extras" that were engineered in. Things that simply couldn't be added to a bare hull by even by the best cabinetmakers or interior designers. Massive stowage areas tucked into unexpected places. curves and small bump-outs in the deck mold that add just enough clearance below for a completely different lay-out than if you started with right angles and straight lines. It's hard to describe, but they engineered as much usable space into that hull as a much larger boat. When we first saw the boat at the show, we thought the young salesman had it wrong - we were convinced it was 4-6' longer than he said.

Watching how that model changed over the years, I noticed they kept designing in small improvements. The year before mine, the helm seat was on a pedestal. On mine, it sat on top of a molded-in stowage area that I packed with two 5-gallon buckets of gear, along with all my spare engine fluids, a spare anchor, some tools, a sea anchor and even a fishing pole. Every time I went to set down a cup, there was a cup holder right where I wanted it. The deck was bumped out under another seat that gave just a couple of extra inches to allow a full-sized cooler to fit there.

And it's not just the living space. The mechanical spaces were well laid out for working on things. Everything had a place. The system designs were efficient and elegant. The hull itself was rugged, well-built and very well designed for its size.

I still admire fine craftsmanship. But there's a lot to be said for solid engineering, too.
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Old 13-06-2014, 23:50   #57
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Dockhead summed it up pretty well on the first page of this thread.

My own opinion of mass-produced boats changed dramatically with my previous purchase. It was a mass-produced boat, which I'd always sort of mistrusted. Here in New England we have a lot of low-volume builders that make some beautiful boats. I've run many of them, and really admire them.

My stamped-out factory boat had none of that fine craftsmanship.

But after using it a few years, I really came to appreciate all the little "extras" that were engineered in. Things that simply couldn't be added to a bare hull by even by the best cabinetmakers or interior designers. Massive stowage areas tucked into unexpected places. curves and small bump-outs in the deck mold that add just enough clearance below for a completely different lay-out than if you started with right angles and straight lines. It's hard to describe, but they engineered as much usable space into that hull as a much larger boat. When we first saw the boat at the show, we thought the young salesman had it wrong - we were convinced it was 4-6' longer than he said.

Watching how that model changed over the years, I noticed they kept designing in small improvements. The year before mine, the helm seat was on a pedestal. On mine, it sat on top of a molded-in stowage area that I packed with two 5-gallon buckets of gear, along with all my spare engine fluids, a spare anchor, some tools, a sea anchor and even a fishing pole. Every time I went to set down a cup, there was a cup holder right where I wanted it. The deck was bumped out under another seat that gave just a couple of extra inches to allow a full-sized cooler to fit there.

And it's not just the living space. The mechanical spaces were well laid out for working on things. Everything had a place. The system designs were efficient and elegant. The hull itself was rugged, well-built and very well designed for its size.

I still admire fine craftsmanship. But there's a lot to be said for solid engineering, too.
Thanks for the refreshing take on SOME production boat builders, I've owned both production and custom built boats, the customs mostly on the back end of their lifespans with a lot of TLC needed to return them to their former glory. All served their purpose, the learning curve never ends.
Some production builders actually listen to their customers, their not designing to some esoteric personal crusade of a personal nature, for the most part they build boats that will fulfill the needs of the majority of the people who buy their products.
It took me 30 years to move through the different requirements of my boat addiction, my current boat took three years of looking to find, mostly because my needs, standards and mission evolved over that period.
The strength in a run of production boats is the ability to refine the details, some do it well, some squander that advantage by simply looking to reduce cost and maximize profit margin, I wont say who, but some have taken that to an extreme. Don't dismiss the production builders the way many here do out of hand without consideration. Even within the production builders there are differences within the model line, simply because they build different designs to appeal to a broad range of purposes.
I've sailed some "production" boats in extreme conditions comfortably with a surprising amount of reserve and was impressed with their seakeeping manners.
Buy the boat that makes sense to your needs at the time, don't be prejudiced by some of the anti-production boat negativity that comes out. You will evolve to the point of knowing what fills YOUR needs in time and will judge that appropriately.
Just understand that all production boats are not equal.
Look hard at the build quality, don't be blinded by the flashy crap, corian countertops don't make up for a weak hull, crappy running gear doesn't make up for a spiffy cockpit cushion design. Don't be blinded by the flash, think how the boat will sail and perform years down the road, that's where the satisfaction will take hold.
My current boat is well up the price range/ price point from some of the production boats I've owned but I still find a number of refinements it could benefit from. The difference is that will all be on my dime and time.
Look closely, under the floorboards, in the hidden spaces, at the details, there's a huge difference between the production builders even within the same price point, it's just not apparent at first glance.'
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Old 14-06-2014, 00:25   #58
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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Frankly it really depends on which custom vs which production boat. Oysters are production boats though like most production boats in this class there is a substantial amount of customization available.
In a very good year, Oyster builds around 25 yachts (total production) ranging in size between 46ft and 125ft, maybe 3-4 of each in the smaller sizes and 1-2 in the larger. If you want to call them a production company, then so be it. Oh yeah, and each boat can be fully customized and appointed to suit each buyer, cabin layout, amenities etc., rig design, even the stern design. Generally, the only item all seem to have in common would be the hull design.

I've never been in two that were remotely the same, and I'm not referring to the color of the cushions.
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Old 14-06-2014, 03:23   #59
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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In a very good year, Oyster builds around 25 yachts (total production) ranging in size between 46ft and 125ft, maybe 3-4 of each in the smaller sizes and 1-2 in the larger. If you want to call them a production company, then so be it. Oh yeah, and each boat can be fully customized and appointed to suit each buyer, cabin layout, amenities etc., rig design, even the stern design. Generally, the only item all seem to have in common would be the hull design.

I've never been in two that were remotely the same, and I'm not referring to the color of the cushions.
I don't think we have an agreed definition of the word "production". I don't actually think anyone disagrees.

The way Oysters and some other high-end boats are usually made is that the main works are contracted out to a boatyard with varying degrees of production capability. For years, Oyster used a company called Windboats from Wroxham; I don't know whether that's still the yard of favor. They used different yards over the years including Landamores, I think. For many years, the maker of Oyster yachts was officially the Windboats company, and not Oyster, and maybe that's still the case. Windboats makes various other makes of boat, including Richard Matthews' (ex Oyster CEO) Gunfleet boats. Landamores made Hustlers and UFO's besides Oysters. Then final fitout is done at the Oyster facility in Ipswich before delivery to owners. The designs were at first by the fabulous Holman & Pye, who also designed boats like the English Bowmans, Twisters, Rustlers and UFO's. Then by the (to my mind, less talented) Rob Humphries, who gained fame as the designer of the Contessa, and who also designed nearly all Elan boats, plus various Southerlies, and others.

Moodys were built in much the same way. The Moody company, which sadly no longer exists, goes back to 1827, as a boatyard in the upper reaches of the Hamble River*, the place which is now Swanwick Marina (locals still call it Moodys), which by the 1930's was building custom wooden sailing yachts, like the famous Vindilis of Dr. T. Harrison-Butler. Moody was building wooden sailing yachts into the 1970s. By the early '70's, however, Moody starting contracting out the construction of hulls to a Plymouth company called Marine Projects, and for 30 years or so the hulls with engineering systems would be trucked to the Hamble to be finished at the historic Moody yard. By the 2000's, enough of the value of Moody boats was created at Marine Projects that Marine Projects was officially the maker. Marine Projects also made Princess motor yachts; after the demise of the Moody company, Marine Projects was bought by or merged with Princess and is now so-named. Over Moody's long history there were various designers involved; Laurent Giles designed many of the boats of the '50's and 60's. Then Angus Primrose appeared, of Gypsy Moth fame, and from the '70's all Moodys were designed by his shop. Primrose was a real hard-core sailor himself, and was lost at sea off Cape Hatteras in 1981 sailing a Moody 33. His young assistant Bill Dixon took over and designed all Moodys thereafter.

Although the Moody company has been gone for 10 years or so (destroyed by an unsuccessful attempt to compete with Oyster and Discovery), the people who built Moody yachts are mostly still around in various small companies on the Hamble. Bill Dixon's studio, busy these days cranking out superyacht designs, is in Swanwick Marina just 100 meters or so from my mooring.

Swan, Discovery and Hallberg-Rassy do it a little differently -- all of these companies own their own yards and build their boats themselves. But the pace and style of production is the same -- these boats are built in series with extensive customization possible. They are built more or less one at a time; there is nothing resembling an assembly line. Swan has built about 2000 yachts over about 50 years, so an average of 40 a year, a roughly similar annual volume to Oyster or Moody (in its last years), so somewhat less than HR and more than Discovery. Nothing remotely like volumes of the true mass produced boats, which are made in the thousands per year in assembly-line fashion.

Is this "production" building? It's not "mass production", but it certainly is "series production", as distinguished from full custom building where a boat is designed and built from scratch for one buyer. You can add or subtract from the equipment, you can change certain aspects of the interior layout, you can choose materials and colors, you can re-specify the rig, but the hull and structure and all basic systems are the same across the series, built to a common design. But even mass-produced boats allow a certain amount of this kind of "customization" -- usually several different choices of cabin layout, and fairly wide choice of equipment options.



* An extremely ancient center of ship-building, where ships have been built for literally millenia -- the Romans built ships there. Just a stone's throw from the Moody yard is the spot where King Henry VIII's fleet was built in the 17th century, where Lord Nelson's flagship the Elephant was built in the 19th century, and where Henry V's flagship Grace Dieu was built in the 15th century, just to name a few examples.
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:27   #60
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Re: Production Boats vs Custom Boats

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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.
You may change your mind after paying for maintenance on a five year old Mercedes, Land Rover, etc. Unlike sailboats, there are tons of data on cars. Your experience with a Honda was a rare one. You base your opinion on an exception.. if everyone did that with boats, nobody would every buy one. While I don't care for the blandness of the car, if I were to buy a circumnavigating boat based on a car analogy, it'd be a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. There are some fair analogies between cars and boats, but not many. I know a LOT about cars and am just beginning to learn what I need to know in order to make a good decision on which 30 year old boat to buy. I'd like to be able to buy a Toyota or Honda kind of boat, but the closest I can come to that is the Catalina 30. I'll likely end up with exactly that but not until I exhaust reasonable alternatives that fuel a little passion, like a Hunter 34's performance per dollar or a Contessa 32's sheer perfection. Just my two cents
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