Lots of good advice in this thread.
The 6 feet of length difference also will be roughly 2 feet of beam difference so its actually a pretty big difference. Walk around on a 36 footer and then on a 42 footer, assuming both are cruisers, and you will really appreciate the difference.
I like the idea of buying
someone else's uncompleted project
. A bare hull
can sometimes be had pretty darn cheap
, sometimes just for hauling it off. Sure, the bare hull
is only a small part of the work, but from there, you can break it up into little jobs and take your time, completing steps as funds and time become available.
Building from scratch you are DEFINITELY making the right choice in building a First Project
boat instead of your Dream Boat. Make your mistakes
on the former, not the latter. And that will be a pretty good first project, one you will get plenty of use out of. But I would start even smaller, like with a small sailing skiff of some sort. Put 6 weeks into a glass-over-ply 20 foot centerboard
daysailer and I bet you can go all in at under $1k, not counting trailer. Or even go smaller, like maybe a 10-12 foot dinghy
. You will need a dink for your final boat, anyway, and your kids
will love sailing it on local ponds and lakes. You can put as much or as little care and craftsmanship into a dinghy
as you like, and it will still likely float, handle well under oars, push with a tiny motor
, or sail after a fashion.
DON'T DO THIS if you are not going to enjoy doing it! Building your own boat is about the worst way possible to get a boat, unless you love building it. I happen to enjoy it and if I had a place to build, I would be building now. And it is a big PITA... heartbreak after heartbreak, as you realize that this and that won't let you do that and this, and that this should have been done before that, or that has to be undone so you can re-do this, or that you didn't get enough resin or you got a hardener that is great for winter but too fast in the summer, or you got the wrong matt and it falls apart with your resin or this or that or that or this... you need to love it. Take a sawzall to a piece of work that you lovingly crafted and were so proud of, and if you can't grin while you do it, you aren't gonna make a boatbuilder
. Wait till you find out your engine
won't fit, or the vent for your stove will be in an impossible location topside, or your chainplates just aren't gonna work, or you were counting on lead ballast but prices have driven you to concrete and you don't have room for that much pour, or the mast
that you knew was yours for the asking just got sold on ebay... and you are gonna sail this thing all over the world with your family
aboard! Oh, and sell a homebuilt boat... do it just once, and prepare to be heartbroken. Please, don't think about the difference between construction cost and sale price
, and never never think about your labor investment. But if you love building it, then the building of it is its own reward, and the finished boat is just a little lagniappe. If you are a real boatbuilder
, basically, on completion and maiden voyage, it is a time of sadness on the one hand... nothing left to do, nothing major, anyway. On the other hand, it is an end that can also be a new beginning. What will I build next?
"let's go sailing, Dad"
"Not now... I'm thinking about something. You kids
go on without me, and have fun..."
NOW... pet peeves of mine, and if you think about them, I am sure they will become yours.
SINK TOO SMALL. Even a double sink is too small when both are too small. Ideally, you should be able to even wash clothes or clean fish
in the sink. Shoe-box size sinks are NOT an extra nautical touch. They are a PITA.
voltage battery charger
. Sure, you may never need to charge batts from 220, but you MIGHT, and what a bummer when you can't but you need to!
or alcohol or gasoline stove. Go diesel
or kero! Currently my stove is a $56 primus type all brass stove from St Paul Mercantile, runs great on diesel
OR kerosene. No dangerous fumes! No matter where you go, you can find those two fuels, and often kerosene is dirt cheap
, especially in third world countries where it is untaxed or lightly taxed because poor people need it for cooking
4. Total reliance on electricity for any thing. Every major system on the boat should work after a fashion in the absence of electricity.
5. No easy way to climb the mast
. If you built it, you better believe you are gonna have to climb it. It's just one of those things. You can tame mast steps by rigging
a wire or line along the outer ends or corners of the steps, so halyards don't get caught around them.
6. Stuff that can't be replaced by improvised or homebrewed stuff. Homebuilding is your chance to get it right, and think about every single
thing that can break, wear out, burn out, melt, dissolve, rust, sieze, etc. cause nothing is bulletproof and you never know what is gonna break next or what you are gonna have on hand to fix it with.
7. Fancy pants yachty stuff that costs 3 times as much as stuff you get from home depot or walmart but doesn't work a bit better. Sometimes, meticulous craftsmanship or exclusive, clever design, or finest materials matter. But most of the time, NOT.
8. Overpowering. I see a lot of boats with 50-odd horsepower diesels that could be operated more efficiently with 20 or 30hp, lots of boats with 30hp that would be just fine with a 13hp diesel or even a 6hp outboard
. Unless you have a particular area in mind where you might need to motor
into some serious wind
and seas for some reason, the ideal power level IMHO is that where the engine
at 90% power will bring you up to just under theoretical hull speed
in reasonably calm conditions. Then at about 60% power you have some very economical long-legged motoring ability, but you can still get the boat going as fast as it is ever gonna go with any reasonable size engine.
8. used engine in a new boat. Usually, that is a mistake. A used engine was probably some other poor bastard's headache. Don't let it be yours. Used engine to replace a kaput motor in a tired old boat not worth the cost of a new engine? Sure. That's sometimes the smart thing to do. But don't put a used motor in your new boat just to save a couple of grand. Even a rebuild
should call for some hesitation. It will bite you in the butt sooner or later.
9. Easy-climb sterns. Don't invite intruders to your boat. Swim platform? Sugar-scoop? Permanent ladder? Put it this way. Say you are a criminal type person and you are looking around at an anchorage with a few nice boats in it. Which boat is gonna make you the most curious about the treasures inside... the one easy to climb up on, or the one hard to climb up on? Rope
ladder, pilot ladder, even a knotted rope
are fine... just put them away when not needed. An inflatable
air mattress with a canvas
or sumbrella cover makes a dandy swim platform when it is nice and calm. You don't need to make boarding permanently easy.