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Old 29-06-2008, 07:53   #1
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Boat Building Costs

I have no sailing background and the place where I come from they prefer to stay on land and boats are normally for fishermen. However I've been bitten by this bug and have been dreaming of sail around the world someday in the near future. I am particularly fascinated by the catamaran and have lost count of the number of times I've been to the Farrier boat websites's F41 page.

I however don't have a clue of the costs involved in having one built. Besides the cost of material - which I think I can source locally, one important charge is that of the builder who is non-existent around the place I live.

This is where I need to dip into the experience of the more experienced people such as you.

Could you please let me know the $/hour rate that you've paid to get your boat built - if you've gone that route?
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Old 29-06-2008, 08:07   #2
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Boats are not built by the hour. They are usually either pre built and sold as new, contracted at a fixed price, or boat as a used boat. I would say that is universally true. The rates paid to build a boat includes a huge range based on a long list of trades. In the US even the lowest paid worker would be billed at far more than $20 / hour. Rates could easily reach $100 / hr for some specialty trades. The labor to build a cruising boat actually includes a lot more labor than building a good sized house. The tremendous amount of hand labor contributes to the high cost of boats. Specialty materials and equipment also take a huge chunk too. These items are made in small lots so the cost per unit never reaches the efficiency items mass produced get.

All things considered unless you really are a boat expert contracting to have a boat built is not a game to play. Finding a boat company, boat broker, or buying a a used boat is the more typical route.
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Old 29-06-2008, 08:32   #3
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Boats are also built by the pound. Because of the increase in oil costs ( used in plastic manufacture ) a boat may cost 15-20 dollars per pound. Factory built cockie-cutter boats take alot fewer hours to build than custom or semi-custom boats. This fact has mandated that nearly all custom or semi-custom boats are not made in this country as the labor costs are prohibitive. My boat, made in Taiwan, Took over 20,000 hours to complete - without rigging, interior fabrics, electronics, etc.
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Old 29-06-2008, 12:05   #4
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Boat prices reflect more what the market will bear than what it cost to build them. Construction costs vary wildly based on the the goals of the builder, and frequently the market doesn't agree with the builder's expectations, so you can completely disregard anyone's universal response to your question. Before we really knew the strengths and limitations of different composite structures, boats were built by guesstimate. The under-guesstimated boats broke, and the over guesstimated boats either sank or survived by shear brute cussedness.
Boat owners and buyers are not overly rational people. All boat buying decisions (other than big business' buying just 'equipment') are in some large part emotional, based on sex appeal and folklore: Somebody said somebody else was really knowlegeable and they said.....
The inexperienced dreamer may look at a plywood bulkhead supporting a mast and shrouds and think "It can't be that hard, this looks simple to me" without understanding that the designer agonized for days over balancing the strength required plus a safety factor for adverse conditions versus the availability of materials and the ease of construction versus a host of other factors. Does that mean you shouldn't try to build your own? That's up to you, but consider:
Most people start small, buying plans or a kit for a dinghy or a daysailer, to learn how much time, patience and dedication they can muster.
Virtually no big boat builds ever finish if they are a first boat experience. Many end in sad ways, representing a large part of a person's life being left somewhere to rot. History has taught us that many fo the earliest multihull boats were built with household materials and inadequate glues and fasteners, and gave multihulls a bad reputation for breaking up, being turned into green houses, or sitting quietly in some out of the way place, sagging back into the earth that raised them for some nobler purpose. Some of those early multihulls survive because of plain dumb luck or really good construction. Some of them have been sailed hard for years.
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Old 29-06-2008, 12:39   #5
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This fact has mandated that nearly all custom or semi-custom boats are not made in this country as the labor costs are prohibitive. My boat, made in Taiwan, Took over 20,000 hours to complete - without rigging, interior fabrics, electronics, etc.
Thanks for your insight. Could you elaborate a bit please? What size is your boat? How much did the builder charge you? Did it include the rigging and interior as well? I am assuming you paid for the electronics and other material separately.
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Old 29-06-2008, 14:27   #6
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Farrier designs are notoriously complex to build and thus expensive. You don't say where you live, which would help estimate costs.

You will also need somewhere to build for 2-5 years. Near your home, heated, with 20ft-25ft wide doors and easy access to the water.

I would suggest that a 40ft bridgedeck cabin cat built as a one off will take 5000 hours to a basic finish. But could/will easily be more.

The best way to do a costing is to get accurate prices for shell materials, rig, engine, systems etc. Then work out your worst estimate build time. Add in shed rent/electric/heating/insurance/waste.

Add them all together.

Then double it

You'll then get a figure which will be about half the final bill

That is based on my experience of home building 18 catamarans from 14 - 35ft over the last 30 years.

Hope that helps

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Old 29-06-2008, 16:15   #7
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ege

Hey send me a email and I will tell you what we know. We just finished a cost study on a 52 cat.

Doug
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Old 29-06-2008, 22:18   #8
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sw8fbar I don't mean to sound depressing but I know exactly what your thinking " This will be cheaper if I can provide materials myself and can get someone to help" I used to think that but if your like me and live inland you will have trans charges well over a thousand dollars, my uncle was going to do mine for free but would usualy charge more tha a thousand for a 41'er also you will need a place to do trials and to put a mast on it which is well over 10' tall you would be better off buying a stock or used one if possible unless you find a boatyard willing to work cheap it will cost over $700,000 us.
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Old 30-06-2008, 04:13   #9
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sw8fbar
I think Little Otter has it about right or maybe a little on the light side. I don't know what the hourly rates are like in your end of the world but here, Australia, I would think it's about right. My boat would come out at 650k AUD but is a little simpler than the Farrier. I have just been doing the numbers for someone who wants me to build them a 40'er. It will probably be built in Thailand which will save about 100k.
If you are ready for a deal I know of a 49 footer that is at the motor away stage built to CE aproval and priced at 500kAUD to completion it would probably come in at about 650K AUD.
All these numbers reminds me why I am building my own.

Mike
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Old 30-06-2008, 17:27   #10
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Sw8fbar,


what is your budget for this project?
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Old 30-06-2008, 17:46   #11
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One last squirt from the flame thrower: The hull is the cheapest part of the boat.
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Old 30-06-2008, 21:25   #12
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Originally Posted by sw8fbar View Post
I have no sailing background and the place where I come from they prefer to stay on land and boats are normally for fishermen. However I've been bitten by this bug and have been dreaming of sail around the world someday in the near future. I am particularly fascinated by the catamaran and have lost count of the number of times I've been to the Farrier boat websites's F41 page.

I however don't have a clue of the costs involved in having one built. Besides the cost of material - which I think I can source locally, one important charge is that of the builder who is non-existent around the place I live.

This is where I need to dip into the experience of the more experienced people such as you.

Could you please let me know the $/hour rate that you've paid to get your boat built - if you've gone that route?
G'day,

Building yourself makes increasingly less sense in a world where time is precious and there are well set up builders using rapid build techniques.

Check out Ballotta catamarans in Peru. Kelsall Catamarans - Ballotta Catamarans - Custom built catamarans They will build you a high quality, relatively light weight 39' cat shell, assembled and painted for $US99,000, fitted out to comfortably sail and motor away for $275,000.

They will also build you a 60' harryproa to the same stage (hulls, decks, saloon, beams, bulkheads and floors, all joined and painted) for $US90,000, and about the same sail away price. The proa has more room (4 double cabins, 2 of them with island beds, all with ensuite toilet and shower), more payload, is faster, more seakindly and easier to sail.

Their charge out rate (labour, overheads and profit) is $21/hour.

The difference between the cat and other cats is it is built with KSS, the fastest one off build technique.

The difference between the cats and the proa is the proa does not have all the unnecessary boat required for a tacking boat, nor the very high loads associated with a stayed mast mounted in the centre of the boat. It also uses easier to build hull shapes.

Regarding the Farrier cats, there have been a couple of builders set up with Ian's blessing to build them. I would contact him for addresses. You will be looking at considerably more than double the price of the Ballotta boat.

regards,

Rob
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:19   #13
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Thanks for all your responses, they have been really enlightening.

To answer a few of your questions -

I am currently in Calcutta India. As you may be aware India has quite a big coastline and Calcutta is quite close to the Bay of Bengal - and the river Ganges flows right beside it - so proximity to a water body is not a problem nor is the place to do it in. I don't even need heating in this part of the world - the sun is pretty generous here ;-)

Labour costs in this part of the world are not that high - we are already the back office of the world!. I could get hands cheaper than what Rob gets in Peru. The problem is that the work force is not trained in modern boat building techniques.

Quote:
what is your budget for this project?
I don't really have a budget yet, I'm still in the dreaming stage :-). Was trying to get a bit more realistic - thats why this thread :-)

Going by the costs suggested by you all, there would be no way I could afford it now.. I'm just a Project Manager with a fortune 1000 software company :-( and any cost you suggest normally has to be multiplied by around 40 to get the figure in my currency. On top of that we're expecting our first child later this year - so more expenses along with the joy :-)

This is precisely the reason why I was contemplating building it myself (Little Otter - you're bang on target!). This doesn't seem too probable either - now that I am aware of the difficulties.

What would you suggest I do to realize my dream given that I'm already saving half my monthly income (quite good here, but before I tell you I'll have to divide it by 40 :-) ) and spending very judiciously. Any ideas are very welcome.

Thanks a lot anyway for your time to explain things to a green horn like me :-) I sincerely appreciate it.

- Ajay
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:53   #14
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Ajay: Its only a question of time before some VERY adventurous Venture Capitalist takes a shot at starting a boating industry in India. There will be two major hurdles: temperature and humidity. Most composite materials are designed for temperate conditions, and probably would have to be reformulated for optimum strength in your climate. Anther problem, which may be resolving itself, is that there has not been much of a market for these 'rich man's toys' but it appears that you and thousands of other young, well educated Indians are becoming a significant segment of the population with disposable income and time for recreational pursuits. So I think it will happen.

Start a sailing club!
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Old 03-07-2008, 14:38   #15
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You're in India.
Check these guys:

Ultramarine-yachts.com

MAHASAGAR BOATS - QUALITY WOODEN & FIBREGLASS BOATBUILDER FOR WORK, FISHING, PLEASURECRAFT - SINCE 1969
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