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Old 04-05-2016, 15:57   #31
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
But why on earth would you build a Lagoon?
It's just example, because I'm familiar with prices on these I can't discuss things I know nothing about. Let's just say I would be happy with features that Lagoon offers (or Sanya 57, or Leopard 58 for that matter). I love flybridge, I love hydraulic platform of 560, I love rich finishing (hey, it becomes my home, so why not?). I would change couple things, but in general, that's what I would love to sail on.
Now, if home building would give substantial financial benefits of building own boat of similar specs, size, features and finish quality, I would jump on it! I'd LOVE to customize few things. For now I can't (or don't want to ) buy even used Sanya 57. Will have to wait till prices drop. And I don't think that home building of my own boat would get me my "dream cat" any sooner.
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Old 04-05-2016, 16:03   #32
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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I STRONGLY second this, on all points. And would add that if you go this route, make sure that the designer is easy to work with, & offers good support while you're building.
Plus, on such a project, you have the flexibility to tune some aspects of the design. Like some of the interior layout, adding a few feet to the hulls, or toying with various rig options.

Done right, you'll wind up with something which is FAR lighter, has performance way beyond 95% of the production boats out there. And is more comfortable to live/sail on, while being easier to handle.
See, you're talking about performance only, basically. Interior can be easily customized on any cat, new or used. And no word about money savings, which for most of us is key point.
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Old 04-05-2016, 16:27   #33
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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Thanks, but from what I've seen 6000 hours is about average, for this type of boat. I think my skills are maybe about average too. I've seen some home builders do seriously nice work.

I finterested, you can have a bit of a look here:
Member Galleries - Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery
Thanks, I'll definitely put my eyeballs on her. What's the design BTW? And dare I ask if you kept good records of your expenses when you built her?


To the OP. If it hasn't been mentioned yet, you might want to peruse some of the build blogs of the home built, & semi-custom cats out there. Especially those which are about boats that are close in size, to anything you're entertaining building. As they'll give you a feel for; what's involved & the various stages of construction, the costs of things, time required, ideas on good locations for such, & a bunch of other things.

There's one on a 44' Farrier cat, here F-44SC Catamaran
A couple here Shuttleworth Design - Articles
And more than likely some here as well Activity Stream - Multihulls4us Forums
Plus, www.boatdesign.net is a great resource, & not just regarding designs, or builds. But for a multiplicity of boating related topics.

Kurt Hughes also has some good articles on the subject, Kurt Hughes Multihull Design - Catamarans and Trimarans for Cruising and Charter
Including a couple, which ask you to answer some semi-hard questions, so that you wind up with the best boat Kurt Hughes Multihull Design - Catamarans and Trimarans for Cruising and Charter & Kurt Hughes Multihull Design - Catamarans and Trimarans for Cruising and Charter
Plus a blog with Lots of useful info in it. Though you have to wade through a bit of stuff, to find what you're looking for. But it's well worth the time. Multihull Design Blog | Kurt Hughes on Catamarans, Trimarans, and Boat Design
As he definitely operates at the certified Genius level.

I've said it before elsewhere. But given my druthers, I'd happily take a slightly tweaked version of his 36' Bridgedeck cat over a lot of other boats.
Light, simple, great performance, good underwing clearance...
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Old 04-05-2016, 17:38   #34
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

One of the things I would explore is at a minimum have a commercial builder do the hull/deck construction, and do the fit out yourself. While the hull isn't generally a huge percentage of the construction costs from a commercial builder it is an easy step for a home builder to get stuck on. The lack of available space, specialized tooling, extra labor, etc really slows down a build.

Figure buying just the shell would run about 20% the cost of a finished boat. And there is still a huge amount of work left to do. But it's a lot of marine electrical, plumbing, and woodworking that simply doesn't require the huge investment in space and tools that building the hulls do.

For probably another 30% of the commercial build you can probably get the boat sailing and a rudimentary interior. At which point you have a boat to use far sooner than if you tried to build it all yourself.
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Old 04-05-2016, 17:51   #35
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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One of the things I would explore is at a minimum have a commercial builder do the hull/deck construction, and do the fit out yourself. While the hull isn't generally a huge percentage of the construction costs from a commercial builder it is an easy step for a home builder to get stuck on. The lack of available space, specialized tooling, extra labor, etc really slows down a build.

Figure buying just the shell would run about 20% the cost of a finished boat. And there is still a huge amount of work left to do. But it's a lot of marine electrical, plumbing, and woodworking that simply doesn't require the huge investment in space and tools that building the hulls do.

For probably another 30% of the commercial build you can probably get the boat sailing and a rudimentary interior. At which point you have a boat to use far sooner than if you tried to build it all yourself.
Perhaps I didn't state myself well, earlier;
Here Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood
And Here Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

But the above post by Stumble is a good percentage of what I was attempting to communicate. When I was speaking of making efforts to get the boat's shell put together quickly. And the above is very well stated

If my message got "lost in translation", perhaps it is due to me being more than slightly familar with the above concepts, & what drives the. That, plus the other things which go into building a boat. Especially when one's starting with just a few sheets of paper.

Thanks Greg.
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Old 04-05-2016, 18:21   #36
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

Pretty Accurate from my experience.
Took me twice as long and probably cost nearly twice as much as my initial time and costing budgets.

However I did enjoy the build process and the ability to modify layouts and systems on board and after the 1st years cruising I know I have one of the most comfortable and capable cruising cats on the water. (Can't say anything else once you've built it!!!!!!!!)

The other advantage is every item is accessable and maintainable. This is not the case on many production Cats.

I did lose about 5 years of cruising time though, still as we all know everything about a cruising boat and lifestyle requires compromises.
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Old 05-05-2016, 16:33   #37
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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Starting from nothing a lagoon 560 probably has about 11,000 hours into it, so figure the total labor cost in the boat is around $300,000.

1,000,000 -lagoon 560 base price
-300,000 - labor savings

$700,000 - build price

But Lagoon buys in massive bulk, and will pay far less than a one off builder for materials. Let's assume this costs you about 20% over their price

700,000 - build price
* 1.20 - loss of bulk ordering advantage

$840,000 - actual build price.
$160,000 - net savings

Of course you have spent 11,000 hours building the boat (assuming you are as fast as Lagoon), and you should at least price your labor... So given the net savings, you priced your labor at around $15/hr, not including benefits, insurance, etc... So if you make more than $30,000/year it is cheaper to buy it from Lagoon than build it yourself.

Not that these numbers assume that you don't have to buy any tools to build the boat, have the same amount of scrap, etc... But also assumes you install all new equipment.
The cost of a boat is a combinations of three components, labor, materials and overhead. In addition there is expected profit so if the boat is sold for a million dollars per price list I would not expect the cost to be more than $800K or at maximum $900K. Typical industrial overhead is between 20% and 30% so that brings down the direct cost, material and labor to %600K (overhead of 25% deducted).

So if a person wanted to build a compatible boat, they may have to pay more for the material, but the material likely represents only about half of the cost. So if one can supply labor or or find cheaper labor there are significant savings possible.

Rough estimates from builders are that they build for about half the cost of a comparable boat. The challenge is time. Do you buy more labor and finish earlier or build cheaper and take longer time....

One risk though that is not discussed enough, is resale value. Not many DIY boats have good resale value so the chances or recouping labor are slim.
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Old 05-05-2016, 20:26   #38
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

Bluebell,

I don't know of any builder that can build a large boat for half the price of a commercial build. If they can they should go into business building.

A home build still has to pay overhead, unless you are building in your pre-owned wharehouse that happens to have a slipway, and doesn't cost you anything in taxes. If anything a homebuild is likely to have higher overhead per boat because of the length of time most home builds take to complete.


Labor btw is pretty easy to predict. An average yard will build about 5-7lbs of boat per man hour for a monohull, and about half that for a multihull (the ballast speeds things up). A home build is likely to be far slower, but I worked at just the slow end of a commercial build speed, 2.5lbs per hour.

The reality is that home building a big boat is rarely a good financial plan. It may provide other benefits but rarely is economics the real gain. Unless the home build is built to a lower quality of finish. And it is normally this reason why home builds have lower resale value than a commercial boat.

Build a good design at home out of nomex/carbon and it will sell for about the same as a commercial by built boat of the same quality. In my experience many home builds cut corners, use substandard equipment, or install used equipment, and that's why their resale value is lower.
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Old 10-05-2016, 17:53   #39
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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Bluebell,

I don't know of any builder that can build a large boat for half the price of a commercial build. If they can they should go into business building.

A home build still has to pay overhead, unless you are building in your pre-owned wharehouse that happens to have a slipway, and doesn't cost you anything in taxes. If anything a homebuild is likely to have higher overhead per boat because of the length of time most home builds take to complete.


Labor btw is pretty easy to predict. An average yard will build about 5-7lbs of boat per man hour for a monohull, and about half that for a multihull (the ballast speeds things up). A home build is likely to be far slower, but I worked at just the slow end of a commercial build speed, 2.5lbs per hour.

The reality is that home building a big boat is rarely a good financial plan. It may provide other benefits but rarely is economics the real gain. Unless the home build is built to a lower quality of finish. And it is normally this reason why home builds have lower resale value than a commercial boat.

Build a good design at home out of nomex/carbon and it will sell for about the same as a commercial by built boat of the same quality. In my experience many home builds cut corners, use substandard equipment, or install used equipment, and that's why their resale value is lower.
If you go into the business of building you will have to add the overhead, do a proper setup, hire employees etc. All real costs and you will end up in the same place.

Most self builders will first of all build simpler boats with less bells and whistles and more emphasis on certain features like performance, than you will get from a "off the rack" builder.

Yes, if you pay someone else for building your boat your savings (in outright cost) are not going to be the same. If you value your time a lot, there may be no savings at all. If you value your time at next to nothing, like if you were not building a boat you were watching TV or building a dresser to give to the local charity (no pun intended for charities) and the only cost you have is material and tarp in your back yard, one can say the savings are great.

Everyone needs to do their own math and valuation of their own time....
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:11   #40
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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In my experience many home builds cut corners, use substandard equipment, or install used equipment, and that's why their resale value is lower.
It's been my experience that commercial builders cut the conrers, use inferior materials (esters instead of epoxy etc,) inferior methods (bulkheads just glued in, hull/deck joins just glued etc).

Most home builders intend to take themselves and their families to sea in the boats they build, so take some care. Commercial guys just want to turn a profit. The cheaper they can build the boat, the more profitable it's likely to be.
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Old 11-05-2016, 05:46   #41
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

The best sailing catarmarans that I have seen are "professionally custom built with an open cheque". Close second are the " home built with great care by very talented amateur". Problem is, the worst boats also happen to be home built. There are plenty in between.

Production boats are a "known quality", with boats of the same brand/ model being almost identical.
When buying a used boat, this usually works in favour of a production boat. Buyers soon get sick of traveling to see home builts that are a waste of good materials. Pity all that epoxy, carbon fibre and kevlar wasn't used by someone who knew how to build a boat!

There are more production boat "givens". A production boat manufacturer that manufactures an inferior design or poor quality product will inevitably go out of business. Conversely, high end manufacturers sometimes also go bankrupt because the high cost of production has a more limited market. There are plenty of examples of both in the catamaran market. The upshot is that the production boat market tends to favour " mediocrity with medium price".

It's good to have choice.
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Old 11-05-2016, 07:54   #42
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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Were it me, & I have thought through doing this a lot, it makes sense to have the big parts/modules professionally built. Or most of them.
Especially the hulls, & some of the cabin bits. Or parts, which due to the skill level involved in building them, would take you gobs of time to construct.

Then, you do only enough of the; assembly, interior, & systems, to go cruising in a KISS boat. Fitting out the "shell" as time & funds allow. For you'll be beyond broke by the time the shell is put together anyway.
Plus, there's a lot to be said for a light, simple boat. And it's all of the little details that eat up the majority of time, & often $. Aside from putting a good finish onto the boat that is.
Actually, I have found that the big bits, just like framing a house, are the quickest and easiest to assemble. I've read that the hull and deck represent only 20% of a build and I would agree with that number. That said, we did much as you describe in your second paragraph. We launched as a bare shell with no wiring, electronics, plumbing, furniture, dinghy, davits, bunks etc. We didn't even have windows in the aft cabin bulkhead. We spent the next 3 years (and beyond, we are still not done) adding furniture and systems as we lived aboard while sailing the boat around the Andaman Sea. The downside, of course, was that we often had fiberglass dust flying about and the boat was very spartan. This was mitigated somewhat by careful draping and using tools with vacuum attachments. The upside was that, as liveaboards, we were able to assess exactly what we needed in terms of accommodation and systems and so were able to customize the boat to our needs. Also, we got to sail in a beautiful area for 3 years!
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Old 11-05-2016, 10:46   #43
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

I am presently building a Crowther Bucaneer 24. I'm presently in the 16th month of building. so far about 350 hours invested and I am anticipating 550-600 hours total to completion. I only can work a few hours a week due to a full time job. Total cost should be around 10k by the time I buy sails. But, there is no way on my income, that I can afford a Farrier or Dragonfly even used, so building was really my only option. Plus, I love building things and I'm enjoying learning about epoxy. That being said, if I was rich I would've bought a Farrier and gone sailing already.
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Old 11-05-2016, 16:29   #44
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

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The best sailing catarmarans that I have seen are "professionally custom built with an open cheque". Close second are the " home built with great care by very talented amateur". Problem is, the worst boats also happen to be home built. There are plenty in between.

Production boats are a "known quality", with boats of the same brand/ model being almost identical.
When buying a used boat, this usually works in favour of a production boat. Buyers soon get sick of traveling to see home builts that are a waste of good materials. Pity all that epoxy, carbon fibre and kevlar wasn't used by someone who knew how to build a boat!

There are more production boat "givens". A production boat manufacturer that manufactures an inferior design or poor quality product will inevitably go out of business. Conversely, high end manufacturers sometimes also go bankrupt because the high cost of production has a more limited market. There are plenty of examples of both in the catamaran market. The upshot is that the production boat market tends to favour " mediocrity with medium price".

It's good to have choice.
While I agree this is probably true, I haven't personally encountered any of these "worst" home-built boats. The worst built boat I've seen was mass produced, and had started to break up in deep reaching 35 knot conditions.
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Old 11-05-2016, 17:37   #45
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Re: Boatbuilding a multihull, budgets, paradigms, utter falsehood

I am amazed at the number of replies to my post which was made after about a week of rain, sleet, hail, snow etc cutting into start of the boat -building season in the UK which is about 12 weeks long, or so. viz, lone boat builder blues.

The following week I got an enormous amount of work done as the temps went up as the sun started to shine.

As I am a professional woodworker (cabinetwork, oakframing, you name it) I have had problems building a boat with this slapdash method: I regard finish and accuracy at every stage to be important (it's ingrained) (However, intermediate quality of materials and work has helped to preserve the boat like new in the interstices of the building). The epoxy timeframes interupt my work speeds built up over 35 years, I cannot get a rhythm of work unless I am whizzing all the time, cannot wait for gluetime/temp for epoxy, unless I can work serially in high temp., hate masking up as you have to. Epoxy work really is unpleasant, but I always finish what I have started even if it takes xx years.

Therefore, I will build again in wood only with mechanical fixings and that means monohull.

Having said that, my impetus in this discussion (ie the difficulty of selfbuilding large-ish multihull boats in the UK) is to alert people living in places like the UK that the main difficulty with boatbuilding is the shed.

If you have a heated shed, then no problem, but you must have a TEAM to build the boat quickly, ie 9 months or your overheads go AWOL.

I looked at temporary rentals of local industrial units for the winter just past: they are not geared up to it at all, my costs would have been about 8- 10K for 6 months, if I could find one, including transport but not including heating or rates. Fully commercial industrial units in the UK are marketed on at least one, two or three year leases. I don't like long leases, they are bad business for small enterprises, and anyway I am semiretired now. This money would be ok for a teambuild from scratch, but silly for finishing works for a solo builder.

So I have continued making parts over winter in a small workshop chez moi and now rely on the weather to permit temperatures/humidity to put the finishing touches on the boat before launching this summer.

I have moved this boat 6 times from one workshop to another over the years. (I have had 12 workshops in 35 years, that's the UK for you, it's too small, and only geared up now for bankers and hedgefunders, and associated hangers-on.). Mostly she has had to be sheeted up outside because I have had to have all the workshop space and time for making money instead of spending it on boats.....
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