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Old 09-02-2010, 11:29   #1
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Building a Kit Catamaran

Hi,

Does anyone here have experience with building a kit catamaran like Schionning, Fusion, Oceanic or Spirited?

If I read the various sites, making the hull is not such an issue, but I would imagine the interior and all the fitting out must be an enormous taks. I would imagine that's the reason why several half built projects are for sale.

Is it really that hard????? I look forward reading some experiences.
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:01   #2
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Depending on your experience level it's not hard, but it is a lot of work. Depending on the quality level you desire. I assume the end goal is to sail and not just to experience the build.
I have not built but have come close in the past (actually rented space and ordered material) for a tri, but ended up buying the same design I was going to build.
At present I have plans for another and am looking for place to build - unless another one shows up of the design I want!
You might want to give a hard look at the costs of building vs buying a used cat. There's a glut of them (charter cats) and the sales prices should be dropping even more than the asking prices. That is if the designs available work for you.
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:27   #3
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Its the same with any home build, whether its a boat, car, plane etc.
Thousands of hours are needed.
40 hours per week for 12 months = 2000 hours.

If your in a relationship, have family and a demanding job, it takes years and thats a main reason most people quit.
If you took the hours you spend building and get a paid job, then spend that money buying the boat, it will save your marriage AND get you sailing years sooner.

Many aircraft builders are more in love with the build than the flying. Some drag their heels when nearing completion as they fear the end of the project and some launch straight into the next. Its a prison sentance.
Take it from one who knows !!!! Jodel D18, KR2, Avid, Kitfox, Minimax, .....been involved in them all and more besides. My D18 build buddy had a Wharram 36' pair of hulls in his back yard, never finished.
Every year the tarps would fill with water, split and the hulls would fill and spread the cradles so he had to pump out the thousands of gallons.
The wood rotted and all his work went down the drain. In the same yard were 3 Porches awaiting strip down and rebuild. He had enough aircraft parts sourced from aerojumbles and boot sales to make 3 more.

Some dream and some get out there and actually do the flying and sailing.
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Old 09-02-2010, 13:01   #4
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There is an option between building and buying that I have been thinking about, and that is to manage the construction as a general contractor. The idea is that you buy the kit and prototype each area of construction to a point that you can instruct and supervise a team of laborers to do the bulk of the work. You can control quality and speed of construction depending on how many people you hire. I talked to Craig Schionning about this, and he suggested a team of 5 to 7 people to build one of his boats is 6-9 months. Depending on labor costs, you may even be able to build a new boat for the cost of a used one, with the advantage of having the fun and satisfaction of the building process.
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Old 09-02-2010, 13:45   #5
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Poozer,
Actually that is a thought depending on where you build. People are doing that in the Philippines. After the Haiti earthquake I was looking at the work force there and they do have a trade school of boatbuilders, with Haiti in the state it's in now I don't think it would work but shortly in 6 months or a year when basic infrastructure is in place Haiti would have the labor force and they definitely need the work.
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Old 09-02-2010, 13:49   #6
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I've been hired help on a few projects, including fusion and schionning. The fusion I worked on was almost as easy as it looks. 2 months and the shell was there with 2 people. Very pretty boat. Cost more than from scratch but if time is money?

Worked on a Schionning Cosmos.. strip plank. Good boat, lottsa hours. Not a kit.

Have looked over a spirited in progress and it is pretty busy. Many little bits and pieces that are structural. The build system is well thought out though. The sheer panels go in last so there is better access to the job for example.

The big objection I have with the kits is the added cost. I hear designers get a 10% commission (kickback would be a better word) from the balsa panel mob. Thats about $6000-$7000 out of pocket and I don't like the stuff but now I know why the designers love it!

I think the kits make it less intimidating for a novice to start but once you get stuck into it, they may not be that much of an advantage. I'm building a 35 foot cat I drew myself using any kind of good material I can get cheap. Left overs and abandon projects and anything FGI has on special. Mostly ply with foam and polycore. I am looking at coming in at $50K or less.

If you want fast and easy and cheap, check this out!
build a 30 footer fast and just over $20K and you can buy the plans for $135.

But if you do build from a kit I think Schionning makes a good boat with good resale value.
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Old 09-02-2010, 13:50   #7
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Yep, but it would even work close to home. There are a lot of affordable laborers looking for work where I am on the Texas Gulf Coast. Offshore makes it really tough to adequately supervise the work yourself, so you would have to give the project to a local boat building shop. That said, Philippines is an excellent choice for low cost, good quality work.
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:06   #8
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My brother decided to build a kit Shelby Cobra in my garage ... over three years ago. It's just now driving but still hasn't been painted or had the interior finished.

Life gets busy. You've got work, family, wives/girlfriends, holidays, home repairs, car repairs, fun opportunities, etc. all competing for time against the project. My brother suddenly got offered a chance to get his Masters six months into the project. That ate up almost a year of progress.

I bought a project boat last July and tackled it hard every weekend through October. Then I didn't get to touch it again until mid-January. I'm back on track for now, but my girlfriend is getting pretty irritated that she only gets to see me on the weekends and now that's down to only one day a weekend.

Of course, you try to get girlfriends/wives involved, but there's only so much they can do, and they get bored with it.

Then, on top of all that, you have to take into account the fact that you'll just get burned out and need to take occasional breaks from the project.

Of course, there's some guys that can just churn out the work. One of the guys in the Cobra club spent two days completely unpacking every box of the kit and organized and labeled the hundreds of bolts and parts. Then he put the entire thing together and had it running in four days.

So no, the kits aren't that complicated. It's making sure you've got the time for the kits that is so hard for most people.

My biggest advice if you're going to build a kit is have a place to build it that is not costing you extra rent. That way you're not just throwing money away for every month there's no progress.
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:15   #9
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I've just launched an Oram 44C. It took around 5500 hours hands-on, by myself. Having an extra worker who knew what he was doing would have substantially reduced the total labour time.

But I actually wanted the satisfaction of doing it myself. Building, fairing, painting, fitting out.

Whether you really can save substantial money doing it yourself depends on how much you could be earning doing something else. ie - It wouldn't make financial sense for Bill Gates to build a boat. For me, it did. I now have a boat worth $450,000+ AU, which cost me around $180,000 for materials, and 5500 hours work, over less than 4 years.

If I was working the 4 years I wouldn't have been able to put the extra $270,000 in the bank to go and buy my boat. Assuming I could even find that type of boat for sale.

Because I now have the kind of boat you really can't buy off a production line, which are predominantly built for charter work.
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:22   #10
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good point 44 cruising cat... I would add to, that I have seen some pretty poor craft on some production boats. There is value in knowing what you have under your feet instead of what you are told is under your feet.
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:23   #11
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"I assume the end goal is to sail and not just to experience the build."

I would sincerely say - as someone at the end of a four year Shuttleworth project - that unless you specifically WANT to experience the build part then steer well clear.
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:28   #12
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or take on a very modest project.
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:34   #13
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Thank you for all the replies so far.

Good point 44 Crusing Cat: I want to build a specific interior lay out, which would suit our needs for a world cruise. It will be our home for >5 years, so it has to be right. We will allow space for two guests, but only just.

I am quite attracted to the Fusion 40 actually. But, I have calculated I would still cost me about 250.000 euros to get a world cruiser built. And than I am not counting my own hours ofcourse. But, what also attracts me about self building, is that you know your boat inside out. Which might be rather usefull when you have to fix something in some far and remote place.
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:36   #14
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It's certainly not for everyone. If you have to rent a shed large enough, that will push the price up substantially, and if you have to travel to the project, it will be more difficult ans time consuming. Still can be done though, I know people who have done and some who still are doing it.

Re kits - if you have the budget, and the boat suits, then IMO the Fusion is far better value than say, a Spirited. You now get a skilled worker with the kit, and I've heard they are now getting those things locked up in under a month!

A spirited kit costs almost as much as a Fusion, around $125k versus $155k, but takes about as long as my boat did to build. (My kit costs around $70k these days, including plans.)

Another very quick build would be: Catamarans. Catamaran Kit, Oceanic 373 Catamaran 'Fastbuild Kit'

IMO the best value kits are still Bob Oram's.
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:44   #15
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Hi 44' Cruisingcat,

Yes, I have looked at the Oceanic 373 too. Interesting kit AND a Schionning design. But the payload is just too limited at 1500kgs. A Fusion has 2000kgs, which is just about right. But, a Fusion is not 40 ft, but actually 39.
I will have a look at Bob Oram. You wouldn't have a web address, would you?
Thanks
Marco
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