Before deciding on an own build, everyone should look at ALL the options. Do not be deterred by anyone's negative opinions on any issue. Decide on what makes most sense to you. This is my story.
I built a 32 ft. Piver
tri – 6pm to 10 or 11pm most evenings for a year. I loved working with wood. I hated handling resin for sheathing etc. I sailed ply tris and spent time looking for the leaks
: then found it was condensation
– under our matress. Full insulation
is essential for live-aboard comfort.
My second full build was the first foam “Toria”– I loved working with foam. Treat it like plywood
which is dead easy to bend, cut, sand and edge-glue etc. I love the light weight and versatility. The extra insulation
and buoyancy comes as a bonus. Few stringers which just get in the way of finishing the inside. The foam build was considerably quicker than the 45 ft ply tri in build alongside. The cost when counting the less wastage by putting off-cuts together and no need for scarf or butt joins is slightly less. Applying the inside skin was a chore but all in all, I never looked back. Sister ships are still sailing nearly fifty years later. I have surveys – “45 years old and many more decades of useful life in the polyester foam sandwich”. Foam sandwich is less weight and less maintenance
which is another bonus which owners appreciate for the life of the boat.
As a professional designer
, I have never forgotten the highs and lows of DIY. I have never stopped seeking the better way. We have moved on a long way since Toria. A full length table was a huge step forward in 1973 – a smooth finish and guaranteed fair lines for free. KSS – Kelsall
Swiftsure Sandwich. I was never tempted by strip for obvious reasons. A lot less time is spent handling resin compared to sheathing. Now 95% of laminating is on the table and for most projects it is resin infusion – neat and clean and very satisfying. Do not be deterred by negatives from competitors on infusion. “with lots of perfectly infused panels
, I now realize just how much I loathe hand laminating” - KSS 38ma builder
. Resin infusion is not essential to KSS. Owner's resin choice. Poly, vinyl or if you must, the more toxic epoxy
DIY is not for everyone. However, there are few satisfactions in life to compare with saying – all my own work and it takes me where ever I want to go. Knowing your ship is a huge advantage when sailing. I know no clients who have regretted taking on the challenge.
For confirmation of what I say, find the comments of my competitors, where two names stand out – Hughes
and Woods. False claims for KSS which must question their own credibility. Attempts to undermine the reputation of a competitor where they cannot compete on own merits. . I have continued to refine and still do. No one has done similar or come close to my all round experience. It would be strange if KSS was not the efficient technique which those who have used or seen know it to be. .
Hard chine looks simple. We have done a number of hulls from three panels
, hard chine and they are simple, with pre-made radius joins. KSS round bilge
takes just a few more hours so have not pushed KSS hard chine.
I would very much like to hear from anyone who has considered KSS. What do you find that you see as a down side? Ie materials, or technique or the opinion of others?
Ref a comment on James W designs. A range of my early designs had open bridge-deck. Almost all owners added a deck saloon
later, as did a few Wharram