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Old 20-08-2016, 02:02   #31
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Re: Expariance with home build Cats ?

Balsa gets sabotaged when people who don't understand its weaknesses start drilling holes and bolting on fittings and other crap with no understanding of the consequences. It's all "fibreglass" to them, and yes it happens on all cored boats but balsa suffers badly.
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Old 20-08-2016, 02:50   #32
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Re: Expariance with home build Cats ?

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Originally Posted by Redreuben View Post
Balsa gets sabotaged when people who don't understand its weaknesses start drilling holes and bolting on fittings and other crap with no understanding of the consequences. It's all "fibreglass" to them, and yes it happens on all cored boats but balsa suffers badly.
The problem is it's the rare boat where someone doesn't cut or drill in and expose that balsa coring.

That's why you get the stray 40yr old boat by a meticulous home builder that has no issues but the vast majority have at least a few soft spots.

Luckily on production boats, it's usually the deck, so it can get pretty bad before it creates a major problem as long as it stays away from attachments for the standing rigging.

Reality is I stay away from home built. While there is the rare masterpiece far too many live up to the amateur label and it's often difficult to tell them apart. Even if you get one of the masterpieces, it will suffer from low resale value by association.
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Old 20-08-2016, 06:15   #33
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Re: Expariance with home build Cats ?

I thought I would chime in here with some actual hands on experience with home built cats. I built two of them. Both Richard Woods designs. The first one was the Romany 34 and the second was the Wizard trailerable design. I lived on the Romany and cruised to the Bahamas. I sold it to Mr Woods and he did the same as well as the family who bought the boat from him. I lost track of its whereabouts now.
Anyway, if a home built cat is built well and has a good designer, you can go anywhere a production cat of similar size can go. But, there is a higher maintenence with these cats than with production glass boats. The Romany and the Wizard are both designed for Okume plywood with glass over. Very strong and very light. No balsa anwhere.
It was fun most times building it. Sanding? Well thats another story, lol
I built it because I could not afford a production cat of that size. Very few of us can afford 150 to 300K or more for a cat. I built the Romany for 50K including mast, sails and fitting out over a 3 year period which spreads out the expenses. This was in 2005. I built the boat in sections in my back yard as per the plans and transported to a boat yard for final assembly. It was powered by a 9.9 Yamaha High Thrust. It would have been better with twin 9,9's for those times when wind and current on the nose. It sailed really well. I had no problem getting it insured as it passed survey with no problems. There are hundreds if not thousands of wood and glass multihulls sailing all over the world. Lots of Searunner tri's and Wharram cats and others too. If you have the time, and the room and some basic carpentry skills, you can build one too. Learning to lay fiberglass is not difficult. Or you can buy a used one after a very careful inspection. Even if you find some rot areas, keep in mind, these boats are very easy to repair, up to a point. Brad
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Old 20-08-2016, 08:25   #34
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Re: Expariance with home build Cats ?

Hi, new to the forum. Joined because I am getting ready to build a sailing catamaran for my own personal use and need all the knowledge I can get but as to the home built boats quandary.

I've only built one boat, a 22' vacuum infused tunnel hull flats boat, foam core (corecell) using a one off jig and infusing one side at the time. I would NEVER do it that way again, so much easier to just build a one off mold and infuse both sides in one shot but I didn't know what I was doing at the time. To get to the point, the one thing I did do is fully document, with pictures and even video every step of the construction, infusions, and closeups of the results.

I don't like buying anything used but that is were the best deals are for sure. I would be just as wary buying a production boat as a home built. The comment left by the buy who says he checks the engine room first strikes a chord with me. You can sort of tell the type of personality that skips steps.

My next build I am going to get my builders cert from coast guard and join ABYC etc but mostly because I don't want any hassle when it comes time to insure. I'd also like to build a few more for my friends etc ... make a little dough to keep me out at sea.

I will still fully document the build. I have been a contractor of single family, low rise and high rise building most of my life. We have inspections every step of the way, I don't know if boat builders do this? For me, I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Old 20-08-2016, 13:50   #35
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Re: Expariance with home build Cats ?

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
I dont think alot of contributors actually realize how many boats out there use balsa, lots of expensive boats at that. If a large number ended up as sponges do you think they would keep building them? As 44 says there are lots of advantages........ but nothing is perfect.

Sent from my vivo Y35 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
True. Some time ago someone posted a list of builders who use balsa cores. It included a number of highly respected high-end builders.
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