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Old 31-05-2013, 18:58   #1
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No DIY in the USA?

A statement in another thread got me thinking:

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
< snip>

I don't think I've seen a successful large custom boat built by a non-shipwright.
I find this hard to believe. In a country of around 300 million people, there are so few home-built boats sailing that someone (who reportedly has many years and miles of experience) has never seen ONE?

The marina I'm sitting in right now has 10 cat's in it, only two of which are production boats. 8 out of 10 cat's here were built by their owners. They range from 35-45 feet maybe that's not considered large? (IMO a 40 foot cat isn't small by any means)

In this harbour there would be at LEAST 20 home-built cats. And a few home-built steel mono's too.

Cruising up the coast it's happened more than once for us to be in an anchorage where EVERY boat was home-built. Cat's and mono's too.

This in a country of a mere 25 million or so.

Has the spirit of DIY died in the USA?
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Old 31-05-2013, 19:03   #2
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

This is the world of instant gratification I guess.
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Old 31-05-2013, 19:11   #3
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

No, DIY just got bought out by prosperity. We built a Westsail 32 from a bare hull and deck in Costa Mesa in the '70s. Every vacant lot and what seemed like every backyard had boats under construction by DIYers. Went back a few years ago and didn't see one vacant lot or any boats in backyards. With so many cheap boats on the market, it would be foolish to build one from scratch. Way easier and probably cheaper to refurbish an older hull.
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Old 31-05-2013, 19:43   #4
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

follow the money.

here in the states you can buy a perfectly good cruising boat for the price of an imported jar of vegemite (please tell me you're from oz). so why build?

i have little knowledge of australian economics but from many of the posts i've read here from ozzies it sounds like new/used boats are way expensive there, and people build mainly to save money.

on the other hand, fixing your own boat is rampant over here, partly because of the price of good mechanics/craftsman. that's where diy comes in to play here....
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Old 31-05-2013, 19:57   #5
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

The USA market is flooded with older boats. Why build something new when you can restore an older boat for significantly less?

Seriously, here on the Left Coast we haven't got room for any more boats. To make room for new boats you've got to haul the old boats away and demolish them. How sustainable is that? Better just to restore the old ones. That seems to be what the DIY crowd is doing these days, and in most cases it seems to make economic sense.

Aside from that, you've got to learn to take Rebel Heart with a grain of salt, especially now that he's out cruising. Do you really believe he's never seen a successful large custom boat built by a non-shipwright? If that's the case, he needs to come visit me here in Sausalito. Right across the fairway lies a 70" ferrocement ketch built in the back yard by the owner that's an absolute work of art.

Every once in a while, art happens, even for the DIY artists.
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Old 31-05-2013, 19:59   #6
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

I get the impression its mostly cats being built now days. Us mono DIY'ers are getting rare. Production cats are pretty pricy, so that would be why.
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:04   #7
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

I think Roverhi has the answer. When I first bought my boat there was shed in my marina that had a 55 foot hull and a 48 foot hull just being moved out after being home built. Many of my friends had their own homebuilt boats. Now it is rare but they are around. Just harder to come across.
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:34   #8
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

There are quite a few 20-30ish foot cats being built. There are roughly 10 of just Richard Woods design underway or recently completed in N America. Mostly because there really are few good second hand choices in that size and it's a reasonable project time wise. Other problem is of course marina spaces. It seems rates have gone up here quite a bit in last 2 years despite locally economy about the same.
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:36   #9
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

Sure, there are lots of people building boats, but they are spread out over a lot of coastline, and some quite a way inland. Maine is fertile ground for homebuilders, and I have seen some huge boats under construction down in the Carolinas and Florida. This guy is building a 100-foot scow right alongside the main drag in Vineyard Haven. I bought one of his T-shirts last summer. Looks like it will be a nice boat from what I saw of the construction.
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:43   #10
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

I built my 50' 23 ton fiberglass cutter yawl from scratch, working full time at UCSB in Santa Barbara, with my then girlfriend who was a student at UCSB. We happily lived in a boat yard on Gutierrez Str. We started in mid '75 and launched in Aug. '77 The Daedalus is still going strong as an Inspected charter vessel.
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:49   #11
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Having worked both in Australia and the US, I think it is more about the time. Americans just spend a lot more time at work and thinking about work than Australians.

The "average" American hardly has time to scratch themselves let alone build a 40' cat in their backyard. Americans spend more time at work than citizens of any other developed nation.
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:51   #12
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

Quote:
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The Daedalus is still going strong as an Inspected charter vessel.
Beautiful.
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:59   #13
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

Quote:
The "average" American hardly has time to scratch themselves let alone build a 40' cat in their backyard. Americans spend more time at work than citizens of any other developed nation.
I don't think the US is at the top of the heap in terms of average hours worked, but it is up there. The biggest difference is in mandated vacation time, of which there is none in the USA. The average person is lucky if they get two weeks of paid vacation a year, and many don't even take it if they've earned it.
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Old 31-05-2013, 21:25   #14
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

There are 2 large tris for sale now. At least one hasn't been splashed and I think they both haven't been rigged yet. There's a guy on Boatdesign building a cat about like yours and also the owner of stuffimiinto forum although I wonder if it's the same guy. There's that Marples, too. They are there.
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Old 31-05-2013, 23:16   #15
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Re: No DIY in the USA?

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There's a guy on Boatdesign building a cat about like yours and also the owner of stuffimiinto forum although I wonder if it's the same guy.
He (catbuilder) runaway out from the Boatdesign forum and he must get the knowhow somewhere bcs he had no basic skils or knowledge building anything.. Thou the threads he started are a real treasure for somebody searhing knowlegde building foam cored hulls
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