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Old 29-03-2010, 11:38   #16
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Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to look at this thread and post your input, it is really very much appreciated! Thomas, thank you particularly for you input, I take everything you are saying to heart!

I should maybe also have mentioned that if I go ahead with this project, I will likely have all the steel frames, stringers, plates- i.e. all the hull components laser cut (NC plasma) by a professional company- leaving me to "put it all together". I believe this will save a lot of time, if not years off the project, and I will have more time for fitting out, i.e. before I am an old man!

Does this possibly change anyone's viewpoint?

Mark: I've had a look at your blog- looks fantastic! I cant believe you folks are circumnavigating in a Beneteau! are you not afraid of the consequences of a harsh grounding or mid-ocean collision with a container, tree, etc?
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Old 29-03-2010, 12:32   #17
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Here's my opinion, for what it's worth.

I've seen a couple of steel boats be put together. I've also been involved in building one off equipment out of steel.

Unless you can do it full time, have helpers to make the process efficent, and actualy LIKE building it, it's not worth doing from scratch. Here's my thinking.

1. Every day that the steel is not complete costs you money. The first is that it's going to cost you in interst. Even if you don't buy the steel on credit, your losing all the money you could have earned in interst, had you not bought the steel. Also, you'll probably have to build it in open air. Steel in open air rusts. If you wait too long, it will rust to the point that it needs to be replaced. In a tropical climate, with loughts of moisture and maybe a little salt about, steel can rust amazingly fast without protection. Thus it is my opinion that if your going to build a boat, your going to need to put as many man hours as possible on it in as short a time as possible. In the mean time you also have to buy the good welding equipment for what will probably turn out to be a one time project. Yuck.

2. Building in steel involves fitting big peices of metal together. Each peice must be properly shaped, and then prepered for welding. Then they must all be welded together. Doing this with help, welders assistants, or something makes all the diffrence in the world. The welders assistance can prep the peice, and hold it in place while you tack weld it to preper for final welding. If you don't have help, you first have to build jigs and adapters to hold the peice in place, and THEN tack weld it, then remove the jigs and adapters, and finaly weld it all up. Your talking about an order of magnatude of more work.

3. Once you get the fitting out finished, then you have to go through the work on the engine, rigging, and interor of the vessel. This part I'm less fimilar with but, it would appear to be something that a single person could do more easily. Most of the interor work probably is best done by one person, as too many people inside the boat will just get in each other's way. The rigging might be easier with two people however.

4. I HATE welding. I hope you've done some welding before you start this project, because you'll be doing alought of it. To me welding is hot, dirty, dangerous work that requires sigificant amounts of skill. It can be done, don't get me wrong, but there is a reason a good welder make a good wage. If you at all enjoy your regular job and makde decent money at it, I don't see the draw to spending time trying to copy a welders and do his trade on your boat.

I'm still of the opinion that building a boat of scratch is something to do because you want to build a boat from scratch, and don't care to go sailing. There are numorous projects that are up for sale where people finished the welding on the hull, and began to start attempting to fit out the vessel, only to see their life fall apart. I'm not sure what it is about the switching from building the hull to building the interor, but it seems to be a common stoping place were people just seem to say screw it, I'm out. There are also loughts of boats that were started as rebuild projects, and didn't quite get through.

The trick to buying someone elses project is not buying a project that is too big for you to hanndle, and getting it at a good price. I havn't found mine yet, so you can take my advice for what it's worth. (which is the price of a free internet posting!)

One other point, is that if you do decide to build a vessel, your going to be working off of a set of plans. If that's the case, then it's likly to be a set of plans that matchs what everyone else has already done. And that means it will have all the "features" of the boats that are already on the market.
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Old 30-03-2010, 08:25   #18
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I don't have much input, because I am looking at it at the same angle as you. Here is someone that took pretty much the same approach. Built their own steel boat over quite a few years to retire on.
The big sailboat project
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Old 30-03-2010, 08:30   #19
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Hi there everyone

Thanks again for taking the time to look at and respond to this thread. The idea of building my own boat was a dream born a few years ago, so it is not as if I thought about this last week. I have communicated fairly extensively with several people who have successfully managed to build their own steel sailboats here in Canada (Mostly Roberts designs, i.e. Mauritius 43’, and a Roberts 53’). They, like the majority of people on this forum, have tried to dissuade me from attempting to build from scratch, for the magnitude of the project in terms of time, money, effect on family life and poor re-sale, and this from engineers and tradesmen.

I have seen some very good advice here- for which I am really grateful! I think some of the best advice I have seen is to buy a cheap fibreglass boat around 30’ and sail now! I should focus on becoming a better sailor and learn to fix things as they break down.

Second-hand steel sailboats (in excellent condition) are out there- possibly more so in Europe than here in North America, but they are out there and they will be there in years to come when the admiral and I are ready to go cruising. Their prices seem fair and there is likely a degree of “bargaining “allowed” so with the aid of a good surveyor (or three) and possibly a broker, we will find what we are after.

Thanks again!
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Old 30-03-2010, 08:40   #20
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Steve, check out Bob Kingsland, his boat and website about his boat: S/V Restless. It took him 25 years but it is one of the most beautiful boats I've seen. As you'll see he built it all starting from plate steel and carried it on to some incredibly fine wood craftsmanship. The account is a well photographed journey through the various phases of the building process and himself through those 25 years.
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Old 30-03-2010, 08:48   #21
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A beautiful steel boat has a lot of wood in it (the whole interior) and this is where a lack of skill on the builder's part really shows. Even accomplished "land" finish carpenters have troubles working on a boat since there are many curves and few right angles. Why not develop your woodworking skills first by spending six months building a small wooden sail boat? If you enjoy the experience - and finish - you can go forward with a multiyear steel project with much great confidence.

In the process, you might also create a small craft that will be of great beauty and make your heart sing. You can either enjoy her yourself or sell to someone else who will love her while you're out on your steel ship.

Wooden Boat magazine has many great plans. Stay small. I wouldn't try anything over 18ft.

Carl
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Old 30-03-2010, 10:14   #22
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Carl:
That is a fantastic idea! I have actually toyed with this idea myself in the last few weeks. It would definitely give me a taste for the building aspect, and maybe improve on some skills. Also, it would be something I could enjoy as you say, in the meantime.

I wanna go now!
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Old 30-03-2010, 10:48   #23
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It is hard to justify building a boat when there are so many good used boats for sale, in fibreglass, wood or steel. These days, for $ 50,000usd, you could get a well-equipped Alberg, Spencer, etc., perhaps, a Swain or Folkes steel boat, that will take you wherever you wish to go. Brent Swain is on these forums, he may know if one of his designed boats is presently for sale. Building your own, while a most satisfying endeavour for the "right" person, is a lot of work that requires learning many skills & is not cheap to do. I haven't met an amateur builder, yet, who set out to build their own boat within two years & achieved this, even building a "Swain" boat. Ted Brewer has designed many sloop/cutter rigged boats & is easily approachable. Dudley Dix & several other designers are on boatdesign.net.
Best of luck with your decision!
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Old 30-03-2010, 12:53   #24
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I haven't met an amateur builder, yet, who set out to build their own boat within two years & achieved this, even building a "Swain" boat.
Then you will be blown away by this couple:
YouTube - sailpalauutube's Channel
(Aluminum vs Steel, but pretty amazing none-the-less)

It did take them a year full-time. But they started out with very little equipment and even less experience, in an out of the way locale.
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Old 30-03-2010, 13:03   #25
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Originally Posted by bangkaboat View Post
I haven't met an amateur builder, yet, who set out to build their own boat within two years & achieved this, even building a "Swain" boat.
You should visit also Norvikinfo - Norvik vitorláshajóval kapcsolatos h*rek, információk. This hungarian guy took only two years to finish his Roberts DS440, mostly without any help, and did a wonderful job.
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Old 30-03-2010, 17:42   #26
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Arcen,tomcwb,
With all due respect, and not wishing to detract from the efforts of constructing these two beautiful boats, the Roberts DS440 took more than two years to construct - to the point that one sees in the construction photos - yet, the interior was not completely fitted at that point. The cat had a number of people work on her and the availability of equipment that the average amateur builder would not have access to for a one-off, in most cases. There were professional riggers, an engine installer, etc., involved, as well, and the interior was not completed when she ventured off.

I suppose that I should have qualified what I meant by an amateur builder, as anyone could hire enough workers & equipment to complete within a couple of years, should they have deep enough pockets. What I was talking about were the "John & Jane Doe" who build from A to Z, in the backyard. Still, I'm not suggesting that it is impossible, just that I have seen and know(n) many people whom thought that they could accomplish this, yet, none of them did/have, in the time frame they initially target. I don't want to dissuade Steve, rather, prepare him for the road ahead. CarlF has given sage advice, in this regard. I recall Brent Swain/others suggesting to a few people that they consider making their interiors serviceable, sail down to Mexico & have them finished there. I have the convenience of hiring skilled carpenters, labourers, etc., to complete interior work & be involved in other parts of construction, in The Philippines, for a competitive wage rate that cannot be met in many other places. Btw, thanks for the links, I've seen the construction of the cat before, but lost the link, and the Roberts DS440 is one I haven't seen before. Best of luck to SteveL & to anyone else whom is planning to build a boat.
Mike
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Old 30-03-2010, 17:57   #27
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Btw, as there may be some other aspiring builders reading this thread, I noticed an ad on craigslist vancouver, B.C., where someone is selling a completed hull/deck of a steel George Buehler "Juno", for $ 7,500 (I assume can. dollars), price reduced from $ 10,000 in an earlier advertisement. Search "35' steel sailboat hull". LOL, then you won't have to do all of that welding that "Viribus Unitis" finds so offensive!
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Old 30-03-2010, 18:42   #28
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the other side of the coin.

I don't know much about building boats, but I know a heck of a lot about grad school, having spent eight postgraduate years nailing down advanced degrees.

Picking up a terminal degree is more of a beginning than an end. For most people, the first few post-doctoral years will entail several different jobs in several different locations. Hard to do that when you've got a half-built steel hull in the back yard. More to the point, you'll find yourself working every bit as hard as when you were researching your dissertation, and, assuming your educational debt isn't out of control, you'll find that you have more money to spend than time to spend it.

One thing your profs probably haven't told you yet is that the folks making the big bucks in biochemistry are not working 40-hour weeks. They're working upwards of 60 hours, and the guys making the huge money are working even more. You start putting 20 hours a week into welding a steel hull, and you'll find yourself in the very back of your field within a year. Biochemistry doesn't wait around for folks welding 45-foot cutters.

Rather than building your own boat and then paying professionals to teach you how to sail, consider letting the pros build the boats while you teach yourself the fine art of keelboat sailing. My guess is that if you commit your Saturday afternoons to puttering around in a 22-32 foot fiberglass boat, building your skills in the process, you'll soon discover that you really don't need a steel tank to make it from Point A to Point B. And, you'll be far less stressed doing it this way than going with Plan A. The alleviation of stress, ultimately, is why most of us sail.

And then, by the time you've taught yourself to sail, you'll be making enough money to buy a far nicer boat than the one you'd weld yourself.
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Old 30-03-2010, 18:54   #29
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Well said, Bash!

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Old 30-03-2010, 21:53   #30
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I like it Bash.
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