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Old 13-03-2023, 10:53   #1
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"Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

A little intro: I'm 45 years old, I have extensive technical expertise and a budget of roughly 900,000 USD for a brand new cat.

Here's the problem. I wish to live at sea. I have the experience, the training, but I don't know much about the boat building industry, which puts me at risk to get fleeced.

Here's what i do NOT need but everyone is trying to sell me:
- Luxury accommodations, laminated oak panels and marble countertops.
- Charter capability with 4 cabins (I plan to sail solo or with another skipper)
- Basically the cats or boats I trained on

Here's what I actually need:
- A lot of power (PV panels galore, inverters, all accessible and easy to access as I have the knowledge to fix them).
- Autonomous water supply
- Plenty of space, meaning removing all the cabins and replacing them with storage space
- Some type of climate control for my computers and on board scientific equipment.

Now, you'd think with almost a million bucks, it would be easy. WRONG.

I contacted a lot of builders, including Bali, who recommended me to Nautitech (because the 44 has a 'smart room').

Everyone i contact tells me "They can't remove the beds, because the factory won't allow for that". Yet youtube is filled with videos of people building custom cats, and the largest manufacturers can't .. take out a few beds and replace them with food storages? Or accommodate an extra antenna for my HAM/SDR antenna array? In the age of starlink? REALLY?

I feel like I'm going in circles, that basically the boutiques hear 'million dollar' and are trying to fleece me.

So I come to you, humble, and ask for help.

Who can you recommend to build something like this? Why is it so hard to get batteries and PV when there are singaporean companies building solar cats for less than half a mill? But more importantly, who is the builder, out there, who will help me make my work come true by letting me have a cat that has ONE cabin, and the rest as space for automous living over many years?

I know it's unusual. I know most people want to sip pina coladas on their deck or charter. But surely what i want to do is possible, right?

Thank you so much.
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Old 13-03-2023, 13:11   #2
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

I am not surprised at all if the big charter builders (Lagoon, Leopard, FP, Bali) wont do any customizations - that would severely hamper their workflow.

I am not positive if Nautitech and Excess would allow anything or much at all either as they are still basically production boats but at a considerably smaller scale.

The smaller "semi production" builders would almost certainly allow some customizations within reason, but most of these builds are 700k to 1.2mil without much customization.

You might be better off finding a designer and having them help you pick a builder if you want a minimalist style boat and not sure how to work with a builder.

You can also go used and do a refit to include what you want/need.
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Old 13-03-2023, 13:42   #3
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

sciencesailor, it might help u answer your question if we knew in which part of this blue planet you are based

this is a global forum and folk are located all over the world

there are some good boat builders around that may not be convenient for you

also suspect that $900,000 is not much budget for a custom built cat

cheers,
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Old 13-03-2023, 13:48   #4
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

Dazcat in the UK will build a one of interior based on one of their hulls. They are building a 12m for a disabled sailor at the moment.

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Old 13-03-2023, 13:51   #5
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

as someone who did custom build a decent size boat, my suggestion would be to buy one. Used.

get a designer or naval architect on board as a consultant to help you buy one.

The naval architect will be able to help you figure out which things are structural and which things aren’t. Then you can contract out small jobs to replace different areas of the boat with what you require.

adding solar and things? That’s simple. Honestly, if you are going to be by yourself at sea you should already know how to do this. especially given the fact that you have lab equipment and are apparently a scientist. It’s basic DC circuitry.

but I might be off. Maybe you’re a biologist.

anyway, that would be my suggestion.

1) hire a reputable naval architect that knows multi hulls. As your consultant.

2) submit boats you think you like to the naval architect.

3) with the naval architect's help narrow it down to a few boats.

4) get the naval architect on these boats and make some plans regarding how to convert them to what you need. Taking out berths. Taking out cabinetry. Replacing them with supports if necessary, but also the shelving you require and whatever else it is that you require for your equipment.

5) purchase the boat.

6) either hire a crew and get them working, or outsource the entire project to some marine custom fabrication places.

that’s the best way to get what you want. Working with production builders is not going to do it. They have a square hole and you have a round peg.

However, there are hundreds of boats out there already built the way you want. You just have to modify the interior. Not a big deal.

PS: everything you are looking for aside from modifications, that’s just regular stuff. get solar panels. Get lithium batteries. Get air conditioning. Get heat. Get a dehumidifier. Get a generator. Get an inverter. Get a watermaker. there’s nothing really out of the ordinary with what you are looking for. Most of the people on here have all of these things.

PPS: if you want to be autonomous for years, you had better be a lot more concerned about how you are dealing with food preservation and energy. It’s got to be all solar and wind. And unless you blanket the thing with panels, you won’t be able to run HVAC off of them. Not powerful enough for a large catamaran. you had also better carry duplicates of everything. Duplicate water maker. Duplicates. And know how to tear down and rebuild every item on the boat. Otherwise you won’t be independent.
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Old 13-03-2023, 14:23   #6
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

Regarding the big builders, Lagoon seems to have a custom department of sorts:
https://cata-lagoon.tezmarin.com/en/lagoon-custom.asp
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Old 13-03-2023, 14:37   #7
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

Chotu post is spot on - particularly the help of a NA for the changes you want and how load will impact trim, cats are sensitive to weight distribution.
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Old 13-03-2023, 14:49   #8
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

Thank you SO MUCH everyone for the recommendation so far. This is GREAT advice and I'm extremely grateful for the suggestions.

Someone correctly pointed out I didn't specify my location. That's because I am now 100% nomadic. I am currently in the UK, but I can be just anywhere around the globe at any moment (the perks of having worked for an extremely large banking network - I'll never run out of miles )

So whether it's France, Spain or even Brazil, I can quickly relocate, my equipment is safely stored in a unit and can be moved by sea to follow me.

Some of you mentioned key points :
- A naval architect - can you recommend trustworthy ones you had dealings with?
- Marine custom fabs - ditto

Thank you again. Extremely enlightening!

PS: This confirms my suspicions I was about to be taken on a ride by less than honest sales people. Clearly I have to watch my 6 here, very aggressive market by the looks of it. Never occurred to me while i was training.
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Old 13-03-2023, 14:50   #9
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

If you want to buy new, and your time and budget allows for it, don't look at factory boats. Find and contact a yacht designer or architect. Pay them, discuss your needs, and then after they design the boat, they will help you commission a builder to build it. 1M might be far too little money to do this.

If me with 900k, I would buy used, and follow Chotu's plan.
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Old 13-03-2023, 14:52   #10
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

Bob Perry is still active as a consultant and designer.
Robert H. Perry Yacht Designers
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Old 13-03-2023, 15:15   #11
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

........Perry Catamarans.......Australia.....
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Old 13-03-2023, 16:28   #12
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

SCienceSailor Dudley Dix designs some nice cats in South Africa. The two reasons I like him is because he seems open minded enough to entertain the type of boat you want, and your money will go much further with the low value of the Rand. There are plenty of good boat builders in South Africa, even if they are running short on electricity.
Don't be surprised if some boat designers are not interested in your project. They can be very precious sometimes as it's their name on the final product.
Cheers

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Old 13-03-2023, 19:50   #13
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
SCienceSailor Dudley Dix designs some nice cats in South Africa. The two reasons I like him is because he seems open minded enough to entertain the type of boat you want, and your money will go much further with the low value of the Rand. There are plenty of good boat builders in South Africa, even if they are running short on electricity.
Don't be surprised if some boat designers are not interested in your project. They can be very precious sometimes as it's their name on the final product.
Cheers

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South Africa is where Leopards are built.

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Old 14-03-2023, 01:00   #14
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

Is there any reason why you want/need a new boat? If I wanted a boat like you describe, I'd just buy a beaten up ex-charter boat, rip everything out and then build in what I need. I pretty much guarantee you could do that for well under $900k.
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Old 14-03-2023, 02:29   #15
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Re: "Unusual" project - having trouble getting the right build - custom needed?

Since you are in the UK, as Pete7 said, get in contact with Darren Newton at Dazcat. Good NA and builder.
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