A new dream

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by ebordier, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. ebordier
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Melbourne

    ebordier New Member

    Hello everybody

    I'm a complete beginner in the boat building field, but I had a dream to build my own cat a long time ago, and it seems I'm getting to the point a being ready for this new enterprise, but I desperately need help for early guidance:

    I have no previous experience in boat building, but I have a background in engineering, I'm good with my hands and I've built and made a few stuff in the past. Also my finances, without being that good, are sufficient to support such a project. My dream is a cruising sailing cat. Ideally I wanted a big 35ft+, which means that if I stay realistic, i could go for 25-30 ft and keep my sanity... also my priorities usually go toward quality.

    The various questions I have for everybody are:

    1) Am I just dumm to want to go through that? Better cumulate another job, get a promotion, swallow my pride and buy the damn cat?

    2) I'm good with my hands, but don't know anything about boat design, so I want to be sure to have my hands on high quality plans. The problem is how to choose and who to trust. Any advice? A site that seems to have plans for the cats I look for is Wood design (www.sailingcatamarans.com), but still don't know how to decide what's good and what's not.

    3) How much space do you need to build the beast? Can you build it anywhere and move it, or do you need to build it next to a ramp that leads to the water? (ie backyard vs professional shed)

    4) Do you absolutely need help, or can you mostly work alone?

    5) Any other critical element I need to consider before making up my mind?

    Thanks to all
  2. Nordic Cat
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    Location: South of Copenhagen, Denmark

    Nordic Cat Senior Member

    I would suggest that you find a few people who are in the build stage now, or have been, there are some in your area.

    Talk to them, maybe spend a couple of weekends helping them out to get a feel for what it is all about and then decide if you want to put the time and effort in to this.

    With the financial situation as it is at present, there will probably be some very attractive deals turning up if you have cash available.

    Check out the Schionning and Bob Orams websites for links to past and present builders.

    There is one very well described build here: http://www.mahnamahna.com.au/

    The Woods boats have a great reputation, drop Richard Woods a mail and ask his advice, lot's of people have been in this situation before you, so I'm sure he can guide you to a good decision.


  3. cookiesa
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Launceston, Tasmania

    cookiesa Senior Member


    A few others worth a look are Simpson, Waller and Easy Cats. The first two are better performers but the easy is... well easy to build and more cruising orientated.

    Ross Turner (Designer of the Jarcats) also has a few bigger cats too that would be easy to build (these things are all relative of course!)
  4. tspeer
    Joined: Feb 2002
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    Location: Port Gamble, Washington, USA

    tspeer Senior Member

    The first thing I'd do is join a multihull sailing club, and start crewing on some cats. You'll meet people that can tell you about their experience with different designs, and you'll get experience of your own.

    Then I'd build the dinghy. That will let you learn about using boatbuilding materials and techniques. You can build a small boat and a large boat faster than you can build a large boat alone, because of what you learn with the small boat.

    And what you may learn is you'd rather buy a used cat to go with your hand-crafted dinghy, so you can enjoy sailing both of them.
  5. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    It is a great idea, with a few qualifiers:

    I second the idea of building a dingy first. It will go fast and be fun, give you some wood working experience. And you can also use it for a tender (which you will need on a cat that big anyway). Use the building material you want to use on the big boat to get to learn what it is like. I like wood, it is easily worked with little tooling and hand tools, non-toxic and less costly, but also requires more maintenance. A boat that big is a lot of time, so it should be with a material you like working with.

    Get some sailing time in larger cats, even if it is only as crew or deck hand. Than also get some sailing time in a similar size mono-hull. There is a reason mono-hulls are more popular.

    You should also consider that a cat that big must be kept in the water, adding a lot of cost to ownership. Consider designs that allow you to dismantle them and fit them to a road able trailer so it will not cost you when not using it. This type of cat can also be built in a small shop or garage, and assembled outside to test fit it, also saving you the cost of a larger shop. You will only need a shop, or just a covered working area about 12 ft x 30 feet to build each hull, and the center section at a time.

    Most designs can be built by yourself. Cold-formed and composite sometimes need extra assistance with moving and placing larger pieces that are wet with epoxy.

    You also might consider looking around for a boat that is partly finished, or that needs major restoration. You can buy finish/restore these for a lot less than scratch building, even if just to get the sailing hardware and fittings.

    Good luck.
  6. bill broome
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    Location: sydney

    bill broome Senior Member

    1. much easier to buy a 2nd hand cat than build one. so be clear it's the building you want, not the having a boat.

    2. build a small one, time and expense go up as the square of any dimension. if you succeed in finishing the boat, andit turns out to really be too small, sell and start again.

    3. if you can't find a design you like, learn to like the smallest, simplest boat you can find- you're not likely to improve on a tiki 26, or a woods shadow.

    4. once you're stuck in the project, too big an investment to stop, the wife has left, and took the dog, be thankful- you might have fallen into some addictive behavior like heroin or gambling that was less socially acceptable. naturally,the neighbors think it is less acceptable.

  7. jamez
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Auckland, New Zealand

    jamez Senior Member

    How far do you want to cruise? And how maNY people do you want to carry. iGNORING EXTREMES a week or two up the coast can be accomodated on a reasonably small (say 25' cat) for a couple. But if you are going to be at sea for weeks at a time you need more payload and then more displacement.

    If you want a boat to go coastal cruising on check this. Not suggesting its the boat of your dreams but you can bui;ld in ply, its demountable and I think practical for coastal work for a couple or a young family.

    Want to go a bit further then the Woods gypsy, RomaNY and Mira have got to be worth a look. All can be built demountable.

    I agree with the above comments - build yourself a dinghy, rowing skiff or kayak first. Or donate your time to someone elses build. Its a good way to get into it and if you balls up shouldn't break you financially.
  8. northerncat
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: australia

    northerncat Senior Member

    also check out http://easycat.50webs.com/

    few good links also on this site to building ply easys
    very easy very doable, very cheap too
  9. CTMD
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    Location: Melbourne, Aus

    CTMD Naval Architect

    Assuming you're in Melbourne Aus. Drop me a line 0400 628 379, I'm more than happy to sit down with you and discuss the logistics of building your own boat.

    Also look here for Roger Hill's solution to your "problem"

    Chris Tucker
  10. jamez
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Auckland, New Zealand

    jamez Senior Member

    I've seen that Roger Hill design. Nice looking boat IMO. Not too topheavy looking. Ron Given has a couple of similar designs for ply construction.

    I had a look on that Easy building site. Some people are putting a lot of expensive gear into those boats. I wonder what it would cost to launch and get sailing a really basic version of the 9.9 metre?
  11. Felix26
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: UK

    Felix26 Belerion Boats

    Felix 26

    Turning dreams into realities can be risky but what is life without risk?

    Have a look at a Felix 26 for my dream cruising cat at the link below. You may like it, you may not. If you do like it you may wish to risk building it but you may not want to take that risk.

    In my experience most people only risk building old, tried designs but Felix 26 is new and untried although based on many old, tried designs which I have found wanting. She may be new but she will be simple and very cheap to build.

    It's all down to you, or should that be "It's all up to you"?

  12. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    Felix you go for it :D

    i am already at it :D with my miniCAT5
    and then next year a 12m
    very similar to yours

    build a boat - the best thing you could do in life :D

    Attached Files:

  13. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    Attached Files:

  14. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Wow ! Such good advice from everyone !! Ok there is one thing I could clear up a bit. Manie is secretly scared someone is going to pull the Vaal dams plug, so as a precaution he built the little plug on the last photo :p

    I like what Tom said, go out and crew, nothing like first hand to get you right for it, if that is what you want.

    Building has it's rewards, but I can promise you the only critical element is perseverance - it is much much more work than you think. Most builders give up somewhere along the way, especially if funds become an issue. The money is something else too, there's no limits to what you can spend.

    Buying a boat will save you a long time's build, sometimes years.

  15. ebordier
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Melbourne

    ebordier New Member

    Thanks a lot for all these very usefull answers!

    I'll definitely take most of your advices on board, and get in touch with the local fauna and develop a bit of practical experience before making my final decisions.

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