An upside down boat is bad.... unless....

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by iWill, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. iWill
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    iWill Junior Member

    I am considering the economics of building my own boat. There are a few personal reasons behind it including wanting to make something myself, for myself and the current availability of resources.

    The question I have is, can I take this boat: http://www.will-blog.com/?page_id=3 turn it upside down, use it as a mold, and pop off my own hull?

    I understand it wouldn't be quite that simple as that, for one, the shape doesn't allow for a single piece to be lifted off, but can it be done and do you think it would be worth it?
     
  2. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    That is a hell of an undertaking that even a professional boatbuilder with a fully equipped yard would hesitate over! Just turning that big boat over would be a challenge.

    I can't tell what sort of condition it is in but obviously from your proposal it is too far gone to be repairable. I would want to be really sure that it is, literally, in good shape, regardless of it's structural condition, before attempting to use it as a mold. Additionally, it needs to be in good enough condition to survive turning over. I suspect the smart way to proceed would be to separate the 3 hulls and deal with them separately.

    Assuming you get by that first hurdle, there's the construction method to consider. For the amateur there's cold-molded ply or fiberglass to choose from; they both demand a lot of experience, equipment and skill. I don't know of any other construction would allow you to "pop off" the new hull. Especially for glass construction, the existing hull(s) will require a lot of preparation if the new hulls are to separate sucessfully.

    Of course getting a hull shell is just a start! It is going to need special treatment if it is to retain its shape while you separate it from the mold, lift and flip it and get to work installing the scantlings and interior.

    Please understand I am only guessing here, just trying to kickstart the process of understanding what's involved. There are a lot of things you are going to have to learn unless you already have experience of boat building, maintenance and repair.

    This is not a suitable project if it's going to be your first venture into boatbuilding! Try something simpler like designing and building a racing hydroplane or moon rocket.
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    From a technical stand point, yes, you can make a set of molds for this boat. The reality is your boating experience being what it is suggests you haven't any idea what you want, desire or can cope with in a yacht. Did I mention without direct permission from the designer, you can't just copy the yacht?

    A 50' multi hull is about the most difficult thing to find a parking space for than you can imagine. Most marinas will make you berth at the end of a pier, usually in a rather exposed area of the water ways surrounding the marina.

    My recommendation is to get some sea legs and ride as many different types of boats as you can. Live aboard yachts are some of the most owner specific yachts going. The way they're equipped, setup, rigged, accommodations, tankage, etc. are all user defined, with none being "the perfect" arrangement, except for the person employing it on their boat.

    The only way to get this level of understanding about how a boat should accommodate your needs and desires, is to have the experience to make these decisions. Of course the experience part requires a fair bit of time aboard many different yachts.

    As far as the complications of making a mold from this yacht, well simply put, why would you want to double (at least) the cost of making a 50' tri hull. There are lots of ways to build a boat, your suggested method is one of the more difficult and costly methods.
     
  4. iWill
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    iWill Junior Member

    Hey AC, thanks for the reply.

    The boat is actually in decent condition (or is supposed to be) I just want my own. The owner is fixing it up for his own use so I should be able to turn her over. If she does break while being turned over, better now than in the water I would think. I think he might let me do it if I asked. I'm currently helping him fix it up and learning many things as I go along. Maybe I'll build a dinghy for it this winter as a starter.

    There's also a crane company right next door to where the boat is now and they're the ones who originally moved the boat out of the water, and from my understanding a few other boats in and out as well in the area.

    This is how I imagine I would do it. I would put down a couple layers of plastic over the hull and seal them in such a way that I can pump air in to aid in separation. Follow this by the first layer than the core. Reshape the core slightly to take out any minor flaws that might be there than follow that by the outer layer. After its flipped back over assemble it roughly and use a combination of the original plans, the original boat and a rotating laser level to give each hull the desired final shape. Than cut bulkheads and all other internal structure in each hull to make the shape permanent. Connect the hulls with wings as you normally would if you were building the boat from scratch. Put on the deck and bam, new boat though slightly larger than the original. Eventually I'll put on some hydroplanes so I can race it....

    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate and understand you scepticism.

    By the way, why on earth would I want to go to the moon? There's no oceans up there!

    Will
     
  5. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    I'd just start with the hydroplanes. This sucker is gonna be fast!


    (please reread posts one and two)
     
  6. iWill
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    iWill Junior Member

    Hey, PAR, thanks for the reply,

    Currently I'm just playing with ideas in my head and seeing how far I can minimize costs. I understand there is more to owning a boat than its construction. Currently I've been working on the boat in the picture quite a bit and developed a bit of a love affair with it. Of course, that doesn't mean anything at this point.

    The plans along with the rights to build a boat can be bought here: http://www.edhorstmanmultihulldesigns.com/ which I don't think I could do without even while having a mold. So I don't imagine legality being a problem.

    I'm not sure how this would double the costs of the boat, though I think you misunderstand me. The boat itself would be the mold, not that I'm making molds from the boat.

    Though the downsides of such a boat like the ones you mention do exist, it does have its good qualities.

    That being said, kick back and enjoy some tunes. :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfISlGLNU (from SNL)

    Will
     
  7. iWill
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    iWill Junior Member

    Maybe I'll just build a house on a set of hydroplanes and add the hull later. Though stopping might pose a problem.....
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This image is of the frames to one of his designs, as they're being ericted. As you can clearly see, there's no mold.

    [​IMG]

    In fact, the one you're working on likely didn't need a mold either. It's not possible to reasonably make a boat from a boat in one shot. It is possible to make a mold from a boat then make a boat from the mold. This is called "splashing" and is illegal without written permission from the designer. Making a mold of this size is well beyond the abilities of the novice.

    Plans for this boat are available in one a few different "one off" 'glass construction methods. You'd be best advised to educate yourself a little about these methods. I'd recommend foam core or single skin over temporary mold methods as best suited for the novice on a budget, for a 'glass build. Frankly, there is absolutely nothing economical about building or owning 50' yachts. I have a 40' yacht, which I personally repowered a few years ago. It uses an engine that would be comparable to the one used in that 50' tri. The 70 HP diesel cost me $10,000 and I know people and got a kick butt deal on it. You'd likely have paid $20,000 for it. That's just the engine Will. Again, there's nothing about 50' yachts that can be called cheap.

    The plans for that old gal (there are much better designs now) are reasonably priced, particularly compared to the material costs of molding the existing one, not to mention the few thousand you'll pay to roll over.

    Boats are built all the time without a mold. I built one this summer without a mold. My point is you can build a boat, but honesty, a 50' yacht right out of the box is an extremely unlikely event. Of course many are started, but left as unfinished hulls to die lonely deaths to the elements.

    Again, before you get real excited, get some sailing under your belt and while you're at it, do a very rough budget for a build of this scale.
     
  9. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    Please, please, please Will, listen to PAR.

    He knows me through this site. I'm just restoring a 25 1/2 foot Silverton. The hull is essentially OK as is the engine & driveline.

    Just restoring the stringers, sole, decks, cabin, replacing the electrical system, plumbing, thru hull fittings, tanks, pumps, fans, glass, ports, windows,sinks, faucets, toilets, screws, bolts, engine beds, painting and lots of other things I can't think of just now....Oh did I mention boat club yard charges? Just this relatively small restoration will cost me about

    $25,000.00 and I'm not done yet. I can see the finish line (barely) but I'm not even close yet. That's probably small change to some people but it all adds up.

    I've got all the receipts in a big binder up in my old office. I'm afraid to add them up. I've been working on this boat usually alone for well over two years. I'm retired and only have a part time job, but I have a young son and while my wife doesn't really care if I'm around that much I think my kid deserves a father. So even though I'm retired I'm always running around.

    I'm a VERY persistant person. But I'll tell you Will, sometimes even I get discouraged. I did a lot of research before I started my project. I still had NO IDEA that it would take this long or be as labor intensive as it actually is. If you read a lot on this site I'll betcha you won't find too many people complaining about how expensive boats are. They know how dirty, gooey, dusty and just plain hard they are to build!

    If you want to do a first rate job I'll tell you this, it not a hobby.......

    It's a marathon!

    Now, I'm off my soap box.....I still love my boat....I'm probably nuts but what the hey!

    And Oh yeah, I forgot to mention sandpaper & resin and mixing pots and rollers and brushes and filler and fairing compound and 5200 and slikaflex and fiberglass and latex gloves and chemical resistant gloves and tyvex suits and respirators and masks and all the clothes that get ruined and tools (that's a biggie) and saw blades and router bits and drill bits and frearson bits and square drive bits ........and on and on!

    MIA
     
  10. iWill
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    iWill Junior Member

    I think this thread is getting a little off topic. I am simply wondering about the method proposed. I don't want to sound ungrateful, believe me, I appreciate every word from those with experience and knowledge. Even the “off-topic” information is useful, though some already known. Its just that I haven't mentioned things like the resources I have available, how much money I have or are willing to spend or even whether I ultimately plan on going this route in the first place.

    I understand that the method I proposed could very well be unfeasible for a variety of reasons, both personal and technical. Though as a beginner in this I see no harm in asking the question. In fact it can only serve as a benefit if in nothing else than in experience in considering it and knowledge gained from it. And if I do get a boat I can be content with the knowledge that I did the best to explore the territory and options I could.

    PAR mentioned that such a method would be impossible (but not impossible to produce a mold) but I'm still not exactly sure on why.

    I am simply trying to be creative with the process. I don't think there's a reason to worry, I haven't even asked Bob if I can borrow his pickup truck to reef the old girl on her back yet.

    Thanks again for the replies.

    Will
     
  11. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    Fair enough.....I had just returned home from a morning of sanding and glassing decks when I read this thread. Perhaps I was a bit emotional. I just get sad seeing so much money wasted on well intentioned projects that never see the light of day. There are a number of them down at our little club alone.

    Good luck to you and I hope that you did not take offense,

    MIA
     
  12. iWill
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    iWill Junior Member

    Hey MIA,

    It's alright, no hard feelings. At the very least I appreciate the intentions. Hope you have a good weekend.

    Will
     
  13. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Don't worry about stopping it; once you get it up on the 'planes other boats will be glad to get out of your way!
     
  14. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    Without taking all the practical stuff into account:

    A hull can be used for making a second hull, without making a mould, but by constructing the second hull over the first one. (with the second one being a bit bigger).
    This is how a male mould works... A boat hull is nothing more then a male mould.

    Of course there is a range of practical problems, and I would definately think twice before jumping into this venture, but it can be done.
     

  15. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Me too! When I consider some of the way-out things still remaining on my to-do list, who am I to spout caveats?
     
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