Become a boatbuilder/designer

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by gonzo, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 15,495
    Likes: 1,038, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    I read many inquiries about becoming a boatbuilder or a designer. I started as a kid without any thought of making money. The fun, which after thirtyfive years hasn't diminished, was too much to care about anything else. Today, even though I make a living from it, working on boats is as much play as work. What's your story?
     
  2. Pete S
    Joined: Sep 2003
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Long Island, NY

    Pete S New Member

    I'm a new member but have been reading the forums for quite a while. Although I didn't start as a kid, the last few years have have brought me to the point of wanting to jump in both feet. I've been boating for many years and on many boats. I've come to appreciate qualilty but over the years have more fun looking at hull designs and mechanicals of boats. So Gonzo, I've had a diesel center console/picnic boat buzzing around in my head and on paper for a few years. I've talked to a few builders about custom building but believe I would have more fun building them. Layout, design, materials just a few details but when its comes down to it, I've never done it. I've done much reading about modern resins and building techniques but in reality no practical experience. I've talked to some business brokers regarding possible bulders that are looking to sell or retire, but have had no luck. Being located on Long Island doesn't put me exactly in the center of a large talent pool. I'm getting a little long here but any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Pete S
     
  3. BVI Jon
    Joined: Sep 2003
    Posts: 15
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: British Virgin Islands

    BVI Jon Junior Member

    Been sailing since I was 4 (35years ago); drew a few boats in my teens; worked on OSVs out of Brazil; various boatyards; 10yrs USCG; managed a bareboat company; currently run a 65' private sloop.

    I have the ideas, and have conceptualised at least half a dozen different vessels over the years, but need the technical training. Therefore...Westlawn.

    Jon.
     
  4. Corpus Skipper
    Joined: Oct 2003
    Posts: 606
    Likes: 8, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 173
    Location: Corpus Christi TX

    Corpus Skipper Hopeless Boataholic

    My Dad had boats since I was a kid. Started out with a 12 foot rowboat and progressed to where we are now, a 26' Chris Craft Flybridge, twin 350 Crusaders, always a work in progress. I love it. I wanted to live aboard since 8th grade (but my wife won't have it!) Not satisfied with my job, I want to work for myself. Tried marine mechanicin', too many around here, not enough money. A fella's gotta make a livin', right? Anyway, a family called Vannoy has built flat bottom skiffs here since the dawn of time, but haven't built them much for the past 20 years or so. I love these little skiffs, and others have built their own versions in fiberglass, but they just don't stand up to those old Vannoys. So now I've decided to start building something similar (hopefully with the Vannoy's blessing). There's a market for them here, and I will build them custom for each customer, something that's hard to find in a small skiff according to local fishing guides. My shop will be built in the spring, and I'll be off and rolling. I'll be sure to post some pictures of my first boat, probably around May. Wish me luck! And of course, any advise will be appreciated.
     
  5. SailDesign
    Joined: Jan 2003
    Posts: 1,964
    Likes: 126, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 650
    Location: Jamestown, RI, USA

    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    My Old Man deisgned (early O'Day fibreglass - Widgeon, Sprite, etc, and gorgeous traditional wooden boats - Samanthe, Picclo, etc) as well as building and restoring old boats. What else could I do?
    I started out as a geek (operated puters for IBM in 72/73, fixed 'em for Burroughs in 76/77 after a sabbatical at college, then went back to college to learn yacht design. Been drawing boats ever since, and haven't found a reason to change yet. The family is used to being broke, and seem to feel that a happy father is more important than a full bank account. Bless 'em...
    Steve
     
  6. 8knots
    Joined: Feb 2002
    Posts: 266
    Likes: 12, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 352
    Location: Wasilla Alaska

    8knots A little on the slow side

    cursed from the start

    I spent most of my weekends as a child at the Mariners Museum in Newport News Va. With my Dad studying the Sailing ship models they have there."The Crabtree collection I think" They have a huge collection of designs of 18th century to current working and sailing vessels. Also at Jamestown where they were rebuilding the 3 sailing ships they landed in 1607 in. We had an old Chesapeke bay workboat, 42' I think. We would go arrowhead collecting in. My dad would spend all night drawing 18th century sailing ships. He was the curator of arms at Colonial Williamsburg. we would pour over the pages of Chapell's books. I have since retired those and bought new ones.
    I filled our refrigerator with my doodles of workboats. built boats out of 2x6's and bed sheets in the yard:rolleyes: I wish I had pictures....You guys would get a kick out of them. I have been scribbling for maybe 22 years now and still don"t get it all! I just love doin it! 8knots
     
  7. Bob Smalser
    Joined: Jun 2003
    Posts: 79
    Likes: 11, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 159
    Location: Seabeck, WA

    Bob Smalser Junior Member

    Me too...

    I grew up working for a commercial boatbuilder, childless Uncle Paul. A one or two-man operation, he built Garveys for professional watermen on the S. Jersey coast in the '30's thru '60's. Another childless Uncle built custom homes in NE Penna, and another still had a truck farm/greenhouse operation in NE Penna. Dad and Grandad were both unsuccessful farmers and I was the only boy. My extra-curricular activities from about age 8 till I graduated from college was working for these gentlemen as an apprentice. .

    Paul never used a sheet of plywood in his life. His family had been carriage makers near there and had sources of "swamp-mined" Atlantic Cedar and local White Oak that would water your eyes....side planks drifted together with bronze and bottom crossplanks screwed or nailed and caulked...almost always in bronze. Small cabins and V-berths...but nuthin fancy. I still rarely use plywood, let alone manufactured materials...I find the sawmill and my logger/arborist friends a whole lot cheaper and pleasant.

    I would have loved to take over any of their businesses, but they insisted on college. So I merely picked a career field I could retire early from and now I'm in a position to do anything I want to with the rest of my life....which, not surprisingly, is to go back to my roots as an all-around woodworker and boatwright.
     
  8. oddball
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 42
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: ohio

    oddball Junior Member

    I have always loved boats but it was not till my late 20's did I start to put a plan together, i was on my way to the marathon keys, found a slip for a good price and was on the verge of buying a 40ft(i think) egg harbor boat...I was going to live the jimmy buffet live style:D , but my girlfriend(now wife..soon tobe exwife) came out of the bathroom and skuttled my dreams with a little white stick with a blue cross on it:( i tryed to convice her that living on a boat would be great....but that was quickly shot down:( soon tobe single again I have rekindled my interest in boats.
     
  9. ErikG
    Joined: Feb 2002
    Posts: 397
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 344
    Location: Stockholm, Sweden

    ErikG Senior Member

    :rolleyes: I feel like a beginner in this crowd :)

    Growing up on and around boats, boats and music took up all my time. As a child the only thing I could draw good was boats, terrible cars, ugly dogs and humans that looked like -duh!-, but the boats really looked like boats...
    But at some point "I lost my way" and decided to become a sailing soundengineer, which I am now. Now that I've found the righteous path again I know where to go, I just need to figure out how to be able to afford it...

    --------------------------------
    ErikG

    ...Poor and happy must be better than, almost broke and miserable...
     
  10. 10'-2" oday sprite 1959

    I AM CURRENTLY RESTORING A 10' SPRITE. I WOULD LIKE TO FIND SOME LIT. ON THIS BOAT. I WANT TO PUT IT BACK ORIGINAL. WHERE CAN I GET PARTS ETC. MRNOGGERATH@WINKINC.COM THANKS
     
  11. SailDesign
    Joined: Jan 2003
    Posts: 1,964
    Likes: 126, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 650
    Location: Jamestown, RI, USA

    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    Mark,
    You should be receiving an email from me (actually, you should already have got it :))
    Steve
     
  12. Darryl
    Joined: Apr 2004
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Boynton Beach, Florida

    Darryl Junior Member

    Hi Gonzo. It must be genetic! I grew up poor in the islands of SE coast of Brazil and my toys were boats that I caved out of beach wood myself. My father is a retired boat technician (Tugboats) and he always took me to boatyards around the islands. I remember once he gave a plant of a 60', a ruler and a pencil and told me to reproduce it. It came out perfect! I was 10 years old then. At that same age, I started rowing in competitions and did it for 10 years. It got me through college. Ended up working for Richard Bertram Yachts and joined the US Navy later. Now, I’m a designer for the aerospace industry because there was good money in the business. Since things are getting worse and worse with this outsourcing thing, I must either learn Chinese or fulfill my dream, which is marine design. I live in Florida right now but I'll relocate wherever I found work. It's a big step but worth the risk. :)
    Take care,
    Darryl
     
  13. Darryl
    Joined: Apr 2004
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Boynton Beach, Florida

    Darryl Junior Member

    My chance...

    Hi Gonzo. It must be genetic! I grew up poor in the islands of SE coast of Brazil and my toys were boats that I caved out of beach wood myself. My father is a retired boat technician (Tugboats) and he always took me to boatyards around the islands. I remember once he gave a plant of a 60', a ruler and a pencil and told me to reproduce it. It came out perfect! I was 10 years old then. At that same age, I started rowing in competitions and did it for 10 years. It got me through college. Ended up working for Richard Bertram Yachts and joined the US Navy later. Now, I’m a designer for the aerospace industry because there was good money in the business. Since things are getting worse and worse with this outsourcing thing, I must either learn Chinese or fulfill my dream, which is marine design. I live in Florida right now but I'll relocate wherever I found work. It's a big step but worth the risk. :)
    Take care,
    Darryl
     
  14. fede
    Joined: Sep 2003
    Posts: 238
    Likes: 2, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 34
    Location: milano

    fede Senior Member

    Erik G that's MY story!!

    It's nice to read about other people experiences in life and in the boating field.
    Hey Erik that's my story you stole out there in sweden!! :)
    Except I became a music producer in Italy,still young (28) and succesful in the music field, i decided to start studying yacht design and may be fullfill my youth dreams about motoryacht.It would be easy to find a job somwhere here in Italy in the boating industry but I'm really scared to leave my present activity,I love it and it would be a metter of understanding what I love the best!!
     

  15. Corpus Skipper
    Joined: Oct 2003
    Posts: 606
    Likes: 8, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 173
    Location: Corpus Christi TX

    Corpus Skipper Hopeless Boataholic

    My shop is FINALLY done (except for paint), and my first boat, a 13 foot ply/epoxy pirogue, is sold, and I haven't even 'glassed it together yet! I'll post some pictures when she's finished next week. :D :D :D
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.