Boat-building, first-timer design

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by homecraftsman, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. homecraftsman
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    homecraftsman Home Craftsman

    Hi:
    I'm looking for some advice. My background is custom furniture, and I'm considering tackeling my first sailboat. I'm confident in my abilities of actually building the boat. I have considered designing my own, but have little experience in what would consist of a great, stable hull shape. I've read a few books, done some research, but ultimately, I think I would feel more comfortable with actually picking some sailor's brain's. Where can I get a good set free plans, or borrow from somebody to look at, or copy from? Something around 25' as a starter. If I could fine a boat-builder in the Twin Cities area, I would love to stop by to see them in action.
    Thank you for any input.

    Tim
     
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    25 ft is a very ambitious first build. Free plans? Not a good idea to pick a design just because the plans were free. Pay $150.00 or so and you can build quite a boat. Study plans show you enough to decide on a design. They cost very little.
    Forget about designing your own, which is like designing your own airplane in that both take years to learn how to design well. Good boats are incredibly difficult to design well.
     
  3. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    You do custom furniture right? can I have a complete set for free. Since you don't need to eat, not to pay a rent or put your kids to college.
    And don't forget I need the free wood too.
    This is outrageous to ask for free plan. Or "Borrow" this is illegal, copyright do you know what it's mean.
    What do you think, because you want to built a boat, every body as to knee down and give you plan.
    Pay and pay for the right set and pay at least $2500.
    If you can't, don't bother, pass and do bicyclette.
    What kind of world are we living now. Amazing arrogance and completly dishonnest.
    Daniel
     
  4. homecraftsman
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    homecraftsman Home Craftsman

    First-tmer

    Thank you Alen,
    Your reply was just what I had expected to hear from someone serious about boating. I value your opinion, and you do confirm what I suspected. I always look for ways to cut unnessesary costs off of the projects I'm working on, and spend that money later on, on the details. I was actually hoping someone would have plans they would borrow or give to me. As for the 25' I'm only going to build one sailboat, and I'd like to be able to get my family on it on occation. I'm planning on a long barrelback for my second boat. I suspect I will have to spend a lot more out of pocket on that project since a good portion of the propulsion will have to be supplied by someone more qualified than I. I also would like to use a more expensive speices wood. I will be able to build most of the sailboat from excess project wood over the next few years.

    So, if you were to build a 25+/- sailboat, what designer would you turn to if you plan to sail primarily the great lakes, and possibly up to St. Johns if I have the courage some day? Thank you for your valuable expertise.
     
  5. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

     
  6. Pierre R
    Joined: May 2007
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    Pierre R Senior Member

    Homecraftsman the only person who can hand you a set of plans for free is the boat designer himself. Standard in the design industry is to sell the rights to build one boat from a set of plans. If two boats are built another royalty must be paid. If you have a boat custom designed by a designer the royalty situation still holds. You pay dearly for the first boat and everyone after you pays considerably less. If you want to build a second boat you don't own the plans, you actually paid a royalty. You do not own the plans and cannot sell them or give them to a third party.

    There are some designers who have published enough of their designs in articles and their books that you could probably build the boat, but for very little royalty you have the designer at your fingertips whenevery you run into difficulty. Suppose you want to make a small change in the plans and want to know what the effect will be. You can get that information from the designer. You cannot if you are pirating a design.

    The designer is worth his weight in gold and will save you thousands in the long run. Absolutely do not skimp here.
     
  7. homecraftsman
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    homecraftsman Home Craftsman

    Boat Plans

    Wow. oops, I had no intention of upsetting. I design and build custom furniture for a living, and have never considered worrying about someone building a piece that I have built. Maybe I need to reconsider, but I get paid for my design time at the time I build it, and just send them out the door with the piece. Never had the, "mine, mine, mine" mentality. I do quite well, and know that people come to me when they want to get a great product.

    That asside, I would never intentionally break any copyright laws. If the plans were done by a professional designer, and the laws applied, I would not have considered using the plans. There could be people like me that don't mind sharing their knowledge and experience with others. I love when people come to me for advice and ideas. I've learned life's short:) and can be quite an enjoyable ride, if you let it be. Sorry to offend.
     
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  8. Wayne Grabow
    Joined: Aug 2003
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    Wayne Grabow Senior Member

    From my limited experience (not a professional but have designed and built both furniture and boats), in furniture much of the artistry is in the detail of building while in boats more of the artistry is required in the design. For a boat more than 15-16 feet, the complexity is far beyond furniture, requiring an in-depth education. Many boat designers are not well paid considering all the hours they put into a design. Thus, the thought of "free" boat plans is a sensitive subject on a boat design forum, although you can find many that are reasonably priced.

    Good luck on your project.
     
  9. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    I said $150.00 for plans thinking at the time about the boat you actually might build first, a much more realistic boat of perhaps 12-15 ft.
    You'll want to find your own way in choosing a favorite designer. I can only tell you who I like, and I have no idea what you might like once you've refined your taste.
    Much of what makes my favorites has to do with years of experience sailing, reading about boats, building, and conversing about boats.
    I also have been a cabinet maker, and built houses too. Yet I can tell you that boatbuilding is a whole unique enterprise.
    I am sure you will, if you continue, get to know what qualities you most enjoy in boats of all kinds. But realize, the work involved in building a vessel of 3-5 tons is daunting. 75k of labor takes a qualified man two years to earn, but a rank novice should figure on at least twice that legth of time.
    Just so you know what you're getting into.
    Good plans are worth every penny, and Dskira is right about the price of 25 ft cruiser plans. Yet it isn't a lot compared to a couple of yeasrs of labor and 30k in materials. Add the shop expense and you get a picture of the real cost of building.
    Don't get me wrong----- your dream is possible. You are probably very talented. Just recognize it ain't that simple of cheap. Yes, you can learn as you go, but the cost of errors at first will strain your bank account. As a novice, you won't master certain jobs on the first boat.
    Think long and hard before starting off with so much ambition.
     
  10. luckystrike
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    luckystrike Power Kraut

    There is a designer who gives the first set of plans away for free, if the builder builds the prototype. I can't remember who? Does anybody know?

    Ok, if the question of the copyright is discussed, please give us more information for what you want do with the boat. traditional or modern design, round hull or chined, traditional or modern construction method, mumber of people aboard on sea and in habour. offshore capeability yes or no, sitting or standing headroom, expected budget, what kind of boat: yacht, sharpie, cutter, motorsailer,

    Do you have some boats you like very much and let you dream?

    Grrreetings from the North Sea Coast, Michel
     
  11. Paul Kotzebue

    Paul Kotzebue Previous Member

    Tim,

    I have free PDF downloads of plans for a few designs available at www.pkboatplans.com. The free designs may not be what you're looking for, but reviewing the plans can give you an idea of what goes into building a boat.
     
  12. homecraftsman
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    homecraftsman Home Craftsman

    Hi Again:
    After stepping back, and much contemplation, I will be starting smaller. I have looked at sailboats on the internet until my eyes hurt during many late nights. I keep coming back to the Glen-L 17 for my first attempt at building a boat. If anyone has built it or can give me any reason this would not be a good little plan to start with, please give me your valued input as to why or why not. I can hardly wait to get started, and my wife is getting tired of me just talkig about it. (She must want me out of the house ;) Thank you
     
  13. ecflyer
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    ecflyer Junior Member

    Tim
    I understand the reasons for the previous posts reccommending that you start out on a smaller easier design; however, I am going to offer an alternative point of view. It takes so so so long to build a boat that you should give serious consideration to building the boat you really want right from the start. I mean we are talking years and years of labor. I will bet a $100 to your dollar that if you start building a smaller boat you will never build the boat you want. But then on the other hand, there are thousands of men who started out building a boat and never completed it. So the first question you need to ask yourself is: "Do I have the sticktuvitiousness to complete this project no matter what it costs or how long it takes?" If not don't start. The time it takes to build a boat offers plenty of time to buy books and learn as you go. I definitely would reccommend buying plans from a designer. If you only want to see a set of plans to ascertain the difficulty of the building process, then for a mere $100 you can purchase study plans.

    I speak from experience
     
  14. ecflyer
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    ecflyer Junior Member

    Tim
    This is a continuation of the previous message. I did not post it ----the message posted itself! As I was saying, I speak from experience. I am building a 47' ketch sailboat w/ dual helm stations. This is my 1st boat build and it is turning out butiful and professional; however, I am not your average guy. I am a retired builder with some engineering experience. I love building anything and everything, luxury homes, office buildings, schools, churches, solar ovens, airplanes, mfg plants. So I thought I'd try boat building. I work faster than the average man and I understand the order of operations, so my total build time will be less than even some of the professional boat builders. Yet I can honestly say that in hindsight I would not have started building this boat If I knew how much time was involved. I will be launching in 11 months with a total elapsed time of 4.6 years from time I received the plans. I can say that I have saved a huge amount of money buy building vs buying a new boat; however, there are many good used boats for sale that would have been cost effictive. Haveing to do it over again, I believe I would purchase a good used boat and not build. Remember too! I am a builder not a sailor-- I have never been on a sailboat.
    Earl
     

  15. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Ecflyer, you have said that the bigger boat should simply be built right off, and you also say you would, if you could do it over again, buy used rather than build.
    Isn't a smaller first boat a way to reach a point where you ask yourself whether you want to build the bigger boat at all?
    If you had built a smaller boat first, might you have had the opportunity to buy used when it came to the bigger boat?
    Things happen too. Within the several-year big-boat building time (era?), couples divorce, heart attacks happen, finances change, financially-supporting spouse loses their job, materials double in price, and on and on and so forth, etc..
    With so many fine used boats out there for cheap, building a boat becomes a labor of love rather than a way to save money. Also, only a very seasoned sailor would truly know enough to warrant a new build for design reasons because, "I want something that I can't buy, based on my long-time experience".
    There is something to be said for building the big boat right from the beginning, but I believe there is enough downside potential that I would always encourage the builder to err on the side of caution. This is a giant commitment. On other threads, many people attemted (and still do) to convince a guy that sailing a 10 ft sailboat across oceans is a bit crazy (even if the sailor is himself quite sane), and I liken the building of a first big boat to that other "voyage of discovery".
     
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