Boats that can go in containers.

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Meanz Beanz, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

    My experience in the marine industry is mainly on the sales, marketing and project management side of things so I write this with that bias.

    From my point of view designing a boat with a main feature that it can fit in a container requires a "compelling motivation" from the buyers perspective to make it worthwhile. So what do I mean? Lets have a look at the reasons that certain buyers may be attracted to that feature, which is essentially intra/inter national transportability.

    1. Is cost, by that I mean if the boat can be constructed in a part of the world with significant cost advantage and that coupled with the fact that it can be container transported to a higher cost market enables the benefit of reduced price can be passed onto the buyer. All though containability is not a feature the buyer directly appreciates it contributes to the decision to buy and may provide some latent advantage down the track.

    2. A genuine need/desire to have a vessel that is quickly and easily transported around the world/region. In my experience it's the highly competitive racing sailors that seek this sort feature. They have the "need" to get their boats to competitions, race for a short duration and then have the boat transported to the next event or home. This is basically only justifiable by those that seek the level of competition that can only really be found in an internationally raced class. This is one of the aims of the Seacart manufacturers and for that type of boat I think it is a worthwhile feature.

    Here we come to cruising sailors... I think that the reality is that any boat that is designed to fit into a 40' container is compromised from a cruising point of view. So if you where that time pressed that you needed to ship your cruising boat on a regular basis and if you look at the situation logically, you would quickly come to the conclusion that lost opportunity from have capital invested in this "transportable boat" and the costs of transporting it would add up to the costs of chartering a far more capable cruising yacht in what ever part of the world we are considering.

    So in short...

    1. A manufacturer can have good reason if the boat has enough market appeal and the cost savings justify it.

    2. A racing sailor with the means will spend silly amounts in the name of the sport. This is a market that can also and does justify the "feature".

    3. Its very hard to justify the feature from a cruising perspective. Those that are time poor and cannot enjoy the journey will charter as its the most cost effective means of attaining the goal (many owners should do this anyway! long live the dream :D) Those time rich (normally cash poor) cruisers are all about the journey so in that case a boaxable boat holds no appeal. If a cruising design can be stuck into a container without compromising its other goals, then well and good, but don't expect it to be a compelling reason for people to build or buy it. If the the design is compromised to achieve this goal all people will see is the compromise.

    So yeah sometimes its worth doing for small mass production boats, international racing classes or one design classes but for cruising types I run out of reasons to do it.

    JMO from my experience... feel free to disagree peeps :p

    Beanz Meanz..... you know the rest. :D

    Did I make any sense :?:
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2008
  2. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

  3. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    I will support your hypothesis, and throw in one of my usual.... One way Once only - owner-assembled components - anywhere in the 40 ft container shippable world...

    The Fusion 40 is container capable - as parts - so spreading their capacity to penetrate the larger markets in USA & Europe for local assembly, rigging and fitout to meet local aspirations - A one way once only trip as component parts - I think they were early proponents of "infusion" process panel construction - but I could be wrong....
     
  4. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

    I can see why that makes sense, but as you say a one time advantage.
     
  5. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    Beanz,

    Good initial presentation. For the sake of argument, and because there may be valid resaons for relocating a cruising boat to locations remote from each other, I'll accept the concept of partially disassembling a boat, loading it into a container, and reclaiming it at some time in the future. The questions worth exploring, IMHO, include:

    1. The true costs of shipping, which include customs duties, brokerage fees, fuel surcharges, demmurage, local trucking transport, etc.

    2. Costs of housing for the owner in the event the container is late in arriving. The image of container shipping as a high speed, schedule-concious mode of transport applies only to the major lines running between the world's major ports. Container shipping to smaller islands often involves loading containers on conventional coastal freighters, with equipment not intended for container handling, and without rigid schedules. Customs agents unfamiliar with the concept could very well hold up release of a shipment for days, weeks, even months while they contact higher authorities for authorizations and instructions.

    3. The impact of design compromises on safety, performance, and comfort of the boat.

    I don't know the answers, except that the cost of international shipping, particularly for isolated single shipments, is notorious for being higher than initial estimates.

    My own preference runs to chartering in whatever region I want to cruise, but that's just me.
     
  6. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

    I agree with most of your points.

    However, One way Once only applies every time the boat is sold. So a given owner really benefits twice - on the second happiest day and the happiest day of his term with the boat.

    As for charter vs ship, charter is bound to be the cheapest way to go. But if cost was the only consideration, you won't own a boat in the first place.

    The potential to ship might be a factor for the coastal cruiser who likes to think that "some day" they'll go elsewhere, even if they never do.
     
  7. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    And that additional post (elsewhere) supports "regular" transshipment which I would see as extremely limited, as you cited, irregular shipping services, delays and other common ails around Pacific Island Countries...

    Others did it better... Thanks Charlie, - - - OK tspeer, but my cite is a 40ft x 24ft cruising cat and cannot be disassembled...:D therefore once only one way... and that is for the hull and basic furniture mouldings etc..
     
  8. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

    Charlie,

    I think that most would come to that conclusion. If I had not got the time I would invest the money that would otherwise be tied up in the boat and fly/charter. As you point out the realities of container transport to the corners of the world that are attractive cruising destinations would probably dissuade most.

    Tom,

    I think the one way once reference was to the Fusion which once assembled cannot be dissembled, at least not without a chainsaw :D For other designs yes valid point. Great post on the other thread, why not cut and paste it here.

    Cheers
    MBz
     
  9. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

    True, its a fact that many owners don't see the use that justifies ownership. Many would be better off simply bareboat chartering in some exotic location for the 2 or 3 weeks that they can actually get away from work etc. Point is that the cost reward is probably so far out of balance in this case that it would most often lead one to charter, other wise I guess it would be a much more widely promoted feature.
     
  10. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

    Masalai,

    You changed your post just as I was quoting you... had me thinking that "old timers disease" had set in LOL.

    Officious officials... yes I can imagine some farcical nightmares in the back blocks... me in a hotel and the boat locked up on the wharf!
     
  11. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

    The other thing to consider is that on major routes for occasional shipping there are dedicated services that you would be assured will not leave you in the lurch in some far flung port. To use these services you don't need to compromise your boat in design terms for the other 99% of the time you would be cruising. So say for that one big cruise to Europe from the US that may be beyond your capacity (time or skill wise) to undertake there are alternates without restriction.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

    The parking lot :D

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

  14. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    In 07 Brisbane was visited by this toy carrier twice I am aware of so a viable option that almost makes containers redundant - also less damage to the toys... I was doing some work for AQIS (quarantine inspections) and some of the stuff damaged - - too bad...

    Heinz, looks like you struck Gold - bugger - only tokens allowed ---- still ---- ::::::::::::::::::::
     

  15. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

    I have never seen it in Melbourne...

    <insert rude q'lander remark about vic here>

    Yeah yeah... I suppose they'd only head north from Brisvegus...LOL :D
     
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