Bruce Roberts Custom 63 Ketch

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by undercutter, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. undercutter
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Canada

    undercutter Junior Member

    Can anyone give me more information about this boat or the design. I have read a few postings about the designer which gives me some reservations but not everything was bad.

    This boat is advertised as a radial chine. I have read that this is basically a signle chine hull with a softening of the radius of the chine. Is there a performance or strength issue, or is this purely cosmetic. \\\i think this boat has nice lines myself.

    We currently own a 43 TC Mermaid which some people would consider a real cow but we love our \ketch which we operate out of Varadero Cuba. We were planning on a refurbishment this winter but acquiring this boat may be a better move considering we would like to upgrade for our Golden years. Although we are only in our 40's we would like to plan ahead a few years to ensure as much trouble free sailing as can be hoped for, and would like to rig the boat to reduce the necessity of crew as much as possible.

    Can anyone recommend a good surveyor who can give us an appproximate cost to finish this boat in the Toronto Canada area. It seems like most of the interior and mechanical work is done except for the rigging.

    I must be missing something as this deal seems to be to good to be true.

    Here is a link to the listing.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 2,313
    Likes: 198, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 2281
    Location: Flattop Islands

    Tad Boat Designer

    If it seems too good it probably get what you pay for most of the time....

    Yes there are structural issues, BR older designs were rather light on the framing. Also a major concern is the strength of the skeg/rudder, note this one has side braces added to the skeg....a horrible solution from a hydrodynamic standpoint.....

    This boat appears to have been built by people who have no sailing experience, no sea rails or hand holds inside, doubtful you can see anything from the inside helm, tankage is hopelessly small, the cockpit appears a nightmare with a huge mizzen tabernacle in the middle......

    The displacement figure given is a joke, currently BR lists these at 80,000 and that's low for this boat loaded to cruise. It's about 3 times your current boat, that's three times the maintenance hours and three times the cost for various parts.

    I live aboard my ketch in a busy cruising harbour and I often see retired folks who are way "over-boated". I know you aren't at retirement age yet but big boats require big commitments. I can understand wanting something a bit bigger than your of the Garden 50' ketches might be a more reasonable choice.....there are lot's of them to choose from....
  3. Chuck Losness
    Joined: Apr 2008
    Posts: 332
    Likes: 43, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 135
    Location: Central CA

    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    Tad's right on when it comes to getting too big of a boat. I have been cruising in Mexico since 2006. The bigger the boat, the more problems you are going to have. And if anything goes wrong with the gear on your 60 footer, you won't be able to manhandle it. I could give several examples but one that happened this year will illustrate the point. A couple in their 60's on a 45' sailboat had their anchor come loose during a passage and the anchor and 500' of 3/8 chain went out. Their windlass won't pick it up and they didn't have the strength to winch it up with their cockpit winches no matter what they tried. They finally had to cut the chain. Every piece of gear must be able to be handled by the weakest person on board.
    You also don't need the accommodations that you think. You will rarely have guests for any length of time and the guest that do come will be few and far between. The general consensus of the people that I have met cruising is that boats only need to sleep 2 (any guests can make do in the salon), dinner 4 to 6 and cocktails 6 to 10. It's all too easy to stuff your boat with things that you don't need.
    If you like your current boat. Then keep it and plan for a complete refit when your golden years arrive. You will be way ahead of the game.
    I could go on but I think you get my point.
  4. undercutter
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Canada

    undercutter Junior Member

    You get what you pay for

    Thanks Guy's. Your comments make a lot of sense, but maybe I should give you a few more particulars on the whole situation.

    I suggested that we would like to be able to rig the boat so that we could handle her by ourselves. In reality, we have been sailing with an additional crew member for the last 2 years and would expect that this employment will continue for the foreseeable future. So there would be myself and 1 other able bodied seamen to handle her. But worst case scenario, I would want to rig the boat so that I & my wife could handle her.

    I also agree with your cost assessments for maintenance on this or any sailboat and herein lies the dilemma. The major repairs on our existing boat which is structurally solid and a very tough boat that weathers heavy conditions well, not to mention her excellent looks, are extensive;

    An M50 Perkins with a funk transmission that needs overhaul or replacement. You can't get the tranny anymore and \perkins stopped supporting the engine in 2003. So we definitely need a new power plant and control system.

    An electrical system that needs an entire overhaul and upgrade including panels, grounding systems, and mast wiring, etc. Most minor appliances, bilge and water pumps, deck pumps, water heater, etc are new.

    Electronics systems have been replaced piecmeal including Garmin Chartplotter, Com Naw Autopilot, but remaining components including radar and communications systems require replacement and networking including an entire new helm station to make it right.

    Upgrade of waste systems required including new Raritan system and holding tank(s). We like the treatment system for those areas of the world that don,t have pump out facilities.

    New Genoa last year, Hood sails throughout, but the main and the mizzen are done.

    Extensive rigging was done in 2009 but of course there is always more to do.
    Deck hardware is in good shape but the boat is also not rigged to handle easily alone but it can be done.

    So what is it going to cost to refurbish and maintain my present boat into the future? What is the typical annual maintenance cost of this size of boat? New?
    I am fairly new to sailing however with only a few years of throwing money into the ocean so I don't know if I will tire of it soon, but I don't think so. As well, we sold our company in Canada and those golden years may turn into adventurous years when we decide to quit. I realize that the bigger the boat the higher the cost but wouldn't this be somewhat offset by the age of the boat and it's components. After running a heavy construction company for years, I am a firm believer in preventative maintenance so I would like to get a handle on these numbers no matter what we decide to do.

    I agree with you Tad about the functionality of the boat. Some of these issues can be addressed for sure but the cockpit is not good.

    I am close to the boat anyway 200 miles, so I am going to inspect her on monday. I'll take lot's of pictures and post if I can. I would like to hear more from you.
  5. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 2,313
    Likes: 198, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 2281
    Location: Flattop Islands

    Tad Boat Designer

    You are a victim of deferred maintenance....with boats you pay now or you pay later...and later usually costs more.

    So let's throw some silly numbers around.....

    Present boat....
    1) New Beta engine and gear installed.....$25k
    2) New electrical system.......................$20k
    3) New sewage system.........................$5k
    4) New main and mizzen at $10 sq ft.......$5k
    5) Deck hardware upgrade.....................$10k

    So for $65k you have a new boat that works as you want.......

    1) Purchase.......................................$75k
    2) Rig...............................................$75k
    3) Deck hardware...............................$50k
    4) Basic Sails new..............................$16k
    5) Running rigging...............................$8k
    6) Dinghy, safety equip........................$15k
    7) Launch and commission.....................$5k
    8) tankage upgrade..............................$20k
    9) Electrical upgrades...........................$10k

    For perhaps $275k you have a much bigger boat that will require a large investment every year into the future.

    As a wild rule of thumb figure 10% of value as yearly maintenance costs. You already have one paid hand, the bigger boat (roughly 3 times the size of your present boat) will require that plus other specialists. Insurance and moorage are higher, haulouts much higher, more paint and so on.

    Value of your present boat (replacement) might be $450k, so $45k per year to maintain. A 63' might cost $1.8m to replace, so $180k to maintain.....Those numbers aren't really valid, someone handy can do much of their own work, anchor off, not insure the boat, defer maintenance, etc. But the magnitude of the difference is valid (IMO). All things being equal the larger boat will cost roughly 4 times what the smaller boat costs to maintain.
  6. undercutter
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Canada

    undercutter Junior Member

    Wow, makes you wonder why anyone would get into a larger boat!!!!

    I really appreciate you input here as I do not want to make a collosal mistake and it sounds more and more like this BR 63 might be. I can be impulsive which is how we ended up with the first boat 3 years ago. Thankfully, this was probably one of the best things that I ever did as it introduced me to sailing.

    I certainly love our present boat. It has character, tough as a wharf barge and sails and looks good to boot. Unfortunately we have been fighting some reoccuring problems for a while (electrical, etc) that is driving me to either upgrade or replace the boat.

    Here"s the dilema; The boat is harboured in Cuba where you cannot get anything done in a timely fashion, or at all because you can't find the material or support. I searched Cuba for 2 months looking for Teak and a carpenter to mill it. Finally gave up and sailed over to Marathon. It is cheap as hell to dock there and security is excellent but!!!

    Florida is close, if you want to cross the straits at this time of year, with probably the largest number of boats in the world and the corresponding services but I am not familiar with the reputable people who I am sure can do the work. Times are tough in Florida and work is short. I would want to find a company that is on solid ground and that will take my best interest to heart and not their own. What about Mexico, Central America??

    Does anyone know of a good surveyor in the area?

    On the BR. Seems like an awful shame. Lot of work went into her. Any prospects to finish the boat and sell her? Might make someone a nice cottage tied up at the wharf in Toronto!!
  7. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 2,313
    Likes: 198, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 2281
    Location: Flattop Islands

    Tad Boat Designer

    I know nothing of this particular vessel but in general she is another example of the problems an amateur builder could run up against......

    Building a huge boat without realizing the cost of finishing her out...which may be the reason for this one being up for sale.

    The build quality is unknown, therefor the boat has very low value compared to the material cost and effort to build. I cannot stress enough that amateurs, even more than professional builders, need to document the construction. If you are building a steel boat have the steelwork and welding surveyed before you foam over it all and cover that with interior. Take pictures of everything and make notes on what specifically (especially material details) was done.

    This build log will be the basis of any future value for your project.

    BR designs are typically very short on deck hardware details, where things go and what they are exactly is missing from all drawings I have seen. A properly done design will include part numbers for every piece of deck hardware and it's fastenings. In a steel build every one of those fastening holes must be drilled before the boat is painted. And there must be underdeck access to those fastenings.

    Another obvious problem area is not being able to think (worry) about details far down the road. This BR 63 is ready to be rigged and go sailing, but there is no deck hardware, and perhaps (I can't tell) no way to mount start tearing up the interior ans grinding paint off outside to build mounts and drill holes for winches and tracks and padeyes, etc.

    It is a shame, but also reality which plan sellers avoid mentioning.....
  8. undercutter
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Canada

    undercutter Junior Member

    BR 63 Disaster

    Well everthing that could be wrong with a boat is wrong with this one. In my few years experience \i have never seen such a poorly laid out and constructed boat. My only comment to the salesman was that the man that bought this boat would likely commit suicide withing 6 months due to impossibility of maintaining and operating this vessel. The engine was buried within a framed construction with only an access panel to check the oil, the same for the gen set, through hulls, tanks, etc. etc. etc.

    I must say that the hull was very nicely done from what we could see from the outside. The biggest problem with the hull was that you could not inspect it from the inside due to the cabin framing and panels. Everything is so inaceesible on this boat that there is no way any experienced sailor had a hand in it's construction.

    Anyway, just goes to show you that if its to good to be true, it probably is. This boat makes our present vessel look like a marvel of engineering and has convinced us that a refurbishment of our existing boat is the way to go.

    Now to find the right people to do the work.

    Anyone have any suggestions??????

  9. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Paul Ricchelli, Eustis, FL

    Joined: Oct 2002
    Posts: 4,519
    Likes: 111, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1009
    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Wow, makes you wonder why anyone would get into a larger boat!!!!

    With great design a far smaller boat can be contemplated very sucessfully..

    If you are in Cuba its only 90 miles from the USA.An overnight sail.

    EVERYTHING is in the USA , just a phone call and UPS ride from you.

    While the "Gold Coast" is really expensive , Ft Meyers is cheap , and even cheaper are private docks in the West coast.

    $150-200 a month plus electric , and UPS to the dock.

    A refit and up grade as you need could be done quickly , if you have the requisite skills.

    3 4 months max.

    The other question is in the condition your vessel is in , what would a buyer pay? and how many months /years would it take?

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.