Build time 40ft catamaran

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by bluebox3000, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. neville2006
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    Location: australia

    neville2006 Junior Member

    come on guys...we are talking comfy cruising boat here...we should compare to the French production boats.
     
  2. Baltic Bandit

    Baltic Bandit Previous Member

    Another thing that can speed assembly but at a cost is to have a full gantry 3 axis of motion CNC cutter in your garage. or access to one. but again, this raises costs.

    Its the old adage:

    You can have Cheap, fast build, quality, and light and agile... Pick three and for a home build its more like "Pick Two".
     
  3. bluebox3000
    Joined: Sep 2013
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    Location: Freehold, NJ

    bluebox3000 Junior Member

    The IKEA comment was a somewhat a humorous attempt but it looks like it is touching a few nerves out there. And I get the feeling some if may be a lack of knowledge of IKEA products. Being a big fan myself I do though understand that most IKEA stuff is not suitable for marine environment, but it is worth mentioning that their hinges are stainless and some doors are made of solid wood frames that can easily be used on any boat.

    The thought of buying a wreck and ripping it apart is very interesting. Just finished that on the house/home front (as much as you can finish a 100 year old house) so the boat is supposed to be the new project.

    As to the build method the more I think about it I think this needs to be done in steps and phases and I think the modular approach is the right way to go with a good work table where parts can be assembled. The main assembly would be the bulkheads with the crossbeams all in one piece and then the stringers. With one strongback for the whole boat, setting up the bulkheads and tying it in with the stringers, both hulls and bridgedeck can be sheeted at once, faired, fiberglassed and painted upside down. I believe these would be huge time savings, especially with a crew for the assembly.

    As for cost a new 40 ft catamaran can hardly be had for less than $400K and a 10 year old hardly for less than $200K (modern design in reasonable condition). A good mono can be had for half that cost so that is of cause the sensible thing to purchase money wise.

    My current budget using plywood and outboard engines, moderate sail plan etc is pointing towards $150K without labor and I think I'm not that far off compared to to the numbers I have seen online for people that have gone through the process. I think the key issue in comparison is that no manufacturer is building simple catamarans (in this size bracket). The catamaran market is still a premium market, mainly geared towards the charter business. Think if one could purchase production boats at different stages 'a la carte....
     
  4. nimblemotors
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: Sacramento

    nimblemotors Senior Member

    Boatsmith just finished building a fiberglass 48ft Wharram cat.
    You might ask about building just the hulls, crossbeams, and deck
    from their molds. They should be able to do it quickly.
     
  5. Baltic Bandit

    Baltic Bandit Previous Member

    If that's your budget, I humbly suggest you set aside $25k fpr a divorce atty. Or better yet, go spend $12k on a divorce atty now before you start the process, because for $150k, the only thing that you can build is a divorce case
     
  6. rob denney
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    rob denney Senior Member

    Interesting thread.
    Some points from 40 years of experience as builder, designer and materials supplier with all build methods and most materials.

    Infused foam is about half the weight of ply for a given stiffness/strength. This translates to easier building, smaller motors, bigger payload, smaller rigs, lower stress.
    In Australia, decent ply/glass/stringers are about the same price as infused foam once the wastage (ply and resin) is included. Damage to a ply boat needs attention immediately, a foam boat can be left for months.
    Conventional boats have difficult and time consuming interiors because of their shapes. Straight sides and rockerless bottoms are quicker and easier.
    Bending panels to shape is quicker than building them to shape.
    Glossy paint finishes require a lot of work and money. Inherently fair, smooth surfaces reduce this significantly.
    Cutting foam with a knife and glass with scissors is easier, cleaner and quieter than sawing plywood.
    Huge amounts can be done with infused panels before any resin is mixed. The time, mess, weight and materials saved is colossal. Doors and hatches and their surrounds/frames, window rebates, bulkhead/shelf/bunk/frame landings, hull/deck joins, different weights of glass and foam, male/female joins for large panels, and all the edge finishing can be laid out on the table to millimetre accuracy at your leisure, with no dust or sticky resin involved.

    Once everything is in place, you spend a couple of hours of mild frustration sealing the bag. Then, mix the resin, drop the inlet tube in it and 40 minutes later you have a perfectly wet out panel, with no voids, no excess resin, little or nothing to trim, and internal and external surfaces that are ready to paint. Once your panels are made, most of them are simply glued together with no fastenings, tabbing, filletting or finishing required.

    Ply methods have not changed for 30 years. Infused panels are very new (only a couple of designers spec them) and there is a huge amount of development happening. There are some smart people on this thread, but I would rank their advice on build methods based on their experience with each one. Swapping ply for infused panels will be an improvement, but unless you optimise the panel work and the hull design, you will still have all the finishing and fitting out to do.

    The video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfhdRfBTt8o shows what can be done from 3 panels. This is 3 years old, there has been a lot of progress since then. It is a very small 50 footer, but the professionally built cost gives an idea of the savings that are available if you are prepared to look outside the box.
    The small hull in the rendering at http://harryproa.com/index.php/2012-10-11-10-20-24/17-custom-20m-norway shows what can be done with shaping flat panels, although the fitout of a shape like this will require some filletting and finishing. The long hull is one of the largest amateur infusions ever moulded.

    rob
     
  7. bluebox3000
    Joined: Sep 2013
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    Location: Freehold, NJ

    bluebox3000 Junior Member

    Can you elaborate more on the cost issue? It looks to me that most cost comparisons come up with foam being 2-3 time s more expensive than stringers/plywood/epoxy. For my example that boils down to about $25000 question.

    The main reason though for choosing plywood or wood in general is familiarity with the material, but I find foam very exciting and would surely like to explore further if one can find a way make it more competitive cost wise.

    I also think one can save time using the Kelsall table infusion method so that would be an added benefit.
     
  8. bluebox3000
    Joined: Sep 2013
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    bluebox3000 Junior Member

    First off , thank you for you concern for my marriage :)

    Regarding the budget then I have made some of my own calculations, added buffers etc but the main reason I think this is realistic is because of number floated by other builders out there. My main comparison is the Easy Catamaran group as it seems they have similar objectives as myself, essentially keeping it simple and functional. It is also worth to notice that the $150K budget is for the bare minimum to get sailing in coastal waters. I would expect to have to add a lot more for any extensive cruising.
     
  9. catsketcher
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    The piece of string

    If you really want to you can build a multi in a few months for not too much money. Arthur Piver used to build a Nimble or Lodestar in a few months and then sail it across oceans. It has been done but few would accept cruising in boats built like that today. The Easy designer Peter Snell built a Piver AA38 in 4 months of very long days so it can be done.

    The choice of design will narrow down your build material choices. If you have a boat without compound curves then you may be able to infuse panels and go foam. Certainly any ply boat could be built from infused panels. I would be careful with choices about ply based on price. In Australia a piece of 9mm marine ply is about the same price as equivalent plastic honeycomb per sheet. If you buy in bulk you would probably get foam cheaper. I got varying prices on foam on my last build. I used foam for the hull bottom and decks and ply for internals and cabinsides and was pleased with this choice, basically I think foam is better when you have to use stringers in ply as the hassle and cost of stringers, sheathing glass, internal epoxy, ply, headliner and insulation is more than the foam laminate.

    I think your budget may be achievable with a smallish cat finished basically inside. Be very careful about the finish required and also about displacement. I like Richard Woods Eclipse design as a smallish but capable cruiser. Richard is my type of designer, meaning that he doesn't use his clients as guinea pigs to try out his ideas as he builds his own boats. This boat like the small Easys would have a much cheaper rig, winches and deck gear than my 38 footer which is more stable and weighs about 500 kilos more cruising.

    Be very careful about size if money and time are scarce. The mast and rigging for my 38ft cat cost about $6000 in 2000. A friends much more powerful 40 footer with much taller rig cost $26000. My rig is very simple and easy to use as it has no spreaders and I use a wishbone boom, his was the typical three stay a side double diamond set up with normal alloy boam. Both boats have done multiple cruises along the east coast. (I think mine is faster!)

    As for worrying about building the hulls together don't. Just start building in a convenient shed close by. If that means you have to build the hulls and parts in a shed out the back then fine. If you have access to a large shed nearby then you can build it on in one piece. But a close (best if it is less than 2 minutes away) is very helpful.

    My advice - talk to Peter Snell and Richard Woods. Both designers of successful amateur built boats who have huge experience in building their own boats.

    cheers

    Phil
     
  10. rob denney
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    rob denney Senior Member

    Last time I did a detailed comparison was for the Wooden Boat competition for a Raid style boat. The costs based on the materials (ie no waste) were $2,422 for gaboon marine ply and hoop pine stringers, the foam glass was $3,183. I can send you the spreadsheet if you like. This is a lightweight flyer, with small panels (the bigger the panels, the better foam is) so won't be applicable to your design. Get a spreadsheet of materials from your designer and compare the cost and weight of each. Also try to talk to someone else who has built one and see what they used and paid.

    Familiarity is the best reason for not using ply/epoxy! Knowing that you have to get gloved up to apply resin to everything, masked up to sand almost everything, bulked up to move the sheets around and screwed up to attach everything is a very good reason for choosing a more user friendly method.

    Time, money and materials/weight.

    If you build what you have described, you will bolt it in with $150,000. Don't sweat the finish and the fit out and you will finish it before you get bored/worn out.

    catsketcher
    Agree with most of what you say, but:
    Cost increases rapidly with size applies only if all dimensions are increased. If only the length is increased, then you get a faster, more comfortable and safer boat at minimal increase in weight or cost, albeit one that needs a longer shed and higher marina fees. Bob Oram's and Gougeon cats and harryproas are good examples.

    I don't see that a designer who has built a lot of boats using methods that are (relatively) time consuming, heavy, expensive and not very safe is a good reason for a first time builderdoing the same. Richard and Peter are both experienced ply builders, doing things the same way they have been done for 30 years. In terms of numbers of boats they have built, they pale into insignificance compared to Derek Kelsall with infused foam boats and Jeff Schionning with strip and panel boats, both of whom also sell cruising cat plans. I think most of the current crop of multihull designers for amateurs (Hughes, Farrier, Kendricks, Pescott, Chamberlain, Surtees, etc etc) are also builders.

    Re using owner's boats as guinea pigs: I concede that harryproa clients may not represent the mainstream, but in my experience, many/most owners are keen to try new methods, and are more than happy to be "guinea pigs", if the method makes sense, is supported by engineering and tests and results in a better, lighter, cheaper, easier to build and sail boat. They realise that if they build using ply they will be doomed to the high non completion ratio mentioned earlier in this thread and if they are one of the committed 10% (or whatever it is) that do actually finish their project, they will end up with a boat that does not perform as well as it could, requires a lot of maintenance and has low resale value.

    None of which is to say that a good ply boat cannot be built, as long as you are prepared to put in the hours to do it properly.

    rob
     
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  11. groper
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    groper Senior Member

    I subscribed to building via infused flat panels after researching many build methods, Rob Dennys specific approach to building was definitely an inspiration to me. To date, im happy with my choice and i think i made the correct decision. After ~1500 hours i have most of my structure completed on a 35ft cat, and good amount of this is already painted and sanded awaiting its final gloss coat. The weight of the shell is very good so the performance should follow accordingly.

    As to cost- looks like the completed shell of my 35ftx17ft cat - not including final gloss paint work - will be about $50k. So the real cost will be $50k + ~2000 hours of my time via infused foam core panels. Ive barely touched a longboard at all, the inherent fairness of the panels is a real time saver and it helps with motivation having to do less of the "messy" and "laborious" tasks which causes alot of procrastination issues with home builders.

    A guy who berths his easy 38footer down the road from me, built in ply, reckons it cost him $110k including a modest sailing rig - rigging it cost him $30k. He doesnt sail it much, but instead motors around quite a bit. I get the impression it doesnt sail to well, especially to windward. Im not surprised given its a pretty small rig. A more expensive and powerful rig would be nessesary to get some decent sailing performance out of it. Its only in the water 3 years, and already it needed repairs were water has gotten into the ply.... the smallest detail overlooked...

    So at the end of teh day - theres bugger all difference in cost between ply and infused foam sandwich panels... Good plywood is getting very expensive these days, the only way to save is to use cheaper, poorer quality plywood.
     
  12. catsketcher
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    Rob - I wasn't being personal about the guinea pigs remark - I have seen a design where a designer has put a new facet on a powercat design and it didn't work requiring much effort and time to remedy. I asked him about the stern as it reminded me of an IOR bustle stern and he received my question with a stare. Also the boat had its longitudinal way aft (wedge shaped hulls) so as it was loaded or unloaded it went bow up or down - from a well known designer doing something new with other people's money. I always like seeing designers learning from their own mistakes on small versions of their own designs like all the designers mentioned in your lists.

    I think you will find that both Peter and Richard have built heaps of boats too. Richard can talk for himself but I know that Peter builds hulls often for clients so he still likes ply and working with it often. In fact he built one of the first strip plank cats in Australia - a Simpson design. That being said I would urge any builder to consider foam and computer cutting interior parts (maybe infuse your own flat panels and get a printer to draw you up mylar patterns to cut out - cheaper than ATL cutting Duflex). I would also like to see infusing done well. I have only seen videos of it and am partial to seeing it for myself. I would put a word in for ply in the interior. For me it is a pain to have to core the edge of every panel that will have its edge showing and then fill with filler and sand. Can be nice in ply for certain jobs.

    cheers

    Phil
     
  13. Baltic Bandit

    Baltic Bandit Previous Member

    so Here's the thing - and I realize the Australian market is a bit different than the ROW but not that much.

    It used to be once upon a time, that a decent homebuilder could build a boat of similar quality as a commercial builder for a lower price because they were contributing their own sweat equity into the process. This is still true of homebuilding largely.

    But it is not true of boats. With modern building techniques, the quality of boat you get from a commercial builder is much higher -witness the comment about fitting out the interior with compound curves.

    commercial builders and designers don't put those curves in there just to up the price of the build. Those curves are there for all manner of good reasons many if not most, related to seakeeping abilities - which are important even in a coastal cruiser. I've sailed in the Coral Sea and even in Port Phillp Bay you can get a seriously nasty and steep chop in which a sea-keeping kindly boat does better.

    So by going to straighter and more square lines you are essentially saying that you are looking to buy (because building is a form of buying) a crappier sailboat so that you can get a bigger boat than if you bought a quality boat.

    Now is this the wrong choice to make? That's your call. but I think its important to be realistic about what your real tradeoffs are. For example

    • If you buy an older production boat and have it professionally modified, you will probably lose the costs of the mods, but retain the value you bought the boat for when it comes to resale and personal assets
    • If you buy someone else's homebuilt boat - you get a lot of boat for your $$ - admittedly though its a crappier boat and you won't retain much value
    • If you build your own boat - your costs are basically 100% sunk costs. You will have almost no resale value (for exactly the same reason you are not in the market for some other homebuilt used boat)

    Given that you can find pretty decent and fully fitted out boats for LESS than the $150k you are willing to spend http://www.boatsonline.com.au/boats-for-sale/used/sailing-boats/mashford-1100-deomedia/136639
    http://www.yachtandboat.com.au/classifieds/ad/29213/fastback-33-catamaran--for-sale-catamaran-qld
    http://www.yachtandboat.com.au/classifieds/ad/28930/snell-easy-99-cruising-catamaran-catamaran-qld

    you basically have to be wanting to build as your core reason for building.
     
  14. bluebox3000
    Joined: Sep 2013
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    Location: Freehold, NJ

    bluebox3000 Junior Member

    Yes, one really has to want to build. No other reason can justify the venture. On the other hand one may not even be able to justify it if it is going to either take too long time or too much money. If one were purely thinking about getting a boat to sail from place to place and the destination mattered more than the journey, then buying an older decent monohull is a no brainer. But I guess I'm in the boatbulding camp.

    On the design issue it is interesting how most new designs are turning more and more "square". Just looking at the Lagoon 39, Aeroyacht 42, Catana 55 and Nautitch Open 40. All pretty sleek boats but I guess everyone has their own opinion about that.....
     

  15. Baltic Bandit

    Baltic Bandit Previous Member

    Well fair enough... it wasn't clear from the outset that you were building because you wanted to build. It sounded like you were building to save money - and that's a bit of a fools venture
     
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