Building cheapest robust safe ocean crossing capable boat - ideas

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by jacob1234, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. jacob1234
    Joined: Feb 2019
    Posts: 14
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: wales

    jacob1234 Junior Member

    Hi, I have recently got into sailing and ever since I started learning more about this awesome pass-time I have wanted to build my own boat. I also want to start making some bigger passages in the near future, my current boat however, (17' daysailer) is not suitable for blue water conditions. Being a student I am very strapped for cash. So I came up with the idea of a project trying to design and produce the cheapest viable boat that is capable of extended blue water cruising. Main constraints are that it has to be SAFE, FUNCTIONAL and CHEAP as possible. I thought that if a quality design could be achieved it could pave the way to providing an accessible route into cruising for those on meagre budgets. This will not be a racing yacht, performance will be catered for where possible but safety and function take precedence. This a boat for adventurers not making a floating home.

    Now given these constraints, it has to be made clear what the sacrifices are going to be; this will be a functional boat (bare bones would be an apt term) - comfort, although allowed for in design where it does not affect price or function. Also not only is the boat designed to be cheap to produce but also cheap to maintain, a emphasis on easy access to tanks/deck fittings etc and using the simplest hardware for rigging and fittings.

    Basically I have some ideas already on key design points, so if anyone would be so kind as to give feedback and/or suggest features that you think should be included/altered we can hopefully narrow the design toward an optimum. Please be aware I am not a seasoned sailor or boat builder so there are likely to be many oversights on my part but I look forward to you helping me learn!

    HULL/KEEL Shape
    Hardest point for me, I currently am in the camp of full or almost full keel w/skeg rudder for sturdy heavy weather handling (also better hove-to) and hull strength and a full keel is often shallower than a fin/ballast keel. As far as size goes I am thinking 25ft is the most cost effective size. Performance is better when bigger but smaller is cheaper and in my mind stronger.
    HULL Material - hard chine steel plate construction
    Stronger than GRP and more easily built at home (provided welding experience). Easily repaired in many places around the world. Does carry problems associated with corrosion but research tells me that properly prepared this is not an issue with simple maintenance.
    SAIL RIG - single junk rig
    This may be controversial, but from what I've seen, a junk rig is perfect for what i have specified - it can be unstayed (cheap/easy to maintain), it is extr. easy to reef (functional/safe), the whole rig is under much less stress (therefore less stress on hull/sailcloth/sheeting lines). This reduces the need for winches and expensive sailcloth. Junks are very good off the wind and for up-wind work cambered panel sails could be trialled if flat sails were actually that unsatisfactory (tests have shown they work remarkably well) Junk rigs also have a lower COE so will heel the boat less and be able to carry alot of sail area. Aluminium mast and spars would be used to reduce weight aloft.
    All lines will be lead to an enclosed cockpit area with raised windows through the companionway so can be sailed through a storm without risking deck work. Boat will be tiller steered for simplicity and wind vane built into design as standard. Heavy inspiration drawn from the boat MingMing II for this section.

    Ill leave it there as enough points have been raised for debate without getting too intricate and talking about more. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  2. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
    Posts: 1,254
    Likes: 381, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 40
    Location: hawaii, usa

    kapnD Senior Member

    Try looking up similar discussions using the search function at the top banner.
    Blueknarr and rwatson like this.
  3. Angélique
    Joined: Feb 2009
    Posts: 3,003
    Likes: 335, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1632
    Location: Belgium ⇄ The Netherlands

    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    ‘‘ CHEAP as possible ’’

    That's very subjective since it eg depends on personal standards for comfort and finish, to get appropriate tips best specify your available budget in money and in available build time.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    ‘‘ Heavy inspiration drawn from the boat MingMing II for this section. ’’

    To copy Roger's MMII concept starting with an old GRP boat would be the best idea for the requirements you've described.


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    What you've described in post #1 is in my view not cheap to build new, however an example for the rest of your wishes in the boat could be the Tom Thumb 24.




    a version with a single junk sail is to be seen at the JRA / pic 2

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Because the minimum thickness for steel hull plating stays at about 3 mm, I wouldn't prefer to have all that weight of a steel hull in such a small boat as 24' hull length, so for me in steel it would start at 30' +, eg such as an Fay 32 A or B.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  4. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 1,436
    Likes: 406, Points: 83
    Location: Colorado

    Blueknarr Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    Welcome to sailing.

    Why reinvent the wheel? Yes, it has had a few make overs. The addition of axles - greasing the axles - putting roller bearings in the grease - shock absorbing spokes - steel rims - pneumatic tubes - tubeless - pressure sensors.

    Why aren't the marineas over crowded with cheap 25 foot junk rigged steel boats?

    I admire your ambition! But designing and building is about the most expensive route to sailing. The cheapest is to sail other people's boats.

    I started my sailing on San Francisco Bay. Friday night beercan races. As my skills developed I was invited to more prestigious events including national and world championships. Occasionally I am even paid to sail.

    I'm sure there's simular opportunities in Wales. Being on a racing team will advance your sailing capacity faster than any other method imaginable. If speed and competition are not your cup of tea, still join. It was the sailing in all conditions with knowledgeable shipmates which provided my growth.

    Keep on sailing. In a few years look back to your first post. You will understand it much better

    Hope you have mostly fair winds with just enough foul ones to sustain the bar tales.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
    DogCavalry, bajansailor and Pammie like this.
  5. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
    Posts: 2,635
    Likes: 397, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1082
    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    One of the primary concerns related to safety is crew size. The minimum crew size considered safe by most insurance companies and other outfits is four for blue water sailing. So you want a four person boat with provision space for about 2 months. You simply aren't going meet the basic concept of safe unless it is designed for four or more. Also, steel is not a great choice for small boats. It comes into its own around 34' for the type you seem to be thinking of. Which will also be about the minimum for four people on an extended journey. The area you can save money on which doesn't impact safety is the rig size and performance under sail. The rig is hands down then most expensive part of the boat to outfit and maintain. It is also almost entirely discretionary. So build your boat around a modest masthead sloop sailplan. You still need an engine and electronics and the knowledge to use and maintain them to be safe, so you are still looking at about $50,000 in upgrades from what can be accepted as safe in a coastal cruiser, pretty much regardless of size. These are not discretionary from safety standpoint. Not having a weather forecast, AIS, EPIRBs, radar or a certified life raft is a nonstarter if safety is even a passing concern.

    So you may want to go back and try to nail down exactly what you mean by safe, and what you had in mind in terms of crew size, endurance, and the waters you want to sail in. Nearly any decent hull can take more of a beating than the crew. The idea is to design it so that it takes the beating instead of the crew.
  6. goodwilltoall
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 844
    Likes: 26, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 31
    Location: nation of Ohio

    goodwilltoall Senior Member

    Greeti jacob,

    Lots of good remarks with prior posts and it is true that a currently well maintained boat is most cost effective way to get into lifestyle and ambitions you have.

    I will however bring forth my idea that the bolger box is the most cost effective way to build and outfit if you want a cost effective boat to the standards you desire bcuz those are conpletely arbitrary to what you decide upon.
  7. goodwilltoall
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 844
    Likes: 26, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 31
    Location: nation of Ohio

    goodwilltoall Senior Member

    Phil designed almost every imaginable concept from typical marconi rigs, high performance high aspect foils to long salient keels with less developed sail plans that will work if you choose to take time and effort to go that route.

    Chris Morejohn a seasoned sailor and designer, who has a current thread of his ideas going also has his version of the box boat (square hull) so its not a alien concept as most would say. Bob Wise built quickly and sailed his box to great satisfaction.

    Depending on your requirements, there are designs from 19' to 96', all workable but upto you on what you desire.

    That is first step and contigent upon you to list your SOR

  8. Nick.K
    Joined: May 2011
    Posts: 328
    Likes: 25, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 103
    Location: Ireland

    Nick.K Senior Member

    Here's my advice..
    To build a decent fully finished boat you will have to take lots of decisions. If your sailing experience is limited then so are the criteria that you will use to take your decisions.
    It sounds from your post as if you are young. Why not go off sailing for a few years, you can even get well paid for it, have a pile of fun, learn a lot and then re-visit your ambition to build a boat from a different perspective.
    If you really really want to do it on your own boat then a far cheaper and quicker way would be to buy a project. Most yards have a few abandoned boats which often can't even be given away yet are often essentially complete. Ten years ago I surveyed a 34ft steel boat with rig, engine and Aries, it's still sitting where it was then. There are small trees now on the deck, some corrosion here and there and the interior is disgusting but say three months hard work and around £10k could have it sailing again....I have no idea if that one is available or not, but there are ones just like it in the backs of most yards.
Similar Threads
  1. TSD Joshua
  2. AquaticFrank
  3. zstine
  4. 3DPY
  5. RO147
  6. Kent Bryan
  7. mariobrothers88
  8. CloudDiver
  9. mariobrothers88
  10. mariobrothers88
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.