Cost estimationg for a 28' sailboat

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Guillaume C., Oct 31, 2004.

  1. Guillaume C.
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Location: Québec,Canada

    Guillaume C. Junior Member

    Hi! I'm completly new to this world and plan on getting a sailboat for the next years, what i would do is go down south of united states(i'm in eathern canada) ...yes i know i'm probably too ambitious so no need to tell me, i dont love doing small progression, prefer going to the real thing even if it will get me lots of problems. My dad sailed for 12-13 years so i should get a correct training from him...too bad he sold his boat to buy a camp when ive born

    First, what size of boat would be a correct minimum to do coastal cruising while live aboard?(whit frequent stop on 3 month on sea) from reading i think a 28' would do the job nicely for one or two person (just need to convince GF!)

    as i dont have too much money and not too bad whit my hand (mechanical engeneering study but work as medieval armourer and welder...) i love the idea of making it myself

    my prefered design up to now is the Hartley 28

    any opinions on this one?

    i would love a rough estimation of how much it will cost to complete the project, taking care of not spending too much. in plywood, i'm more qualified in metal but it seem to be a bit too heavy for that size of boat.

    if your estimation seem too high for my budget i may be better getting a used boat and restoring it...


    Guillaume Côté

    ps: sorry for my bad english, french around here!
    edit:ps2: oh, it may sound stupid to ask for what size of boat i need after saying that my dad have been sailing for 12 years...its just because he is in vacation for one more week ....
  2. Gilbert
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Cathlamet, WA

    Gilbert Senior Member

    You've probably had time to talk to your dad by now so this may not be of much help.
    The Hartley 28 looks like a very nice boat. But without seeing the plans or some sort of drawings of it it's hard to guess how much it would cost.
    As for that size range being suitable for your cruising plans, I personally would insist on full headroom at least somewhere in the vessel for that type of living. So that could vary depending on your height.
    I have heard of two different families who have lived aboard vessels of 27 and 28 feet for several years. In both cases there were 5 people in the family. One of the boats was an Islander. I am not sure if it was 28 feet long or 27. I don't recall what the other one was.
    I think the most important thing is to involve your GF (I assume gf means girl friend) in learning to sail etc. and make sure she is enthusiastic about all of this.
  3. lprimina
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Morehead City NC

    lprimina Senior Member

    I lived on a 28ft blow boat and the walls start closing in on you real fast. If I was going to live on another boat it would have to be at least 32ft(sailboat).That 4 extra feet means a whole lot of difference and room. Of course now it also would have to be a power boat at least 42ft.

  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A 28' yacht is a very ambitious project for a beginner. It's a long term investment in time, money and sweat, many have failed trying to build the "dream" boat as their first project. I've seen marriages break down, lives destroyed and general discontent, in fact I bought a partly started Spray from a guy in NY back in the early 80's. He'd made the dead wood assembly, rudder and had frames and some station molds erected when the other half told him it was the boat or her. It took two years to sell the assembly of wooden pieces and I flatbeded the mess back to St. Pete, where I finished her out. She still sails there (New Port Ritchie, I think) in the hands of the guy I sold her to.

    It's always better to build up to the "dream" yacht, you'll need to develop up the skills and confidence anyway. Success, generally, is attained with incremental steps. My first building project was an 8' punt, followed by a 15' sailer, then a 16' skiff, a 19'er that took a lot longer then I thought it would, then a 24' power cruiser (over 2 years), a 27' sailing dory was next (near 2 years). I'm in the 4th year of construction on a 48' sailer. There were many steps on the way, including the 41' Spray look a like (better then 4 years). These boats and a few others were for me, I've built many for clients and in shops other then mine. I was a sergeant in Viet Nam, so that should give you an Idea of the time frame and years necessary to build the skills and gain the experience necessary to pull off building a large project.

    Clearly you don't have enough experience to decide on the design, the needs in accommodation, rig preferences, budgeting schedule, material sourcing and gathering, not to mention the equipment and gear needed to perform the build let alone the stuff needing be bolted to the deck or otherwise.

    No one (not even your dad) can tell you "what size of boat would be a correct . . ." as this is information gathered from experience, not opinion or guess work. Everyone who has time on a boat of any type generates ideas, likes and dislikes about them. Each person's thoughts on the many variables this includes is quite different. It's like asking what's the perfect car for traveling cross country, some would have you think it's a Volvo, others a Corvette.

    Do yourself a favor and pick a project you can have fun building (with your GF) and then enjoy with your GF. The process will teach you what you want to do again and what you don't. You may decide this building thing sucks and just buy a used trailer sailer (it would be a bunch cheaper and a lot easier) Try a building under 20' better if under 18', the 2' doesn't seem like much, but it could mean literally twice the boat in difference.

    No body's first few projects save them anything. Once you pay yourself a reasonable wage (on paper only) the end result is a boat that costs more then fixing a used one, plus the bleeding and sweating thing. No kidding, blood. There isn't a person who's built a boat, that hasn't stuck themselves, stabbed, cut, shaved, ripped or otherwise driven a screw into a body part they'd rather not, trust me.

    The Hartley 28 is a dated, but sound design, heavier then it needs to be, an evil designed into it because of it's intended backyard construction. It's not a quick build. Stitch and glue or tape and seam is a much faster way to get a boat done and a very sound construction method. You'll find most of the plans from ClarkCraft and Glenn-L are dated and of more traditional techniques. Newer designs, incorporating some interesting build concepts (like tape and seam) will perform better and go together much quicker, which will generate boats that get completed (because it doesn't take too long) and look better too. Before you buy a set of plans from one of them, look at George Buehler's book "Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding", Sam Rabl "Boatbuilding in Your Backyard", Dudley Dix's designs, Reuel Parker's work, "Cruising Designs" by Jay Benford, take a look at some of Phil Bolger's stuff, Paul Gartside's designs. There's a lot of good work out there, other then the set of dated plans from a place that sells only plans real cheap.

    The booklets will have you believe that anyone can do it, but they're just blowing smoke up your butt to sell plans sets. Only folks that have a good ability to organize their time and skills will complete the project. Of the hundreds of plans they've sold, only a handful get finished.

    If I haven't scared you off yet, good. This means you're really hard headed or just bent on building a boat, maybe both, so start with scheduling a budget for materials and looking for places to get the best prices on lumber and gear. Select a plan and be reasonable about it, you can sell a well finished little boat reasonably easily, but you'll be hard pressed to sell an incomplete project. Buy the plans and go over the materials list until you have it memorized or near so. You'll need money to buy materials and they can be had at better prices if you buy in larger lots, then a stick at a time (hence the reason for the scheduling) As you begin to gather materials for the setup find a building site.

    The very first thing you'll need to get is a soft comfortable chair, preferably a recliner. This is the moaning chair, you'll spend a great deal of time in this chair so don't cut corners on this. You should get a small end table and place it with the chair (you'll need a place to put down your beer while you smack yourself in the forehead for cutting on the wrong side of a line or something) This chair should be on the building site off to the side, enough so that you can see the boat's full length without having to turn your head. This is also very important, because when you calm down from screwing up something (it'll take a few beers) you'll be able to look up and see the project in a different light and maybe find a quick solution, yea right.
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