Design Help, Opinions or Tips

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by DavidAD, May 25, 2015.

  1. DavidAD
    Joined: May 2015
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Guatemala

    DavidAD Junior Member

    Hi, I'll start off with yes this is my first post. I've been lurking (sound kinda weird if I put it that way) on BD forums for about 2 months but that anti spam stuff has kept me off from joining.

    Well since I've hopefully broken the ice I'd like to go straight to the million dollar question(s) that's been bugging me for the last 2 weeks.

    Which design should I go for? Any ideas or tips? Any recommendations? Any way I can cure my insanity?

    I'll do a little background info for the sake of anybody who reads this to get a foot on my situation.

    I'm currently living in Guatemala, was raised in southern California for the first(ish) years of my life. My current goals are building a boat to get off this land mass (or mass of land?) I can't buy a classic plastic or any other boat for the matter that I can't afford it. How? You might ask, Guatemalas only international airport is expensive ~$800 for round trip to most places on NA, and choosing online as you all know isn't the best idea to go with boat buying. Going south to El Salvador, Honduras, or north to Mexico for a cheaper flight will probably kill me first. Not a great time with the USA legalizing marihuana leaving cartels with extra stuff, gang wars in the south and a coup de'ta half an hour from where I live. Yes, it will probably cool down but that's what they were saying 15 years ago... Going back to the topic my only way out is boat building, circumstances apart from the previously mentioned one's are.

    1. My Dad's in the local wood business
    2. I have a place an hours drive from Rio Dulce
    3. I could build the titanic if needed there( I'm not kidding)
    4. Mom has a sewing machine (I know I know)
    5. Yes I'm only 16, still have about 20 years in me to build a boat
    6. For that reason I could do it in 10 or 5
    7. Being a "local" I can get cheap stuff (basic construction materials)
    8. Basic labour is Q50 = about $5 a 10 hour work day
    9. Carpenter, Electrician, etc is double that for a day
    10. I can use a whole lot of natural rot, weather, drunk people resistant woods on the cheap(1/3 to 1/5 the cost you see online)
    11. I have a lot of motivation
    12. Sums it up

    Though I have probably forgotten some here are the negatives

    1. I'm poor ( to 1st world standards)
    2. Total income for boat building would be about $3-5000/yr
    3. Dad not so much supportive (He's a capitalist)
    4. Mom will probably sell me that machine before she borrows it
    5. Life here is hard, every $6 is a days full of good food
    6. I can't afford to change plans( literally) at the last moment

      Time and more importantly money is the biggest factor to take into account, life here literally sucks. 50%, yes 50% of the population don't even live they just exist, the other 40% dream of owning an IPhone 4, I'm luckily in that remaining 10%. I've learned that EVERYTHING matters, so I'm not picky If I to go full Spartan and have to crap halfway up the mast, cook on a metal plate in the sun, sleep on a 4ft bunk even though I'm 5'10", I'm doing it right now and will continue for foreseeable future, I don't need fancy radars, multi display systems, or any of that. I don't mind spending 500hrs a year fixing my own boat let alone other paid for boats. I just don't care about any of that, though don't get me wrong it would be nice and I mean no offense to any of you but it's just not a necessity in my eyes and in my mind if it's not necessary it can be thrown overboard.

      What I do want is if possible is the following
      1. A good looking design, I'm a weird guy, I like old designs most notably Gaff Cutters with classic lines
      2. On the end I also like bleeding edge designs, they ain't cheap though
      3. Bluewater capacity (Remotely or overdone, anything is possible)
      4. A boat that will bring good memories and adventure~~ Any boat!

      The most important aspects are internal space, not layout I can change that. Carrying capacity as I like to keep memories, affordability, a design that I'll get married before I finish , we all know what happens next. They are not in order, I apologize it's 1'am and this doesn't let me sleep.

      In either way you look at it, I won't be able to set sail until 6 years minimum from now as I have to finish college, wouldn't want to be without a degree these days, I'm not that stupid. I'm well versed in programming and other technology but on "my future boat" I'll only have basic instruments, solar panels, wind turbine, laptop, camera, phone for shore use, some sort of refrigeration. Refrigeration? I have cooking genes from both sides and I sadly can't go out without it, but it would be a homemade/custom system. I'll use synthetic rigging for reliability, cost and ease (Credit to UNCIVILIZED for that). I'll take extreme sewing classes from Mayan locals that do some amazing stuff to make my own sails. This would go for any design that I choose in the end.

      The building part is more complicated. The site would be part of a plantation an hour from Rio Dulce with a nature reserve in front (same owners) that gives me access to cheap labour, I could salvage not cut wood from that reserve which is about 4000 acres of virgin forest, that's a lot of salvaged wood. Labour would be the parts I wouldn't know what to do, advanced carpentry, electric installation, sail making, when I feel totally exhausted. I would obviously not be a lazy guy and would learn or try to learn from them. What does come in as expensive is anything foreign, even from China.That would include a small price bump in first world pricing on fiberglass and epoxy as local variants as I found out suck. I would dedicate about 500 hrs myself a year and boat building season (Basically you can't do anything that requires you to not be waist up in mud) is from November- April if that matters, I'm still extremely inexperienced even after about 300hrs if internet research. Since I would be studying February - October leaves me with 2 months of dedicated building a year. I don't want to cheap out for inferior quality stuff, I just want cheaper alternatives to the same thing and/or any suggestions to be efficient. Anything I can do myself to lower costs would be a must, any ideas would be marvelous!

      On to plans and experience. My experience is null to none, I'm currently in the process of building a 7'10" Dinghy to learn to sail this years end, I started so small because I've read that you don't get the same feel from a dinghy than from a mega yacht and it would be a great experience to start from. From there next year I would build a Welsford Navigator (If I go modern design) or A Gartside #148 (If I go classic, though only some), why? They have 2 very different ways to build them and each one helps learning more on the larger version of construction related to the relevant boats. By then I it would be 2017 and I would start on the larger version after building a few more non relevant boats for experience.

      My chosen designs though up to debate are

      Shuttleworth 28 - 28'0" - 27'4" - 20'8" - 5000lbs - 6200lbs - Strip
      Shuttleworth 31 - 31'0" - 29'.1" - 22'3" - 5400lbs - 7900lbs - Strip
      Hughes 36 - 36'2" - ?? - 24'0" - 5500 lbs - 10200 lbs - Strip

      This depends if the margin in money, time, maintenance, and other stuff is worth the jump as well as initial plan price (High). On to the classics they would be 2 ranges

      23ft to 28ft

      Payne Paketi - 23'6" - 22'3"? - 8'4" - About 3000lbs displacement (I know I'm wrong, a day sailor?) - Plywood

      Wynfall 26 - 26'5" - 23'10" - 8'10" - 9500lbs - Strip, Cold, Carvel

      Gartside #116a - 26'0" - 24' 0.75" - 9'6" - 10900lbs - Carvel

      29ft +

      Atkins Fore An' Aft - 28'8" - 27'0" - 9'6" - 19200lbs - Old (plans not detailed) Carvel

      Wynfall Austral - 29'6" - 25'0" - 10'0" - 11000lbs - Strip

      Gartside #109 - 30'0" - 9'11" - 18000lbs - Carvel

      Wynfall Kahuna - 32'4" - 28'9"' - 10'7" - 15500lbs - Carvel, Strip, Cold moulded

      With these and hopefully other suggestions I would like (Rough plans) to cruise the Caribbean/Central & South America to get to know the boat well in all types of conditions for some time, jump the pond. Spend some time near Azores, Cape Verde, etc. Jump up to Europe/Mediterranean then jump the pond again to the Pacific after I'm broke. And after that pretty much island hop until I die. Bright Future eh?

      Resale value is very low on the list, why? I'm too poor to sell a yacht, life gets more expensive and we (humans) get more useless. And knowing myself after min 10 years of sailing, money and technology will consume me till I'm an old sea bum without a home. Though a Shuttleworth still fetch about $100000 correct me if I'm wrong, a Hughes about 25k more.
      Old Classics half to 2/3 of that if I'm lucky, I'll be using "Exotic" tropical woods that even some grand yacht owners don't have access to ( Lignum Vitae, Sapodilla, Santa Maria, etc) or couldn't afford to bring out in large quantities, plus paperwork is a mess. Though I like to give back and will plant the trees I use/salvage + some.

      Well it's 2am, I'm half dead and I need to sleep. Any comments good or bad about me or my plans as well as opinions, thoughts, ideas are always welcomed with me! I don't mind we all think differently, have different points of view and I respect that. I take those thoughts and try to understand them as we all have our fair share of experience as age doesn't mean wisdom.

      Best regards David.

      Yeah P.S. I probably forgot a lot, mostly spelling and grammar but sorry my English is a little rusty!
  2. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 864
    Likes: 38, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 76
    Location: UK

    gggGuest ...

    I don't know its really worth planning that far ahead. Sure there are a very few people who can and do, but it doesn't often work out.

    Anyway, with every boat you build and with every boat you sail you learn more about what you really want and what you can do. I must be 50 years older than you and still learning. So yeah, good start with an 8ft dinghy and learn to sail. That will give you a whole lot more knowledge about the next step, which if you keep on the same path, might well be a weekending size boat in the 17-22ft range. That kind of size is still small enough that you can lift all the timbers yourself, that sort of thing, its not a massive project.

    And from there? I honestly think there's not too much point in worrying. You'll know when you get there! So yeah, keep on studying, reading, learning, and keep thinking about what you might want now, but don't carve anything in stone. And its amazing how things come up. I was reusing ideas from a design I did when not much older than you on a dinghy rebuild/partial redesign this winter...
  3. cmckesson
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 161
    Likes: 7, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 55
    Location: Vancouver BC

    cmckesson Naval Architect

    Slocum sailed a family of four from Venezuela (?) to Washington DC in Liberdade.

    Voss sailed around the world in Tillicum.

    Yes, seriously, I offer these two as the pattern for an affordable and yet seaworthy craft given your infrastructure.
  4. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 3,332
    Likes: 470, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1279
    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Cmckesson, what you say is true but there are some buts. Slocum, for example, was a crafty old seaman with a lot of experience. Our new friend David may or may not gather those skills in sufficient time to do such stuff with a little boat.

    I hope that young David will stick around for a while so that he can get some good council here. He has gotten a good start by writing about his plight, his capabilities, his budget constraints and his ambition. Not bad for a 16 year old.
  5. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum,

    If you are bent on building a boat, than no, not really any way of stopping the insanity. It is a form of mental illness. I have built over 20 small boats, kayaks, sailing dingys, and others, and have designs for many more I want to build in the future.

    If your only motivation is to leave Guatemala, it seems to me a resourceful person can come up with a way to earn and save the cost of air fair in less than six years (even if it means washing dishes for wealthy people). Or to work out a ride on someone else boat as a deck hand or something. Depending on what your collage degree will be in, many companies will fly you to your interview out of the country. The real insanity seems to me that you think the only way out is to build yourself a boat big enough to sail across an ocean.

    It just seems difficult to me to imagine building a deep water boat, even in Guatemala, for less than the $800 it would cost you to fly out. Even if you use "traditional" boat building methods and you get all of you materials for free, there will still be paint, fasteners, rigging, mast, sail cloth, etc. to get, and than food and supplies, stove and fixtures. Most do not go out to sea without at least a radio, some kind of navigation device, etc. It might be cheaper to save your money and buy a solid but boat in need of a lot of repairs and maintenance to be done. That would get you most of the "hardware" you would need. Building everything you need from raw materials will take a VERY long time, usually you would not have that much time to commit to it when you also have to support yourself or go to collage.

    OTOH, if you want to build a boat because that is what you really want, than there is no way around it, you will have to build a boat. But that would seem the very expensive way to get out of the country, and it also comes with its own sets of hazards. Desperate pirates might go after what appears to be a pleasure cruiser off shore, being far enough off shore to not be seen means a much larger, much better equipped boat (this more costly to build and outfit) that can travel long distances without resupply. Many people have sail very small boats very long distances across oceans (many as small as 12 ft), but usually they are not very far from shore and resupply ports, but that exposes you to the hazard you want to avoid. And it means having the money to buy your supplies as well.

    You have the right idea anyway, to start small and get some sailing experiance locally. aaaGuest is giving good advise, build a few small boats and learn on them, and leave your long term plans "open". Your ideas, income, and living situations usually changes rather drastic between the ages of 16 and 23. You might find a more reliable way to leave there and find yourself a well paying job in a nicer place that will allow you to either buy or build a much better boat.

    keep us informed of your progress, we can help you get your first boat built and on the water.

    good luck on your adventures.
  6. DavidAD
    Joined: May 2015
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Guatemala

    DavidAD Junior Member

    Thanks, for all the replies, any opinion or idea is very much welcomed as it gives me a different point of view to look at!

    Yes, it well be hard to accomplish but life isn't easy in any way. I do sadly have to keep my options limited from the get go, as I really can't afford to change ideas from an economical or time related perspective. I've always had a few options though, some designs that could fit my predicted future needs as I've pretty much found all available multi hull designs on the internet and a lot of mono hull designs as well. I just need to keep an eye on the prize, not more not less :) :)

    Slocum from what I've read was an exceptional sailor and navigator, I wouldn't expect to learn that level in 10 years let alone 25 to do that. Would I try? Yes, if the odds are somewhat favorable :)

    Thanks for the compliment Messabout. I'm one of those few lucky teenagers that's been through enough rough patches to get my stuff together when needed and have certain life goals not just getting endlessly wasted every weekend, still need a lot more to live & learn but hey it's a start.

    Petros, my main goal is not to leave my country, yes it has it's short comings but it has it's highs as well. I've been dreaming of owning a sailboat since I was around 6-8 yrs old (My memory fails me atm), a pirate ship more specifically. A schooner type ship has always been my favorite, then a gaff cutter. Boat building or any kind of building in that matter is a fundamental part of my personality, the more complex and time consuming the more it intrigues me. (I'm an INTP/ENTP If you want to understand more of the way I am & think). So it all comes down to: Yes I would enjoy the building and it would devour my mind; And I wouldn't want anything more than to sail without worrying about taxes, mortgages, bills, debt, etc. commonly associated with today's lifestyle in all countries. After all who wouldn't want to admire a beautiful tropical reef , sipping a cold beer, feeling a slight breeze and the comfort of the constant noise of breaking waves? After all it's not going to last forever, that's why I'm a little demanding on efficiency and time. Did you know that we already have around 7 billion people on earth, and in 10-25 years we'll have another billion to add to that.

    I've pondered a lot on buying a used boat, ended up with a tartan 10 as my best candidate as I can't afford a multihull. I know I'll have a proven track record and rock solid boat but maintenance would be a pain later on. If you go used you eventually pay the price,sometimes even end up paying more. Not always the case but one had to know when to go down that road. I mean no offense, but I've looked at ways of homebuilding hardware, synthetic rigging, making my own sails; it would take a chunk out of me physically/mentally but being young you can take some punishment. Like they say no pain no gain :) . And I wouldn't be alone, I would employ labour (cheap) in stuff that's not over complicated to do to help out on saving time. I've factored out costs on equipment that would end up on any boat I finish, building cost is what scares me the most. I would also like to build a multihull as I'm pretty sure I'll get my investment back if I ever needed to sell, another plus to building a boat.

    I don't need a boat big enough to cross an ocean, I just need one I could live aboard without hitting the port side when I'm sleeping and decide to turn over and visa versa. Oh and I've also taken into account what I could earn when I'm older, and it doesn't change much I would earn $700-800 a month full time right now and when I'm 23 I would earn $750-850 a month. I already have access to the least demanding so I can study job atm. And salaries don't change much, in call centres they could care less about your age and more about your abilities. Here it doesn't get better than that, a regular student without English speaking ability would get a quarter of that for a more demanding and active job. I could leave but I'll be losing that opportunity, sitting at a desk, receiving 10-calls a day with a laidback work environment with varying schedules to fit my needs is hard to come by anywhere. And yes I started working part time in one at 14 yrs of age. I did get fired after a few months but who doesn't get fired on their first formal job? :) Economically it doesn't vary much, Dad helps with living costs, I work, I study, I build.

    I've been looking at a Trimaran design recently just for the sake of options and came across a Lerouge design recently from a recommendation the Pulsar 36. Been looking at it and by no means am I a naval engineer so I would like to know what you guys think about it, it has reasonable accommodation, proposed building weight is about in the ball park of the other Multi hull designs, and being a tri it would very much be attractive to me in terms of design benefits. And what are your opinions on a Buccaneer 33? Now that they have plans in restoration it intrigues but I don't really know if it's a reasonable design to consider in my situation, apart from the points mentioned in other threads.

    Oh and I've luckily acquired plans for a D5 dinghy to start building and start sailing in the dry season (starting November). I'll go from a dreamer to a novice sailor soon! Oh and thanks for all your hospitality, it's a real break from society, I'll try to keep the thread up later on with photos of the dinghy build, but I hand quite the bucket list so I apologize if it feels abandoned sometimes :) :) :) ;)
  7. nzboy
    Joined: Apr 2011
    Posts: 154
    Likes: 6, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 36
    Location: nz

    nzboy Senior Member

    George Buehlers backyard boatbuilding new edition might be worth reading

  8. Jamie Kennedy
    Joined: Jun 2015
    Posts: 541
    Likes: 10, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 117
    Location: Saint John New Brunswick

    Jamie Kennedy Senior Member

    You are definitely on track by first learning to sail in a small boat. Make sure they are set up to sail properly, so you will learn to sail properly. This means things like boom vangs and down hauls and such.

    There is an advantage to learning to sail in a one design boat where there is some expertise in how to sail that boat properly. An optimist pram is a good example, but you are probably too big for that now. A mirror dinghy is another good example, but where you are it may be cheaper to build out of planks than out of plywood. Anyhow it doesn't necessarily have to be an established one design class that people have developed how to rig and sail it well through racing, but it could be similar so you can learn from these other boats. The Gartside 15 looks very good. I like the Gunter Rig. Very functional for racing and venture sailing.

    It might be worthwhile for you to follow the story of Ant Stewart. Before he sailed around the world in his 19 foot semi-open keel/dinghy he was a very accomplished dinghy sailor in the Finn class, and probably some others. That definitely contributed to his success, both in how he chose and equipped his boat, and how he sailed it. There is not a lot of literature on him. He seems like a very modest and private individual, but it is worth watching his video and reading his page. The link to the company that his boat was based on is also very good. Mostly GRP and Stitch and Glue, but the designs are very good.
    There are many other good sites.
    and vintage racing classes that lend themselves to traditional building methods...
    build one of these by traditional methods and you will have friends the world over...

    I would start small like you are with an adult sized 8 foot pram. Look to racing classes like the Sabot Pram and others for how to set them up to sail them well in all conditions. You don't have to race to get fast. Venture sailing works just as well. It is import though to have a destination in mind whenever you are sailing, whether it is a racing mark or an island. Purposeful is key.

    After the pram, maybe build a few more with some others so you can have some local racing. After that, something with two sails that can be raced and cruised, like a Mirror, or a Wayfarer, or a host of others. If you were to do something a combination of strip planked and boards, to avoid laminated woods and keep resin and glass costs to a minimum, I think you could build just about anything, even an old style Finn. Once you have built something like that, or perhaps another small fleet, and raced and explored in that, I think you should be more than ready to build something bigger and set off to go somewhere farther. You don't have to go too much bigger though, to explore the Caribbean or even the World, even if you wish to do it in reasonable comfort and safety. If you stick with vintage one-design classes you should be able to get used sails very cheap or even free, sometimes spars and rigging also. Lots of old Finn sails and spars around since they have moved to carbon. Very tough boat to sail though. Arguably the toughest.

    I look forward to seeing your 7'10" Dinghy. Cheers.

    p.s. My brother raced Finn against Juan Maegli from Guatemala. The father that is, not the son. Both very accomplished dinghy sailors. I am sure many would be interested in what you are doing, especially if you get local kids sailing small boats. It is a lot harder than you might think though, no matter where you are. People and life tend to get in the way. Don't let that bother you. When it does, just go sailing.
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