Estimate Man Hours to build a yacht......

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by AppleNation, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Why....exactly.....

    Well....it doesn't absolutely have to be more complicated. But there will always be more and larger parts involved. Certainly one can build a 35' or a 36' boat with virtually the same size and number of parts. But when you double the vessels size (as outlined above) by going from 35' to 50', there will be substantial changes.

    In a cold-molded boat for instance, deck beams and floor timbers are going to be spaced roughly 15"-24", no matter the overall size of the boat. This means there will be 10-15 more deck beams and floor timbers to build for the 50'. Each of these beams/timbers must be designed, engineered, lofted, templated, the material must be acquired, machined, bonded, shaped, sealed, installed, and finished. That's might be 100+ additional hours right there.

    Seemingly simple things like the anchor system get complex quickly. In a 35' one could pull the anchor by hand....easily. Few do as apparently "yachting" is required to be a no work undertaking. Many fairly small boats appear in our bay and the anchor is dropped and raised without anyone going out on the bow. Of course going out there would be unsafe! But on a 50' the anchor should be heavy, roughly 60+ pounds, and 3/8" chain is not light, thus we see windlass's. Then you need a good roller for this heavy gear, a big chain locker, a control system, and additional power to run the windlass...

    Some large and simple designs are produced, George Buehler is one of the proponents of this. Unfortunately the end results are seen by the marketplace as lacking value. Part of this is that the vast majority of buyers have been sold a list of "features", rather than solid basics. The "features" are to differentiate your product from that of your competition, the more features, the more valuable the vessel....humbug!
     
  2. ecflyer
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    ecflyer Junior Member

    Tadd,

    No way does the man hours double from building a 35'er to a 50'er. I have 50 years experience in the construction industry and believe me I know what I speak of. Our land lubber architects believe about the same things as navel architects like Tadd. They must have attended the same schools. Sorry Tadd, but on the job experience beats out the books every time. Better stick to your pencil and drawing desk. If you think it takes more time to build thicker and longer beams on a deck, well that explains it all. Greater interior volumne adds approx 15% to build time and that's it. I was trying to get the truth out and convince everyone that it does not take 42% longer to build the larger 50' boat. Then you come along put out the BS that it takes 50% longer. Ha! Ha! Ha!

    ecflyer
     
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  3. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    I think I like the following guidelines:
    - Build as big as possible, given the constraints of space, cost and ability to handle the boat
    - Build as simple as possible, given the minimum standard of luxury you're comfortable with
    - Build as rugged and durable as possible

    I'd rather have a solid 50-footer with one head, no pressure water system and basic instrumentation and electronics, than a 35-footer with electric winches, pressurized hot and cold water, A/C, and those fancy Furuno or Raymarine multifunction screens that get redesigned every ten months or so. More space, less stuff that breaks and needs replacing.
     
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  4. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    You right! They triple :D
     
  5. robherc
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    robherc Designer/Hobbyist

    While we all appreciate your input, please don't disrespect other professionals for their opinions.

    I, personally, don't believe that building a 50' should take much more than 125% the time as a 35', given similar internal structures. On the other hand, I can also see others' points that the 50' will be more marketable if it's more complex, and thus it takes significantly longer to build.
    So, in the end, it comes down more to complexity, than to size, for what determines build time. Can we at least agree on that?
     
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  6. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    THAT IS IT !! Matt. you mentioned the main points.:)
    The people usually are not very good in abandonment of any kind. So, if having a longer boat they like to have more beds bathrooms and the like.But if youre fine with a 50ft and translate the accommodation into say 75ft just to get a better speed and some elbowroom you have a win win situation. Having a lot more storage to spoil, a locker to hang your soaked rags, a wider icebox and the extra space for some 24 more beercase is not a big factor on your bill. The extra m² of hull plating and interior paneling, the 100 ft of additional piping and wiring, what´s that? Have a proper engine room, no motorbox and so on, but withstand the idea to build a cabin for mother in law!:D
    In fact we redesigned a 70ft of 86000lbs to 88ft and 130000lbs, thats about 50% increased displ. and 25% increased length.
    The cost ended up at additional 14,5% ! The time for construction differentiates by about 5% ! And it is a professional run boatyard that calculated it, they do´nt estimate.
    Edit: cost added: 17% !...not 14,5%
    Although TAD is right in general with the way he calculated, it is not always that easy.;)

    @robherc:
    So, in the end, it comes down more to complexity, than to size, for what determines build time. Can we at least agree on that?
    At least I agree;)

    Regards
    Richard
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2009
  7. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Too many, I am 5 years into it.
     
  8. AppleNation
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    AppleNation Junior Member

    Well from my perspective considering that I focus on weight and speed a 50' should not be much different to a 30'.

    There will always only be one head etc... obviously there are some differences of scale...

    I want to build a racer.... not cruiser.

    Thanks.
     
  9. DGreenwood
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    I can't tell you how accurate this assessment is. It is almost my Mantra.
    A 50' boat with a 30' interior. Leave the forward 10' and the aft 10' empty. If it is a luxury you can live without, leave it! Now your talking about a sailors boat. Your life at sea will be much happier, cheaper and easier maintenance.
     
  10. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    The Dashews' FPB 83 comes to mind. I recall an article where Steve was being asked, basically, what the hell was he doing building an 83-foot motoryacht with the accommodations of a typical fat 55-footer.

    His answer was that the two would be about equally complex to build and the added length (being not much more than hull structure) not all that much more expensive, but that by going longer, he could have more storage, a longer sea-riding length (thus faster and more comfortable), and didn't have to cram living space into the (uncomfortable) ends of the boat.

    Now, I tend more towards a Buehler level of luxury (and cost) than a Dashew level. I think I'd start losing track of my gear in an FPB's hold! But there are similarities in the design philosophy of these two, and of several other designers who don't sell thousands of boats, but whose clients absolutely love them.

    On the thread topic- so it looks like we have estimates ranging from 1.5 to 5 pounds an hour for typical boats and typical amateur or lazy professional builders, and possibly as much as 15 pounds of boat an hour for a really pro crew building a big, simple boat. That's a hell of a range, and the difficulty in getting a good estimate might explain why everyone says it's so hard to make money in boatbuilding....
     
  11. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member

    I couldn't agree more

    and add to that - stay out of marina's and learn to anchor well as was indicated on some other post recently

    and this is actually where i am going with my next build
    simple plain boat
     
  12. JeroenW
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    JeroenW Junior Member

    When thinking about this I tried to make an analogy to the way cars are built and it seems to me that the parts being assembled at a car factory are made by a lot of sub contractors. And the parts are almost completely finished. While in ship building it seems to me that the amount of parts arriving ready to be finished are fewer.
    Second observation is that in boatbuilding there's much less automation going on (due to amount of each model being made)?

    Does this line of thought make any sense?
     
  13. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Not if we talk about Boatyards / Shipyards ... but of course.. if we look at boatshops!;)

    @ Applenation
    Well from my perspective considering that I focus on weight and speed a 50' should not be much different to a 30'. a mighty statement for an absolute novice..... chapeau..
    Yes.................... you focus on weight and speed... and thats why you are completely wrong here!
    If there is already just a bit more than an empty shell in your design, how can you expect that there will be almost no difference in cost when you double the displacement?
    Sometimes it is helpful to read what others tell you here. :D Complexity for example.
    Regards
    Richard
     
  14. robherc
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    robherc Designer/Hobbyist

    If you're just building a light, empty shell, then you're probably going to DECREASE your beam when you go from 30' to 50', which would make the 50' boat rock a little differently in beam waves, but take a bit less than the 67% more materials for if you keep the same beam.
    If you raise the beam 67% too, then you're going to be paying quite a bit more for materials.

    Any of the three ways, for just an empty shell (and yes, I know it's never really quite THAT simple) I'd guess that you'd still be putting in 20%-30% more time for the 67% more length...because some steps in the process actually do build time usage fairly linearly (or worse, exponentially). For instance, while I might be able to coax myself into longboarding one side of the 30' hull in a couple hours (and take a break after), I'd prob. get pretty discouraged & end up taking 2-3 breaks while boarding the same side of a 50' hull...phew! tired just thinking of all that sanding!

    Don't take my word for anything though, I'm still working on my first build...rofl!
     

  15. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Why? Comparing apples and oranges is hopeless. You can only reasonably compare like with like. Reuel Parker can build a Terapin 36' in 2500 hours, Dudly Dix can build a Didi 38' in 3000 hours, Hans Christen Yachts spent 9000+ (production) hours on their 38' traditional....quite a spread...but they're different boats.

    You can't compare cars with boats...here are comparative numbers.

    car - 1.5 tonnes, 3000 parts, 20 hrs to assemble
    battle tank - 65t, 14,000 parts, 5500 hrs
    fighter aircraft - 10t, 30,000 parts, 57,000hrs
    Boeing 777 - 250t, 100,000 parts, 50,000 hrs
    nuclear sub - 7000t, 1 million parts, 8m hours

    Below are some pictures of Long White Cloud, a Mobjack (LFH) 43' ketch cold-molded in NZ a few years back. She's about 40,000 pounds displacement and took about 14,000 man hours to build. This is what I would call medium yacht finish, nicely done but not over the top. Works out to almost 3 pounds per man hour, reflecting good quality construction (multi-layer planking) and extra effort to get the systems right. She is currently for sale at $570k USD.
    Cockpit_looking_fwd.jpg

    Interior.jpg

    yacht1_big.jpg
     
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