Free "Starlite" plans. Are they worth it?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Eigersa, Nov 4, 2022.

  1. Eigersa
    Joined: Nov 2022
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    Location: Durban, South Africa

    Eigersa Junior Member

    Good day all forum users. My name is Shelldon, I live on the east coast of South Africa (Durban). It has always been my dream to build a boat/yacht of some sort and do a little coastal day sailing and I have been scouring the interwebs for the simplest of plans to start a build. I am a carpenter and have been plying my trade for close on 30 years, so I'm not too intimidated by the actual building part, the plans however.

    There are a lot of plans out there, and some are really expensive (in terms of exchange rate from dollars to ZAR rands), and more, I do not know how all the various designs compare to one another. I did however come across this set of free plans (I know, you get what you pay for) which appears to be relatively simple as a backyard build.

    Has anyone on the the forums come across this plan before and has anyone actually built the Starlite or knows of someone who did? Any thoughts would be most welcome.

    Here's a link to the plans , but it is a pdf (8 pages or so) and opens in the new window -> http://boatplans-online.com/plans/BPO_Starlite.pdf
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Do yourself a favor and buy a more modern design. Unless you are looking for a race boat, stock plans are fine. However, free plans like this have no support from the designer. If you are an experienced boatbuilder, that is not an issue. Is that the size boat you are looking for?
     
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  3. Eigersa
    Joined: Nov 2022
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    Location: Durban, South Africa

    Eigersa Junior Member

    Thanks for the reply Gonzo. I'm thinking about coastal day sails, with perhaps the odd overnight, certainly nothing more than that for now. I'm definitely not an experienced boat builder but I am an experienced carpenter - I reckon I could figure it all out with a bit of help from YouTube and forums. In terms of the boat size, I don't think I have enough experience to say for sure but from what I've read, the 27-foot seems right in the ball park for the type of sailing I'm hoping to do.
     
  4. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    I briefly looked at the link.
    The style is definitely dated. But if it is to your taste...

    The plans have sufficient instructions for a skilled amateur.

    I strongly suggest building a small scale model first. It will teach you how to "loft" it up.
     
  5. Milehog
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Milehog Clever Quip

    Hello, Eigersa. Welcome to the forum.
    I've been down the boat build on a tight budget road. I found free plans and proceeded from there.
    It turns out plans are the absolute last place to be cheap. I did not save any of my meager funds but instead threw them and my considerable labor away. Don't be that guy.
    Modern plans using construction materials actually available now and modern, efficient methods will save money, time and greatly increase your chances of actually finishing the job.
    The time-tested advice to build a dinghy or other small boat using the techniques your destination boat uses actually saves time, money and yields a higher quality final boat in the long run.
     
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  6. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Hi Sheldon,
    Even though you are an accomplished carpenter, I think that a monetary investment in more 'modern' plans would be well worth while.
    Have a look at the three designs by Sam Devlin in the links below - the larger ones are very similar in many ways to the Starflite concept.

    Arctic Tern 23 | Devlin Designing Boat Builders https://devlinboat.com/arctic-tern-23/

    Onyx 28 | Devlin Designing Boat Builders https://devlinboat.com/onyx-28/

    Means of Grace 28 | Devlin Designing Boat Builders https://devlinboat.com/means-of-grace-28/

    Full construction plans for Onyx cost around US$ 300, and about $400 for Means of Grace - and this cost will be a tiny fraction of the cost of building the boat.
     
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  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    I would have to agree with Gonzo and the others, get a much more uptodate set of plans. I swear I saw that same set of plans when I was a teenager and I'm now 77. The list Bajan posted is very good. Devlin designs are up to date and use modern construction methods, and they provide support if you have questions.

    Also, Bateau.com has boat plans in the length range you are looking for . heres the link
    Sail Boat Plans above 21' - Boat Builder Central https://www.boatbuildercentral.com/product-category/boat-plans/sail-boat-plans/sail-boat-plans-above-21/
     
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  8. Eigersa
    Joined: Nov 2022
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    Location: Durban, South Africa

    Eigersa Junior Member

    Thanks for the advice Blueknarr - that is certainly something I'll do first; I'm in no rush.
     
  9. Eigersa
    Joined: Nov 2022
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    Location: Durban, South Africa

    Eigersa Junior Member

    Hi Milehog, and thanks foe the welcome

    I appreciate your advice. My thinking was that for a first build, I would rather go the "budget friendly" route - if I find the project too overwhelming or life gets in the way at least it wont hurt the wallet as much - but I get what you're saying.
     
  10. Eigersa
    Joined: Nov 2022
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    Location: Durban, South Africa

    Eigersa Junior Member

    Thanks Bajansailor! I appreciate the links, I have bookmarked them so I can give it a bit more thought. Appreciate the advice!
     
  11. Eigersa
    Joined: Nov 2022
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    Location: Durban, South Africa

    Eigersa Junior Member

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and I appreciate the link. It is very likely you did the same plans when you were a teenager; they are certainly dated (no disrespect to you, I'm implying you're dated!). The Vagabond 26 looks just the ticket.
     
  12. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    But that is just it - the odds are that you will find the plans for the Starlite to be much more overwhelming than a very detailed and more modern set of plans that will not require lofting.
    The cost of the plans might typically be 1% (or less) of the cost of the build, so it is well worthwhile starting off with the 'best' plans that you can find, that appeal to you.
     
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  13. Milehog
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Milehog Clever Quip

    Even for a small, budget friendly first boat you want competent plans, not something thrown together to sell magazines back when that was a common thing.
    Duckworks has a lot of simple designs for a good price, take a look.
    Boat Builder Central... I have heard but not confirmed that customers can no longer count on support and the plans themselves can have issues. Please, do not take this as gospel but look into it yourself if you are attracted to one of their plans.
     
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  14. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    The advice above is the best advice you will get.
    Modern designed boats supported by the designer will be cheapest when you finish the boat.
    Modern plans probably will make a boat worth more when and if you sell.
    Do not try to "improve" the boat or make it "stronger". You are paying for good advice by buying, don't introduce your ideas which have no practical experience to justify them.

    My attempts at improvement on much simpler boats has universally resulted in a worse boat.
    And I am a retired mechanical engineer, who "should" have known better.

    Have fun with your quest. I also support building a 15' to 18' day-sailor to start. Carpentry is not boat building. But it is a great start which many people don't have. :)
     
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  15. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Rumars Senior Member

    This site actually hosts a perfectly good, relatively modern and absolutely free plan for a multichine plywood yacht. KAVALIER 800 Designed by Albert Nazarov, Maxim Kovalyov, Dmitry Dolinsky https://www.boatdesign.net/nyd/K800/

    There are plenty of cheap plans around, for example this 30ft yacht from a living designer costs is 95$ (~1700ZAR)and comes with versions for lapstrake ply, cold molded and strip, 130 plan sheets and 7 books of instructions. Whistock Boats and Boat Plans – Design 067 https://whisstock.com/page_02.php?page_id=2.4.3&design=067

    As for exchange rate and all that, just do it the old fashioned way, tape a Krugerrand to a Christmas card and send it in a padded envelope.
     
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