From idea to build

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by zpaddyz, Dec 1, 2022.

  1. zpaddyz
    Joined: Sep 2022
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    Location: UK

    zpaddyz New Member

    Hello my friends
    I new to this forum and I looking forward to expand and hopefully also share my knowlage in boat design and building.

    I have the idea of building my boats and startred working on the concept.
    My question is what is the lifecycle of a boat starting from the idea up to the build?
    Who to aproach at each stage, how to plan the production, what costas to expect and how to calculate them?

    The boat I have in my mind would be a 13ft flat water skiff powerd by a small outboard or pole/paddle

    Thank you for your replays
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Paddy.

    Are you thinking about building boats commercially, to sell, and hopefully make a profit by doing so?
    Re your questions, I think that the best thing you can do is to buy a set of plans for a 13' flat water skiff that you like, and start to build it.
    And you will find your answers along the way.
    Keep notes of the process - including the amount of time and money invested - and at the end you should be able to then decide on a selling price if you want to build these skiffs commercially.

    I think that you will also have to satisfy various standards in the UK, re the RCD ?
  3. zpaddyz
    Joined: Sep 2022
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    Location: UK

    zpaddyz New Member

    Hi bajansailor,
    Thank you for your reply.
    Yes, the idea is to build commercially and hopefully make profit out of it.
    I have a design in mind that I have not come across yet, therefore buying ready plans would not be possible. It would have to start from scratch. I'm working on the concept, but I'm a mechanical designer not a naval architect and new to the boat building industry.
    I like to find the right approach and gather as much as possible information about the process in advance.
    Having a rough idea of the costs would also be beneficial as it would help to prepare the business plan more accurate.

    I realise it has to meed certain standarts, but what is RCD?
  4. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Have you come up with even some rough sketches so far re the design that you have in mind?
    If you post them on here, then the collective wisdom of the Forum will (I am sure) be able to help you to develop the design.
    Or is it so radical and innovative that you are worried that somebody might steal your ideas?

    What material do you intend to build these skiffs with - fibreglass, plywood, perhaps even aluminium? Nobody can give you even a rough idea of 'costs' without a lot more information being provided.

    Do you intend to build these skiffs in Britain, and sell them there and in Europe?
    Be aware that there is a LOT of competition by other builders for small craft like this.
    If yes, you will have to comply with the RCD - some info below.
    Google Recreational Craft Directive for a lot more info on the subject.
    Recreational Craft Directive - British Marine
  5. clmanges
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    Location: Ohio

    clmanges Senior Member

    I'm surprised. I expected one of the first replies to mention SOR and design spiral.
    alan craig likes this.
  6. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    Questions you should ask yourself:
    Why will customers want to buy you boat?
    How will customers perceive it as being different from other available boats?
    Who are the primary competition in the market place?
    How price sensitive are the customers?
    Will you compete on price or design/features?
    What is the potential market size? How much confidence is there in the answer?
    How well do you know the potential market?
    How much time do you have to spend on this project?
    How will this project be prioritized relative to your job/career, spouse/partner/family, relationships with friends, other interests, etc.
    In North America most small boats are built by relatively high volume builders who have optimized production methods and who can purchase supplies in large volume at advantageous prices. The production methods they use can require significant investment. It is very difficult for a small builder to directly compete with these builders.

    There are also small builders who typically supply relatively local markets or have a niche product. My impression is these builders range from making a reasonable income to barely profitable. Many have a separate income and/or a supportive partner/spouse.
    bajansailor likes this.
  7. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Rumars Senior Member

    There are three sides to this equation, technical, business and legal, and while they are intertwined, for clarity sake I am going to treat them separately.

    The technical side concerns developing a product. It goes roughly as follows, you draw a pretty picture of a boat, then you do all the necessary calculations for it to float and not break, then you optimize construction according to the chosen building method, then you develop all the necessary support material for the build. Typically the client draws the pretty picture, an NA does the calculations, then the NA discusses the build with a production engineer from the chosen yard/factory and one of them then does the technical package for production (detail drawings, mold production drawings, if applicable CNC cutting files, etc.).

    The business side is financing (you bleed money well after you start selling the first boats), distribution chain, marketing, etc. It's no different from any other business plan in manufacturing, you need to know when you will be profitable and enough money to see you to that point.

    The legal side concerns market regulations, for example being able to issue hull identification numbers, compliance to local law (UK certification, CE certification), if applicable import regulations, and all the contracts between the involved parties.

    Examples of intertwining: if the RCD applies the engineering needs to be done to certain standards and certified, wich will affect final price. If an existing company agrees to build your boat for a set price, the engineering needs to match their technical capabilities and you need the money to pay them. Marketing can decide that a certain finish or building material will make the boat more sellable, so even if there is a cheaper option you are forced to not use it.

    In all of this aspects you can choose to do the work yourself (research and learning), or hire outside help. How long it takes depends on how much skill and money you bring to the table. Usually you would draw the boat and have a set of scantlings done for a common building technique and to a certain legal standard. You can hire a NA for it, or learn to do it yourself. This stage is usually financed from your own pocket.
    Then you find a builder and discuss pricing, including options for redesign (for example you draw the boat with individual foam cored stringers but the yard says that for that volume it's cheaper to do a one piece liner). Or you can start your own building company to do it how you like it. This is where the business plan comes in, you need money to start producing, and this usually comes from banks or other investors.
    Last stage is selling and hopefully making some money.
    bajansailor likes this.

  8. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    Plus one for Rumars reply. ^ No.... make that plus two.
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