Good places in the US for building a cat

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Theo83, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. Theo83
    Joined: Jan 2016
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    Location: Utah

    Theo83 New Member

    I grew up living and working on boats. I was raised by my great grandfather who was a naval architect, so i spent a considerable part of my youth on boats and at boat yards working on various projects. Instead of going to high school, my teenage years were spent fishing in the Aegean with my father on a Greek Kahiki.

    3 years ago I moved the from UK to Utah for work reasons with my two daughters (aged 9 and 12). I couldn't really get much further away from the ocean, and the time has finally come to get back to it and humidity. Although i need to stay in the US for visa reasons, i'm lucky that i can work from anywhere.

    I've spent too many years working 100+ hour weeks, and over the last year decided the time has come to get back to being on the ocean - or at least move my life in that direction and travel the world with my girls like i did. The problem now of course, is the boat itself.

    I've got a reasonable amount of disposable income, but not enough capital to buy a boat that i'd be happy with outright. Although it will be at least a few years until i have sufficient savings to complete or buy a boat outright, i'd like to start sooner and work in smaller chunks, which will also allow me to spend time working on it as I feel like, and outsource the rest.

    So, now you've got some background, other than any general feedback or advice from people who might have set out on a similar quest my question is: where would you recommend I look at moving to execute on this plan most effectively? Somewhere with easy ocean access, cheap rental space, and an easy way to move the hull to the water and a marina or other place to store it nearby. Access to good skills/materials for helping to build, and weather that is reasonable and preferable for fibre glass!
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    Building new is a lot more costly (2 - 4 times as much) as finding a well used, formerly loved production boat and re-equipping to suit your needs.

    Places with easy ocean access and cheap rental spaces don't really exist - they know what they have and charge for it. The gulf coast will be the cheapest, but access to quality labor and services will be limited. Some areas on the east coast will be fairly good in all regards, but the closer to major metropolitan areas, the higher the rates for everything. Nothing in southern California, maybe Oregon and Washington.

    It sounds like you're try to hit a home run, when a single will do. A suitable building site, away from the marinas and high rent districts, will be much easier to find. When the boat's done, you can truck it to a marine and travel lift it in. Lots of industrial areas will satisfy this need. Materials can be purchased online and shipped, skilled help is always costly and weather is pretty subjective. Inside a building, you can arrange controls at those times you need to paint or laminate.
     
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Firstly, if your budget is limited, a used boat will cost you a lot less. The loan payments will be less than buying materials as you go, and you get to go sailing right away.
     
  4. Theo83
    Joined: Jan 2016
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    Theo83 New Member

    Thanks for the feedback, and the welcome!

    These are the areas my ignorance really comes in. I was (perhaps naively) assuming transporting something with a twenty-something foot beam is going to be very expensive, although how much vs the cost of increased costs for space near somewhere i can put it straight into the water would be great to have a handle on. Do you know any resources i could use to guestimate costs per mile for different parts of the country and sizes?

    My budget isn't significantly limited. I can reasonably expect to invest $80k/year into something. I've spent a lot of time looking at production boats and have chartered a few, and prefer to self-build to avoid the hidden surprises, be of a quality i'm happy with, and enjoy the process. For me, it's not a race to get to sea - i'd like to in the next 5 years, but the fun is in the journey, including building something from scratch.

    re loans - i've managed to spend my whole life not taking on any debt except car lease; i'd prefer to keep it that way. Even if i did want to take out a loan rather than withdraw from 401k or other investments, my visa situation generally would limit me from that option :)

    Again, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Transport from a building site is a one time deal and usually the only practical way, unless you happen to have a warehouse, on a Florida beach that's got nothing better going for it. I have 10K sq. ft. building on a canal off the ICW near Daytona, but I've had it for decades, long before the rates in the area made it impossible, except for corporate interests to purchase. It's a marine industrial area, so rates are relatively low and I can bang on stuff or stink things up, without folks getting upset.

    What size and type boat are you thinking about building? What building experience do you have? Why do you think you need a boat of this size?
     
  6. Theo83
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    Theo83 New Member

    Thanks - This is exactly the sort of info i was hoping to find hints on (although rent instead of purchase). I'd know exactly where to look in the UK (Southampton, Portsmouth, Plymouth, etc), but here in the US no idea at all. Great to know about Daytona having a marine industrial area.

    Probably somewhere 40 to 45 ft. I lived and cruised on a 34 ft catamaran for 5 years (Catalac), a 40ft (custom) for 2 years. Since i moved ashore I've spent short periods of time (weeks) on lagoon 40, 45, and a 52, and the last year on a Leopard 48 and Mahe (thirty something). I've also spent a fair amount of time cruising a Cutter and a few trips here and there with friends around Europe on a bunch of monohulls. In addition to spending real time on the water with all of these, i've spent many days looking around various options in the UK and US boat shows.

    My kids mother doesn't live with me and our two daughters (i have custody), so in addition to the kids own spaces, will be bringing a nanny/tutor along with us who will need their own space, as well as somewhere for me to work.

    Living on boats for much of my youth and when I was back on land spending my holidays and weekends at boat yards gave me a good grasp of what is involved, although i'd firstly not classify myself in any way as an expert in all of the prequisite skills, and secondly hopefully know somewhat enough to know what i don't know.

    But, nothing from scratch i've been directly responsible for from start to finish bigger than sailing dinghies (wood and fibreglass) as a kid. I've spent 2 full (long, hard) months in my teenage years working on fiberglass construction, and labour on a traditional greek fishing boat (wood). I've certainly done my fair share of fiberglass repair, too - although all of this was 15+ years ago, so it's all changed by now... i've never done anything vaccum.

    Rigging I know nothing more than your average weekend sailor about - useless at anything except sail repair, but plenty of experience with interior wood/fabric/plumbing, electronics, mechanical, and steering systems. Give me a bare hull and i'll be away.

    The hull is going to be the learning curve for me and something i want to get more confidence with before i actually undertake it (and, worst case, outsource).

    For the last decade i've pretty much always had a monstrous project underway in my life (normally at work) that spans multiple years and i pour thousand of hours a year into. My most recent project which wrapped up a couple of months ago I logged over 9000 hours on in just over two years. The plan is to not put so much love into my work, and more into this project, instead.

    I'd like to stress that (i like to think) i hopefully know what i'm getting into. I know i could easily expect 10k hours on this, that i could easily spend $400k on the boat, and even more if i can't dedicate as much time as i plan to. I also know those numbers could be double what i expect them to be :)
     
  7. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Theo,

    The realit is that building will cost more than a good used boat, so unless you are building because you either can't find what you want, or prefer the building to the using it is a poor plan.

    For $80k a year you could afford the mortgage on a very nice newish 45' Cat. With room to spare. I am not sure why you feel the need to build with your budget.
     
  8. Theo83
    Joined: Jan 2016
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    Theo83 New Member

    In addition to my previous comments about a credit (aka mortgage) being out of the question because of my visa status, i should probably also add i can't actually move onto the water and travel until one year after my green card comes through - again, due to my visa. Given the current green card wait times, i do not expect that to be in the next 5 years unless i'm super lucky.
     
  9. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If you can put $80K aside a year, wait three years and buy a boat outright.
     
  10. gypsy28
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Location: NSW Australia

    gypsy28 Senior Member

    Maybe we should change the forums name to boatbuying.net :rolleyes:
     
  11. Ebeneezer
    Joined: Jan 2016
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    Location: Nanaimo bc

    Ebeneezer Junior Member

    I keep my cat at Green cove springs in Florida, a great cheap place to work on and build a catamaran. There is even an empty 30x60 coverall building recently vacated by a cat builder.
     
  12. Ebeneezer
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    Ebeneezer Junior Member

    The yard is Reynolds park yacht center
     
  13. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: The Land of Lost Content

    hoytedow Fly on the Wall - Miss ddt yet?

    Yep, its right there near the north end of Bulkhead Drive.
     
  14. bluebox3000
    Joined: Sep 2013
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    Location: Freehold, NJ

    bluebox3000 Junior Member

    As for locations when you are looking for cheap land/buildings/labor in the US I would be looking inland close to the big rivers and in the south. You may not find much boat building experience, but I doubt you would find much of that anywhere in the US, but you may find some good fiberglass people at a reasonable rate.

    If you look at the Inland Waterways yo see it take you along many towns and cities, some rather depressed where you would have a lot lower cost than on the coast. Coastal wise I would be looking at the Gulf of Mexico ( I have been looking at Texas myself)...
     

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

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana coasts, will have better rates than Florida or Texas. These areas were hit hard with the BP oil spill disaster and generally have depressed economies comparatively, so lots of buildings and land that's sitting, doing nothing. You can pick up a deal or just approach the owner about covering his taxes for a few years, while to maintain and use the property. I did this years ago, building a Spray replica and the owner had a run down property that need some help. A few hours each month I'd clean up the grass, toss on some paint and generally make it look like the property was showing signs of improvement, while I'll used the building, loading dock and other facilities. When I left, the property was valued higher, because of the very modest things I did and it was a win/win for he and I.
     
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