Hello from Panama

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by niko_panama, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. niko_panama
    Joined: Apr 2018
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Panama

    niko_panama New Member

    Hi everybody,

    I am an Austrian living in Guna Yala, which is a autonomous indigenous area of Panama. It consists of about 400 islands, so boats are an big issue.
    People here used to build dugouts and started to motorize them with outboards (yamaha 2-strokes) but since about 10 years they are buying fiberglass boats to transport tourists to the beautiful islands.

    My wife (she is also Guna) and me are developing a very small island to be able to accommodate tourists and we of course have a boat for transportation.
    It is a 27ft fiberglass panga and i am repairing it since a few months. The whole repairing process is really time and nerve consuming and its not really going great. There are no professional fiberglass-workers here, so I had to do it by myself.
    No workshops. no professional equipment. working on the beach. fighting with the elements.

    That brought me to really not being happy about fibreglass at all and I am thinking of building my next boat by myself from aluminium. A good friend here is a professional welder and we have some of the equipment ready, but no experience about aluminium boat design and building.

    My idea is to buy a plan from for expample glen-l.com or bruce roberts, read books and getting hands on the project but before I have some questions:

    1. I don't need a fancy interior, nor deck nor console. really what we need is a good hull and some benches to sit on and a little storage cabin in the front. as light as possible and safe to maneuver for up to 15 tourists. We don't use motors bigger than 100hp and the sea gets quite choppy between the islands (up to 8ft low period wind waves). I had my eye on this Boat plan Roberts Coastworker 25 fishing work boat http://www.bruceroberts.com/public/HTML/descriptions/Coastworker25_description.htm
    or this 23' Barracuda AL- center console sportfisher-boatdesign http://www.boatdesigns.com/23-Barracuda-AL-center-console-sportfisher/products/777/
    or even this 22' Wildcat E-X-T Sport - power catamaran-boatdesign http://www.boatdesigns.com/22-Wildcat-E-X-T-Sport-power-catamaran/products/903/
    Any suggestions?

    2. The boats usually stay in the water all around the year, so does this work with aluminium boats?

    3. our equipment consists of a mig and tig miller-welding machine (xmt 350) and a big miller air-pak 600A from 1990 and a miller manual plasma cutter. what else would we need?

    4. we get 5052 sheet and plate in 8x4 or 8x10 ft and some angles and tubes in 6063. is that enough or would we need to import something else.

    A lot of questions I know and if I should post them in other forums I will do so, but I wanted to start somewhere;).
    I can't respond very fast, because i use only a smartphone for internet-surfing which is a p-i-a for writing text.
    Thanks in advance and greetings from Panama
  2. ImaginaryNumber
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 435
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    Location: USA

    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    Hello Niko,

    Welcome to BoatDesign.net.

    Your question might get a better response in the Metal Boat Building sub-forum.

    Boat Design Forums -> Boatbuilding -> Metal Boat Building

    You could repost your question there, but I'll flag your post to the BD moderator, and he may move this thread to the Metal Boat Building sub-forum.

  3. Boat Design Net Moderator
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Location: www.boatdesign.net

    Boat Design Net Moderator Moderator

    <thread moved>
  4. niko_panama
    Joined: Apr 2018
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Panama

    niko_panama New Member

    Any suggestions or ideas on my project? It would be great to enter your boatbuilding world. I am used to forums so you dont have to treat me with white gloves ;)
  5. fijiboats
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 4
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: fiji islands

    fijiboats New Member

    Hi Niko. A little late in responding, I think. I'm in Fiji and have been designing and building aluminium boats as a business for over 30 years. I'll just give you a couple of pearls of wisdom.... You can build an aluminium boat out there but chose a covered area with a decent floor. Forget the beach. (Been there done that) Aluminium welding doesn't like the wind and rain. Make sure your welder is up to the task of welding aluminium as this is different to any other type of welding and is absolutely crucial if you want to avoid endless repairing of poor workmanship. You need to build from a plan. Make sure the bottom is put together nicely because that's your base and everything else is relying on it being straight and square. Finally don't get smart. Keep it simple like an open boat around 9mtr so that you can get the number of tourists in to make it financially worth while. Also it will be long enough to cope with a bit of rough weather. Put 2 engines on the back just in case one gives up. Don't get caught up with all the nonsense talked about how difficult it all is. If you've got common sense you can do it! Best of luck. Meantime, have a look at some of my boats on http://fijiboats.weebly.com
  6. goodwilltoall
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 844
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    Location: nation of Ohio

    goodwilltoall Senior Member

    Fijiboats, being at Fiji must make aluminium expensive to aquire, as well as other components

  7. fijiboats
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 4
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: fiji islands

    fijiboats New Member

    We have to import everything for our industry. We use Singapore and China most of all. Our population is around 800,000 people so the local boat buying market is restricted. So are the skills required. But it makes for a unique .... what's the expression?....challenging work environment!
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