In Dire Need of Advice on Build Location

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by CatBuilder, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I run another forum for cruisers, but I'm on this forum because I'm back on land to build a cat after several years "out there" on monohulls and a cat.

    Anyway, my most difficult challenge has been finding a place to build a boat. :confused: :confused:

    I've been going at it full time (no other job) for 3 weeks now and still have NOTHING to show for it.

    I'm building a 45' cat with a 25' beam.

    I've looked at the 3 following scenarios:

    1) Rent a warehouse with 26' doors (rare!) to build away from the water and truck the boat to the water a few miles away.

    Problems: There are very few places you can move a 25' beam boat in New England to the water. I did find one company that could move it from a very specific area, 3 miles to a boat ramp. Cost? $10,000!!!! Just to move the boat!

    2) Rent a smaller warehouse away from the water to build the boat in sections. Build a hull, throw it outside, build another hull, throw it outside.

    Problems: Have to pay the designer an extra $1000 to devise an approach to this type of sectional build. Also, the cost of trucking several (4) sections to a marina for final assembly, then renting out space for that assembly at a marina is very high. Also, it will take much longer to do it this way and is far more complicated.

    3) Rent some land at a marina (or other land right on the water where a crane can put the boat in) and put up a large tent or temporary building.

    Problems: I need to work all year 'round, every day, 8-12 hours a day in order to keep the rent charges down to be able to afford the build. If I take more than 12-18 months to build the boat (not including interior or joinery, just the hull, rudders, nav lights and bulkheads for launch), then I won't be able to afford the build. So... I need to somehow heat the 30' x 60' tent in the winter months in New England. No clue how to do this economically, given that the tent itself is $6000.

    4) Rent out a space with large doors on the marina.

    Problems: Impossible to find unless you are a marina. Marinas won't rent them out because they don't want to "take a risk" on my build.

    Does anyone have any ideas? I'm really having a hard time with this. I've budgeted everything out for the build, I have my materials ready on order, I have my plans coming in, I'm just stuck on how/where to build a boat in New England.

    Other choices of build locations were New England and FL. I'm scared of FL due to hurricanes because I'll lose my life's savings if my boat is wrecked mid-build. So... I have to build away from hurricanes.

    Any input from some of you experienced people would be great. Even if you don't have experience with building locations, but have some out of the box thinking to share, please post. I could use all the creative ideas I can get. The only thing between me and my build now is a suitable (and affordable) location. HELP!!!:?: :confused: :confused:

  2. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    You, my friend have a problem. I see no answer except to devise a system where the 2 sponsons are indepent of each other and the center core comes in sections all pre-built. The cross ties have to be removaable so a bolting system of connections has to be devised. the core sections bust rest on the cross ties and be bolted down. You first build the 2 sponsons then the core units including roofing then you move to the water and assemble. 25" is a nightmare to get permits to move if you can even get them. The easy way would be if you can build it in 2-12.5' x 48' sections with all structural connections at the midline.

    More detail on the build, materials, layout, etc. will help us to try to generate some ideas for you. It might be a good plan if you ever have to ship it somewhere for repairs or to the west coast.
  3. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Thanks for the reply, Rasorinc. I think I mentioned your approach (modular construction) on scenario #3 above. The cost of trucking lots of parts to a marina for assembly, then renting out marina space for assembling the cat is about what the cost of trucking the whole boat is. Trucking seems to be a huge problem, in general no matter if I'm in sections or if I'm going a short distance at 25' wide.

    The designer is willing to help out on modular construction, but I'm wondering if I'm missing any other boat building locations or ways to do this that I haven't listed.

    Modular construction is last on my list because it costs so much more in terms of both time and money.
  4. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    See if there is a small to medium shipyard on the water in your area and try to rent some space from them. Not tons of boatbuilding going on now. Offer them decent rent and supply them with an insurance policy naming them.
  5. GDFL
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: Guntersville, AL

    GDFL Junior Member

    With the rather severe economic slowdown, you would think that there would be some cheap industrial warehousing on or very near the water somewhere close by. The climate control part is going to be a BIG issue to overcome. Heating even an insulated warehouse is very expensive. Is there anything keeping you so far north? Why not look in the Carolinas or Georgia? I know for a fact that several small boatyards in Louisiana have folded. There have to be dozens of empty buildings that you could negotiate a lease on so that the owner gets some money rather than none.
  6. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    GDFL: it just might come to that. But... building down South means leaving my wife during the build. She needs to be near wealthy, metropolitan areas to earn a living - a living which supports our boat building at this time. It's a sticky situation all around.
  7. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Why not look into a yacht club instead of a marina. I keep my boat at a club here in upstate NY. While I've been restoring over the past few years I have not actually joined the club. While not a member I've paid my yard charges promptly and have have year round access to my boat. Power is available all year and water when ambient temps are above freezing. I've worked under a well thought out and 100% waterproof "tent" arrangement 30' X 15'. You may need more controlled climate conditions but this arrangement worked for me. The club also likes the money and likes having someone in the yard in the cold weather as I keep an eye on things.

  8. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Well, CB, this does put you in a bit of a pickle.

    Oversize load costs seem to be exponential with width- 10' beam is easy, 12' doable, but 25' could mean closing roads, moving lamp posts and propping up hydro lines to get you around corners. Around here, certainly, I wouldn't consider building such a large vessel away from the water.

    Building in a different area is evidently only feasible if your wife can work there- if you can't be together during the build, the boat will put a tremendous strain on the relationship.

    The temporary building (tent) at the marina- this seems to be a common option in warmer places, but in New England, you'd need a heater eight months of the year. Epoxy and paint don't like the cold any more than your fingers do.

    What I would be tempted to do in your case would be to break down the build. Not by modularizing the boat- that's evidently a real pain with this design. But you can modularize the workflow. Use your garage or a small, inland shop and build a piece at a time- start with any custom hardware, then cut out the bulkheads and do all the finicky work on them, now move on to segments of furniture (left a bit large where they'll be trimmed to suit the final hull). Then, when you've done everything that can possibly be done without the actual hull, rent your (excessively costly) shed or tent near the water, build the hull, get the furniture into it, paint it, install the engines, and launch. The systems can then be finished up once she's afloat.

    It sounds weird- but really, it's not far off how cars and production boats are built. Everything's done piecewise in advance, and the final assembly then goes very quickly. But doing things this way takes far more planning (and accuracy) than some amateur builders can muster, and it's not likely to "feel like progress" if you don't have your hull until near the end.
  9. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member

    Hi Catbuilder, I had the same problem so I built a nice shed, I also looked at some space at a local airfield- the hangers have nice wide doors & if near a river all the better. Regards from Jeff.

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  10. SeaJay
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Sacramento

    SeaJay Senior Member

    I had a similar problem. It had been 30+ years since my last build and I was completely unprepared for the lack of cheap space "down by the docks". Now it is all high end condos and office space. I was close to panic but did manage to find an old barn after more than a year of looking. However, I'm building a monohull with a 14' beam so transport is not nearly the problem you have with the cat.

    My suggestion would be to get somewhere warm and cheap. If you're worried about hurricanes, get inland on a major river. Take the money you'll save on transport, rent, and heat and spend it on plane tickets for you and your wife to commute back and forth. I'll bet if you run the numbers you'll come out way ahead. I'll bet if you looked in someplace like Shreveport LA you could find something reasonable.
  11. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    Up here in the economically depressed state of Maine, I know of some river facilities. Here, rent might be more managable.
  12. rugludallur
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Iceland

    rugludallur Rugludallur

    Might be possible to transport it on it's side (90°)

    If you have someone that can do a bit of welding you might be able to get a rear axle or two from an old truck and make a custom trailer with supports so you can transport the cat at a 90° angle, this way you should be able to build inland as long as your beam is less than the clearance under any bridge/powerline it should be fine.

    I would think the material cost should not exceed $1000-2000 total and the trailer could double as a strongback to build the boat on.

  13. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I've all but pulled the trigger on this advice.

    I've found plenty of cheaper spaces down south. My mistake was trying to build in New England.

    You're right on with using plane tickets with the saved money to fly to meet the wife. Great advice!!

  14. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Alan, do you know of any facilities?

    Being in Maine would allow me to see my wife a lot more often. It's still preferable. Would you mind referring me to the spaces you are talking about?

    Thank you
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