Lifelong dream plans L.F. Herreshoff/Cherubini44 lines

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by freeh612, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. JCherubini2
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    JCherubini2 DianaOfBurlington

    Cherubini on Cherubini

    I hesitated before adding my two cents to this fray, but....

    When the C44 was in regular production (c.1976-1990), we made 4-6 boats per year with 15-20 people in the shop, two or three hulls under way at once. The time estimates were about 8,000-10,000 man-hours per finished boat. Each project was under way for about 6 months at a time-- later this increased to 8-9 months as the staff was reduced. This time figure is exclusive of purely-custom features, such as the raised-paneled bulkheads and modifications to rig, deck, layout and powerplants.

    C44 hull number 34, known as Elysium and launched in 2008, took two years in construction but the time estimates (including some special features) probably total about 10,000-12,000 hours. Speaking as one who has seen these boats come and go all his life, I would estimate that the construction time could be tapered down to 6,000-8,000 hours (in fact it's been a goal of mine to demonstrate this) without sacrificing quality. Typically most of the labor comes during the last 15% of the project, the 'nth degree' of fit and finish that, with better foresight and planning, could be easily minimized towards efficiency.

    It is a plain fact that the higher the degree of customization, the higher the cost and the longer to the time to completion. The higher the level of completion to which the product can be brought before custom elements must be included, the less cost and time will be imposed on the budget and schedule. This may sound like a no-brainer (and it is); but historically Cherubini Boat tended to allow too much customization too early on-- to bulkhead locations, sole heights, engine location, prop configuration, and (most ghastly of all) the rig-- the effect of which is a major detrimental impact on reasonable time and cost forecasts. Had I been older at the time, maybe my uncles and father would have listened to what now sounds like only common sense. But, Frit was what he was; though it's down to him that the darned boats ever got built at all.

    BTW-- The Spitfire boat is at best a very good copy. The incarnation of Cherubini Boat Company which provided the plans to Jespersen's was, in fact, not in possession of the true lines of the boat as designed by my dad in 1948-1971. This is because the actual builder's plans were (and remain) in my possession. From the first photos I saw of Spitfire I could tell at once that the hull had been modified; the ends appear fuller (or fatter) and the beam even looks increased. The designer (who authored the article) claimed he sought some 'improvements' to what most of us would agree may be the most perfect hull shape ever actually produced. (While we're at it, maybe we should 'improve' a Jaguar E-Type, a '63 Riviera or a Ferrari Daytona Spyder too.) From the tone of the article, I suspect that Spitfire's designer had shied away from some of the extraordinary leanness of the Cherubini 44 design as had so many prospective customers (and dealers) in the past.

    I came away from the less-than-flattering article with the opinion that people are often awkwardly timid facing something that, taken at its purest, purports to set most 'common wisdom' on its ear. Neverthess, all theory, design and empirical evidence suggest that the C44 is exactly what it claims itself to be: a fast, seakindly, high-performance cruising boat... and never mind what your boat-design iPhone app says its hull speed (aka 'top speed' to those who don't know better) *has to* be; for the C44, in fact, exceeds that arbitrary figure regularly and substantially. ;)

    J Cherubini II
    H25 Diana, Burlington NJ
    boat blog :
  2. Baltic Bandit

    Baltic Bandit Previous Member

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. Question, how much automated milling of things like bulkheads and cabinetry did you do? Because it strikes me that with a good gantry based CNC you might reduce a fair amount of the fit and finish work even with things like customized bulkheads.

    was in love with that boat the first time I saw her at a boat show 1980 I think

    Also question on your restoration. My parents bought a Hunter 25 in 1978. but it was used. the hull lines and interior look a lot like the one your dad designed, but ours had a "pop top" cabin allowing standing room in the main cabin when at anchor or in fair wind sailing. Is there any connection?
  3. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    Having worked as a Production Manager and a Project Manager on many high end projects, I feel I am in a position to point out a few misunderstandings here.
    I know Tads background and know that he has considerable experience in these things so I have respect for his understanding of these numbers. However, I must say that having come from the custom side of things, I am skeptical that when talking to an amateur with no experience that wants to design, build the mold, and then build and outfit a boat like the Cherubini, that man hour numbers are even estimable.
    I know that while acting as Production Manager of a quite expensive semi-custom power yacht I learned that when three boats are built side by side the third boat is basically labor free. I won't bore you with all the details of why but with a pro crew and intelligent planning, the hours are reduced to a startlingly small number relative a custom build. Then there are the issues of engineering and design skills, craftsmen skill level, materials and parts management, work space design and maintenance, and constant pressure of meeting financial burdens that all affect the final man hour figures. Therefore these calculations mean nothing to an amateur, particularly when considering the monstrous job the OP has proposed.

    I still stand by my assertion that for a beginner (and I am making assumptions about his skill level) of the OPs skills, that IF he expects at the end of his exertions to own a Cherubini quality yacht via the method he describes, he is looking at 25 years of his life. He may hire out part of this work and see considerable time savings at greater financial costs but to give someone that can't possibly conceive of the complexity of what he is taking on a real picture, I feel it is only fair to give them real numbers.
    Obviously it is far more sensible for him to go and buy a used boat and get on with having fun. Doesn't it seem kinder to explain why that is?
    Granted there are guys that can and have succeeded at this sort of thing, but those characters usually ask very different questions than the OP.

    Finally just let me say that I do encourage people to try their hand at the fun of building their own boat. I am probably as much a cheerleader as any when someone shows a real and realistic interest in doing it.

    OK..I won't harp on it any more.
  4. motorbike
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    motorbike Senior Member

    Thanks for the enlightening but not unexpected comments regarding production times. I feel that in threads like these that some basic answers
    should be demanded from the OP before wasting a great deal of energy answering rhetorical questions.

    The basics are budget and resources. In an earlier post I mentioned at least 500k to fund the project and that's light but nonetheless a healthy start. The fact that this OP wants to copy the lines, (not pay his dues) build a complex luxury yacht that weighs (guessing)15 tons of fine workmanship in a time frame that wont result in a lonely old man, shows that he simply does not know whats involved.

    I suggest he build a traditional lapstrake open boat of about 18ft, steamed ribs, copper rivets etc and see how he gets on. I think he will be shocked at the time commitment to get a good finish. If he is successful at that, he may well realise the true cost of building by himself. Because the Cherubini will be far far more difficult and expensive on every level. That not even taking into consideration the personal cost (time)

    Yes it can be done but he needs money and lots of it!
  5. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    So, taking the upper figure and multiplying it by my usual amateur hour inefficiency factor for anything you do the first time, somewhere between 3 and 4, that comes to a best time of 30,000 hours and a worst time of 40,000 hours for a person who's never built a boat before, working alone.

    I think I'd be reading the sale ads very closely.....

    However I suspect the OP has left the forum so we're all just talking to each other now.

  6. JCherubini2
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    JCherubini2 DianaOfBurlington

    That might have been easily done; but the bulk of C44 production predated the availability and affordability of that technology. If ever I have the chance to reintroduce this boat, I will implement every measure for standardization and efficiency humanly possible. Seems there should be more of these boats in the world, reasonably modernized whilst remaining true to the original idea.

    * * *
  7. JCherubini2
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    JCherubini2 DianaOfBurlington

    Yes, Bandit; they are the same boat with an alternate cabin. I happen to have preferred the wrap-around coaming of the original semi-flush-deck one (maybe just because of being a purist) which we called the 'blister-canopy version' (after the Spitfire and Mustang fighter planes' Malcolm hoods); but the trunk cabin version has better headroom and deck space. Right beside my boat is parked a fellow '74 boat with a hull number 113 boats away but the same month-year code. I can account for this only by remembering that Hunter ran two separate production lines of the 25s in those days ('74-'78, before the move to Florida) and the different numbering scheme must have reflected one line being trunk-cabin models and one the 'Series 1' or flush-deck models.

    The hulls, rigs and interior layouts are identical for both models. After '77 they discontinued the 'Series 1' flush-deck one and also changed the portlight arrangement on the trunk-cabin one, making what I call the 'Series 3'.
  8. JCherubini2
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    JCherubini2 DianaOfBurlington

    Thanks for your insight, DG. I can attest that, essentially as a professional-calibre boatbuilder (albeit a consistently-broke one), the project of restoring 90% of a forlorn example of a pretty-well-made 25-footer to essentially a Cherubini 44 standard has taken 9 or 10 years of my life. So I'd say your numbers are spot-on! :cool:

    (BTW-- Diana's long-belated launch party is scheduled for this June. All are invited. ;) )

    * * *

  9. JCherubini2
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    JCherubini2 DianaOfBurlington

    C44, anyone?

    BTW, friends-- I know of a C44 bare hull and deck in vinylester that can be had somewhat cheaply. Enquiries and offers welcome. ;)
  10. Baltic Bandit

    Baltic Bandit Previous Member

    Thanks JC... that was a fun boat... the ONLY hassle was that it originally came with a Seagull motor. I remember bruising my ribs one night trying to keep that running as we were being swept towards The Gulls on the SW edge of The Race in LIS in no wind.

    I hated that motor

  11. Baltic Bandit

    Baltic Bandit Previous Member

    Yeah with modern CNC and even laser driven cutters, you can get the kind of fit and finish your boats were famous for, but with essentially one guy running the cutter. He loads the cutter with a sheet of material, it gets cut, he labels it, palletizes it and then it gets handed off to the other side of the shop, vs having 3-4 guys with routers, tablesaws and bandsaws. And the repeatability and precision is higher, and the waste is lower because you can use the cut-out material as stock for other parts. so your materials costs go down as well. Its quite cool stuff.
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