Minimum cruising cat-size & cost

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Alex.A, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. Alex.A
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Alex.A Senior Member

    I realise that the project will ultimately not be cheap (cheap often =crap too) but what is essential / needed and what isn't? A lot of the hi tec desires are not needed? Willing to work harder, while sailing and suffer a bit more to get out there sooner! Extra's escalate the time and cost and before i know it a decade will have passed and i'll still be dreaming of that ideal boat.....There are a lot os nice cats out there but they all semm excessive for my simple needs.
  2. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Fanie Fanie

    The problem with buying a boat is not the price, it's getting such a large amount of money in one go. If you loan the money you pay double in the end. It is much easier and safer if you buy a boat in pieces so to speak and in the same time you would have paid off the loan you have a complete boat for half the price. There is also no risk of running into financial problems. If you are broke this month, then you buy nothing. Next month you're ok again you can work on the boat. Low risk and low obligation. That makes it cheap.
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  3. david@boatsmith
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    david@boatsmith Senior Member

    This is very close to what you have described.
  4. Roger L
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    Roger L oldengineer

    Oh, I see what you mean. That makes sense. What I do to solve that problem is to avoid the costly pieces but be sure to build in the option. For example, winches are nice and are specified on plans...but nobody really needs them to go sailing. You can always fall off/on the wind, harden the sail, cleat if off, and fall back on course. But you might WANT to have a winch or two just for convenience. So I was careful to build good winch mounting pads into the deck for use someday, and then got on with the build. Used sails will do until you get new ones, too.
  5. Alex.A
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    Alex.A Senior Member

  6. basildog
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    basildog basildog

    I haven't bothered to read the whole thread here so my apologies if this has already been covered. Check out the "Cheap as Chips DIY Catamaran Plans" thread. The designer talks about costs and if I remember correctly he built his 9 metre (30 foot) cat for around $20.000
  7. Bruce Woods
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    Bruce Woods Senior Member

    Don't try scrimping on hull building materials.
    Using second hand stuff can be false economy on a new boat.
    Just leaving out the frills can save heaps.

    No windows. Don't make the cut outs.( the perspex is the cheap bit then comes the sealant, double-sided tape, primer etc).
    Minimal electrics. On our boat we only have lights and radio. Still managed to clock up over 40,000 nm without depth-sounder, plotter etc etc. Just use good charts and a lead line. .( Capt Cook sailed around the world with the same and had to make his own charts on the way)
    Simple fittings. Stainless flat bar, a drill and a 100mm angle grinder and you can pretty much make everything. We did.
    Don.t bother with a fence. use a safety harness.
    Leave off the winch farm. Two headsail winches is heaps.
    Halyards on a boat this size don't need winches. 2;1 main halyard. Headsail on furler with halyard return and spinnaker in a sock. Tension main luff with cunningham.
    Build your mast from an extrusion blank. Make it spreader-less .
    Maybe go boomless ala Nacra.

    No mainsheet track or jib tracks. Check out the old fishing/work boats for inspiration on how few adjustment are required.

    Leave off the teak trim.

    You'll work it out.
  8. outside the box

    outside the box Previous Member

  9. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Sound advice. Something north of 50% of the cost of a "typical" cruising boat these days is tied up in the fancy varnished furniture and the electrics. Much better, IMHO, to build a high-quality hull from high-quality material, get out sailing, and then add frills one by one as you figure out what you actually use.

    Not all of us are such staunch traditionalists, but I admire your thinking. (I certainly prefer paper charts to these $20,000 3D plotters you see in the magazines. I don't think all that complexity does anything good for situational awareness, certainly no more so than "You are here, blue is good, white/green is bad, yellow is dry land".)
    Certainly, a lot of money can be saved on rigging. Now and then you hear George Buehler talking about how such-and-such a boat has a complete rig that cost less than the solid shrouds alone on the boat next to it. Whether you take a "workboat" approach or a "raceboat" approach certainly makes a huge difference here.

    With a 2:1 main halyard and few or no winches (very appealing at $1200+ per winch), how big a sail can you actually handle? I'd guess a 40-45' luff on a sail of 300-350 sq.ft or so would be about the limit (we have to think of our wives and sisters here, not the 250-pound gorillas carried on some race boats). Any first-hand experience?

    Agreed..... :)
  10. magwas
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    magwas Senior Member

    If you don't want to be so aware of your situation a chart plotter, a used notebook with linux, opencpn and a USB GPS dongle would suffice, I guess. Even two sets (for backup) is within the financial limits of most people.

    EDIT: oops, I meant notebook w. linux,opencpn and GPS as a chart plotter.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  11. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    I like to be aware of my situation. I just think that some of what is passed off as "innovation" at the high end of the market is actually counter-productive. On OpenCPN and other conventional, 2D plotters, most of what you need to know can be ascertained in a quick glance. The new stuff with 3D bottom contours, multiple perspective views, etc. is, in my opinion, cluttering things up too much and presenting too much unnecessary information in too complex a form.

    Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against good electronics where they're appropriate. But "good" and "expensive" are not necessarily correlated- instrumentation and gadgetry is one of the big areas of potential cost savings for a tight-budget cruiser. And I do not trust computers for a second- paper charts are still an essential backup.
  12. isvflorin
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    isvflorin Junior Member

    I'm an unexperienced sailor, on my first sea crossing we only used a portable radio and a portable gps, that was Amsterdam(Texel)-Kristiansand in a straight line, on a mono. I would reckon a tight budget cat really doesn't need anything else for starts. Extras are only added headaches and empty pockets.
    I read somewhere teh adventures of a guy on a really small budget, he said "if you can do without it, get rid of it).

    PS: the well known Iphone is good enough for navigation, there are marine maps and software for it. Why on earth would you want a chartplotter than nobody can fix if it brakes (except the dealership), Iphones can be repared in any big city all over the world (almost).
  13. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    And what of the latest toy the 3G Ipad ?
  14. magwas
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    magwas Senior Member

    Well, I bring my notebook everywhere with me, but keep my mobile phone to the bare minimum: voice and sms (it is a Siemens ME45 now. In 2010.).
    If you are not computer addicted like me but like to play with gadgets, maybe an Iphone is the way to go for you.
    Maybe we could debate on the price tag attached, but I think it would be pointless if we compare them both to the shiny new chart plotter with 3D animation. However there are some minor issues which may or may not apply to someone:
    In a longer passage autohelm control of opencpn might be beneficial, and I don't know if iphone's GPS software have anchor drag alert.
    I for myself prefer to be so "unaware of the situation" that consider AIS a must. In that case the AIS input of openCPN also comes handy.

    But in both cases you should either have a backup equipment (maybe an iphone to backup the notebook, or vice versa), or better a sextant and paper charts (and the knowledge to use them).

    Sorry if I have diverted the thread too much. However I have realised that (at least in the blue water DIY case) the equipment cost may outweight the cost of the hull. More so if you count rigging as equipment (and here we could debate the benefits and drawbacks of junk rig ad nauseam).

  15. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I fully agree with Roger L's comment

    When starting your "What boat do I want" spiral you should always ignore costs. In other words, treat it as a "Money no object" exercise and then write down your list of priorities.

    Only after you have those clear in your head should you look at costs and then readjust your main priorities as necessary.

    Having said that, clearly budget is a concern for everyone (I assume even BMW Oracle had some budgetary constraints). Over the years I have built 18 cruising catamarans for my own use, only rarely have I started a project with enough money to finish it.

    So if money is tight I would strongly suggest you buy the best materials you can to build the hulls.

    For two reasons: First, I find that money always comes in as you build. Second, you can change a second hand rig for a new one, but you cannot change the hull structure once built.

    Can I also suggest you try to sail as many multihulls as you can before you build. Not easy in some countries I know, but it will give you a much better idea of what works and what doesn't

    Hope that helped (and sorry for the lack of recent posts - I have been sailing)

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs
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