Minimum cruising cat-size & cost

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

  1. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    If building a simpler, cheaper boat will get you out there 10 years sooner, I'd say it's worth it. Sailing in a cheap boat is better than sitting at a desk wishing you had an expensive boat. But don't skimp on materials and build quality, even if you're going with the simple/inexpensive philosophy. It takes just as long and costs almost as much money to build a turd as it does to build a good quality yacht.
     
  2. terhohalme
    Joined: Jun 2003
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    terhohalme BEng Boat Technology

    In $100k boat more than half of the price is work and profit. So the materials and equipment are less than $50k and if you get second hand mast and sails your cost will drop down to $30k. And without compomising quality of design or hull materials.
     
  3. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    I know you don't like tris but a decent second hand Searunner wouldn't set you back very much at all and you'd be sailing, maybe even faster. The older cruising tri designs can be a huge bargain if you find one that is sound. Both Woods and Wharram boats built with sheet ply should be fast constructs. I like the appropriate technology approach of the wharrams towards eliminating expensive yacht hardware items with things like rudder lashings etc....Much of the hardware for anything can be made simply by yourself, Chainplates take little more than a metal cutting blade, drill press, and time polishing. Blocks with aluminum cheeks can be cut out with a jig saw and the appropriate plastic for sheaves can be turned on an inexpensive wood lathe ( Use plain bearings). If something needs to be welded having the components ready to go will save money at the shop. Even second hand winches seem pricey but you can optimize your layout to use fewer of them.
    The donor boat is a great idea. If you found a rotten wharram with good gear and rig you're just making new hulls. Hurricane totaled boats can be salvaged etc..For an example I was given a Searunner 31 with a rotten mainhull for free if I would remove it from a storage yard. No sails, but a great mast and the nicest hardware I've seen on a one off plus 2 rough but sound amas. Don't forget that all those stainless bolts etc....add up too. Now I don't need another trimaran but it was a fairly low budget way to get something to put together for a rental etc....if you don't mind the work.
     
  4. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member



    Ok, let's have a go at this:

    Did you mention your budget, in USD? How much do you want to spend?

    You can most certainly build a smaller cat for much less than $100K, especially if you are careful about finding used gear for your rig and even sails to start with.

    10 years of sailing is *definitely* worth having a boat that has no resale value. I would agree.

    However, the Wharram (hulls anyway) cost just as much to build as the Woods or the EasyCat or any other plywood and epoxy boat. This is my main point here. If you are building yourself, the materials will be the same for most of the different boats.

    If you build a 30' Wharram or a 30' Woods, or 30' Easy Cat (if there were one), they would all cost you approximately the same amount of money, because they all require a very similar amount of plywood, epoxy and glass.

    You can definitely build a boat a lot cheaper than you could ever buy one, given that you are comparing the same kind of boats. For instance, you could build the 30' Wharram like David has pictured above, because you don't have to pay people to work or make a living. You can just put your savings into the boat.

    If David's Wharram is $100K, you can probably build the hulls for $10-$20K. There are more expenses - many more, but as others have said, those are part of the fit out, which I might add that David has done a beautiful job on!

    In my personal build budget, I found that the cost of hull materials was, as everyone said, 20% or so of my build cost. If you have to rent space to build your boat, be very careful with that part of the budget. I found that real estate was costing me more than the materials to build the boat. Nearly twice as much!! :eek:

    I eliminated the real estate cost, or greatly reduced it, finally, but that was a very significant part of the build cost.

    After the hull is complete, it is up to you how much you want to spend on the interior and all the toys. Some are essential (steering), while some are not (television). On a smaller boat, you probably don't even need a windlass, if you're in good enough shape to haul up the anchor by hand.

    You *can* do this. You just have to narrow things down a bit and keep in mind that for the most part, unless a boat is made out of different materials, any 30' cat will cost the same to build as the next 30' cat. Despite claims made by designers, no one designer has the cheapest way to build. That's just a bunch of marketing talk. 30' of catamaran at a certain weight, will cost you a certain $/ft and $/kilogram. Don't be fooled into thinking you need the least desired boat. You can build a good boat for the same price as the less desired boat.

    Start with this: Get materials lists from designers whose boats you like. Next, contact your marine building suppliers in the area and price out the entire materials list for the boats. Look at them side by side and if you have the same type of boat (say, 30' epoxy over ply cat), you will find that the prices on the materials lists will be very close.

    What I keep trying to drive home here is that you have a *choice* of boats and can choose the best one, because they all cost the same amount to build (give or take). You can build the one you like best! :)
     
  5. Alex.A
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Location: South Africa

    Alex.A Senior Member

    Budget is low.... Terhohalme's is upper end!!!
    Davids boat is nicely done!!! (and i dont like tiki's.). :)
    And those pics of it - unnaturally blue water - islands - AAAARGH! I'm having that dream again... :) just kidding.
    Fortunately, my time is my own and i have adequate building space - big barn.
    Nice saving there!!!
    materials for the hulls is cool - it's after that ,that i worry about.... i'd hate to build the hulls and sit and look at them, while i save for deck gear etc etc...
    Haven't made a decision on boat yet - will wait while i save.....
    and learn more....
    Thanks to everyone giving sage advice on the thread - i am learning lots!!

    While ihave time in hand i am learning about the design of boats and how much actually goes into it - a lot more complex than most think, when they/i think - "i'll design my own boat" - but fascinating too....
    Whether i do is doubtfull -i realise the value of buying plans from someone who has a track record.
    My other problem will be solved later this yr - i'll be moving nearer the sea!!
     
  6. redreuben
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    redreuben redreuben

    Way back when, I worked as a glassie building monos, the rule of thumb for building was 1/3 hull & deck, 1/3 fitout, 1/3 rig & sails. You can see from that simple formula that skimping on the primary structure doesn't save vasts amounts of dough and the structure cannot be upgraded later while fitout and rig can. If you are on a budget spend the good money on quality structure and scrounge the rest! A donor boat can be a very efficient way of doing that.
    Cheers,
    RR.
     
  7. Alex.A
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Alex.A Senior Member

    I do like the idea of a donor boat - but - how will age have affected things like alluminium mast/beams etc? If the donor was wrecked - what to watch out for - What is ok to use and what isn't?
     
  8. cavalier mk2
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    Check the history of the boat and the condition of the gear. If everything is worn out then you can wonder about fatigue etc....If it went aground and didn't roll the rig didn't get any more tossed than in a rough day on the water I would use new standing rigging because those are the most likely to be at the end of the wear cycle. Location is important too- inland waters or ocean crosser? Remember most boats spend most of their time tied up to the dock and the biggest fatigue they encounter is the owner paying the bill. Boats auctioned off because of back moorage are another good option. If the boat is one that rotted out do to neglect you know it wasn't out getting stressed. There are chemical/dye test kits you can purchase to check the stainless fittings for cracks etc....If you do find a donor boat you'll need a helper to use a wrench on the outside while you turn from below etc...To part out the Searunner 31 hull it took a good week of hard work as I also had to cut it up and take the pieces to the landfill using a 17' uhaul truck. The amas we lowered down a 50'+ bank and made into a catamaran on the beach by lashing the a arms for the trip home. The costs were the truck rental, landfill, gas and 1 spring vacation. Cutting through fiberglass is hard work so check your disposal options carefully, a good sawzall is a must.
     
  9. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    Don't forget interior fittings too. Galley stoves, sinks, pumps,tanks, marine heads, heat stoves, lights, wiring panels and switches, knot meters, depthsounders etc....It is a long list but all those things can be used for now for a better equipped boat at first and upgraded as they were out.
     
  10. Alex.A
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Location: South Africa

    Alex.A Senior Member

    Actually - after the wharram"debate" - i checked out some 2ndhands on the net - whether i wanted the boat or not - for some of the kit that goes with them, they'd be a bargain. 'Marine' prices here are ridiculous!!!!!
    Only problem is that the cheapies are in europe and i am not......
     
  11. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Now the thread is going somewhere! :)

    You're onto the right track, Alex, in scouting out some used boats for your gear. Around my part of the world, we can find this type of gear after hurricanes.

    We also have stores here that specialize in used gear such as this:

    http://www.sailorman.com/

    Maybe you have some similar stores in SA? If not, maybe you can open one and make enough money to buy a fancy new boat?? ;)
     
  12. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    What is the matter with buying a boat in europe, cruising then sailing or shipping back? A wharram coulld even be disassembled and loaded into shipping containers.
     
  13. Alex.A
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Location: South Africa

    Alex.A Senior Member

    Hmmmm. Sounds good but can't at the present time.....
     
  14. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    You may have seen my 30ft Sagittas for sale in S Africa. But you probably didn't know that we sent the first one out in pieces in a container to Cape Town. Heritage Manufacturing then assembled it and used it as a plug to make their moulds.

    So a catamaran doesn't have to be an open deck boat to send it by container (and yes we do still have the moulds in the UK if you want to go the same route)

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     

  15. redreuben
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    redreuben redreuben

    If you were buying a donor boat you would only be shipping the salvage, yes.

    A few cartons of parts !
     
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