Need help sourcing fiberglass hull maker

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by Carlazzomark, Apr 1, 2022.

  1. Carlazzomark
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Michigan

    Carlazzomark Senior Member

    I am having trouble finding sources to make 50’ fiberglass hulls for a custom catamaran houseboat, preferably in California or the Western U.S.

    I have looked at many manufacturers listed in boatdesign.net, but the listings were either dead links or the builder could not do it.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    You are in the Midwest. Is the plan to use the boat in the West coast? Otherwise, I can give you contacts in the East coast.
     
  3. Carlazzomark
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    Location: Michigan

    Carlazzomark Senior Member

    Yes, the boat will be built and used in the San Francisco area. I looked into shipping 50’ cat hulls across the country, but it is too expensive.

    In any case, I would still appreciate the contacts.

    Thanks
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If they fit on a regular flatbed, it shouldn't be too expensive. The average rate is about $3.20/mile. The distance would be approximately 3,000 miles, so less than $10,000 per load. The question is whether the design can be shipped in two or three sections. PM me for details.
     
  5. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Have you designed this boat yourself?
    Can you post any sketches or drawings showing what she looks like?
    How seaworthy will the hulls have to be - a simple hull for a houseboat that is static could be a rectangular box, but it would not be very comfortable underway at sea. Will the boat have propulsion engines for cruising around the San Francisco Bay area? If it is a cruising houseboat, I know that the sea conditions in the Bay area can get quite choppy.
    Will the hulls need to have a female mould built, or maybe a simple male mould?
     
  6. Carlazzomark
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Carlazzomark Senior Member

    Bajansailor,

    I had a team of marine engineering and architecture students do a schematic workup of my design thoughts with calculations. I was hoping to use the Wilson Distributing sectional 36” pontoons, but the numbers did not work. We have a stage one final meeting in a few hours to see what modifications need to be made. And unless I change to trimaran and wider beam with the Wilson pontoons, my guess is I will need to go with custom fiberglass.

    I know very little about male or female moulds. Perhaps not gender specific?

    I have not been able to gather any information to create a budgetary estimate for custom hulls.

    The boat will mostly be at dock or used in the California Delta waterways. It would be nice to occasionally go out on the Bay, but budget constraints in terms of a more robust boat may thwart that.

    I am not quite ready to share the design, but at some point I will need a qualified professional to review the work and probably do the construction plans. When I get to that point, I will get more info out there (my SOR and their design work to date), and solicit bids.

    I have always found you most helpful in this forum, and hope you would be interested in the project.

    Thanks
     
  7. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    You mention a length of 50' - do you have a limitation on the maximum beam, re the slip where the houseboat will be berthed?

    What 'did not work' here - was it the cost of the Wilson pontoons?
    I see that the 36" diameter pontoon modules are 10' long, so for a 50' boat, for one hull you would need 3 x 10' middle sections, along with 10' long bow and stern sections.
    Plastic Pontoon https://plasticpontoon.com/
    It then all depends on how much buoyancy is required for your houseboat - a catamaran hull form might not have enough buoyancy, and even a trimaran might not have enough, so then you would be looking a quadmaran - and for a 50' long boat, that would be 20 pontoon modules to purchase.
    And they only provide buoyancy - you would then have to build perhaps an aluminium truss framework to sit on top of the hulls, to join them together, and for the house to sit on.
     
  8. Carlazzomark
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Carlazzomark Senior Member


    I need about 55,000 lbs of displacement. It is a two deck structure. I was hoping to have a 15 1/2’ hull beam with a 16 1/2’ deck width so as to fit in a standard 17’ wide berth and having maximum living space, but the team’s calculations say it can’t be done safely with my design. So now I am open to a 17-20’ beam and will have to find an end tie.
     
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  9. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    For one off construction; you are either building the hulls in foam or plywood sheathed in glass.

    The beam at even 20' seems a bit narrow for a 50' oal or 50' wl. General guidance is 50% boa/loa which is 25'..
     
  10. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Monroe WA

    ondarvr Senior Member

    Schooner Creek Boat Works builds
    Cats of that size already, most of their work is custom. They're located near Portland OR.

    https://www.schoonercreek.com/
     
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  11. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

  12. comfisherman
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Location: Alaska

    comfisherman Senior Member

    Hoquiam shipyard seems semi pliable on the oddball projects and have the most bomber current production facility on the west coast that does out of the box projects. Dunno what tomco and laconner maritime are up to outside bay hulls but they are another outfit. Platypus would have probably been down back in the day but keep pretty busy doing mega $$$ projects and .gov stuff.

    For a one off, glass is a tough sell, granted simple pontoons may be the only place male mold or one off would work easily. I'm semi between boat builds, wrapping up a long build before we do another slightly bigger. Glass and resin price increases are gonna hurt a bit that's for sure .
     
  13. Carlazzomark
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    Carlazzomark Senior Member

    This is a power cat, not a sailer. Does your ratio still hold?
     
  14. Carlazzomark
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    Carlazzomark Senior Member

    thanks, I will check them out.

    mark
     

  15. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Might be even more important as speeds rise. I don't hold a c.v. in naval architecture, but am a powercat builder. The thing to be concerned about is drag effects from the inside bow wave. The two waves crash into each other and create drag.

    Here is one thread with resource info for your research.

    Wave interference in catamarans https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/wave-interference-in-catamarans.64814/

    Do you mind if I ask why 50' versus 42'? I understand the concept of how nice a 20m powercat is versus a 10m, but for a slipped vessel, the cost drives up so high. I found for my boat, marinas had 12' slips. Many of them said, you'll need a double, or we'll rent you a 70' slip with 18' of beam. My beam is about 16' on the water, so the 70' was barely wide enough with nice fenders. A double is of course 2x the price. You are probably going to be told three slips and likely 60 footers by many marinas. Before you go much further; get some real prices from local marinas for 25' beam. It might be 20-30k a year slip fees, or you might need to moor her and rent a slip for a tender. I bought land for my boat because I looked at present value of my slip fees and it was $180,000.
     
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