Some questions from a newbie in the design area.

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by chiroeurope, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. chiroeurope
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    chiroeurope Junior Member

    I have been working with delftship and BobCAD on designing a ketch in the 56 to 60 ft LOL range and have some questions about materials and would request feed back and input on these ideas that are kicking around in my head. Please, I am asking for honest NON emotional, well founded information. I have a very good background in science and research (away from and outside the net as you would be surprised how useful a real library can be).

    Hull material CEMEX at 8 to 12%. Armature of "T" bar for gunwales, 6mm rod for main structure, straight wire sheeting (panels) overlaid at 45° to rod than 90° and than 45° again on the exterior of the hull, 1" mesh of two layers on the interior of the hull with 1/2" over lap. All through points set up before mud is applied, as well as all interior bulkhead points set up for mounting. Any points or comments on the above??

    Thoughts on integral versus through hull versus into hull (blind bolts) chain plates. I personally from my experiences only know of and have any faith in either those built into the hull or those with through hull bolts and serious backing plates. Views with reasons please.

    Deck is to have steel framing plastered into the hull and than there is some questions as been looking at some of the HDPE materials in the UVS (Ultra Violet Stabilized) group as there is some very good quality material out there that is very cheap in cost compared to Teak or other suitable woods. There would be a wood or cloth headliner (opinions on which is better and why, would be valued). Again any points or comments please?

    My experience sailing is on the Great lakes in all weather conditions on Huron and Michigan. We will be taking classes here in the UK to improve our skills.

    Some reading this might think I am asking to be lead by the hand, NOPE. Doing the homework and research and getting time on boats to increase our experience (Mine is Sloop and ketch rigged boats, wife is newbie very interested). Just putting forward my ideas into a known meat grinder and seeing what survives. The reason for going with a Ferro hull is that I have access to professionals here and its cost to maintain over a long haul are a good bit cheaper than anything else out there. We are looking at this being a very long term live aboard and yes we know what B.O.A.T. stands for. If you are honest most homes are holes in the pocket as well or do you not count paying property tax, water tax, and such.

    So please, grind. having gone through a good portion of the archives i have some very good info and there are some very learned persons on this site.

    I thank all who choose to give their views in advance.

    Godspeed and good win to all.

    Michael
     
  2. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Southern baldcypress is a softwood, but it is dense. Do a comparison of its properties vs. those of teak. Treated is better. Perhaps northern tamarac has similar properties?
     
  3. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    I can add no positive or first hand negative comments to the ferro-cement hull build. There is a lot of anecdotal negativity to be found, and some positive cost benefits and builders supporting the method.

    Chainplates are a major stress point in a design, and the ability to maintain, inspect and repair them without doing further damage in event of trouble is important. My personal preference is to not "hide" chainplates in the hull, even though it may be aesthetically nicer. For a blue water boat, the ability to inspect and monitor potential problem areas trumps aesthetics every time. Through bolts and backing plates please!

    Cost is obviously a consideration in your build. Considering your material choices, it is obvious you are trying to optimize value. A 55-60' ketch is a serious investment, and given the current used boat market I can't see how a new build ferrocement boat will have any resale value given the enormous deals available right now on boats built with cost-no-object materials and construction. I know resale is not a consideration in your view right now, but circumstances change, and if one of you develops a condition that prevents following the path you want, it suddenly becomes really important.

    Although everyone here is guilty of choosing build over buy, in your case I'd have a hard look at the used market. Based on what I see here in Canada, you could buy and first class refit a top end boat of similar proportions for less than half the money of a new "cost optimized" build. I know that flies in the face of every romantic boat building vision, but there it is.

    Michael:

    I understand and applaud your plan to have a home on the water. I very much understand all the emotion, pride and research invested in boat building projects. You seem to have done a lot of homework and have approached the project in a business like and scientific manner.

    Although this is the wrong audience for reiterating cold hard financial logic about boat values, and I risk getting a reputation for raining on parades I feel it worthwhile.

    Take time to research all options. Research building with materials with a higher resale value - and research keeping costs low by building in a location where labor rates are low. If you are considering doing all the labor yourself, give yourself 3 to 4 years of full time work as a guideline.

    Take a hard look at the used market - soon. As the global financial recover begins, your opportunities to exploit the misery of others decreases. There are stunning bargains out there right now.

    I'd really consider having conversations with professional naval architects about your long term plans and vision. Although you obviously have the capability to learn and master the tools of the trade, you can't learn experience. Experience making material, design and build plan decisions is the most valuable item you can add to your project. The cost of a professional who has built dozens of boats to meet your purpose is the highest value / lowest real cost expense on your spreadsheet.

    I hope you succeed in your desire to get out and live on the water.

    --
    Bill
     
  4. chiroeurope
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    chiroeurope Junior Member

    Bill,

    Thanks for input and yes we are looking at the used market as well. As you have stated there are some great values out there. Our problem we don't have the income stream to go jetting about to hunt down these values as most are locally posted only. Will contact a few friends in Canada to see if they know of anything at present (never hurts to ask).

    On the build front, we will be going to a NA or MA to have a look over the plans and will be working with professionals on those areas i don't have experience in. My areas of experience are wide, which ensures that I also know they are limited.

    NO, you have NOT rained on any parade. We are looking at the options and what we want out of the boat. The wife has all ready stated that freezer space will be larger than frig' as we tend to use fresh or frozen veggies and not heavy drinkers of soda (coca cola and the like). We also would prefer (with the full reality that there are massive trade offs) for me to be able to keep the majority of my micro shop in the bosun lockers area and have three cabins. This is one of the reasons for looking at 54 to 60 foot range. Having just myself and the wife as functional crew for a number of years into the future is why the ketch rig.

    Thanks for your input.

    Michael
     
  5. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Over time your needs for freezer space and comforts you are used to change when you are living on a boat. Especially when you are off the grid. Freezers cost one hell of a lot of money and noise to keep cold, and the constant noise of generators quickly overpowers the desire for frozen broccoli. Even refrigerators are a serious pain.

    You get good at knowing how long you can keep things, and how to keep things fresher, longer without refrigeration. Evaporation cooling, wrapping vegetables in damp paper towels and "refreshing" tired fruits and vegetables with steam and saute techniques can help reduce diesel stink from generators. You quickly learnhow to get along without milk and cream for coffee.

    It may be worthwhile to charter with an experienced live aboard skipper & cook to learn a lot more about how you can best plan for long term life aboard. Things are very different than living in a house with cheap electric power and nearby produce stores.

    --
    Bill
     
  6. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    You don't mention who will build this boat? I'll assume you? How much labour are you contracting out? Look honestly at your available budget, how much family income is left over every month.....$1000.....$2000? You can burn through $1000 in materials in 2 days...what do you do for the rest of that month?

    Get Annie Hill's book, Voyaging on a Small Income, read it, have your wife read it.

    Build a dinghy/tender, the experience will be all out of proportion to the expense and effort. You will then have a boat you can use during the larger build.

    Build a smaller boat.....a 38-40' boat can be built in 1/3 the time it will take to get a 60' sailing. That's 3 years instead of 9-10!
     
  7. chiroeurope
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    chiroeurope Junior Member

    From your above statement you assume (dirty word that gets anyone into all sorts of trouble) that I have no experience in boat building. Not true thank you and I know very well how intensive the work is and how extremely detail oriented one must be to get the job done right. This is why buying is still on the table as an option IF we find a boat that meets the current general requirements. Having a good session or three with some folks who have done great circles and asked hard questions, we have learned that there is much for us to learn and a very tight balance to be made to get things right (not perfect, but livable and safe in so much as anything can be safe [safety is in being prepared for problems, I will stay off that soapbox]).

    We also have two yacht clubs who have expressed interest in helping in this crazy idea (we will see how far that goes to real help, but known high quality homebrew is a very strong bargaining chip in this area).

    As to Cost, oh yes we have been looking into that a good bit. the Rod alone (not including the wire paneling (external) or netting (internal) is going to cost about £2500 than there is that which goes onto that and than the list just keeps getting added onto and subtracted from as design work and what is needed over what is not gets dealt with.

    Bistro,

    Yes, we know that. Having lived outside the US for over ten years and we don't keep our eggs cold or cured meats (cedar lined cabinet and butchers paper). We also tend to eat the seasons over eating processed foods. Freezer is for meats and cheeses as those get hard to find in some places and better to have with you those that you can use. Good battery bank plus a having the electrical's set up so that there is the ability to take on start up loads with out shocking the battery reserve also helps. Coupled with solar, and wind power you can bring down the amount of time you need to run either the generator or the Engine. Also when running the engine (as in no wind conditions) using that power to it's fullest capacity also makes sense. Now we all know NOTHING goes according to plan completely. This is why I ask for constructive reasoning and views with a good backing (when personal opinion stated and don't try to swing it like it is fact; I will cut it short, former Sergeant here).

    So again thanks for what input has been given, it has been read and considered.

    Michael
     
  8. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    You never know what the experience level is of folks you talk to on line. So to some degree it is a fishing expedition to extract enough context to make useful suggestions. I've had new folks here talk about life aboard like they can duplicate suburbia - and when you tell them they'll have a diesel gen running as their constant companion to keep them and their Diet Coke chilled, they suddenly realize they aren't in Kansas anymore.

    I'm a former reservist officer, and have enough encounters with the professional non-commissioned officer corps to know that uninformed discussion and chit chat is a no win scenario.

    Sounds like you and your partner are reasonably well prepared, have a detailed plan and are doing all the right things in the right order.

    --
    Bill
     
  9. Wynand N
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    if I may chime in Michael.

    Firstly, are you aware you are talking big differences in boat size here? I dare to say that for the same type of boat to same level of completion of your lower size to upper size may differ about 40% in price... Quite a margin if you plan to do it on a tight budget.

    Tad's advice is well founded and should be seriously considered. Many a boat is abandoned during construction and sold as scrap due to the simple fact that the builder started to big and run out of funding to name but one reason.
    Even as professional boat builders we sometime burn our fingers for example; Projected time on 44ft steel boat I built recently was about 13 months to sail a way. A budget was set for the cost. Due to unforeseen factors I had an overrun of 40% on building time and the same about costs - more so if you are depended on exchange rates for purchases that fluctuates faster than a women can change moods - for better or worse. I had built 19 custom yachts and everyone cost more than the budget.
     
  10. chiroeurope
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    chiroeurope Junior Member


    40% difference?? Okay let's look at how I do estimates and see if we are the same sheet of music (while this information is important it is off topic).

    First work out base design structure and MANDATORY materials. Go get three to four quotes on what these materials cost either in physical material or in man hour costs. Next take the Mean of those and add a minimum of 30% to them.

    The information I require for a quote is the following:

    1)Cost of Material(s)
    2)lag time for materials to arrive
    3)Cost of Man hours for a project as well as an estimate of how many will be needed to complete the project(s)
    4)Lead time for a project to be booked in with the proper specialists.
    5)from the supplier or specialist tech' what could effect time or cost from their end.

    This is all gotten in writing with a time period the quote is good for. I tell the folks up front not to count on a over run as here in the UK I can and will legally hold them to a quoted sum for materials or man hours (sorry, when I quote a client for a project I always insure that I can do it in under the time quoted and pass the savings back to the client).

    From the above I then add the 20 to 30% budget over run on that part of the project. Remember this is only the MANDATORY parts we are dealing with here.

    Once we get into to optional materials, I start looking for what will fill the required duties at best price/longevity ratio. Buying cheap is often the most costly route as you end up buying again away too soon. Buying highest known name or top market items is often falling in the current "fashion" trap and with a bit of snooping around and being willing to hit sales and looking for what you want. This method often takes a little bit longer and requires doing a good bit of networking, but often saves you big in the long run.

    Being that this project is not for a production run nor for a race class boat there is a lot of current "state of the art" which is just not worth putting on board. On the other hand there is some that is very much needed for reasonable safety systems. As stated earlier it is a trade off and the balance should always be toward safety over speed.

    I know there are a good bit more folks out there who have opinions with material experience behind them. I ask, please, give your views and insights as they are valued.

    Michael
     

  11. Wynand N
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    Micheal, you asked advise and were given some. My statements stands for the difference between the two sizes...

    You seem to concentrate on materials to much my friend - a hull and deck based on my past experience only represents about 12 - 16% (depending on design) of total cost. Labour is the biggest factor in the overall cost and a even small change in a boat make those numbers add like a progressive jackpot's total.

    Secondly, logistics are your next biggest enemy. Since many goods must be supplied by a third party such as a dealer that also import and has no control over his supplier either and even his supplier may be buying elsewhere. Sometime the wait for something can halt the construction in its track and still the numbers are ticking away. One tries to work around that but it does not always add up at the end.
    The bigger the boat, the worse it get really and believe me, I had built them from 24ft to 65ft and everything in between, and this advise is from experience.

    As the say goes; being there, done that and got a T shirt...;)
     
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