way to take $30k/ft Yachts to $3k/ft?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Peter Duck, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. Peter Duck
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Peter Duck Junior Member

    The thinking is that there may be a way to take the current $30K/ft yacht to $1k/ft by using plastic panels and ribs & epoxy joined. A sort of flat pack Lego/ikea boat that might sacrifice 20% performance by using composite rigging, plastic tarp like material for sails etc not costing $1-2M for 60ft but cost $60K and be affordable to people like sea scouts or outward bound, yet still able to cross oceans safely ( if a little slower ). Was wondering if anyone knows if any work has been done along these lines and if so who by?
  2. Jeff
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    Jeff Moderator

  3. Peter Duck
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    Peter Duck Junior Member

    The USA in WWII built their liberty ships in prefab form ( though out of steel rather than plastic)? Couldn't some type of prefab plastic forms be built up in a similar way and joined i.e back to the lego/ikea flat pack idea?
  4. bistros

    bistros Previous Member


    It is always worthwhile to take a new look at an old problem, and fresh eyes are necessary.

    Sure, lowering boat acquisition costs an order of magnitude is a great goal. Not just the boat is expensive, but everything around the activity is also expensive. Access to water (clubs, ramps, bar with beer fridge), safe storage (docks, moorings, dry sailing, cranes), support facilities (washrooms, fuel, chandleries).

    But I don't think that is the real problem in terms of making boating more available to people.

    In my opinion, I think the real problem isn't money, it is time (or at least it is with me). Boating is an activity that takes time, and sail boating is the most time intensive form of boating. For me I've got a 30-45 minute ride to get to my club, a half hour to rig & get dressed and then I can commence time on the water. When done I have to de-rig and pull out the boat from the water, dry sails, put on covers, get changed again and then get a cold drink before I drive home. This means a one hour sail requires two and a half hours of time plus the hour on the water - three and a half hours!.

    Our lives today are very busy, and it takes two people working full time to keep the average family financially afloat and functioning. Add in children and their activities, school and sports and the average parent hasn't got time to sit down, let alone disappear for three plus hours.

    This is why popular sports and activities are all "instant gratification" events. Fast in, fast out. Until we solve the time problem, the cost of the boat is a minor problem. There are lots of boats available used for very low prices, and most boats sit unused in clubs and marinas - getting out once or twice a year.

    Oh, yeah and Liberty ships were a nightmare. Cheap yes, but poorly constructed, unsafe and dangerous. They adequately served a wartime need although that is about as much good as can be said of them.

  5. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Would anyone buy a new "liberty yacht" with so many great used boats out there for much less? Not me.
  6. Ramona
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    Ramona Senior Member

    I would have to agree. The market is awash with superb second hand yachts that are good buys. The other thing to consider is eBay which is the ideal vehicle to move those older and cheaper vessels or those that are in a hurry to sell. Pointless to develop cheaper building methods to compete with secondhand boats.
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    used boats

    New and clever manufacturing methods for usable innovative designs is all to the good, but if a group or individual wants to get on the water there are thousands of perfectly good boats for sale in our present economy, though many are neglected toys that need a good bit of $$.
  8. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Tarp sails work OK and it's a durable material but professional sailmakers likely wouldn't touch it so you'd be on your own there.

    I don't see the advantage of building a boat in a prefab manner except for shipping purposes: it would have to made in large quantities to justify the development and tooling. A mass production boat is only ever going to sell big in the small boat market and those aren't big enough to make prefab construction advantageous IMHO.

    What might work would be to get a group of builders to accept some standization.

    The major cost, I have been informed on other threads, is not the hull, its the rig, engine, internal fittings and so forth. An industry agreement to concentrate on a limited number of standard sizes and interfaces might concentrate manufacturing on a smaller number of parts achieving economy of scale.

    This practice, if adopted, might turn out to have advantages elsewhere, such as repair and maintenance. It has happened in other industries and has been helpful in reducing costs and getting wider acceptance of new technology.

  9. masalai
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    masalai masalai

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