Where do We build a big boat? (Deltaville?)

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by J.D.Hogg, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. J.D.Hogg
    Joined: May 2006
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    Location: Richmond, Virginia

    J.D.Hogg Junior Member

    Me and my woman are planning to build a large boat to cruise full-time. We are still looking at designs but are trying to find a location to build it.

    We rent now and are relocating to the middle peninsula of VA. Before we get too far up a creek I thought it might be a good idea to ask some of the folks here about how to go about finding a piece of land to borrow or lease. We would Ideally like to live on the site in a camper. We are estimating it will take approximately 2 years to be afloat.

    Despite conventional wisdom, we are considering something in the 40 - 50ft range. Specifically we have been looking at Buehler's cargo-sailers Melquiades and GULNAR'E.

    At that size how much harder is it to truck and get onto a railway or lift? Would it be better to find waterfront to build on....?

    Opinions about the design are welcome too.

    thanks.
     
  2. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    I have not done it, but know a number of people that had. I would not count on putting that large of a boat on the highway, but neither do you need water front. You just need to be close enough to roll it a few blocks or so, and there are no bridges, overpasses, or large power lines low enough to be a problem. look for a suitable site, preferably in an outlying area where you can rent the site economically. That has a fairly straight run to a good launch site. Even ground and gentle slope or grade, are all a must to a good launch site. The closer to the water the better, but can be 2 to 4 miles away if the way is clear and there are no major hwyways. You might also go talk to companies that move large yachts to see how much clearance they need to get their lift in and around your hull to transport it overland a mile or two.

    Are you going to look for a place with a barn or storage building already in place? Or do you plan on building a temporary boat shed? There are cost trade offs.

    It would be cheapest to lease an open field, and you build a temporary boat shed, but that means you will have to bring in power. And there may be building code issues, most jurisdictions only allow you to "camp out" on land for a max of six months. It might be best to find a lot with a small house or Mobile home, or large travel trailer already set up on it. you will have power and a place to live. Either way check with the local building department about requirements for a temp boat shed for building a boat. Usually they exempt these kind of temporary buildings, or in areas near the water where others have build boats are sympathetic and will allow it without any hassles (usually also better in outlying smaller communities than in larger cities). But most likely they will not allow you to camp out on raw land for two years because you would be considered a public health hazard (sewage disposal, ability to get a safe water supply, etc). the last thing you will need is to get an order to vacate, and tear down your unpermitted building (boat shed), or get fined $200 a day, right in the middle of your build (I have seen it). With specific instructions on how to proceed with a temp boat shed from the local building department you can avoid these hassels. Usually they will exempt a tent structure (wood or metal frame with outdoor fabric cover), but again the six month limit may apply. Where I live, on 5 acres or more we can build a 1000 sq foot (2000 sf on 10 acres) "green house" without permits. the only thing that defines a green house in the county code is the walls and roof are made mostly of translucent material, not how it is used (there will one day be a 1000 SF "green house" on my 5 acres one day). You can always hang a few potted plants from the timbers to qualify.

    However, a empty warehouse or storage building, as long as it has a bathroom and power, they are likely to ignore you living in with your project boat, even thought the building is not permitted as living quarters.

    You will just have to drive around the areas where you are considering building your boat, ask around, talk to neighbors, etc. check with real estate agents, even knock on doors if you find something suitable. A retired farmer might welcome the extra income since it would only be temporary, or even allow you use his barn for little or no cost in exchange for cleaning it up and fixing it.

    Good luck.
     
  3. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Petros has made some good points.

    Just an interesting bit of news that might be useful, a couple in my part of the world are just about to launch their big boat after 5 years of building.

    They didnt have a shed, but they got a landowner to let them build one on his land, with the agreement that the landowner got to keep the shed when they were done.

    Considering the savings of costs of buying then selling land, - I reckon it can be a great deal.
     
  4. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Australia

    Poida Senior Member

    As Australian and not American I don't know your laws. (I don't even know ours) But a building is only a building if it attached to the ground. As such Seatainers are often used as accommodation, workshops etc.

    They have a system where they have two seatainers set parallel and they mount a cover between them, and as I said do not need a permit because they are not considered buildings.

    Poida
     
  5. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    you mean like the one below? In most areas if you cover the ground with any structure that is more than about 400 sf for more than six months, than you will need a permit.

    This one a client built without permits, and he had to hire me to get it approved. the shipping containers are massively strong (designed to be stacked up to six high full of cargo), but the complete building would be considered a hazard since the roof can fall on you if not built properly, particularly in areas where they get regular snow.
     

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  6. J.D.Hogg
    Joined: May 2006
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    Location: Richmond, Virginia

    J.D.Hogg Junior Member

    Thanks all, especially Petros. That is a good summary.

    We don't yet know anyone in the area and it has been slow meeting people in the off season, but well keep trying.
     
  7. nzboy
    Joined: Apr 2011
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    Location: nz

    nzboy Senior Member

    The biggest problem in building a big boat is the shed and location Even renting can cost as much as building a shed on cheap land over the course of the build. My shed 23m by 7.5 6mstud cost 70k $us Of interest on apolloduck (with link to dealer ) is a 2006 Buehler otter for 100k in usa .I think it would be worth a serious look I think you could spend close to that on a homebuild and it would take 5000 hours plus lease of shed
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I've done this on a couple of occasions and each time I made a "deal" with a forlorn landlord. Look around for near coastal properties with a run down building, warehouse, former business, etc. You're looking for building space and proximity to the water. Look up the property owner and offer to pay his taxes for the duration, with maybe some minimal landscape upkeep. This is what I've done and they were happy to get this done, as it improved their property, took care of the tax bill (or part of it), had utilities turned back on, etc. This is cheaper than renting, building or make-shifting a shed.

    Boat building is a series of inventive, innovative solutions to "issues". Get used to it as this is the hallmark to a boat builder. This is especially true of Buehler designs, which tend to require hoisting and installing huge boat bits into position (unnecessarily so). Lastly, before you set yourself on one of George's designs, look around as you can have the same size boat at half the weight (which you have to pay for during the build), more internal volume and be much more efficient under power or sail too.
     
  9. pdwiley
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Hobart

    pdwiley Senior Member

    That depends on where you are, even in Australia. A friend of mine told me that his local council has a by-law that containers not moved for 6 months count as permanent structures and are subject to planning rules.

    I don't know this for a fact, nor its applicability, but I can believe it, knowing how local government minds work.

    To address the OP, you need some structure to work out of the weather or everything is going to take a lot longer and be a lot more difficult. For one of those boats, think at least 5m to the bottom chord of roof trusses etc. 6m would be better. Allow at least 2m on both sides and 3m at at least 1 end for working space, machinery etc.

    Also your 2 year timeline is incredibly optimistic. Double it at least.

    PDW
     
  10. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    I can confirm your suspicions - any container needs planning approval in our state, no matter what the time frame, based on personal inquiry. In practice, a container being unloaded over a week or two probably wouldn't get hammered, but neighbors would make sure that it wasn't much longer than that.

    Fair enough too - imagine the eyesore of rusting metal boxes if open slather container storage was allowed. Its bad enough for vehicles.
     

  11. pdwiley
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Hobart

    pdwiley Senior Member

    Not *my* neighbours - what was that lovely Cold War acronym? Oh yes, MAD.....

    You've been to my place..... I'm thinking of adding some containers in the driveway now all those trees have been felled. More storage space and blocks sight lines.

    PDW
     
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