Woods Designs - Eclipse, Flica and Vardo build times

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by flagg, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. flagg
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    flagg Junior Member

    Hi there,

    I am looking at these three designs and comparing the (built) weight differences and assessing build times for each boat for the available construction methods. I'd like to use foam flat panel style (on a table) construction where possible as I like the simple, clean approach (no stringers, gel coat finish on the outside, light etc.) and favour the investment in foam and learning that method. I haven't decided on hand laid, vacuum bagged or infused etc. but don't fear learning the process. No different to learning how to glass ply, bog and fair it. I've bogged, faired and painted race cars and know how painful it is for even a small area.

    The Eclipse meets my needs and has the headroom (I'm 187cm) and it is light - 2.5t which (from what i've read) generally means a faster build than the 3t Vardo or 3.5t Flica. However its cedar strip plank hulls and roof and ply topsides have me concerned as I want the most efficient build method and some of the build logs/websites quote some huge build times for this boat.

    The Flica also meets my needs (other than an outboard option?) and it lists flat panel GRP hulls and foam decks but the built weight implies that there is a LOT more boat to build and it's looking a bit dated compared to the others.

    So this brings me to the Vardo which doesn't have the headroom I'd like and is sheet ply flat panel build. If it had 50 - 100mm more headroom and was available in flat panel foam construction it might be the best/quickest build of the three?

    What is everyone's opinion on which approach is best? Suck it up and strip plank an Eclipse, build the older Flica in GRP/Foam, or adapt a Vardo for flat panel foam build (which Richard did on his own Gypsy) and see if he might add a little headroom?

    I should add that I am looking to minimise work not create it, so I would use LAR keels, outboards and probably tiller steering. I am happy to use ply bulkheads if that will be simpler and for the interior of course. (I still cant understand why designers don't do CNC plans for their interiors, everyone agrees there is a lot of time there too and not everyone wants to learn how to be a cabinetmaker!).

    Regards Brett.
     
  2. cookiesa
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    cookiesa Senior Member

    If build time is of concern, I'd avoid strip planking as it is generally time comes nsuming, not just the build but fairing. Great way to get nice curves but labour intensive.

    I am a fan of ply for bulkheads.
     
  3. Steve W
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Im not sure which design id choose, your right about the Flica looking dated. On the construction making flat panels on a table just jump in and do infusion, it is not at all difficult and the resulting panels are of very consistent high quality, it is a very clean process and after doing a few test panels a very relaxed process. The equipment cost is low and the material cost can be reasonable too if you don't get sucked into the epoxy for everything mentality, you can build very high quality panels with polyester or vinylester with foam or balsa core. There are some great threads here that will teach you more than you need to know on the subject.

    Steve.
     
  4. bluebox3000
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    bluebox3000 Junior Member

  5. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    As you have also posted on my own forum pages I will answer more fully there later today

    The Flica was designed in 1981 so naturally its styling is no longer fashionable. However the boat still works well as a cruiser, many happy owners have sailed many ocean miles in them

    I would say though, that the three designs are very different. The Flica has the most room, and is the slowest. The Eclipse will probably take the longest to build but be the fastest but have the least load carrying. The Vardo is in between on performance and space, but probably has the best load carrying.

    So you shouldn't really decide on the design by the build time, rather on what you want to use the boat for once built. Please email me direct to discuss it further

    I have personally built an Eclipse in 18 months by 1 1/2 people, built mainly outside with not under cover in the UK, so little work was done during the winter! So say 3000 hours

    A Vardo was recently launched after 18 months singlehanded building in a very confined space and not full time. I haven't sailed a Vardo, but have been on board one. I have sailed Flica 34, 35 and 37 variants extensively, and of course thousands of miles on an Eclipse

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  6. catsketcher
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    Get the right design for use not build

    Gday Brett

    Good on you for building a boat rather than buying a big heavy charter version. As to reading too much about build times from forums I would urge caution.

    A huge amount of build time can be used in think time. If the boat is well designed with good drawings and is well considered by someone who has actually lived and cruised on board then you think less and build more. This is one reason I really like Richard's boats - especially the Eclipse. They are tried and tested by someone who sails and cruises like me. No air conditioners on board and drawn by an ex racer who likes to sail well.

    I can probably build a boat faster than the average guy because it would be my fifth build. If you have a great shed with flat concrete floor it is faster, if you can afford to get all the gear at once - faster, if you can work 10 hours a day - faster. If you can get help when you need two people much faster for some jobs heaps faster. Buy the whole rig - faster. Don't make your own hatches - faster.

    In the end the variables mean that if you built an Eclipse on your own, under a tarp, in an awkward spot, hunted through scrap yards to make fittings, made your own rig - you would double the time to build. A nice flat block with good shed/tent and big blocks of time would make a big difference to the project.

    As for round bilge - it is great and probably the way to go. Strip planking is probably the nicest part of building the boat. Getting the nice curves right is fun and if you get advice from people who have done it is is fast. Some essentials
    - Don't scarf planks into long lengths - nice but not essential. Just butt them.
    - If on your own dry fit planks and put spacers in. Kankama has this and she is still going strong.
    - Fit the interior without the sides on. I did this on a folding cat and it worked well and the Eclipse is spot on for this. You build the hull pan and then all of the interior gets worked on before you get the last hull side on. saves heaps of time.

    Funnily enough strip planking allows you to have a less fair hull. A hard chine needs to be fair or it will wander but you can be a little looser with a round bilge hull. Also if it is like my 38 footer your cat will jump out of the water up until about halfway back in a big chop so having Vee (deadrise) back here is good and the rounded hull does this almost as well as a hull with Vee without the leeway problems.

    Cruising this year I met two blokes who built boats in record times. One guy. John, built his 40ft Lock Crowther in foam in 7 months with his son and wife working. They went full throttle and didn't miss a season. Marcel singlehandedly built a strip plank 43 footer in 20 months and then sailed around the world. Both boats are looking great after 14 years but these guys knew how to work. John set up a production line where he fit and installed the foam pieces and he gave them to his wife to laminate the glass on them and she and he worked hard ALL day every day. Marcel put a sign on his door saying "Lunch 1-1.30. I can talk then otherwise go away". Anyone who spends time on a nice blog should probably be in the shed instead until they finish.

    Get the boat you want to cruise and then put your head down and build it. My vote is for the Eclipse.

    cheers

    Phil
     
  7. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Thank you for the compliments. Coming from you I appreciate them even more.

    Several Eclipse builders have built the interior before fitting the topsides. Anything to avoid climbing ladders. Too many people deck a boat too soon. Check out photos of production boats being built. We left the transoms off my Eclipse until just before launching. It made it so much easier getting in and out, never mind giving more light.

    Some people enjoy the building experience. I don't, so I always try to speed it up.

    We sold a set of Sagitta plans (the 30ft small sister to Eclipse) in 1990. The builder launched it in 2010. In comparison, we (meaning 2 1/2 people) built the plugs moulds and our complete Sagitta in less than a year. So in that time really we built a wood Sagitta, then an over weight glass one, then a foam sandwich one.

    One foam sandwich Flica was built and sailing singlehandedly in 12 months, it's the bottom one on this page

    http://www.sailingcatamarans.com/index.php/component/content/article/351

    The earlier photos on that page are dated, so you can see the speed of progress

    We have an expression in the yard "can't talk now, I've got a boat to build". Interesting though that Jeff, the Vardo builder, had a very good building blog, but almost nothing posted since launching. No doubt he is too busy sailing to write about it...

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  8. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Back in the mid 1970s I rented space to build a cold molded keelboat from a guy who was building a cold molded 57ft twin keel ketch of his own design, a huge boat, by himself. He had taken out a lease on a nice big commercial building, more than he needed and he and his wife were living in the offices and he rented out space to others to build their own boats, it was a great deal for everyone concerned, nice space. He had a big sign set up next to his boat the said something like " yes it is a big boat, yes i think it will float and a whole bunch of other answers to stupid questions. We of course always had the big doors open in the summer and folks would walk in and see him working on the boat and just as they were about to open there mouth they would see the sign and leave.

    Steve.
     
  9. flagg
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    flagg Junior Member

    Spoilt for choice

    Thank you everyone for the feedback and thank you Richard for responding too. I am a great admirer of your designs and philosophy.

    I have read most of the threads in this forum on build time and construction methods and it has been a great source of information. Bob Oram once wrote that to save time build less stuff! I love that saying and would consider one of his designs had he not retired, best of luck to him. I have also looked at the Easy range in 9.9 and 11m but not really keen on all ply build. I would probably wait for a really cheap one to be for sale s/h than build one if I wanted a ply hull boat.

    I have a good shed with flat concrete floor, it's 9m x7m with a 3.5 x 7 carport on the end. However I am looking into whether I can open the end up and extend so I have a 15 x 7 which I could fit the whole boat into, otherwise I can build the major bits as far as possible and put together outside under a cover. I'm on acreage so room is not a problem nor getting a hand occasionally for 2 or 3 people jobs.

    The boat will be the family holiday boat with the intention of working our way up to coastal trips and maybe one day across to some islands like Vanuatu etc. and getting around Oz. So much to see in this part of the world. It has to be easy to single hand and safe. Something Richards designs are renowned for. I would even consider a professionally built carbon unstayed (non rotating) mast to simplify the build further. I would rather invest money in foam build and a carbon mast than diesel engines when outboard/s will do.

    The flicka is probably the best suited for headroom (I'm 187cm tall) and construction method (is designed for grp and foam which is how I would like to build). Not sure if outboards are easily done?

    I like that the Vardo is a new design it is just a bit cramped headroom wise and designed for ply build. Richard I'll message you directly about whether flat panel foam build for the hulls and decks would be easy enough to do as well as a little more headroom.

    The Eclipse is a great boat and part of me says stop worrying about the extra build time there and just strip plank the lower hulls in cedar and maybe I can use foam for the sides and decks? My best mate built a strip plank David Payne Snapper Boat with his dad recently so knows the drill now and can help me there. It is also 10m LOA which will save some money as berths seem to be either 10m or 12m for Multihulls not that that is a biggie on the list.

    I am really attracted to the infused flat panel build method which allows for taping seams therefore reducing fairing and pads for reinforcing mounting points etc. Gropers build and his commentary on some threads has been inspiring. It just seems common sense and maybe appeals to my thinking. This is why I come back to the Vardo as it may be a good candidate for this approach?


    Regards Brett.
     
  10. Steve W
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Steve W Senior Member

    If the ply construction is the only reason to give the Easy a pass why not build it in foam cored composite panels instead which you can infuse yourself ? If it can be built in ply it can be built with cored panels, Talk with Peter Snell and see what he thinks. I would guess the value if you sell it later would be higher.

    Steve.
     
  11. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    According to the drawings, at the aft end of the saloon the headroom is 1980 tapered to 1760 at the front of the seating area (where obviously you wouldn't stand), so I'm not sure why you want more than that? See attachment

    I'll wait for your email before replying to your other comments. I did make a longer post on my own forum

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     

    Attached Files:

  12. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    I know that infused foam attracts a lot of favourable comments but its a mistake to think that one building method will be the ultimate. I like ply for bulkheads and cabin sides where no stringers are required. Foam is great for decks and cabin tops and curved hull sides. Strip cedar is great for curves.

    I would not worry about a couple of hundred hours here or there. the boat will take heaps of time. You will be able to spend many more hours fairing the interior than building the structure. Before looking at how at amazing savings in time from one technique check out that the people forwarding the technique have made a whole boat and not just some hulls. The interior will take the time not the hulls.

    I had a look at the blog on the Eclipse. Looks like a nice build but they are building slowly. My guess is that a fast builder away from a boatyard and doing ten hour days could do it in about half the hours ie 18 months full time.

    cheers

    Phil
     
  13. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Again I agree with Phil. That Eclipse builder is doing a great job but taking his time. The one in Holland also took a long time, but he modified a lot of the boat - like the cabin! Others have been quicker.

    Fitting out the interior will take the time, not building the hulls. Fortunately you want outboards and tiller steering as that saves a lot of time. Keep the interior simple.

    I also often comment that my 28ft Gypsy catamaran, fitted out very simply and cheaply, had 6 interior lights. My 32ft Eclipse, only 4 ft longer, had 26. But that included locker lights that came on automatically when you opened the doors, a cockpit security light and courtesy lights that lit the steps down to the hulls that came on with the nav lights.

    All reasons why my Eclipse took 3 times as long to build as my Gypsy (I was sailing the latter after under 1000 hours building, all singlehanded)

    Also remember that, by and large, the longer you take building the boat the heavier it will be

    Richard Woods
     
  14. flagg
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    flagg Junior Member

    Thank you for the feedback everyone, all great points.

    Richard, sorry, I took the headroom figures off the Vardo website page at 1.85 for the saloon but hadn't looked at the study plan cross section pdf you supply there. That sounds sufficient, as long as it remains over 1.9 where you stand in the saloon and access the hulls. I know you must get tired of the headroom questions but when you are 187cm every mm counts and makes a big difference between comfortable and downright annoying. I spent a day on a Seawind 1000 recently and clobbered my head twice. An extra 30-40mm would have prevented it. I'm definitely going for simple systems where possible. I'll be using outboard/s, a composting toilet and a camping port-a-loo for the kids rather than plumbing and holding tanks. Rechargeable battery LED lights in the bunks to save running wiring everywhere when you just need a light to get into bed etc...

    Steve, thank you, a Foam built Easy is not a bad idea and one I'll consider. The Easy range are popular and well thought of here and Peter is only 3-4 hours up the road. It would really depend on Peter and if he was keen to see it happen, as I really value the designer support.

    Thanks Phil, your feedback is always excellent on this forum and I like your open-minded approach towards things. I agree with what you said, I'm ok with ply bulkheads & furniture, and even cedar strip lower hulls for the eclipse.

    Everyone agrees the interior is where a lot of the time is spent so what is everyone's best tip for reducing the interior fitout and fairing time (and still having a reasonable finish). I'm already looking at simple systems as described above but what about the construction of hulls, decks, bridgedeck, cockpit, saloon top etc.? Does foam offer an advantage here using peel ply or other techniques during the construction which save heaps of time later?

    Regards Brett.
     

  15. redreuben
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    redreuben redreuben

    Flagg.
    In Australia replace cedar with paulownia.
    For interior mouldings get yourself some sheets of formica covered chipboard and build a 90 degree mould for your furniture. The basic mould will give you the bench top and front, you can drop in bulkheads and ends as required, or make wood blanks for cut outs etc. radii can be made from plasticine and a drill bit. This will give you fibreglass moulded furniture units with your choice of core.
     
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