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Old 10-02-2006
zhahn zhahn is offline
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Build it or Buy it?

I'm a relatively inexperienced sailor who is looking to further my sailing skill and at the same time pick up some boat maintenance and repair skills by possibly building my own boat from scratch. I've always been a fairly mechanically inclined person, spending a lot of time growing up building things from wood with my grandfather who was a carpenter by trade and fixing cars with my father. I painted houses for three summers while in college (which I've sadly just graduated from) and so have a good amount of experience in scrapping, sanding, priming, caulking, and painting. I'm not looking to build anything remotely large, somewhere in the 16 footdaysailer range.

In terms of experience I've sailed around Buzzard's Bay here in Massachusetts several times crewing on a friend's 33 foot Catalina and started sailing on my own this summer on the Charles River at Community Boating (I highly recommend them to anyone in the Boston area, great people and very affordable - http://www.community-boating.org/)

My question is: what is the best course of action on this is? What books or internet resources can you recommend to further my research? I've seen many listings for boat plans, but are there any good ones? Is it better to research hull design theory and try to get a hold of some CAD software (I'm fairly skilled with AutoDesk Inventor.) I spent two years as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a degree in Mathematics so the theory and the physics are not something I'm afraid of. My last question is how is the resale on a home-made boat? If I should come to build my own boat I don't plan on keeping it forever. Can I expect to recoup a decent amount of the input costs or does the value drop significantly since its not professionally made? Any thoughts or advice you can offer are greatly appreciated. Thank you,

Zachary Hahn
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