Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Grapevine TX
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I find most home built boats fall into three categories, cheaply built, quality built, and temples to Neptune. Depending on what size your looking for, will weed out the cheapish. Very few people, who are trying to build a decent size boat, are doing it to save money. You can get an old boat and refit it much faster and cheaper. There are exceptions that prove the rule. Most home builders will up size when it comes to a whole list of choices. Production builders think in terms of scale. Where as the switch from 20oz to 18oz fiberglass only saves you $150 on one boat, it is $15,000 on 100 boats. This is replicated through out the building precess.
Those things said, you have to be a lot more diligent if you're thinking about buying a home built boat. You need to ask questions like; what epoxy was used, were the plans followed to the letter, if not what modifications were made and why. what brand of blocks and sheaves were used? It's also best if you can look over the plans for the boat, it helps when evaluating the boat. You should look into all the nooks and crannies, this is were the quality of build shows up.
The reason home built boats have a lower resale isn't usually because of poor construction. The first and biggest stumbling block in resale value is financing. The banks can quickly look up the average resale value of Catalina no matter what make or age, this means it's easy to get a loan for a twenty year old boat, and you can borrow more against it because banks are more comfortable with the collateral. Second is insurance. The same as with banks, the insurance company is more likely to insure you if they can look up their average losses against a particular band. Third is repair and maintenance issues. Out side of the original builder, the average ship wright is less interested in working on custom boats. You tend to make more money doing the same work on the same boats. Plus you can get new and used parts for a production boat, a lot easier and cheaper then a one off design. Just look for catamaran trampolines, you'll find loads for prindles and hobies, but would have to go custom for a wharram or farrier.
However, if your planing on paying in cash, Your going to carry liability insurance only, and tend to do most of the repairs and maintenance your self, a home built boat could get you a lot more boat for the money.
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