Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 192 Times in 157 Posts
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As far as I know, there are no companies in the US that still offer kit boats in that size range. The last two that I knew of were Seamaster in Ft. Lauderdale and Starratt Jenks on the west coast of Florida. Of the two I thought that the Seamaster 45 was the better boat.
If I were looking to do a kit boat, I would take one of two approaches. If I wanted a traditional or a CCA era design, I would try to find an older boat that is in reasonably good shape and start there. Many of these boats have decent hulls and restorable decks. Much of the hardware may be reuseable as might the mast and steering gear. You are no worse off than a kit but you are starting with an established design and can often buy an older boat than a new hull would cost to build.
On the other hand, if you prefer an more modern design, the hull typically represents a very small portion of the overall cost of material and labor for a boat. Often less than 10% of the overall cost. If you are handy you might be able to use one of the simpler composite constuction methods to build your own hull or have one of the customn boat shops do that for you. If you did your own fairing that could be a reasonably similar cost to purchasing a kit hull and you would end up with a unique product.
I can''t emphasize the importance of purchasing a good design. All to often people settle for some design, kit or derelict because it is cheap and available. As you well know it takes a lot of work, materials and parts to finish a boat (Typically 5 times the cost of the hull and deck if you include something for the value of your labor). An all too often people pour all of this time and money into a bad choice for a boat. I have seen some really beautifully restored clunkers in my day. To me that is the worst kind of tragedy.