Money Think clearly and honestly about your finances before starting any large, long-term project. If you are not building a unique boat design, consider carefully whether building is really going to be cheaper than buying a boat.
When you buy a boat, sinks for the head and galley are usually part of the package. However, when you are building your own boat, you will be paying a separate markup for each item that you buy. Although you may find a few good deals on used parts, don't count on finding everything you need in that fashion. Trust me, after the first year of doing nothing but spending money on your boat, you will start to wince every time you buy another stainless steel screw, hinge, or bronze lock for the galley cupboards.
TimeFor us, time was money. If we weren't out sailing, then we were spending money twofold for food and shelter on land and on the boat. We wanted to reduce the financial burden as quickly as possible, but we ran into a few snags with suppliers.
Do yourself a favor before you end up waiting two or three months for the wood for the masts to arrive (like we did). Make a list of the materials you'll need and line up your supplies well in advance. When we finally did get the call that the wood for our masts was ready, the man on the other end of the line was asking me if I wanted the wood dried. Dried? That was going to take another six weeks he informed. In desperation, we quickly lined up another supplier and considered ourselves lucky that more time wasn't lost.
Communication If you are building your boat on your own, be honest with yourself about your goals. If you are building this boat with a partner or a family in mind, be honest with them about your goals and expectations for the project.
Skills You should really spend the time to assess your boat-building skills well in advance of actually starting of this project. Of course you'll pick up a number of valuable skills in the process, but if you are going to be learning how to weld or make upholstery, then you should expand your budget and add another few weeks to your time estimate.
For us, the problem didn't come with learning new skills, but rather with expecting professional results in each new area that we learned. Since we are not professional welders or seamstresses, these little areas added both time and money to our overall project. We found that we had to repeat some steps a few times. For others, we finally broke down and paid a professional for work that we simply couldn't duplicate with our limited equipment and expertise. In the end, biting the bullet and paying a professional was the best decision, but it hurt our egos to pay for small projects twice¾once on our own and once for the professional.
Space Working on a boat can become the equivalent of the camel sticking its nose into the tent. First, if you're doing this at your home, you will start to leave a few tools around the house. Before you know it, the house will be uninhabitable because you have a half-built hull in the garage, sails in the living room, boat plans on the kitchen table, tools in the office, and a trail of epoxy-sodden work clothes leading to some dark corner of the bedroom.
Give yourself a break from living, breathing, and eating boat-building by sticking to a clearly-defined arrangement of work and living space. Build an oversized garage or add a loft to your current garage, and add a storage room, or better yet just buy an aluminum storage shed and park it in the backyard. And don't¾no matter how much you are tempted¾move onto the boat before you are entirely finished building it. Once you're on the boat, cruising will become your lifestyle and all thoughts of completing the boat will be left back on land.
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