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1833usmc 01-03-2012 10:11 PM

Building new 46' Schooner-Rigged Motorsailer:
What's the reading on the industry right now? I could only get four yards in all of North America to bid on it!

xsboats 01-04-2012 06:04 AM

I guess you didn't ask many custom builders. I have been fortunate to have a couple of builds per year through all of this but I know several boatshops that would have welcomed your contract.

1833usmc 01-04-2012 09:15 AM

The main problem was finding a yard that still works in wood by traditional means to an old William Atkin design, "Magpie". Most folks now a days works in fiberglass and aluminum. I can't blame them, you got'a work where the money's paying! But did finally get four yards willing; two on the East Coast and two on the West.

Jeff_H 01-04-2012 01:02 PM

You had originally not said what material or method of construction you are considering for this project and of course that impacts availability of shops willing to take on your project. There are comparatively few yards that take on a wooden boat of this size and of the complexity of an Atkins Magpie.

But in a general sense you are describing a very unique project. The number of yards capable of doing a project is limited because:

.....Of the intended size of the boat requiring a shop that is capable of handling a pretty big project. Boats that size equire a yard with pretty a large building, reasonably sophisticated equipment and deep enough pockets to carry a job like that. There are fewer of these around than smaller shops.

......Of the rig, which requires a yard that is familiar with traditional rigs.

.....Of the risk in building a design like this with an extremely limited market appeal, which means that should something happen to you and the yard end up owning the boat, they would have a hard time liquidating their investment.

Further limiting the availability of suitable boat builders will be the level of fit and finish that you hope to achieve. Not that long ago there were a lot of yards which specialized in workboat quality construction that might be suitable for a project like yours. But with the scaling back of the fishing industry and the shift in workboat construction methods and design, it gets much harder to find yards like these.

Of course if your goal is a fine yacht, there are still a large number of good choices. The bigger yards that do this kind of think tend to be very expensive. The smaller yards tend to be less so, but many of the smaller custom boat building shops who could do a project like this for a reasonable price, tended to be under-capitalized and so have closed up due to the economy. There are still some around who would die to have a project like yours, but again, they tend to be small so the project will stretch out a lot longer. And you have to worry about the financial stability of a yard like that. In the construction industry, I watched as under capitalized contractors took on projects very cheaply (too cheaply) trying to save their businesses only to go belly up mid-project, and leave an owner with a half completed mess.


1833usmc 01-04-2012 01:19 PM

Thanks for the input. She will be built of wood as per original drawings circa 1937. Upgrades will be as required to meet current regs. Not a museum model, not a harbor condo and not a party boat! Looks like She sailed out of an Ernest Hemingway novel and built like a battleship.

kd3pc 01-04-2012 01:32 PM

Insurance for a wooden boat, new or used can be a problem. Especially given a decades old design...which most likely uses fasteners as opposed to coldmold and epoxy or new construction methods.

In the past things as mundane as fasteners and the process were mandated by insurance companies, even going so far as to have a surveyor assess every one as we re-fastened. The monel ones required had to come out of the box new, and if bent, dropped or damaged in any way, was tossed - could not be used.

Most yards have no way (railway) of moving or launching a wooden boat of this size. You may try Tiffany's yachts of Wicomico Church, VA. There work is impeccable. And they are a pleasure to work with.

Getting a yard to sign up for this scrutiny and the many thousand's of hours may be problematic, unless they know your situation personally. Many have been left hanging on very expensive, resourcematerial hogging unfinished boats, with no means of getting rid of them.

Jeff_H 01-04-2012 02:28 PM

Just out of curiousity, what was wrong with the four yards who did provide a bid?

Was one of the yards SCARANO BOAT BUILDING in ALBANY, NY?

blt2ski 01-04-2012 06:58 PM

Jeff is probably correct in that there are probably few builders that can build such a creature.

THEN, speaking as a contractor, no not a boat builder, when "I" get clients that I realize are contacting numerous folks for bids, reality is, I bid higher as the potential client will probably be a PITA, along with needing to CMA on potential cost issues that may come up that some clients I can explain the "I can build this potential problem in, or set it off as a potential, if it occurs, it will cost X if not, then I do not charge you, or leave it out, and I end up eating it" So depending upon the initial contact how you want things bid, will depend upon the how interested I am in bidding the project.

Then again, I could see how for this project, one might have to contact MANY builders to figure out who can, is willing etc to except such a job too!


SloopJonB 01-04-2012 07:51 PM


Originally Posted by blt2ski (Post 813342)
THEN, speaking as a contractor, no not a boat builder, when "I" get clients that I realize are contacting numerous folks for bids, reality is, I bid higher as the potential client will probably be a PITA,

Are you say that people who get several bids on a big expensive job are PITA's?

When I had to re-roof my first house back in the 80's I got 5 bids that ranged from $3400 to $5700. In those days it took me 2 or 3 weeks to earn that $2300 difference.

When we recently re-did our kitchen and floors the bids ranged from $11K for the whole job to $24K for just the CABINETS.

Only a fool would take a single bid on a job costing $thousands.

Capt Len 01-04-2012 08:21 PM

Here in Canada the rules for passenger carrying are .really tough Probably next to impossible to do in wood any more.If you have a long term plans check closely with your authorities. Retro fitting two or three watertight bulkheads and non flamable interior (for starters) can be a lot of expense. You follow the same list as a much larger (2,,300 ton ferry).I wish you all good fortune. There is nothing like a wooden vessel for matching your heartbeat to an ocean swell.

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