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Old 02-26-2012
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Affordable Builders

I have plans for a Catamaran sailor, 47', wood epoxy construction. I am looking for referrals and advice for an affordable builder. One estimate here in North Carolina was rediculously high. (I am still looking, of course) Perhaps off shore is the way to go. Anyway, I need advice and help in locating a builder that doesn't want to retire after building this one boat. Thanks for any assistance out there....
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Old 02-26-2012
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What's affordable? I would assume a custom 47' cat would be 7 figures?
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Old 02-26-2012
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1,000's of hours labor, wood prices and epoxy supplies, materials, equipment all add up...

I know a couple of very good builders, with long histories of quality boats who are, and were still building way in to their 80's.

If ANY builder can retire on profits of building A boat, I would love to meet him and understand his secret. Margins on boats are like other products, and in this economy tough to sustain. Many are building high end furniture, custom machine work and the like to just keep the company going.

You are likely talking easy 7 figures to do a custom boat, such as this, assuming the engineering and design is correct and the boat can actually be "built" without major changes ....many glass boats can not simply be built with wood/epoxy, i.e. the engineering and design simply won't transfer one to the other.

Few builders can (or would) take on this risk, unless you are willing to put a substantial deposit and completion bond in place ....

Off shore has it's own set of problems, and would likely be cheaper to build - but by the time you factor in travel to supervise or hire your own man there to oversee....will be a wash. And if you don't stay active in an offshore build....your money and boat may be gone before you can get over "there"
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Thanks for the replies guys; I may have a bigger appetite than I can afford. The model and design is a Dix 470, designed for wood epoxy construction, with Mr. Dix's design made suitable for an amateur builder to do, with basic woodworking skills and tools. (I asked him the talent, etc needed, and that is one of the beauty of his designs) I thought a 4000hr build time, the first (and so far only) quote I got for a hull, bridgedeck finished to coating, NOT with hatches, rigging, hardware, etc, was 12,000 hrs at $25/hr! This fella also had add ons of $40,000 for "worker's comp and rental of space", he estimated material costs at $100K. I wasn't expecting anything close to that, and that is why perhaps I should be looking "offshore".
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Old 02-26-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryfusco View Post
Thanks for the replies guys; I may have a bigger appetite than I can afford. The model and design is a Dix 470, designed for wood epoxy construction, with Mr. Dix's design made suitable for an amateur builder to do, with basic woodworking skills and tools. (I asked him the talent, etc needed, and that is one of the beauty of his designs) I thought a 4000hr build time, the first (and so far only) quote I got for a hull, bridgedeck finished to coating, NOT with hatches, rigging, hardware, etc, was 12,000 hrs at $25/hr! This fella also had add ons of $40,000 for "worker's comp and rental of space", he estimated material costs at $100K. I wasn't expecting anything close to that, and that is why perhaps I should be looking "offshore".
Dudley Dix recently moved from S. Africa to Virginia - you might ask him for a recommendation.

BTW, just last week a well know builder quoted me nearly $200K + tax for a bare Hull/Deck/Keel for a 48' monohull in GRP from an existing mold. More than I was willing to pay, but it didn't surprise me.
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On the face of it that doesn't look too bad for a 47 foot custom build, assuming you're not looking for something that will be immediately tagged as 'homebuilt'. Cold moulding, while suitable for a one-off is a labour/time intensive method.

A 4000 hour DIY works out to a year and a half of 10 hour days.. I wonder if you could complete it yourself in that time, to that finish, yourself - assuming you had the skillsets required.

47 feet is a LOT of boat, 47 feet of catamaran is even more. This is a huge project and needs a lot of coin behind it for a good result.
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The numbers you quote do not seem ridiculous. I can imagine that you might get a cheaper estimate, but not that much cheaper - ie 10% or so. We met a French guy in Panama who was going to have a 50' cat built in India for something like $300k, including engines, electrical/plumbing, installation of winches and other sailing gear (he was going to provide those), but not including rig and sails. He was going to buy those in SE Asia. But the assumption with this was that he would be at the yard every day to supervise construction and he really knew what he was doing. He was planning to cruise the first boat and use it as a model to try to get others to buy. I imagine lots of hours going into the build, but probably $2/hr on average.
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Old 02-26-2012
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Hmmm I'd guess the High $ was way low actually.

Not to mention the liability of building it for someone else.
But Larry? How much were you thinking it was going to cost? I mean what was the realistic price you had in mind? Hell, just the fitting out, rigging, and sails would be over a 100k (imho) when I think about it. Your basically outfitting a house AND a boat.

for comparison... this one is over 300k
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Old 02-26-2012
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Damn few boatyards have the facilities to take on a build that long AND that wide. So, before you even start to build a boat you have to build a shelter over it- figure 55' long and 30' wide, minimum, clear span. THAT could take a year, minimum, by the time any permits are acquired and design finalized, and at least a month to build, and even a simple bowshed is going to be in the five figure range for materials when you get to 1500+ sq ft.
Or, one could attempt to rent space. Try to find a warehouse with a 20+ ft wide door to get your finished boat through, let alone the overhead clearance.
You end up shopping at airports, looking to rent hangar space. NOT cheap.

$25 an hour is a bargain... TOO cheap, as a matter of fact.
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Dudley Dix is a real fine guy, and is very helpful. He did suggest a builder in Trinidad, that built the 55' the larger version/sistership called Wild Vanilla, and another, named Cheetah. I have emailed the builder there and am awaiting a response. Looking at production boats I am wondering if I should forget purchasing the plans, but hate to give up without a better investigation of a lower price to build. Building locally would have the advantage of my labor free. Soooo discouraging so far!
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