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Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

Hello,

I'm very new to sailing but it has been a dream for some time now. I have the opportunity to acquire a bare 38 ft fiberglass hull that was laid up by professional boat builders in the early 80s but never finished. I was wondering if anyone has any advice or experience with a project this big. I don't mind working on it for years if its cost efficient.

thanks
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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

HI Nate,


Welcome to Sailnet I moved this thread to a better forum


Doing the interior construction on a boat is very different from anything else. No wall is straight. All curves are compound.

I had a kitchen making expert in Malaysia look at doing some simple draws for my boat. (Forward cabin against the hull) He thought it would be easy...: He began measuring up and then exclaims Whaa! Then Oooooo! And starts re-measuring everything again... Basically he said "No!" And ran as fast as he could

Whats your experience with carpentry and other Trades?

Mark

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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

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Originally Posted by natema View Post
....if its cost efficient......
To fit out a blank interior would not likely be cost efficient. It might be a labor of love, but most of these stories end in misery. Especially for those that really want to sail. Some really like to build boats, so the construction is the joy and destination. Still, not likely cost efficient.


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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

I hate to rain on a dream but here goes. Some things to consider:
- Building from a bare hull is a years-long project.
- Consider that there might be a reason that hull has been laying about for 30-40 years.
- Research registration, insurance, and re-sale of a custom boat in your area; you could run into problems there.
- You're "very new" to sailing. Do you have an idea of the performance characteristics you want out of the boat? Will this hull meet those expectations? Interior layout; are you comfortable picking a plan without experiencing life on a boat?
- This is going to cost a lot more than buying a ready to sail 38 foot boat.

I think building your own boat is a fantastic dream and I hope you get to realize that dream. However, I think that there are some steps along that path that you don't want to skip. Get some sailing experience, spend some time on different boats, then decide what you want.
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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

I had a friend who built his own 35' ketch. A very skilled professional carpenter. It took him 7 years. The saying is that the hull is a third of the boat. The interior and the rigging are the other two. You may have plenty of time, but doing one-offs by yourself is NOT cost-effective. You're not buying enough of anything to get a volume discount on materials. You don't say where you are so sourcing materials could also be a problem. Sailing Anarchy has lots of threads full of comments on home builders who've had that issue and used the wrong stuff. "Saving money" does not always improve ROI or overall outcome. Rigging a 38' boat - even using used materials if it's a standard design - will be tens of thousands of dollars. Sails aren't cheap either, and if you "customize" the rig to cut costs, you'll need "customized" sails that fit what you've made. $$$. When you're done (2030?) you'll have a 1980 boat that was launched 50 years late. It may be worth a little more than other 1980 boats in 2030, but probably not much more and certainly not worth what it cost to build. The current market for used 1980 (and newer) boats has a wide range of boats (possibly even including the model you're considering!) that are available now in sail-away condition. Many could be purchased for less than the cost of the new materials your 38' hull would require, to say nothing of the value of your time spent working. If your goal is to have a boat to sail on, get a finished one, used. If your goal is to have an expensive project to keep you busy, have fun.

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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

I have built and rebuilt boats. As others have said, there is nothing easy or cost effective about it. There are reasons that people do build their own boats, but most times, if they succeed, they are professional boat builders who have all the tools, skills and connections to do it efficiently and we'll.

There are a very large number of skillsets required and decisions that need to be made without making a costly error.

If you are new to sailing it is pretty unlikely that you have the experienced based knowledge to successfully see you through the process of properly building and equipping a boat this size. But beyond that, as a new sailor, it is unlikely that you even have the experience based knowledge to know whether the boat you will spend years building is a good design or the right design for your eventual tastes, skills and objectives.

In the case of a home made boat or home completed boat, a complete hull and deck with ballast and framing in place is approximately 20% of the overall cost of the completed boat assuming that you provide all of the labor including making your own sails and rigging. And the sad truth is that home built boats have a resale value that is a small percentage of the value of a factory built boat.

Also as others have said, the people who build their own boats are often more interested in boat building than actually sailing. There is nothing wrong with that, but if that is who you think you are, you might want to test that theory by building a much smaller boat and sailing it for a while.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

This is for someone with lots of specialized skills and machinery... engineering expertise and enormous amount of time.. if the interior is properly built out. And doing it alone would be pretty insane.

But as they say... if this floats your boat... go for it.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

I know a guy, who is a naval architect by education, although, never spent a day working in the field. He had to build his own boat. Spent over 20 years doing so. His plan was to spend the rest of his days cruising down south on his dream. He splashed last summer. Cruised New England for 4 months. Went home and he's done. The reality of full time sailing was not the same as his dream.

I think he's okay with it, or I'd be very sad for him.
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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

You might get some additional useful input if you revealed what the hull is...i.e. what model of boat.
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Re: Building a sailboat from a bare 38 ft hull

I have recently been exploring the thought of owning a 38 foot boat. The prices range from $35-60k. Unless you get a really good deal on used equipment you will likely spend that much on building a boat from scratch. Just a guess but new a motor, rigging and sails will run $30k. Unless you want to be known for building your own boat as opposed to being a sailor, just buy a boat mostly ready to go sailing or boat in sailaway condition which would still need money and work to sailaway.
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