Let's try this again. Leaving behind the crud that other threads have devolved into, let's actually talk about construction methods and design limitations. Try to keep it civil and non personal. Try not to brand bash. Try to realize that certain boats have to hit certain price points, but that doesn't mean they can't be seaworthy.
New poster with a slightly different perspective which may be of interest to people looking to build or buy a non production boat.
New boats are expensive because boat building is a messy, fiddly, wasteful business with high labour and overheads.
One way to reduce these is "intelligent infusion" which has reduced the time taken to build a one off by more than half, albeit for a relatively specialist boat type.
Infusion is a fairly well known technique which, compared to hand laminating saves time, uses less than 50% of the resin and results in a higher quality job.
The laminate and core are placed in the mould dry. It can be carefully tailored and accurately placed without any of the stress associated with fears of resin curing. A vacuum bag is then placed over the job, the air evacuated and a hose hooked up to a drum of mixed resin. 40 minutes later, the entire job is perfectly wet out. For anyone who has hand laminated it is a huge WOW!
Most infusers use the technique to produce conventional hulls and decks, with all the trimming, shaping and post mould work these require. The future is in using infusion to eliminate this.
Including everything in the infusion that is normally done post mould is minimal effort. Structural grids, landings for bulkheads and shelves, rebates for windows, holes for skin fittings, engine mounts, ring frames, solids for deck fittings, beefing up in high load areas, aligned reinforcement for specific loads, conduit for plumbing and electrics and blanks for fastenings can all be accurately placed then perfectly wet out with no post mould cleaning up required.
The external surfaces are peel plied. Remove it and it is ready for paint. The internal surfaces can be peel ply and paint, left shiny or made flat and skinned with veneer, clear woven carbon, formica or similar materials.
The box moulds are built from sheets of low cost mdf. The shaped areas are wire cut polystyrene foam. The mould is lined with thin plastic sheet so it does not need polishing or waxing. A half mould for a 40' hull takes a couple of people a couple of days to build. Another couple of days and the layup is ready to bag. The moulds are sufficiently cheap and accurate that half hulls/decks can be produced, with male/female joins along the deck and keel, eliminating the hull/deck join and all it's problems.
The flat components (bulkheads, bunks, shelves, benches, etc) are infused on a table. All the edges are finished. Doors and hatches including rebates and solids for catches, glass, louvres, handles and hinges and their surrounds are included so they fit perfectly. There is no grinding or shaping required.
When cured, remove the peel ply and glue everything into one half of the hull and deck. The joins are all male/female so no measuring or alignment is required. Then paint the interior and install as much of the fit out (galley, toilets, wiring etc) as is feasible, which is easy as the half hulls are at floor level and wide open. Glue the other half to it and the hull is ready for external painting. Apart from the paint and the glue, there is no mess, grinding or hand laminating.
The miserable, sticky, dusty boat building work is removed from the process, leaving the builder with the inspirational stuff, which all goes together in less time and cost than any of the conventional methods.
Little of this is new. It is the result of a lot of testing, experimenting and discussion with experienced infusers and builders. There have been a number of hulls built along the way, each one quicker, lighter, cheaper and generating less mess than the one before. The latest are a 60' cruiser being built by Ballotta in Peru for cruising Patagonia and a $50,000 40' racer. I can't post links to these as i am a newbie, but pm me if you are interested.
Limitations? Conventional curvaceous hulls need a little more work than the simple shapes we have used so far.
Drawbacks? Finding leaks in vacuum bags can drive you nuts, but there is an increasingly effective range of tools to simplify the process.