Frequently Asked Questions
Over the last 14 years we have received a large number of Emails concerning our boat building project. Some questions have consistently cropped up, and below is an amalgam of our responses.
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a) How much has your project cost?
If we could have a buck for every time someone has asked us that, we'd have paid for the boat! Sorry but we aren't really prepared to divulge that sort of stuff. BUT having said that we can offer the following:
We can understand why people ask that question. We certainly did before we started building, and we were REALLY eager to get a definitive bottom line cost for our planned yacht. We never did get an answer. Having built our boat (almost!) we can now say that there IS no definitive bottom line. NO one can give a prospective owner/buyer a cost for a boat, unless it is a production boat with NO options and the owner has NO input into the process! Having said that, however, most boat builders should be able to give a REASONABLE ESTIMATE for the completion of just hull and decks, but even for these components there is a lot of possible variation.
If the same boat builder is used to build the same CUSTOM (ie: non production) boat using the same materials at the same time for two DIFFERENT owners, the costs can easily differ by 300% to 400%. Trust us, we've been there. If someone gives you a bottom line price for a boat without specifying every last screw and EVERY piece of equipment and type/standard of finish, they're just trying to get your business. If we WERE to tell you how much our boat has cost thus far, it still wouldn't help you. Even if you wanted EXACTLY the same boat, it's been years since we started, our boat builder has increased his rates, timber and equipment prices have increased, and if you didn't want to actually build a boat in New Zealand there would be absolutely NO realistic comparison with a similar project elsewhere ...
All of that is probably no help, but really the only way to find out how much a boat will cost to build is to build it. Our one suggestion is to meticulously go through all of the planned material lists, your desired equipment, etc and total up the cost. Then add the cost of 10,000 to 15,000 hours of labour if you want an "OK" job or 20,000 to 40,000 hours if you want a primo job. Then double that cost. That'll be close (except that building elsewhere may be a lot different re: hours vs quality). That sounds like a lot of time, but as a guide, the two of us alone have so far put over 14,000 hours together actually ON the boat (not including planning, purchasing, sourcing etc). We have also had between 2 and 3 other people working on the boat full-time for the first 3 years, so there won't be much change out of 30,000 hours on the boat so far. Probably another 5,000 to go.
b) How many hours has the build taken?
See answer a) above!!
c) Is there anything you would change if you did this again?
Not be so meticulous. We've ended up with a boat that makes people go "OOHH AHHH!", but that's not why we strived for that standard. When we started the goal was to build a yacht that looked great and would perform to our cruising requirements, but somewhere along the line we became caught up in the "Lets do the best that's possible" spiral. It's a difficult route to change once started. It finally cost us more, and now we're almost too scared to scratch it! We aren't sorry to have our boat: we just think we might have made her a bit TOOO nice!!!
d) Would you build a yacht again?
No. We do not regret building this one for an instant, but twice would ruin a good thing! We could not have had better boat builders to work with and we have ended up with a lovely yacht, but 5 years out of our lives is a long time and we'd rather be sailing!
e) How much epoxy and how much timber have you used?
We're still working on the answer to this one!