BUILDING COSTS, AND TIMES
Cost To Build:
This can vary considerably depending on type of resin, foam, glass, how much you make yourself, degree of fitting out, the quality of fittings, type of sails, rig, auxiliary etc. Building the hulls or bare shell is actually relatively inexpensive, the major cost comes later when fitting out. The major advantage of building yourself is that the cost can be spread over a period of time.
Approximate 'material only' costs, for various size modern multihulls, to similar high standards, with sails, trailer (where required) and moderate auxiliary power are as follows:
Note: the above costs are for materials only, and the estimated total finished costs including labor should a custom/professional builder be employed are as follows:
The above are realistic figures, and using average to good quality materials. A custom (professionally) built boat will usually cost significantly more than a production version, but it can also be a considerably superior boat. Larger models (such as F-41) are usually more cost effective, and price can be competitive or even better than a production boat. Significant savings are only possible with smaller models by building yourself, or if located in a lower cost country where production prices have been inflated by currency exchange rates, or import duty factors.
The figures could be reduced further by using lower grade materials, but resale value may also be correspondingly lower. Beware also of claims that any boat can be built for half the cost - this is only possible by omitting or reducing important structural reinforcements, or by using low quality or inferior materials and fittings. In all such cases the end cost can be considerably higher.
A multihull will also usually cost from 15 to 25% more to build than a similar size monohull, but the resale value will be considerably more, even as much as double, due to the saturated market in used monohull sailboats, all very alike.
Note that the above costings were correct in 2008, and will require correcting for inflation, or for the area where the boat is to be built. In this regard, the best or only way for an accurate costing is to cost all items in the materials list (available in Study Site) in your area. Alternatively, as a rough guide, material cost will be about 40% of the retail cost for an equivalent production boat, plus or minus 10%, depending on builders bargaining ability.
Similar size boats, to similar standards, will use about the same amount of materials, and cost about the same. Underestimating or omitting materials from any particular design's materials list does not make it any cheaper to build. The question to ask regarding any boat that appears cheaper should be what has been left out, or is under size?
How Long will it Take To Build?
This is a difficult question, as building time for any boat is very variable and can vary tremendously from builder to builder, being very dependent on work rate, ability, skills, and tools available. Some builders also have the ability to just get on with it while others may waste many hours day dreaming. It will also depend on the standard of plans, type of materials, building methods, whether parts are made or purchased, and on the degree of finish of both interior and exterior. The following table gives the approximate range of building times for technically advanced multihulls, and with efficient modern hull shapes:
The average time range is boats with basic laminates to typical production standards, an average exterior finish, coupled with a simple interior using an unfaired textured finish or a surface covering material. Fully vacuum bagged, top quality boats, with a high production standard exterior finish, coupled with a fully faired and a glossy painted high grade interior will take the longest. Fast builders with good equipment can lower times significantly, while slow builders spending many hours getting every detail just perfect could take considerably longer.
If you don't want to build, then there are plenty of choices on the used market.
Ian - I wanted to tell you thanks. I purchased F-27 #311 (above) last year and spent several
Compared to similar boats, the F-Series® designs will be quicker to build, due to the well developed building systems, the highly detailed plans, and the many production methods that have been incorporated in the plans. Other timesavers like Full Size Patterns for all frames and many interior parts, plus procedure checklists, will enable your boat to be built very efficiently (provided you follow the plans).
Be careful of claims about low building times, where many required aspects are usually ignored. No sailboat of this size range can be built in just a few weekends, or in "half the time" as is sometimes claimed. This would only be possible by lowering quality, or compromising other factors such as performance, load capacity, or safety, and one should be prepared to spend the necessary time on a project, depending on size and help available.
Beware also of claims about pre-made panel boats. These can offer some labor savings for hulls, but the hulls can also be of an inferior shape, with a low resale value, plus the building time for hulls is actually only a small part of the boat. F-41 hulls alone for instance can be built relatively quickly, but when removed from the form frames much of the basic interior is already in place, and does not have to be added later, as with pre-formed panel boats, where it is much more difficult to do. The great majority of the time actually goes into assembly and interior fitout etc., and this is virtually the same for all boats when done to the same standard.
Dean Snow's F-9R in Australia - Dean built FULL BORE in 1800 hours, including
Farrier plans also offer that choice between relatively basic and simple boats, to more sophisticated craft, so the builder does have the opportunity to choose between limiting the building time required, or going all out for the best boat possible.
A good well detailed set of plans is not inexpensive, as they take considerable time and can make or break a project. Saving a little here can be a very expensive mistake, as one could then spend hundreds of extra hours working out how to build, or many items or features may not actually fit or work as originally claimed. Worse, once finished, the resale value could be tens of thousands less with a little known or unproven design.