Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Decision to Build a Gypsy 28 Catamaran

It has been said that building a boat is like childbirth..there is going to be a lot of pain for the pleasure! I have been toying with the idea of building my ideal catamaran for a long time. In fact this idea mooted out after meeting several people who have built their own boats.My group of water minded ex Air Force friends had also shown interest(all of us are boat owners and sailors). And amongst us , Robin Tan, had already DESIGNED and BUILT his own 24 catamaran , a RobinShark24 many years ago. He is a wizard with boat building and knows his stuff when it comes to composite materials. And he has agreed help us if we go ahead with our project.Spending hundreds of hours on the internet and communicating with complete strangers and asking a lot of questions on forums makes it look like a viable project.

Some of my personal considerations for building my own catamaran were:

* Cost saving..I can have a bigger , better and a new boat for the same amount of money as buying a smaller used boat
* Knowing the boat so that when repairs are needed in some remote islands I can attend to it
* I don't have to take out one lump sum of money at once.
* Keeps me and my mind busy for a while!
* Pride and a sense of PERSONAL achievement for the project.

I had narrowed down my boat to a Woods designed Gypsy 28 catamaran after reading a review of the boat on Practical Boat Owners magazine. The thing that attracted at first was this boat is a much bigger and more comfortable version of my existing boat , a Strider 24 catamaran AND Richard Woods designs good catamarans that are meant specifically for the homebuilders.

I bought a study plan for the catamaran and drove many hundreds of miles to meet up with my "water minded" group. Various people have different ideas..some wanted to make the Gypsy into a Speedy Gypsy (fast on power), some wanted to add many inches here and there!This went on for a few years.

Finally Richard Woods announced that he will be increasing the prices of his plans by 30 %. This is it....I must buy the plans before paying 30% more and so somewhere end of last year I bought the complete Gypsy 28 Budget Ocean Going Catamaran Complete Building Plans and within a few minutes the e copy was emailed to me. I spent many many hours starring at the plans and material list. Getting boat building material is never easy. Even marine plywood I had to spend a few months sourcing them. Luckily we have the powerful tool called the Internet and sourcing for materials is a little easier.

I have decided to build the cabin first. In fact for this catamaran you can build either the hulls first or the cabin first and later at the end of the project the two hulls and the cabin are assembled together.

Malaysia exports Meranti marine plywood but since there is no local market it is very difficult to buy a small quantity. Their normal answer is how many containers do you need? It is such a shame. Through a brother in law of mine I managed to get BS1088 standard marine plywood for the project.

To play it safe, I boiled many hours and cooled a small piece of the marine plywood when it arrived. This process was repeated several times to ensure that the plywood does not delaminate.Next came the drawing and cutting of the bulkheads. I do not have a big space for storing the plywood . I made a 4 ft by 8 ft flat panel using polyester and PU foam. This was a practice session so that when it comes to making the hulls I will have some experience. PU foam cannot be used for boat building. In the real boat I will have to use PVC foam which has to be imported from Australia.Eventually I built a 20 ft by 20 ft canvas shed in a corner of my house. By then I had completed quite a few pieces of the panels required to build the cabin. As I have a full time flying job and some small business to run, I have to work at nights sometimes. As you can see, even my dogs seems to be excited about the new boat!

A lot of my friend wanted to know how long it will take me to complete the boat.Richard Woods, the designer says it will take about 1200 hrs to build this catamaran but I have spoken to people who has taken 3000 hours for the catamaran. And this does not include the time spent starring at the plans and wondering what to do. It will probably take about 3 years for me BUT I have not givent hem the starting date yet! Maybe from today ........

If you want to know more about this catamaran go to:

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