Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

We are interested in building a larger Wharram and are currently in planning stages.  One question we need to answer sooner is the size of building needed to construct a Pahi 63.  Many people have access to extremely large factories but we do not and will be building a semi permanent structure using laminated arches.  We are currently considering a 24x80x16' high building to house the hulls as well as the materials.  Do people have any lessons learned that we could apply?  One concern is the flipping of the hulls and the space required for that activity.

Views: 307

Replies to This Discussion

We have a Pahi 42. We didn't build her, and don't even construct a winter cover (we are in Finland...) as the size needed is huge in my opinion. The size you are proposing might be wide enough for the hulls side by side, but surely not for an assembled Pahi 63 width? If you are going to the trouble of building a good shelter, it would be worth to be able to do the complete finishing and fitting out indoors I would think. Also using arches means that you loose a lot of space at the side of the building. Depending on where you are located, it would be better to have a conventional large shed, or just a roof (if it is warm enough)? Take into account that it seems building times are always longer than expected, wind, rain, etc....(just to be cheerful!). Good luck anyway with the project!

I’m not trying to teach ones Grandma to suck eggs here but have you done a break even analysis over the whole project?

Where are you planning to build and what’s the weather like?

I did a break even analysis when I was living in Scotland and I found that for the Pahi 63 when I factored in materials, material handling fees, logistics, workshop area, storage, labour, heating, lighting, power tools and build time the value of boat I’d have at the end of the day would be nowhere near the cost of the build. So I opted to build it in the Philippines and it came in at about 1/3 of the price of building it in Scotland, and I’d say if I was to sell it today I’d just about break even.

I have had lots of experience building shelters because in Scotland you need them! Many times I have had work ruined by a sudden change in the weather or a drop in temperature so shelters or tenting is a must. But I have found that such shelters are good for only short term projects and any boat over 40ft is no short term project. Sometimes I found after a storm I’d stop work on the project on do repairs in the shelter using more time and materials which ate into my bottom line. Once after a particularly heavy snow storm I had a shelter collapse and damage the boat I was working on, very uncool!

I live in the Philippines now, the weather is pretty constant, epoxy and paint cures in no time and I’ve had no need of a shelter other than an occasional tarp to keep the beating sun off of my back.

Best of luck with it all!

Thanks for the feedback.  I do appreciate the input.

I have not done a cost comparison to moving to another country and building a boat there as its a non-starter for me.  If I did, I would most likely move down to Mexico as it would be cheaper to build with the same constant sun, but closer to the US with access to all of the same materials.

The value of a boat is what someone is going to pay for it.  It's very difficult to assign value without a sale but we can do estimates.  If you include labour as you did, there is not way these boats are going to hold "value". Sweat equity is what make them affordable in my opinion.  So no, I have estimated the costs and assuming I have no or very low cost for land to build, a semi-permanent building that I can make for under $10k, and I'm near enough to navigable water that transport costs would be low.  

I've seen a lot of different types of temp building.  Yes, snow is an issue with these types of building but with careful planning and building, I've seen them work very well.  There are a couple of youtube channels where these issues have been addressed.  Also, we are building a boat.  Getting is sealed up and protecting the site is something to definitely consider.

Renting enclosed and temp controlled space at current rates isn't going to feasible for us either, (wanna be a patreon? lol) .  I see this project taking 6+ years or so which means I'd probably be better off to have to have a boat built .  Realistically, once the hulls are completed and painted on the outside, they can be moved into the weather and finished without worrying on damage to temp building.

Hi Patrick,

There is or was a guy on here that built a Pahi 63 in Mexico, haven't seen him on here for a while, but then again I haven't been around here much either. Maybe he could give you some sound advice. The basic rate in the yard I work in the Philippines is $4.00 USD an hour, I don't know what it would be in Mexico.

That's interesting.  I've been looking to do a self build.  Are you suggesting you can get general labor in the Philippines for $4USD/hr?  That's 5k hrs for 20k.   A 3 month sabbatical and you'd have a boat!

I'm thinking more to build the boat ourselves over time however ya'll are presenting some interesting options.

Geminidawn said:

Hi Patrick,

There is or was a guy on here that built a Pahi 63 in Mexico, haven't seen him on here for a while, but then again I haven't been around here much either. Maybe he could give you some sound advice. The basic rate in the yard I work in the Philippines is $4.00 USD an hour, I don't know what it would be in Mexico.

Here's the guy that built one in Mexico: http://wharrambuilders.ning.com/profile/Tom

Hi Patrick,

I just checked with the yard this morning and they confirmed the yard labour rate is $4USD per hour and that it would be built by the yard and by an appointed yard supervisor, however the owners can visit the project as often as they like or appoint an owners representative to do so. The terms would be an agreed price, 50% payment up front and the remaining 50% broken down as payments on completion of certain stages, then a handover when completed or in sail-away condition. The build would be as per plan, any modifications would be extra and would have to go through the designers first.

Here are the bad points:

There is not a snowballs chance in hell, the boat will be finished in 3 months, not even close, even the Wharrams estimated 4,000 hrs is optimistic. The Philippines is a developing country, everyone is on island time and everything is done by hand. We don’t have the luxury here of having tools and quality materials at hand so everything has to planned in advance and imported with customs, logistics and lead in times.

Some materials are readily available, but we have to be very selective. Plywood here is good quality but not the best. I boil test it often and it passes but what they sell as 3/4” is actually 15mm, ½” is actually 10mm and ¼” is actually 5mm.

There is no quality marine paint, pulleys, engines, winches, blocks and electronics available here at a reasonable price if you were to buy locally you can expect to pay up to 3 x the price in duties on what the Philippine Customs call luxury items.

Here are the Good points:

Well it certainly won’t take you 6 years! Having it built by a yard frees up your time to do other things and I’m sure it will come in cheaper than building it at home. Shed space will be included so you’ll not have to worry about that.

If you wish it could be built to structure only or in sail-away condition so it would be cheaper on you. To add your own personal touch you could finish the electronics, mechanics and interiors yourselves.

The yard is in a Tax Free Zone so the afore mentioned marine paint, pulleys, engines, winches, blocks and electronics, even your own choice of hardwood and plywood can all be imported Tax Free at OEM prices and may work out cheaper than buying retail at home.

My best advice to you is to set out your priorities of time and money, pros and cons, have a good long look at what’s important to you, crunch the numbers between building it at home, Mexico or the Philippines.

I’ve been living and working here as a Lloyd’s Qualified Small Craft Surveyor, Boat Builder and Boat Building Instructor for 6 years now and I could write a book about boat building in the Philippines and what to watch out for so I can assist you on this side of things any which way I can. Maybe Tom can help you with how things are in Mexico.

Kind regards,




© 2023   Created by Budget Boater.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service