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Hi everyone.

I am just wondering what everyones thoughts are on pro built wharrams in south east Asia morally.

My gut feeling about getting something like this built with cheaper labour in an area like SEA isnt good, however I am unsure of the details of the set up there.

Does anyone have any comments, thoughts. For me in one case if I can get a wharram pro built by doatbuilders with skills likely beyond mine for a reasonble price them it sounds good, however I want to act ethically and with the best interests of both parties at mind.

So thoughts?

Cheers, Thomas.

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Thanks everyone for the comments. Its definatly an avenue that needs a lot of research first I think.

Hi Thomas,

I'm an Australian living in Singapore for the past 7 years and I'm lucky enough to own a Tiki 30 built by Gunther Nutt at Seaacape in Phuket. Personally I'd doubt you'd find better workmanship or more beautifull boats anywhere in the world, big claim I now but check out their website (http://www.seascape-asia.com/) or the photo section on the Wharram site. I can't comment about other builders in SE Asia but I'm sure their is plenty of comments on the internet. I don't see the morale argument however. Employees are being paid market rates and earn good incomes for their respective countries. Sure, they're not Australian incomes but they aren't living in Australia with the associated cost of living. One of the challenges I had when I first moved up here was not applying my "Australian" perspective as a benchmark, one has to think local. Think about it another way, your actually providing people with employment.

But there are other considerations. I see your Australian and I'm assuming you'd want the boat to enventually berthed in Australia. Let's examine the real cost of say a Tiki 38. Let's assume a basic boat sail-a-way is A$180K. Now I don't know what a professionally built T38 would be in Australia but I'm guessing it would be a little more. What other costs are involved. Well according to Cruising Helmsman, November 2010, you must effectively import your new boat. First cost 5% duty, but not necessarily payable on your purchase price but on a valuation by an approved valuer in Australia. Next 10% GST on the assessed value plus the 5% duty. Cruising helmsman estimates this to be approx $1550 per $10k. So our $180,000 T 38 is now A$207,000. Next will be fumigtion. SE Asia is a designated a high risk area for things growing in timber therefore timber boats built up here being imported to Australia. Let's guess another $5K plus the inconvienience of taking everything off the boat. Running total A$212k.

Now are you prepared to spend that amount of money without inspecting the build from time to time. Let's assume 4 inspections at A$2k each (AIrfares & accom - provided the wife doesn't want to join you for an extended Thailand holiday). Running total A$220,000. Of couse you might know someone who could act as your representattive but remember your trusting them with $200,000 of your hard earned.

Next, how will you get the boat back home. Sailing yourself may not be possible because you may not be able to get the time off work? If you need to employ a delivery crew add that to the cost.

In addition remember marine grade ply isn't easily available and often boats are built from exterior grade plywood. This shouldn't be a problem if the boat is built properly as would be the case if being built by Seascape but it will be potentially heavier than an Australian built boat from marine ply. 

So my advise, look at the tatal cost not just the initial cost, you might find it's easier and only marginally more expensive to build in Australia. If you do decide to build in Asia, get Gunther to build it for you, you won't be dissappointed. Better still, be patient and wait for one of his boats to hit the second hand market, there is a beautiful stretched Tiki 30, stretched to 33, currently for sale in Phuket, check out Wave Dancer on this site or Boat Shed Phuket. And yes I plan to  have Gunther build my next boat, once I've convinced my wife it's a good idea! Hope this helps your thinking around this.  

Hi Nigel

Yes "WaveDancer" is still available but not for a "dumping price"!  Most of the people who were interested so far were "bargain hunters". How ever, all what you said is true and logic.  I'm very satisfied with Gunther Nutt (LOL he's quite a character and also a very good friend) and he would NOT do anything on a boat if he could not personally stand to it. He's also not shy to tell you, if you should have stupid boat-ideas.  So better don't come up with fancy stuff. Wharrams, specially the smaller boats, provide basic comfort but not more. Weight and payload  is a concern, one of the reasons we stretched our Tiki by 75 cm and she's sailing very well.  I don't need any thing more to live on board for some months p.a. but it is "back to basic". On the other hand due to the simplicity of the boats, we never had repairs which kept us in a harbour or even on the dry for to long.

I plan to build up my future home in the Philippines (just about to buy a house there) and I'd love to start a new project with a "Tama Moana". BUT if WaveDancer can not get sold at a fair price, we'll keep her and will do some extended cruising in SE-Asia as from the end of 2014.  I'll be retired then and will have time to live on board for about 5-6 months p.a. There is no place I feel better than on my boat...! Hope most of the other boat owners here can say the same! Cheers Wave

Thank you Nigel for all that information, its really nice to hear someone talking in numbers for a change, it helps give you a real idea of costs, instead of people saying it will be "expensive" to do this or that. How expensive is expensive?

Also nice to hear you speak to highly of the workman ship coming from Sea Scape. It looks great in all the pictures.

again lots to think about, I think building locally, australia or move back to NZ would be the easier way, or find a good second hand wharram like WaveDancer, if only I had the money now wouldbe the perfect boat. But alas student loan repayments must come first.

Thanks again

Also Wave, It would be great to see another CotS built, beautiful boats.

Hi Thomas.

More information and costs, procedures here


Australia and Thailand signed  TAFTA in 2010.


And I also recommend Seascape.

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