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Hi everyone!  My husband and I are looking into building a Narai Mrk IV and I've been trying to come up with an accurate estimate of build time based on some people's recommendations that the 2500-3000 hours MIGHT become as much as 6000 hours by the end.  This is for people who have built ANY of the Wharrams --- can you let me know your end build times in comparison to the estimates given by the Wharram plans?  How accurate have these estimated hours been for YOU?

Thanks in advance!

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  I didn't even tell them about the time you fought off the kraken single-handed.  Also how you sent Cthuhlu back down to his slumber in deep by besting him at a game of cards.

Have joyous holidays!

With much love,


Just to add my contribution!  From boats I've built in the past three things make a very big difference to build time:-

1.  Having it right where you live, so you don't have to get into a vehicle to go and do some work on it, then find you've forgotten to take something vital with you.  If the boat is in your garden you can spend any odd ten minutes you've got on it.  If it's five miles away you can't.

2.  Having it under cover so the weather can't stop you making progress.

3.  Keeping the internal fit-out as simple as possible.  A HUGE amount of time can go on fiddly bits of trim.

No estimate can be accurate unless it's done by the person who's going to be doing the work, and only then if he's done it before!!

Especially true is the last sentence Neil wrote:

"It may take some years, but you'll be rewarded in a way that boat buyers will neveer understand." 

    We will see what happens. 

    I want to build a boat...but why?  So that I can tell people that I built a boat?  I think it's much more than that.  When I imagine the process my heart flutters and I think of poetry.  And then, I think of the work.  The tediousness, the frustration, the pain in my knees, my joints and my heart (when Kris and I are struggling in our marriage because of my mistress, the boat).  

     I know what the learning curve is like. 

     I had a plan and a schedule for building our kitchen cabinets.  It was my first build using system 3, plywood and marine paint.  I built two.  The first one took 18 hours to design, cut, assemble and filet.  The second one took 10 hours, same dimensions but with a much better, lighter design.  And neater filets.  'Home free!!', says I,  'We will be cooking before long!'.  Oh the jubilation, the cheers to heaven and the Gods!  I, in my infallible planning, am on schedule!

    3 weeks later I am tired, weak and downtrodden.  The weather getting too cold to cook in the trailer.  Kristen losing patience, me slipping into darkness.  Connecting the plumbing, electrical, Propane lines.  Installing the range hood and vent.  Sand.  Paint. Sand. Polyurethane. Sand. Paint.  Curse the sky!  Curse my arrogance!

    And now, I have the best kitchen a cook could ask for.  A mile of counter space.  Everything will fit into perfectly designed spaces, my rice steamer, my wok, my knives.  Cooking is a joy, and every inch of these cabinets speak to me of the work involved in making them come to be.

    So, I want to build a boat.  I'll tell you why I'm not READY to build a boat.  

    I only like the second part of this sentence: 

"It may take some years, but you'll be rewarded in a way that boat buyers will never understand."

    I really want to be sailing.


I love Rob's words and second his final thoughts, but I add:  

I really want my child and me to be sailing.

We have to see what the coming months bring us as far as funding and other things, but I also am tempted by a southern USA type build site, which we currently don't have....I'm not sure I can handle dealing with the potential long years of a build AND building in New Hampshire.  

I honestly feel like Legolas in Lord of the Rings:  "But deep in the hearts of all my kindred lies the sea-longing, which it is perilous to stir. Alas! for the gulls. No peace shall I have again under beech or under elm."

Living on boats for the two years we spent on a monohull and then a trimaran haunts me - so ideally, I love the idea of buying a used Wharram, and THEN finding a place to build our own while living on a boat...

Hi kristen, I do know that the building of my pahi 42 took a navy captain bob phillips and his wife a decade to build and was around $120000 in materials, completed in 1995. If you wish to consider purchasing rather than building do let me know as mine is for sale. Presently docked in louisiana. Sincerely, jason 7203299912

The Tiki 26 was suppose to take 700 hours to build.  I had a plan, a schedule and lists.  It took me approx. 1450 hours over 9 months to launch and I had thought I'd be in the water by late spring.  I built it in my backyard so no commute time to the yard.  I had sold my monohull for enough for materials and to live off of so while I worked on the boat, I wasn't "gainfully" employed.  Fresh at it every day not tired after a day of work. I worked around the clock to keep up with or ahead of the curing of epoxy.  Length of boat isn't the issue, it's volume so the bigger the boat I'd have to say time is not linear, it's not square but it is cubed.  Bigger boats also weigh more so you can't move them by hand easily.  Unless you have a big crew, you'll need some bigger tools like a forklift for when you flip hulls over.  How high is it up to the deck?  It's amazing how much time you can spend going up and down ladders.  Another big factor is what you know.  Do the tools fit your hands?  Are they familiar or out of the box or from a garage sale/craigslist and you're picking them up for the first time.  Building a boat is life altering event but it isn't sailing if that's what you are after.  Buying a used boat is a good idea if being on the blue is what you are after.  Wharram is probably right with his building time estimates but what isn't included is the thinking and head scratching in between times or the doubling back time.  Those are the extras!

Thank you Thomas for a wonderful reply.

Organisation/management are an essential part of a job which the amateur overlooks. Contractors have to price this into every job. For a general contractor a unit of 3 men is often economic ie. contractor employs one tradesman and one assistant. This is worth thinking about - it suggests that every 16 hours labour generates 8 hours of management. This time is spent "servicing the site"as we call it - breaking the job into an ordered list of tasks, arranging deliveries, talking to customers +++.

Many of us have no experience of this. Only a small number of people are truly good at it. It is the difference between the common disorganised tradesman and the few who can "grow" a business.

If you have experience of this,  perhaps building your house by direct labour or similar, or it is what you do for a living, you have a headstart.

We tend to view carpentry etc. skills as the big thing to have. In fact you will do very little "fine carpentry". You should expect a massive amount of drudgery.

There are many who build as "DIY on the heroic scale". Not all of us will go to sea for any lenght of time. Some will day-sail or trailer their creation to boat-shows. These people also we value.

However the person who is going sailing will make a completely different set of priorities/decisions starting perhaps in the present climate by deciding to buy a used boat...

Things to think about when you are planning your build

  1. Distance from where you live to where you build
  2. Distance to suppliers of materials
  3. Do you have a building shed or do you have to build that first
  4. Previous experience with reading plans
  5. Previous experience with using tools
  6. Previous experience with the materials
  7. Have you been to the school of hard knocks and did you pay attention and study
  8. Help - will the help of others actually slow you down because you get into conversations about boats and sailing or perhaps even discussions about the Wharram way, a better way or The Right Way.
  9. Experience in planning work - epoxy needs time to cure.  If you glue some piece of work up early in the work session will that end the day's advancement on that part of boat building?
  10. Do you have the space and where with all to work on multiple parts at the same time so that you don't glue yourself into a corner (see 9 above).
  11. Short cuts and it's good enough - these will keep you wondering later while on the water in rough conditions when the boat is straining sea against your boats momentum as to "was it good enough?)
  12. Are you prepared to protect your health (from dust, epoxy, solvents, physical duress of moving heavy and cumbersome piece of material etc) so that when you are done you are ready to go enjoy the sailing.  It is distressing to think how many builders do not truly protect themselves from the industrial processes and come out in the end with illnesses.

One thing to add to Thomas' comment about  "what isn't included is the thinking and head scratching in between times or the doubling back time" :-

If you're anything like me you'll also have to allow for "admiring and dreaming time".  This is where you stand back and look at the bit you've just built, or daydeam about what you'll be doing after it's all finished.  A particularly vulnerable time for this is when you've turned a hull over and can properly appreciate its lines for the first time.  Equally when you've built something like a tiller, you might prop the back end up on something and sit holding it, imagining you're steering.  Lots of folks won't admit it, but I bet most of us have done it when nobody's looking...

The same thing happens the first time you assemble the boat.  You'll sit there in the cockpit or a hatchway, imagining the sea is around you (not just grass or concrete).  You'll think about the wind filling the sails and dream of crystal clear blue water and sandy beaches.

Professional boatbuilders don't have this problem, which is one reason why they build boats more quickly !!

No amount of planning will allow for the  fact "It will take as long as it takes" this is not a production boat it is an expression of self.

Mr Murphy will interfere some where along the way so just enjoy the build process and learn from it. 

So don't take short cuts, do it once, do it properly and pay someone to do or teach the things that are beyond your ability.

I do this sort of stuff for a living so am used to quoting jobs and with that said 3 deadlines have passed already, see the Murphy line above......

There's nothing nicer than kicking back with a bevvie of your choice after a hard day at it and dreaming my friends.

Lee hit it right on!  A labour of love is what boat building is when it's for oneself.  The first thing I did after building my building shed was to make a place for safely setting down my cup of coffee or tea dependent on the time of day or the end of the day bottle of beer.  Always start and finish in contemplation.  Eventually I added a chair so I could be at the right stance to enjoy the curves.  Afterall few of us set forth in our selected ship of dreams to earn a living from plying the waters.  It's not fish, plunder or cargo we are after, it's dreams that we be dream'n  

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