Build or Buy

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Build or Buy

Our philosophy is that you should never build a boat if you can buy a similar boat for less.  Mass produced boats are typically built to high standards, using economies of scale which the one-off builder is hard pressed to match.  Modern materials last for years which has resulted in a over supply of good used boats, often priced far below their replacement value.  In these circumstances it is rarely better to build rather than buy.

However, there is one method by which one-off builders can compete with production boats.  That is to recognize a very simple formula:

yachts cost by weight to build, but they sail (and sale) by the length.

This gives us a means to create boats that are valued at more than what they cost, by making them long, lean and light.  This minimizes costs while maximizing performance and value.  Exactly what is required to ensure the boat you build is worth more than what you could have bought it for.

The origami technique is ideally suited to making long, lean, light boats because it simplifies the complexity that normally occurs when building longer metal boats.  In many ways long origami boats are quicker and simpler to build than short ones.

Many people make the mistake of selecting a hull length first, then trying to cram as much equipment into this space as possible.  This results in heavy, expensive boats.  This approach really only makes sense for production yachts, where the cost of utilizing every available inch of space can be amortized over many boats.

For a one-off builder it makes more sense to start first with the interior.  Design a simple layout that contains all the equipment you want to install, and then build the longest waterline hull you can afford to contain this, with the minimum of beam.  This provides the quickest hull shape in which to build a given interior.  For a one-off builder it is the interior that takes the time, and it is much simpler to build down a lean hull than across a beamy hull.  In this way you minimize the time required to build, minimize costs and maximize performance and value.

Consider two boats.  One is 39' x 13' x 3.5'.  The other is 48' x 12' x 3.0'.  The numbers are length, beam, and draft excluding keel and rudder.  Both boats are the same displacement and will cost similar amounts to build.  The 39 footer is a typical production yacht.  The 48 footer is almost identical to the JM50.  When built to similar levels of finish, the 48 footer will almost always be faster and more stable to sail, and fetch a better value at market. 

This is why we recommend building.  So you can produce a 50 foot boat for a cost similar to a 40 foot boat, while delivering better performance and value.