1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

How long does it take to build a boat from scratch, I mean, really, how long?

Home Forums Community General Chat How long does it take to build a boat from scratch, I mean, really, how long?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of elspru elspru 6 years ago.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #936
    Profile photo of Thorizan

    This guy spent 33 years working on it during the weekends.


    One person working full-time would take years.

    Just thought I’d try to toss these type of projects into a little bit of perspective.


    Profile photo of wohl1917

    Unlike this fellow but like he said, if you’re a professional, it would have taken 4+/- years to build the boat he built. Personally, I think he was being optimistic: he and his wife did an exceptional job! I’ve considered it, but I don’t have the necessary skill set… If you start looking around you’ll find ‘projects’ that people have started that they did’nt have the skills or the money to complete. Which is which is pretty easy to spot…

    Profile photo of

    This is an excellent demonstration of the results of “self-sufficiency”, as opposed to buying things from professionals that build them efficiently in large numbers.

    That is not to say that a project such as this cannot be a fun hobby. And I am deeply impressed with his sticking with it for 33 years. But if you are looking for productivity, to get things done cheaply, efficiently and quickly, use the global market.


    Profile photo of tomohern

    Lapstrake and planked boat building is long and tedious work (even if you are a pro). Modern wooden boat building uses plywood and is much quicker. Designers like Phil Bolger have really developed this process. He doesn’t recommend crossing an ocean in his designs but they (his larger designs) make great coastal cruisers and would be really interesting to see a fleet of plywood sail boats that can be launched via cranes off of a seastead. He is great at integrating leeboards, counterbalanced tabernacled masts (can be lowered for storage), and other great features while maintaining ease of use and a simple building process.

    http://www.ace.net.au/schooner/sites2.htm (scroll down for the AS29 and AS39)

    I’ve build a few of his smaller boats in a few weekends.

    Profile photo of tomohern

    Also check out Reuel Parker’s designs using the cold molded plywood process. Very strong hulls build quickly and cheap.


    Profile photo of

    “How long it takes” depends enirely on what you want to build.

    I venture to say that I could build the hull of an “optimist” in one single day; Design, setting up shop, hauling over supplies, using plywood and powertools to get it done all included in that one day … but it’s just a tiny little sailer a 50 mile reach on calm water.

    Now, an outboard engine driven boat with cabin and pantry, let’s say tree meters wide and (up to) 10 meters in length would take me (alone) closer to (and likely over) a week and it would not be a looker or something to go on the high seas with. That is if I had all the tools I needed without breakdowns etc …

    I really wouldn’t trust myself to build something capable of surving rough weather out on the ocean, and cannot really tell how long that would take a single person, or multiple people.

    Profile photo of billswift

    How long depends on what you are actually trying to build, what skills you have relative to what you are building requires, and whether you have the materials or at least can afford to buy them as you are ready to use them. It also depends on the chunks of time you can put in, working full-time will not only get it done in fewer days, it will also use fewer hours than stop and start a few hours here and there in the evenings. An experienced builder with everything on hand can put together a flat bottomed wood rowing or ducking skiff in an afternoon. Someone without prior experience trying to build a large cruiser will quite likely never get it finished. One bit of good advice I have seen is if you lack experience with whatever material you plan to use, work on smaller projects first, a dinghy, accessories for the boat, whatever; it will save you a lot more time than it takes up.

    Profile photo of elspru
    A boat can be built much faster, even by oneself.
    Take the second circumnavigator of the world for instance:
    he built his boat in a year and a half.

    wikipedia excerpt:

    “In 1917, Pidgeon started constructing the Islander from plans he copied from a book in the local library. He built it in the Port of Los Angeles. The Islander cost $1,000 in materials and took a year and a half of hard work. Upon completion, he tested the yawl with trips to Catalina Island and then to Hawaii and back.”

     He ended up making at least 2 full circumnavigations in it, and lived many decades on it.
    A basic raft can be made in a day, with some rope and materials.
    It's wise to start small and work your way up,
    So you learn skills on small projects,
    and then move on to bigger ones.
    can even start by making a model,
    it requires all (or most) of the same steps,
    just on a smaller scale.
    I made a rough lapstrake dinghy model,
    from some thin cardboard,
    scissors and masking tape,
    in about 3 hours tops.
    though I did spend a month or two before that,
    studying various plans and books on boat construction.
    making that model really helped me put what I learned together,
    and see what the process is like from start to finish.
    Also great to have a completed boat,
    even if it's a model.
    Sense of fulfillment.
Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

The forum ‘General Chat’ is closed to new topics and replies.

Posted on at


Written by