The Cost-How Much?

When talking about any sailboat the first question that pops to mind is “How much did it/will it cost?”. Good question. Does anyone remember J.P. Morgan’s famous reply to this question? “Young man, if you have to ask the cost, you can’t afford it.”

Well, the hell with J.P. Morgan. I hope to build the boat, complete, for about $550,000. That would be about $30 a pound for an 18,000# boat [the extra 1,000# that bring the boat up to it’s sailing displacement of 19,000# is just water, fuel, and crew. I hope to put up $500,000 cash and the rest from selling my current boat.

I know it sounds like a lot of money for a 43.56′ sailboat for cruising and racing around Puget Sound.

First, you have to remember that you are getting a brand new boat. Then compare that cost to what is available as a stock boat, equivalently equipped. Then add the custom factor, in that you are getting exactly what you want, and the cost starts to look very reasonable. For example, my boat compared to a brand new fully equipped J-Boat, is very comparable. All the money I spend on my boat goes straight to the boat, not to dealer mark-up and local taxes, overhead, advertising, etc. So I think the cost is justified. See the page on Hull Construction for details on the features that make this boat much better than a production boat and the builder comments by Jim Betts.

While I am here I want to say that if you want a custom boat, you can get one. If I could do it, anyone can, and I will tell you how. I wasn’t born rich, never worked for a start-up high tech software company, never inherited any money, never won the lottery.  I got a degree from the University of Washington in Philosophy and Economics. I knew no one would hire me as a philosopher and I didn’t want to be an economist.  But I wanted a sailboat, preferably a custom built boat. After I got my diploma I hit the docks in Seattle where the local boat builders had their shops building fishing boats and repair pleasure boats. I wanted to learn how to build a boat. I had to offer to work for free for one week to show that my little experience in building El Toro’s [8′ hard chine sailing prams] and my 16′ plywood sailboat would be enough to get a start as a shipwright. I was so naive that when I showed up the first day I didn’t bring any tools along.

I bounced around for a few years, working, getting laid off, working again, and getting nowhere. I needed a steady job, and the offer of a job with the United States Postal Service came along. I was working as a letter carrier. I drove around in a mail truck and stuck junk mail in rural mailboxes.I planned to deliver mail during the day and build my boat at night. Then I got married and had a wonderful little baby girl.

When my wife and I got married in 1986 we had $9,000 in assets and $12,000 in debts. We began to invest in real estate and learned how to design and build houses. By building a new house for ourselves and moving every two years, we manged to keep reinvesting the money in bigger and more profitable projects. Eventually we managed to become full time builders and now at age 60 and after wanting to build a boat for 50 years  it looks as if my dream is about to come true. I can’t wait.

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