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So why would anyone want to build a boat?

The hardest part of any project is making the decision to do it. When it comes to building boats many months of research is necessary. What type, doing the budget, can we afford it, where will we build it, what is required and can we really do this, oh and do we really want to do this.

For us we almost signed on the bottom line for a finished boat twice but it just didn’t sit right at the time, much to the disappointment of the company we originally settled on. We kept coming back to the idea of a motor away version of the Fusion 40 with us doing the fit out and finish. We live on the water with a pontoon at the back so it was very attractive to have a lock up shell sitting there and being able to walk down and work whenever the opportunity arose.

Next consideration the budget - working off the costing of the finished boat price from the company we were going with, we modified as close as possible to our needs, bigger boat and a few more extras increased the total to what we thought would be suitable.

With the Fusion shell /kit ordered, budget done, purchases begun, we; being my husband Andrew (corporate manager) and myself (domestic manager) set about building a 40ft sailing catamaran that would accommodate a family of five for a trip up the east coast of Australia for 12 months or so. Time frame for the build , whatever you think, double it...

For us we worked every spare hour outside of the business week for the first six months and then full time for the next twelve months, taking us 18 months in all to complete a fully finished boat ready to set sail from Brisbane early May for the Barrier reef, making the most of the trade winds.

Being the third boat we have built through the years we knew the most important element is commitment to the task and consistency of effort and finish. You do get really tired and the thought of just throwing it in creeps in every so often. The need of a good support and encourager is vital when the going gets tough. The urge to take short cuts and leave things out, needs to be quashed by someone other than the builder so the finished product looks as good as the original intentions.

The day arrives, picking up the shell fitted out with two 30 hp Yanmar diesel motors, watching precariously as a huge semi trailer makes the trip down the steepest hill to the ramp to deliver your slave driver, task master, ball and chain into the water. With will she float? don’t fall off the truck, echoing through your mind, we are ready for the launch. What an exciting day!

Tanks full, provisioning done and a thousand nautical miles of motoring to get her home, Andrew, number one son and best mate are set for the trip. Seven days for the journey and she rounds the corner of the canal, looking much bigger than in the factory, of course, we have to fit it out from stem to stern, so the reality of the task takes hold. What have we got ourselves in for?

Thankfully whilst waiting for the kit to be put together up north, Andrew was busy in the garage with a floor plan, where we put together the galley and saloon made of Multipanel, glassed up, painted and ready for insertion, mind you it was eight months before we put it in but at least we had something that looked finished, good for the morale.

First job, fairing,-well what a fun job, filthy, itchy and from a wife’s  point of view, no you do not get used to it! The guys reckon the fibreglass doesn’t worry you after a while but I will never get used to the scratch when you lay in bed at night.

Weeks and I mean weeks of fairing the inside of two hulls, walls, ceiling, nook and cranny and at the end of it doesn’t look much different than when you started, but you know it is, just cant see it.

Going on behind the scenes of every boat build is the whole enterprise of purchasing. This is where my major role came in, apart from menial fibreglasser,I was the purchasing officer, what a task. Trying to source not only the location of all those hens teeth, but the cheapest price, correct quantity that proves value for money and trying to get the person to understand exactly what you want made, and yes there is such a thing, can you tell me where I might find it or who might sell it.

Buying in bulk is definitely the way to go but this can often be difficult because you don’t know exactly how much you need until the drum is empty and the roll has run out. Be willing to invest many hours to shop around if considerable savings are to be made.

I did finally get to the end of this project and hear me now, I was totally sick of shopping!!!!! I couldn’t bear to hear the words, “ Sweetheart could you just run down and buy me some more………………………………”

Week by week, month by month, only Sundays off, every waking moment, either glassing, sanding, building or painting, it begins to look like progress is being made. With the neighbours popping in regularly to check on progress or seek a handy hint, even the odd, could you give me a hand to fix such and such on my boat, she is taking shape. Cabins x 4, galley, head, lounge, fridges, freezers, starting to look like I could actually live here.
More resin. How could we possible need more, must be pouring it down a hole, can’t see where it goes. We know she is structurally sound and nothing will move.

One consideration worth noting is the availability of trades. Thankfully we are able to do most things ourselves yet we had to leave the upholstery, gas and stainless work to the experts.  These are some of the hens teeth I mentioned earlier. We often found they were either too busy with a long waiting list, were not familiar with the detail required for boats or promised it by the end of the week arriving eight months later to finish the job. I’m sure our situation is not unique so get the order in early and be patient, very patient.

Still good things come to those who wait and it all gets delivered ready for fitting in the end. When we did find trades available, they were terrific and we are very happy with the work from those who helped us on the project.

Rigging and sails, more decisions. Do you go with what you know or take the latest and greatest, although often not tried and tested. Talking to as many others as possible helps, but in the end its your money and you have to be sure you end up with something you are happy will do the task. No sense being in the middle of the ocean when you need to claim on warranty, it won’t get you back to land.

We decided on paying the extra for quality and hope this proves worthwhile for the storms and sunsets that we will no doubt experience.
Many good times were had during the building process with all the family involved. We learnt a lot, now have a wealth of knowledge of where to source bits for boats and a finished Fusion to boot. The budget actually came in under what we estimated, with some things costing more, yet others providing a saving by shopping around. We are extremely happy with the boat, she is very easy to live on and as a team effort, we did it!!!!!

Why build a boat? Because we can…..

Would we do it again ? We are ……………….after our cruise North we are building another Fusion just the same.  

Pounder Crew

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