cost making a production boat

Black Jack

Super Anarchist
According to Stephen Waring

https://stephenswaring.com/marine-engineering-105-why-my-boat-costs-what-it-costs/#:~:text=We know many low-cost,on these variables mentioned above.

Pricing dreams is the no-win gig in yacht design. No matter how hard we try, we never seem to be able to get away from the hard fact that the magic of enjoying a boat only displaces a fraction more than the frustration that comes with pricing that boat.

It’s not rocket science as to why new boats are hard to cost out: The only thing posing more variables when building a yacht, is the owner’s evolving expectations in creating that yacht. Assisting clients in pricing their priorities is tricky.

We have evolved two methods to get at an early approximation for the cost of a new build: One, based on the cost of labor, plus a cost-of-materials factor. And, two, a flat price-per-pound ratio that expresses cost through a boat’s displacement.

Here’s the story on each way to price a new boat:

Estimated labor hours plus a materials multiple.

Estimating the hours of labor needed to build a new boat is tricky for the lay boater. Our industry can be flawed in its practice of tracking the cost to build a boat. What information there is, tends to be regional. Our own net labor-hour estimates are derived from our 60 combined years of experience in managing and building hundreds of boats.

Very roughly, all those years boil down to following guidelines for U.S. and European boat production:

30-foot daysailer = 5,000 labor hours.

40-foot weekender = 9,000 to 10,000 labor hours.

50-foot offshore passagemaker = 20,000 to 25,000 labor hours.

60-foot luxury yacht = 40,000 to 50,000 labor hours.

Price per pound

Money and the sea share some odd measures: Both can be quantified by weight. We, like most boaters, look at displacement to understand how large a yacht is. But there’s also a direct correlation between size of a boat and the cost of labor per-pound of that boat. Because, regardless of length or mission, a boat’s weight is an excellent measure of its complexity.

We find we can quantify a boat’s cost by how much that boat weighs. Simply get a displacement and a quoted price, divide one by the other. Voila! A robust per-pound cost.

Let’s compare such per-pound costs on live numbers for boats we know, as of mid 2017.

Oceanis 55. $520,000 for a 37,250 pound boat, or about $14 per pound.

For low costs per-pound, it’s tough to beat famed French production-builder Beneteau. This mass producer cranks out what we estimate is 3,000 to 5,000 relatively solid, low-cost-to-market yachts each year. This fleet is aimed at the average boater who spends limited time on the water and is happy to turn these craft over after a few years.

The dazzling $14 per pound cost is a testament to efficient molds, powerful volume production processes and the willingness to compromise on optimal performance and finish to lower costs. We usually find it’s not difficult to add functionality and durability to these designs by upgrading techniques and employing higher standards to systems, parts and materials.

----------------------------------

So it does beg the question - is there are real market for spartan locally built  boats built for daysails or weekend short handed racing sailing that can be built for 20 dollars a pound?  Would you be willing to pay 23 dollars a pound for a "greener" boat?

 
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Zonker

Super Anarchist
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4,798
Canada
For a PRODUCTION boat, built by Beneteau the labour hours are much, much less.

Everything is automated that can be automated. The boat builder is working like a worker on an assembly line. Wood parts are NC cut, varnished by a a machine on a conveyor belt and then screwed together into a module that bolts right in.

 

Hans Genthe

Member
72
62
Dubai
30-foot daysailer = 5,000 labor hours.
If you have 30$ labor costs per hour you will end up with $ 150.000 work ... sounds not very realistic.
 

 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
4,976
774
worldwide
According to Stephen Waring

https://stephenswaring.com/marine-engineering-105-why-my-boat-costs-what-it-costs/#:~:text=We know many low-cost,on these variables mentioned above.

Pricing dreams is the no-win gig in yacht design. No matter how hard we try, we never seem to be able to get away from the hard fact that the magic of enjoying a boat only displaces a fraction more than the frustration that comes with pricing that boat.

It’s not rocket science as to why new boats are hard to cost out: The only thing posing more variables when building a yacht, is the owner’s evolving expectations in creating that yacht. Assisting clients in pricing their priorities is tricky.

We have evolved two methods to get at an early approximation for the cost of a new build: One, based on the cost of labor, plus a cost-of-materials factor. And, two, a flat price-per-pound ratio that expresses cost through a boat’s displacement.

Here’s the story on each way to price a new boat:

Estimated labor hours plus a materials multiple.

Estimating the hours of labor needed to build a new boat is tricky for the lay boater. Our industry can be flawed in its practice of tracking the cost to build a boat. What information there is, tends to be regional. Our own net labor-hour estimates are derived from our 60 combined years of experience in managing and building hundreds of boats.

Very roughly, all those years boil down to following guidelines for U.S. and European boat production:

30-foot daysailer = 5,000 labor hours.

40-foot weekender = 9,000 to 10,000 labor hours.

50-foot offshore passagemaker = 20,000 to 25,000 labor hours.

60-foot luxury yacht = 40,000 to 50,000 labor hours.

Price per pound

Money and the sea share some odd measures: Both can be quantified by weight. We, like most boaters, look at displacement to understand how large a yacht is. But there’s also a direct correlation between size of a boat and the cost of labor per-pound of that boat. Because, regardless of length or mission, a boat’s weight is an excellent measure of its complexity.

We find we can quantify a boat’s cost by how much that boat weighs. Simply get a displacement and a quoted price, divide one by the other. Voila! A robust per-pound cost.

Let’s compare such per-pound costs on live numbers for boats we know, as of mid 2017.

Oceanis 55. $520,000 for a 37,250 pound boat, or about $14 per pound.

For low costs per-pound, it’s tough to beat famed French production-builder Beneteau. This mass producer cranks out what we estimate is 3,000 to 5,000 relatively solid, low-cost-to-market yachts each year. This fleet is aimed at the average boater who spends limited time on the water and is happy to turn these craft over after a few years.

The dazzling $14 per pound cost is a testament to efficient molds, powerful volume production processes and the willingness to compromise on optimal performance and finish to lower costs. We usually find it’s not difficult to add functionality and durability to these designs by upgrading techniques and employing higher standards to systems, parts and materials.

----------------------------------

So it does beg the question - is there are real market for spartan locally built  boats built for daysails or weekend short handed racing sailing that can be built for 20 dollars a pound?  Would you be willing to pay 23 dollars a pound for a "greener" boat?
5 boat sold off the mold are needed to pay for the production , tooling , setup …at an existing boatbuilder 

this  was 25 years ago 

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
8,885
4,798
Canada
Why I think Stephen Waring's numbers for a production builder are totally wrong. 
 

https://www.allatsea.net/french-style-for-american-fun-the-beneteau-story/

2012 story about Beneteau

 Built outside the hull, workers have 360-degree access to the components. They can build all the modules for a two-cabin Oceanis in six hours and for the three-cabin in 1.5 days. One worker can build a complete galley in less than 10 hours.

---------------------------------

https://no-frills-sailing.com/flagship-oceanis-51-1-in-the-beneteau-yard/

 It hence takes roughly one full month to have a yacht finished on this assembly line

This was from a story about building the 51.1. Say 20 production days / month (hey it's France; lots of public holidays). You can't have 20 people in the hull because they get in each other's way. Say 8 in the hull, 8 outside assembling modules, wiring harness, etc. etc. 16 people x 20 days x 8 hours/day = 2560 hours +/- 500 hours.

------------------------------------------

Or the "10,000 hours for a 40' weekender". Say $30/hr (burdened costs) x 10,000 hrs = $300,000 JUST FOR LABOUR?

How much does Beneteau sell a 40' boat for?

https://www.sailmagazine.com/boats/boat-review-beneteau-oceanis-40-1

Base price for a Oceanis 40.1 = $251,000

kind of missing profit, materials, dealership markup, shipping, etc etc in there.

 

T sailor

Member
414
89
Chesapeake
I think the guys writing the article and framing their estimates in the context of building custom boats in Maine.  Kind of the opposite approach to Beneteau.

It is pretty interesting to see the variation between the top of the market and the bottom.  The price difference on a 50'er varies by a factor of 4 or 5!  I think what is really interesting is that there doesn't seem to be alot of middle of the road builds that combine the efficiency of the Beneteau model coupled with higher end materials and more sophisticated engineering and assembly.  Maybe J boats and X yachts are in this space, but I feel like there is alot of room for improvement (I own a J boat).  It seems like the middle approach is to take the slow all by hand build method and move it to a low labor cost area for production (far east).  

That all being said, I am really impressed with the quality/price that is coming out of the smaller boutique French yards (JPK, Pogo, etc...).  Since they forego the overhead and mark up of a dealer network, I think they are delivering a great product at a really reasonable price.  

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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Canada
Very roughly, all those years boil down to following guidelines for U.S. and European boat production:
I was understanding the word "production" to mean "producing many boats of the same model in a production line".

I agree with his hours for custom one off builds as good starting points. He confuses the story with cost/lb for the Oceanis, a production boat.

"Price per pound" is OK if you are comparing apples with apples. But it's useless when comparing one-offs. A big heavy tank of a boat with a solid laminate hull and heavy plywood and hardwood might be twice as heavy as a lightweight, high-tech speedster where every pound is considered and low weight is important. Both may cost the same to build, but the "price per pound" may be 2x for the lightweight boat.

 

DDW

Super Anarchist
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972
Why I think Stephen Waring's numbers for a production builder are totally wrong. 
I don't think it is totally out to lunch, and perhaps two scenarios are being conflated. A new, custom boat is going to take the hours stated or more. I'm watching a Stephen Waring boat getting built right now and the hours are no doubt considerably more than his estimate. On a production boat, you try to get the hours down with a combination of automation and familiarity. Doesn't need to be robots, just things like jigs and patterns save a bunch the next time around. Molds, obviously. The builder of my (custom) boat - with many more hours than his estimate - also builds limited series boats, very high end and very customizable. They were targeting 14,000 - 15,000 hours on a very well fit out 50', and figured they'd get there around hull 10 or so. 

In price per pound, he quotes the very lowest end builder and comes up with $14/lb. But again a one off custom built to a high standard will be way above that - several builders I've talked to are in the $50 - $70/lb range. That 37,000 Oceanis built as a high end custom would be around $2M. 

 

slug zitski

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Boats are cheap and fast to build 

I’ve seen 70 ft metal boats built in six weeks by a small gang 

then 12 months with a big team to fit out 

its the fit out specifications that are expensive 

 

andykane

Member
427
192
Victoria, BC
Great video - I spent some time in GM's Oshawa Car Assembly plant and love seeing a lot of the same automation applied to boats.

I was impressed to see they actually filleted and tabbed the grid to the hull - I assumed everyone was just gluing them these days.

Also interesting to see which parts are automated and which are not. Big contrast to see robotic gelcoat spraying, massive CNC routing, then some guy splashing gelcoat into a locker with a brush or applying the window adhesive by hand.

 

12 metre

Super Anarchist
3,745
612
English Bay
For a PRODUCTION boat, built by Beneteau the labour hours are much, much less.

Everything is automated that can be automated. The boat builder is working like a worker on an assembly line. Wood parts are NC cut, varnished by a a machine on a conveyor belt and then screwed together into a module that bolts right in.
Agreed.  3,000 DLH for a 30 footer seems high - for a production build.

Years ago I met with Donny at his shop while they were tooling up for production of the Martin 32.  We talked about DLH and IIRC he indicated something just over 2,000 DLH.  

So looking at the Andrews 28 and applying a similar amount of DLH and you get 2,000 DLH x say USD 25/DLH you end up with USD 50,000 Direct Labour Costs. Rather than the 50% DM adder say bump it up to 70% since it had a lifting keel, carbon rudder and sprit and top shelf hardware (Andersen winches, Spinlocks, etc). You end up with USD 85,000.  

Sail magazine had a review of the A 28 back in 2009 which indicates a price of USD 82,000 - less sails and likely electronics as well. https://www.sailmagazine.com/boats/andrews-28

IIRC, fully kitted out with sails and electronics they were closer to USD 110,000 or so.  A great boat, but only 3-4 sold.

 
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Zonker

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And the Martin 32 wasn't exactly built on a modern assembly line. More like stick build piece by piece (compared to Beneteau who drop in complete Ikea modules) so hours would be much higher than a big builder.
 

I was surprised to see in Bavaria the guy cutting the glass with scissors. I would have thought totally automated cutting of fabric. 

Just like sausage being made - you don't want to see it. This is the keel grid being blobbed in place. Not exactly a super consistent fit.

image.png

Oh dear. No words for that. Does not seem correct but the grid is in it's final place and being bogged on the outer seam. Can't imagine why the huge gaps.

image.png

Tons of mat; I only saw a bit of stitched glass in a few shots.

Pretty low quality.

 

Snowden

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I was surprised to see in Bavaria the guy cutting the glass with scissors. I would have thought totally automated cutting of fabric. 

Just like sausage being made - you don't want to see it. This is the keel grid being blobbed in place. Not exactly a super consistent fit.

Oh dear. No words for that. Does not seem correct but the grid is in it's final place and being bogged on the outer seam. Can't imagine why the huge gaps.

Tons of mat; I only saw a bit of stitched glass in a few shots.

Pretty low quality.
Glad to hear someone with experience say that - despite the rapturous voiceover I was not that impressed as a layperson!

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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Canada
Yeah but if it was just a former you would make it from foam. It's glass and appropriately thick. But having gaps of 2+ inches sucks

 

Autonomous

Super Anarchist
3,946
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PNW
The price per pound of small, low production, well built fiberglass boats is high. I knew better than to do the math. Wow.

My 17' 440 pound Gig Harbor Voyager starts at $15,000 and all dolled up with  covers, hatches, etc. etc. add another $6,500.

Zero machinery or electronics.

 

Autonomous

Super Anarchist
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Subtract the weight of inexpensive ballast and the price per pound of the ballasted monos would go up.

Textile products are quite expensive for their weight.

 
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