It’s been a while since I wrote about the first step towards my own boat. That does not mean I did nothing in the meantime. I actually used the past couple of months to figure a few things out, make some basic design decisions, and exchange ideas with others.
First of all I will have this boat built in China. Not because I am particularly impressed with the quality of work in general here, but because it gives me a chance to supervise the work closely, and select the right people to help me get it done. I had contacted professional boat builders, who have done boats with steel hulls before, in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, China, Singapore, and Thailand. The builder in China answered right away, but was too busy. The two builders in Thailand answered, but gave me budget figures which were a factor two higher than what I had in mind, and what I have heard to be reasonable from people who built in steel before. None of the companies in New Zealand and Australia even bothered to answer. Business must be booming.
Meanwhile I took the time to look into the main systems, and made some basic choices regarding equipment (engine, electrical systems, mast and sailing rig, main layout, steering system, choice of wood for outfitting, colour schemes, etc.). I am in touch with friends in Guangzhou now for a place to build and outfit the boat. They have boating experience themselves, which helps a lot of course, and it makes this option the most promising so far.
I will order the full set of plans now from Dudley Dix. I still have to figure out where to get the steel from. One option is buying the cutting files, and have the steel cut (preferably laser cut) and rolled locally in China. Another option is to buy the complete kit in Europe, and ship it to China. It will cost more, but the quality of the steel will be guaranteed.