Building Your Own Boat

Building your own boat takes time, and builds “sweat equity”.  
The dream started with ……

My friend Roger Chaylt purchased an O’DAY 21 when I was 20, and we both learned to sail. I believe this inspired me to one day get a boat of my own. I was also an avid fan of the TV series “Miami Vice” during the early 80’s and was intrigued by one of the star’s living arrangement on a boat in the Marina (with an alligator as well). Finally, in the Summer of 1991, when visiting a boat show in Portsmouth, England, I started to do the math and realized that my resources were less than necessary to buy a new, boat of my dreams. The difference in interior volume between a 36 footer and a 42 footer is significant. The difference up to a 53 footer was staggering, and so was the cost. I was attracted to Bruce Roberts’s advertising and decided to build a boat of my own. In July 1992, I purchased the plans for a Roberts 53, radius chine, steel hull boat. 

My original plan was to construct the boat in 5 years, at a cost of $ 125,000 (Canadian). 

I finished building in the summer of 2002, almost at the 10 year point (although I was out of the country for 3 years, so in my mind, I figured it had been 7 years) and the budget had swelled much more than originally estimated. I estimate that the total labour was approximately 11, 614 hours.

Construction Milestones:

1. Plans purchased in August 1991(while I was living in England) 

2. Construction of frames started in September 1992 (while I was living in Casselman near Ottawa, Ontario) 3. Hull was moved out of the barn in March 1995 

4. Hull was sandblasted and primed in July 1995, and hatches/portlights were installed 

5. Furing strips were installed in July 1996, and floor bases 

6. Hull was spray foamed with 2 ¾” spray urethane foam in July 1997 

7. Hull was moved from Casselman to Kingston in September 1998 

8. I started fitting out at the Kingston Marina location in late September 1998 

9. Boat was launched and christened “Joana” on 28 September 1999 

10. First motor trip took place on 14 May 2000 

11. Mast and rigging were purchased from Irvington Marine and installed on 30 Nov 2000

12. Joana was launched in September 1999, and the interior and systems really started to take shape.
To see more detail, particularly milestones and photos, press on the menu titled Building Milestones above.

In the photo to below, my wife Diane christens our boat JOANA, named after our daughter – in Kingston, Ontario Canada in August 1999, much to the delight of onlookers.

Here’s a tip: make sure that you score the champagne bottle first. Champagne bottles are much thicker than wine bottles. We neglected to do this and it was really tough to break that bottle! Also, the marina staff will probably ask you to put the bottle in a bag, to capture the broken glass.