Let's say you're a home builder, and you're tired of that rat race. Your dream is to sail to Hawaii on your own boat, starting from San Francisco. But proper blue-water vessels are outside your price range, so you decide to build your own. Without any help whatsoever, and using plans you created yourself.
What could possibly go wrong? I mean, you already know how to build houses from things that are pretty floaty...construction ply and 2x4s. And you don't want to build just "a" boat, but a 65' catamaran. The guy says he used 700 pounds of wood screws, but not any glue. It only weighs between 5-8 tons (my 3055 was nearly 7 tons), so he didn't exactly use a lot of materials. While he was building it he got arrested for assaulting the harbormaster (who also kicked the crap out of him). Why? Because he said he shouldn't have to pay any slip fees until the boat is finished. At the next harbor he tried to bite a finger off a yard helper who tried to give him some advice.
Everyone who tried to help him was either assaulted or at least told to f-off. Marine surveyors and engineers who saw the progress would stop by and offer to help, often at no charge, just to be told how they were idiots and the builder knew his plan would work. The plan he created himself, with no marine experience, but after "looking at hundreds of boats." Which is impressive, since there's not a single boat on the planet constructed like this (outside of a movie set/prop anyway). Oh, the bottom of each hull was flat, without any boards or a keel, since I guess all the boats he looked at were in the water and you can only see the top.
At some point all this got to be too much for him, or he ran out of money, or who knows, but he listed it on eBay for the paltry sum of $80k. Said it was 75% complete, and the buyer even gets the plans he made. Oddly enough, there were no bids.
After five years the boat was "finished" enough for him to sail it. No, not for a harbor trial, or a quick ocean run, don't be a sissy. The trial was a blue water trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, running 120 miles off-shore. In winter. "Finished" is tenuous, as it had no engines at all, only one small sail, and no remote steering cables. The rudders had to be managed by hand at the stern. Oh, the passenger load included his 7-month pregnant wife, his mom, kid, and someone else.
The amazing thing is that he got to a spot 120 miles West of Monterey before setting off the EPIRB and getting a helicopter ride. Somewhere out there, you can find a whole bunch of plywood free for the taking.
The first picture shows the compression joint for the main sail. The load of pushing a 65 foot boat is supposed to travel through that joint.
A boat that size is nothing more but a house floating on water; and wood floats. How tough could it be? Put some fiberglass on the outside to seal the wood. Why pay someone else hundreds of thousands of dollars to do something so simple. Besides, as a house contractor he knows how to build a better mouse trap. He could do it at a fraction of the cost and yet have a better built boat that would envy the boat builders. In fact one of the OEMs may even hire him to build more of them.
That guy learned the hard way and the outcome seemed to OK; no one died or was injured. He just lost a bunch of material and his pride.
My bet his plans to go from house builder to boat builder has been shuttered a tad.
So the genius has no idea on spotting defective wood during the build. Had he sold the POS he would be blaming the owners for doing something wrong and not his boat. A lot of engineering goes into a boat way before they begin the building process. It has to work on paper, now-a-days on a computer, or chances are its not going to work on the water. Needless to say the engineers are not perfect. Anyone doing maintenance on their boat, at one time or another, questions the engineering. But for the most part, the factory will at least put out a good hull; excluding some issues with delamination which is more related to quality of workmanship.
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