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Old 05-14-2008, 07:19 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11
Chasing the Dream

The seeds were planted 8 years ago while on a business trip from the US to Singapore. During some leisure time, over a cold beverage, I hung on every word as a man from Holland, unknown to me, reported how he was just finishing a new wooden 60' sailing yacht in an Indonesian boatyard for $9,000 US. He was in Singapore to buy a "Japanese takeout" engine for his auxillary diesel and expected to spend perhaps $3000 more to buy it, marinize it and install it. I don't recall talking about a gearbox.

So, you could rightfully say that this was just "bar talk" and who knows if there was ANY truth to it. Originally growing up in Peoria Illinois, even today at 61 years old,I have not shed all of my Gomer Pyle tendencies. Fast forward to 2008 and I am living aboard a 52 foot pilothouse trawler in SE Asia made of a hardwood called tak eon tong. I understand that it grows in SE Asia and Brazil but have no idea if there is an English translation for the species. The cabin sole is what we commonly call ironwood.

Miss Moon is 51' x 17' x 3.5', estimated to weigh 30 tons, powered by a single Hino 13 liter 6 cyl na diesel rated at 320 to 350 HP depending on who is telling the tale. Because of my years in the Pacific NW, I had heard the Hino name many times as Bayliner used to use them. I would have had more respect for the name if I had known then that Hino is the heavy industrial branch of Toyota. My engine, a K13D, came out of either a bus or a truck and I spent perhaps $10,000 to buy and marinize. It is s w e e t.

I retired in 2005 and moved to Thailand to build my boat. I searched for a yard for a year and finally settled in Ranong on the west coast - Andaman Sea - in Nov of '06. The boat took about 6 months total to "finish" but then another 3 months of problem solving. This is certainly NOT a factory finished trawler like we all see at the boat shows. She is however sturdy, comfortable and sea worthy, but admittedly a little quaint by western standards. The people who built her build fishing boats, not yachts. They do not speak English, I don't speak Thai and our translator does not speak "boats". The process was difficult at best. There have been some refit issues about some systems, mainly pumps, but overall I am pleased. I have under $150,000 invested (sigh - about twice as much as I thought I could do it for) and I'm living my dream instead of continually dreaming. She cruises 7 knots at 1,450 rpm, and burns just under 2 gph. That's about 4 miles per gallon. She will top at 12 knots at 2,200 rpm. She has a 3:1 gearbox (Chinese) and a 36" x 21" 3 bladed bronze prop.

I'm currently waiting out the storm season at Rebak Island Marina in NW Malasia.

My next challenge is to learn to catch fish in equatorial waters.

Howdy Folks! GREAT forum.

Don W

-- Edited by DonW at 21:22, 2008-05-14
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:34 PM   #2
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RE: Chasing the Dream

Sounds fantastic Don, congratulations on living the dream.* Well done on building such a reasonably priced trawler, I have long believed that you don't need to spend $1m plus to have a good sturdy well performing boat.

We are sitting looking out on a beautiful calm harbour after watching a stunning sunset. This life is just fantastic.
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Old 05-15-2008, 02:42 AM   #3
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RE: Chasing the Dream

In your boating adventures have you ever found a yard that works in aluminum , or does one of GRP?

We have a boat on the board that we would like to get constructed , but the style requires very light weight , and my age requires GRP or alloy for low maint and eventual resale.

The boat is very small 39 x 7,5 (to fit into a std shipping container) and very simple inside.

We would install the complicated stuff (like refrigeration) on getting it back to the states.

Air fair is no hassle , ex pilot (United)I can go almost for free , but not during the China games crush.


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Old 05-15-2008, 07:46 AM   #4
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RE: Chasing the Dream


For work in aluminum, try Inace ( in Brazil. Granted, they're probably not as inexpensive as Thailand, but the yard has been around for a long time, and definitely speaks aluminum.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:29 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2008
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RE: Chasing the Dream

Claus and Chrissie - thanks! Lots of boats from "down under" here in Rebak. Mostly sail.

Fred - I'm sorry - no help. When I was done I did run acrossed a guy who had a boat done in fiberglass. My impression is that when you find this, it's run by a westerner and that by the time you pay for the shipping, etc, your savings are next to nothing.
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