How Much Does It Cost To Build a Catamaran? Builders Answer!


Owning a catamaran is one of the best ways to enjoy life; however, even a used variant of these beautiful vessels can cost up to $800,000. This is why many people consider building one from scratch, but how much can you expect to spend on the build?

It will cost between $30,000 and $300,000 to build a catamaran. Costs depend on a few factors, including the size of the boat and the overall quality of the finishing. The exact price will come down to product choices and whether a kit is used or not.

This article will look at how much you can expect to spend for every segment of the catamaran build process using a kit. First, let’s look at some of the benefits of building your own catamaran.

Cost of Building a Catamaran With Pre-Made Kits

One of the best ways to build a catamaran on your own is to use pre-made kits. The total cost of the construction can take your spending to as high as $300,000, but the result is a vessel you can trust just as much as any from a production line.

Assembling the Kit

You can expect the following as part of the kit for a 45ft (13.72m) catamaran:

  • The panels (including hulls, cabin top, shelves, furniture, cockpit seating, etc.)
  • Daggerboard and daggerboard cases
  • Rudders
  • Forebeam
  • Building materials (including fiberglass cloth, epoxy fillers, up to 100 gallons (378.54 liters) of epoxy, and other materials that you can use to get the construction to the paint stage)

With the kits sorted, you can get the vessel construction done up to the stage of wiring, plumbing, and other such intricacies. Schionning, Grainger, Wharram, and Oram are four of the main catamaran kits suppliers today.

The kits from Schionning will cost you around $60,000 (before shipping fees and any taxes), while those from Oram only provide quotes on request, but the prices are often similar to the numbers quoted by Schionning. None of them include construction plans in the cost, so you’ll have to pay for the plans separately.

Grainger’s kits will cost you around $130,000. This is double the numbers from the competition. They include construction plans in the kit costs, but that’s not enough justification for the price difference—especially as you can get plans from Oram for around $6,500

Wharram offers unique polynesian style kits such as the Mana-kit for as low as $16,400.

None of these catamaran kits manufacturers operate stateside, so you have to budget a considerable sum for shipping. Generally, the shipping costs will likely take up another $5,000, and you’ll have to budget another $1,000 in import fees.

The Building Stage

The first expense in the building stage is paying for the space for the construction. It can take around 1-3 years to complete construction for your catamaran, so you need to ensure you have the space to hold the vessel throughout the period.

The building site also has to be prepared. Concrete or asphalt surfaces are preferable, but you can level out the floor and put a tarp on dirt to give you a surface to work on without spending too much from your budget.

However, your spending on site preparation will still fall within $15,000 even without elaborate surface preparation as you’ll need ventilation, water, lighting on site, and builder’s insurance. You’ll also need a minimum 30×60 ft (6.1×18.3 m) hoop tent.

Tools you’ll need include routers, circular saw, sanders, and other such important tools for working on fiberglass. You’ll also need lots of screws and sanding paper. With $3,000, you can buy and rent all the tools you need. You’ll need lumber and aluminum pipes for the strongback and forebeam. They’ll cost around $1,100.

Other miscellaneous expenses such as cleaning supplies and other such consumables will cost you around $5,000. This is not including the materials you need for painting.

The Topside Painting Stage

Once your boat is built up, it’s time to buy more paint for the main painting stage. Technically, the painting will start right from the hull construction, but this stage is when you’ll need dozens of gallons. For the top side, you’ll need around ten gallons of Awlgrip marine paint. This will cost you around $2,500.

The paint for the high build will also cost you around $2,500 for 20 gallons (75.71 liters), including the converter and reducer. You can paint the interior enamel with five gallons of Rustoleum semi-gloss paint, which will cost around $500. The bottom paint will also cost a similar sum overall. You’ll need to budget around $2,000 for consumables like different grits of sandpapers, thinners, rollers, brushes, mixing cups, and so on.

The Sailing Parts Stage

You should expect to pay around $13,000 for an aluminum mast with Antal Batten Car Systems. The boom (also aluminum) should cost you around $2,200. The standing rigging will be around $3,000 if you choose stainless pieces with swaged fittings. The running rigging, around $2,000 for spectra-cord options. The lengths of the rigging materials have to be in line with the dimensions you have in the plans.

Winches will cost you around $6,500 for the 50st and 40st variants. Other materials you’ll need to budget for at this stage include:

  • The Clutches ($1000)
  • Blocks ($2,500)
  • Deck Organizer ($200)
  • Jib Track ($500)
  • Traveller ($1,700)
  •  Furlers ($2000-$3600)
  •  Sails ($9,000)

The Engines Stage

Catamarans are typically lightweight, so they can be powered by two 25hp engines. Yamaha is the popular manufacturer choice when picking engines, but Penta engines can also work. Alongside the engines, you’ll need to pay for the dual control and cables, as well as the fuel system (including the gauge, filler, tank, etc.). The total cost of the engines and all the other elements to make it work will cost around $12,000.

The Steering Stage

To make the steering for your catamaran, you’ll need to spend around $1,000 on rudder shafts or rods, $300 on a steering quadrant, and another $300 on steering wheels. You can make steering wheels on your own, but you’ll find it difficult to justify the time and costs.

The Electrical System Stage

At this stage, you have to pay attention to avoid increasing the boat’s weight too much. You’ll need to fit a 400 Ah house battery, which will cost around $2,000, and a lead-acid battery as your backup. Those cost around $200.

The main source of energy for the battery will typically be solar panels. A 1000w panel (costs $1,000) can serve the purpose. Don’t forget to add the solar controller (costs around $600) and a battery charger or inverter (costs around $1,000).

The wires will cost around $2,000-$3,000 depending on your postcode and whether you can buy wires in bulk. Other elements of the wiring process, like the circuit panel, heat shrink, switches, buss bar, strips, etc., will cost around $4,000.

The Lights Installation Stage

The mast headlights are already taken care of in the mast installation stage, so your focus here is the navigation lights and interior lights. These will cost around $800. You can get these installed during the wiring stage.

The Anchor Stage

When building the anchor for your 45-inch (114.3-cm) catamaran, you should expect to spend around $4,000 on all the necessary elements, including the main anchor, the stern anchor and rode, the chain or rope, the docking gear, and the windlass. The windlass will take more than half of your budget here, followed by the anchor. When buying the rope or chain, don’t forget to consider how the weight can affect your boat.

Galley Equipping Stage

The cost of this stage will be majorly determined by your choices when it comes to elements like refrigeration and cooking stoves. Pumps, water tanks, plumbing, sink and faucets, and countertops won’t cost more than $2,000. A 3.2 cubic feet (0.09 cubic meter) refrigerator, a 2-burner induction stove, and a convection oven can cost around $2,500 collectively.

The Exterior Stage

The expenses here will go towards the hatches, stanchions, lifelines, cleats, acrylic windows, trampoline net, sail covers, cockpit cushions, and locks or latches. The hatches will take the bulk of the budget as they cost around $3,000. The trampoline net and the cockpit cushion are the next big expense costing $1,200 and $800, respectively. A combination of everything else will take the total here to around $7500.

The Interior Stage

When building the interior of the boat, you’ll need to budget for the flooring, cushions (including the fabrics and zippers for coverings), wood trim, latches, hinges, etc. You can expect to spend around $4,000 on the interior, with the flooring taking more than a third of the budget.

The Heads Stage

This is when you’ll need to add the toilets, shower, sink, faucets, hoses, holding tanks, shower sumps, and other such bits. The total expense here should amount to around $2,500. This is assuming you stick with basic toilets without a lot of unnecessary features.

General Electronics Stage

This stage is very subjective, but most people will incorporate costly elements like the autopilot, chart plotter, radar, VHF, navigation instruments, AIS, and antenna. Combined, they will cost around $10,000 at the very least, but depending on your unique needs, the cost may differ a great deal.

Estimated Cost of Building a Catamaran

Based on the catamaran construction we just discussed, here is a rough estimate of what you should expect to spend overall to build a catamaran:

ItemEstimated  Cost ($)
The kit75,000
Building supplies25,000
Painting8,000
Sailing parts45,000
Engines10,000
Steering parts2,000
Electricals10,000
Anchor4,000
Lights1,000
Galley4,500
Exterior7,500
Interior4,000
Heads2,500
Navigation Electronics10,000
Total Estimated Cost$210,000 (approx.)

Why Build Your Own Catamaran?

There are a few advantages to building your own vessel. They include the following:

Acquaintance With Your Boat

When you build a boat on your own, you’ll have a better handle of all the intricate elements and all the parts. You’ll know everything starting from the position of the wires to the bolts, bulkhead, rib, support, and everything else. Maintenance will be easier because you’ll know the position of all the important elements as you installed them.

Sense of Accomplishment

While it’s nice to be able to afford a catamaran off the lot from a manufacturer, there’s a sense of accomplishment with sailing out on the seas in a vessel you made. Plus, the compliments that follow will fuel the feeling, and it doesn’t take long for you to start seeing the boat as a part of your life.

Saving Some Money

Buying a new catamaran is out of the reach of most people, even with financing. And buying a used option can reduce the price a fair deal, but you can bet it will still be expensive. Cheap used options often require a lot of investment to become seaworthy again. 

Building your catamaran can help you save up to 80% of the price you’ll have to pay for a brand new vessel and up to 50% on the cost of a used one.

Getting a Newer Design

Many catamarans on the market today are based on designs that are many years old. Even newer models are often just minor tweaks to older designs as manufacturers continue to recoup their investment in the production setup. When you build your own catamaran, you can work with newer designs and also take a different approach to the more mainstream options.

Should You Build Your Catamaran?

Now you’ve got an idea of what it will cost to build your catamaran, but should you go ahead with it? It’s a subjective decision.

While there are obvious advantages to completing the build on your own (as we’ve covered above), this is a heavy project that you should only embark on if you have a proper understanding of what is required and the right skills to get the job done at every stage. You also need to have all the logistics squared off and have a trusted source of funds for the project.

If you have to hire specialists for every stage of the build, the overall cost can increase by up to 50%. When you factor all these into the equation, you may be better off saving time and energy and going for a high-quality used boat.

How Long Will It Take To Build a Catamaran?

Building your own catamaran will likely take you at least 3 years. Your catamaran construction can be completed at a pace favorable to you. If you already have the funds in place, you can finish the construction process in months. However, most DIY boatbuilders tend to take things a bit more gradually, spreading the construction across 1-3 years.

Final Thoughts

Investing in a durable catamaran you can trust in deep seas is a costly expenditure whether you’re buying one off the lot, getting a used model, or building yours from scratch. Weigh all the pros and cons to ensure you make the best decision for your specific situation, as any mistakes can prove costly. If you choose to build and get stuck midway, don’t hesitate to get professional help to remedy the situation.

If you push through the construction, the satisfaction and elation from cruising in your completed boat will linger for a long time!

Gabo

Owner of CatamaranFreedom.com. A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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