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Thought for the day- How much does it cost to home build an IOM and thoughts on new versus homebuild

Having built two Epoxy glass Alternative's off a male mould, I thought it might be interesting to lay out the costs.

Prices are approximate but close enough for a budget. Remember I started from scratch so prices include the cost of any tooling

Coat of building plug and first hull including tools £700

Tools include, Dremel, protective gear,

2 pack spray paint top coat £30

2 pack epoxy primer £40

Bought in, Bulb,fin,rudder, fin box and radio pot holder from Dave Creed £180

Hull and spar fittings and sails from Housemartin £300

Other fittings from Housemartin £30

Rudder servo £30

Futaba Radio transmitter and receiver £160

RMG winch and switch £230

Battery £30

Rig Box £40

Rig stick £10

Appendage protectors £3

Boat stand £25

Total cost for my first boat was approximately £1800 but the cost of the second boat was significantly less as I had all the tools, spare epoxy and glass but had to buy in all the fittings. Once I sell the second boat I will have just about broken even. Now should I build third.....

I think that one could get on the water for under £1000 but to be competitive you will have to spend at least £1000 on the sails, rig, transmitter and winch. It might seem expensive but as a fellow competitor said to me, it's petty cash compared to owning a yacht or even racing dinghy.

Of course I haven't priced in the endless hours of labour working out how to put all this together but there are huge benefits in a home build in understanding the structure, making the hull watertight and understanding every aspect of assembling and rigging an IOM. It is an excellent hobby which got this author through COVID lockdowns.

Note that building a wooden IOM is significantly cheaper and as the Scottish contingent have shown, they are very competitive and some have come up with innovative designs.

With a home build, you can produce a boat within a couple of months and get racing but you are slightly handicapped because you cannot get hold of the best designs as these are rightly licensed out to manufacturers. Having said that there are some very competitive Alternatives racing.

Thoughts on new boats

It is no wonder that professionally built boats cost in the order of £3-4500. If you bought a Robot hull for around £1500, you still have to get the rigs, the sails, radio gear, rig box etc so you won't see much change from £2500 - 3000. The trouble with new boats is the lead times vary between 6 and 18 months. If you are prepared to pay £4500 for a Kantun standard package, you can have a boat in 4 months. Sailboat RC seem to have put together a great package and are able to produce and deliver.

The other promising side of the market is 3 D printing where boats are now printed in one section.

There are several sailing now and some are showing a competitive turn. If the developers crack the 3D printing challenges, all we have to do is rig the boats. Let's hope they have a breakthrough in 2022 because there is a ready market waiting for them and might stem the drift to the DF95 where you can buy a full package for less than £1000 and boat packages are readily available. I heard a rumour that over 100,000 DF boats have been sold. I read there were 12000 boats sold by 2016. Of course there is a marked difference in sailing the two classes of boats and I know which I prefer but sailors go where the competition goes.

If you are lucky you may stumble across an IOM owner who is leaving the class or going back to using a home build for club racing. If you meet one of those people you could get a ready made competitive package.

The IOM class challenge

The class needs new blood. There are several very talented yachtsman I have heard want to join the class. I also hear of clubs looking for a boat that they can use to get people started to boost their membership. In each case the problem is the same, there is no stock of IOM's available for purchase.

We know there are boats sitting in peoples offices and attics not being used. If you are not sailing yours why not put it on the market and give someone the satisfaction of racing your boat.

Let me know if I can help put you in touch with buyers who want to go racing.

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