Latest Launching – Alex from Reunion Island and his Sea Strike 18

Build your own 5.50 m open shell for € 7,000: a story of a successful construction site

Alexandre took 3.5 years to build entirely of his hands his hull open. A construction site on the island of Reunion.
Proud of his amateur construction, he tells us how it unfolds and the steps to carry out such a project.

Alexandre comes from Reunion Island, and after 10 years in Canada. (2004 to 2014), he returned to his island and began building his boat.
An open shell of 5.50 x 2.20 m constructed of epoxy plywood. He explains his journey and the pitfalls encountered during this project.

Receiving plans. Let's go !

How do you get into such a project?

Alexandre took 3.5 years to build entirely of his hands his hull open. A construction site on the island of Reunion.
Proud of his amateur construction, he tells us how it unfolds and the steps to carry out such a project.
Alexandre comes from Reunion Island, and after 10 years in Canada. (2004 to 2014), he returned to his island and began building his boat. 
An open shell of 5.50 x 2.20 m constructed of epoxy plywood. He explains his journey and the pitfalls encountered during this project.

How to choose a plan?

I did a lot of research on the internet before I found Marc Bowdidge (Bowdidge Marine Design). 
It is an Australian architect who draws boats and especially helps the amateur builders to realize their project. 
Without his help and patience (little helped by my very rough English), I would not have arrived.

I also discovered a builder community in Australia via the forums of his site.
For two years before I started, I peeled all the forum and technical information that I could find on the internet and
on the site of Marc (not easy everything is in English).
Without forgetting to consult the Division 240 and 245 for the respect of the French regulation.

Mark offers many boat plans in amateur construction. This ranges from the 12-foot boat (3.50 m) to the 35-foot fishing boat. 
As I like fishing, I chose a SeaStrike 18, an open 5.50 m to build plywood and epoxy resin.

How is the construction going?

In 2014, I decided to return to Reunion Island and in 2015 I ordered the plans after Marc Bowdidge.
It is by opening the envelope that I really begin to understand the difficulties that await me:

I am on an island and the cost of materials is very high
there is room for construction
again the plans are in English
But for those who have the will, everything is organized. I order the bulk of supplies (plywood) in South Africa and
meet a resin supplier in Reunion which will be of great technical help for me.
For the local, I attack in my garage (I should move the boat twice).

In 2016, after importing basic supplies, I start construction. The work of the resin is not simple and at first I had some failures!

What are the difficulties encountered ?

Initially, we want to go too fast. Despite my reading provided in the field of resin and fabrics (on this subject, I recommend the
books of Brothers Gougeon, essential in the CP epoxy boat construction), despite the enlightened advice of many stakeholders of
the forum who advised me to working small areas, I still wanted to achieve the interfacing of the hull at one time.
Lastly, I took 4 days to sand non stop to remove everything ...

And the equipment?

For the realization of the T-top, the base of the bench and the handrails, I have a training in TIG welding that I was useful.
It is for the bending of stainless steel that I have been very interested in finding information. But the D system was finally the most effective.
For anecdote, I bent the handrails with a tree trunk! I just regret not having had time to polish stainless steel. I stopped to a brushed stainless steel finish.

My training in electromechanics served me for the electrical part, but here again internet was an indispensable tool to know the rules of the art.

And if we had to do it again ?

If I had to build a new boat, I would not go out alone anymore. I would launch the project with several other builders in order to have help and to be able to discuss certain phases of construction. I had the chance to meet a local professional who believed in my project and referred me during the manufacturing process.

But 3.5 years of construction is long. We must be determined not to let go. My biggest fear during the construction was not to finish.

What budget do you anticipate?

One of the keys to success is to control your budget. For my part, the boat (hull) returned to me about 7 000 €. 
To which is added 11 000 € for the purchase and delivery of the 
outboard engine (a 115 hp Mercury bought at the show of the nautical Grau du Roi and delivered to Reunion).

And what next?

On July 17, 2019, after all the administrative process, the Marie Sonia was launched at the port of Saint-Pierre. 
It bears the name of my mother who died in 2010. I did the first sea trials and I am fully satisfied with this deep V hull which passes beautifully in the waves. 
I still note that it must fill the fuel tank (200 l in the bottom of the hull) to ballast the boat a little when I'm alone.

Now I'm waiting for the return of good weather (it's winter now in Reunion) to leave to enjoy the big game fishing with friends!

 As with all our designs, the Sea Strike 18 is engineered to "class rules" or commercial standards as a composite design.
In our case, we use ABS or the American Bureau of Shipping scantlings.
The safety standard we use is either the USCG standard or the ABYC standard for safety requirements for compliance
What a top job he did !!!

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