Bruce Roberts
Yacht Design

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Bruce Roberts-Goodson
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Gwenda Roberts-Goodson
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ASSEMBLING A SAILBOAT KIT

Over the past thirty years the Bruce Roberts Design team, lead by chief designer Bruce Roberts-Goodson,  have produced hundreds of designs and developed numerous building techniques from which over 20,000 boats have been built world wide, including power and sail pleasure boats, commercial and fishing boats. From this they have gained a depth of knowledge and experience allowing them to participate in advanced computer development for metal boats which has resulted in a huge range of designs for building in all materials. The STEEL and aluminum designs are now all available in "flat pack" kit form for delivery world wide. All steel is cut on an "NC" driven plasma-oxygen cutting machine.

Radius chine kits are available as well as single and multi chine packages. These kits provide the elusive link between computer-aided design and the latest fabriCATAMARANion techniques. Individuals and shipyards, particularly small enterprises can now benefit from modern cost-effective methods without major investment. With these techniques, you can obtain millimeter accuracy with outstanding surface finish. To quote from one builder, Roger Lasham, building a Coastworker 30 in the UK, "I had completed the bottom plating which was only tack welded in place, yet when it rained overnight and the wind pulled the tarp aside allowing water to collect in the bow, it did not leak away so accurate was the fit".

 

Steel kits only require semi skilled labor for assembly and all steel plates, are shot blasted and primed with "Sigmaweld-MC" zinc rich primer which is especially formulated to allow the builder to weld the plates without destroying the adjacent prime coating. Another feature of this weld primer is that it does not give off toxic fumes nor is there any weld "splatter". As each kit is "computer developed" and the parts are all nestled including all the plating so that you can easily assemble the hull, deck and superstructure in a very short time compared to conventional building and THERE IS NO WASTAGE. All windows, doors, scuppers, prop and rudder tube holes are cut out and a pre-cut building cradle is supplied. The Bruce Roberts organization is able to develop any existing design into a steel kit or provide modifications to an existing design to be incorporated in a kit. They offer a worldwide service and a special facility for builders and boatyards in developing countries where kits can be supplied tack welded or fully welded and come with full technical backup and access to the latest building techniques and designs. Labor saving can be as much as 75% on conventional hull building times.

These metal kits are produced in such a manner that even an inexperienced builder will save many hours on the preparation work because the plates, frames, longitudinal and stringers and further necessary parts for the hull and superstructure are supplied pre-cut and accurate. NO TRIMMING IS REQUIRED. All the parts fit perfectly. On radius chine kits, the radius panels are rolled to the correct radius and you will only need to trim the edges after you have installed the rest of the hull plating. All plates have marking lines for positioning of frames, etc. and all plates are numbered and come with clear instruction and part drawings showing all items.

Following are a series of photo's which show the stages of putting a kit together. All the equipment that is needed is a welder, a grinder, a lifting device and for the competent home handyman a spare ten to twelve weeks..

The first stage of construction is erecting the cradle that is supplied with the kit. As you can see, the parts are all numbered and so, by following the drawings supplied with the kit, can be welded together to form the cradle that your vessel will sit in.


Frames, complete with flooring section, stem, partial bulkheads and stringers all slotted together and tack welded ready to receive plate.


 


Internal view looking from above down into the rear cabin area. Note the T bar floor supports that have slotted into the floor frames. This view also shows the bottom plates upon which you are building your vessel. In the upper left of the photo you can see the first top side hull plate tacked into position.


Top sides completely plated. These, and indeed the whole vessel, are only tack welded on at this stage.


Deck, cabin sides and cabin top tacked into place.


Deck and cabin tops completely plated. The kit is delivered with all hatches and windows  cut out. Hatch and window kits are available as an optional extra.


The last hull plates being fitted. The radius chine section. This section has been rolled in both directions and comes in plates approximately 2.4m long. Start at the bow and work down the boat. The next three photos show the radius section being welded in.


Remember to use props to adequately support the hull throughout the entire building process.


Looking good and nearly there..


A stood back view with only the last plate to fit.

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Ready for fitting out.


SAILBOATS
boat plans & Cutting files
GLASS - STEEL - WOOD - ALUMINUM
boat plans BY LENGTH
19' - 34'- 6.7m - 10.0m
35' - 40' - 11m - 12.0m

41' - 50' - 2m - 15.2m
51' - 73' - 15m - 22.2m

CATAMARANS 35' - 65'  10.6 m -19.8 m

boat plans BY MATERIAL
FIBERGLASS  boat plans
STEEL - ALUMINUM

WOOD EPOXY boat plans

 POWERBOATS
boat plans & Cutting files
GLASS . STEEL . WOOD  ALUMINUM
boat plans BY LENGTH
21' - 35'- 6.4m - 10.0m
36'- 40'-10.0m - 12.0m
41'- 50'-12.5m - 15.2m

51'- 60'-15.5m - 18.0m
62'- 85'- 20.0m - 26.0m


boat plans BY MATERIAL
FIBERGLASS boat plans
STEEL & ALUMINUM
WOOD EPOXY boat plans

Here is the breakdown of the time taken to build this 48 ft / 14.65 m hull.

Arrival of Kit, sorting parts & preparing

2 men

2 days

Assembly of jig(s) and welding web frames

2 men

4 days

Assembly of Hull & Deck, tack welding completely

2 men

14 days

Finish welding Hull & Deck

2 men

14 days

Grinding visible welds

1 man

5 days

Total time should be between 450 and 600 man-hours. The time is more or less reflected on  the equipment and expertise available.

Below we see the reverse transom version of the Voyager 495

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Above we see frames erected on bottom plates and transom installed.

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This view shows optional transom steps. Windows can be cut in kit or later.

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Foam in place - fitting out now underway.

Now check out:  ASSEMBLING V495/B485 KIT

METAL KITS….WRITTEN ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS

INTRODUCTION: Throughout these instructions the word metal may apply to either steel, aluminium or copper-nickel. There will be variations between the handling of the various materials and these will be drawn to your attention as necessary. You will need to read and absorb all these instructions BEFORE you start the assembly of your kit. These instructions are intended to introduce you to building from a kit but are NOT intended to replace good metal boatbuilding practice. If you are not already a competent welder then please seek assistance.

Few of you will understand (or want to know!) the huge amount of work that is required to turn any boat plan in to a cut-to-size boat kit. Every part has to exactly match that of its neighbor, the slots need to be exactly in the correct locations and everything must fit perfectly together to enable you to complete the assembly of the hull, deck and superstructure with the minimum of problems.

The first thing to realize is that the kit differs in many ways from the methods you would use to build a metal boat from scratch. Most metal boats built from scratch are built upside-down…most boats built from cut-to-size metal kits are built upright. Not only is this a more appropriate way to assemble the kit but it saves cost and inconvenience of having to turn the hull.

To make sure that you take notice of one very important piece of advice, we will state it here as well as at the appropriate time: You must tack weld the complete hull deck and superstructure together before you run any final welds. Failure to observe this advice will almost certainly ensure you will end up with an unfair boat requiring a considerable amount of filler.

 RECEIVING YOUR KIT: Depending upon your location or delivery arrangements you kit may arrive on a flatbed truck or in a container. You should be aware of these arrangements before the actual date of delivery so you can make the necessary preparations to receive your kit.

The kits are normally packed on pallet(s) and can be lifted off the transport using a small crane, front-end loader or similar equipment. You may find it more convenient to "drag" your kit from the truck or container using a pair or planks as a ramp. Once you have unloaded your kit you must make provision to keep it covered until assembly is underway.

You should go though the kit and identify each part or group of parts so you can store these in the order that they will be required. Due to the requirement of packaging for transport it is impossible for the kit manufacturer to stack everything in the order you will be using the various parts…you must take care of this. Later in this text we will suggest the order of assembling your kit so you will be aware of which parts will need at each stage. If you do not find a particular part at this stage there's no need to panic, there will be so many pieces that it will be easy for you to overlook one or two at this stage. If after several checks you find one or more parts missing then do contact us so that we may put the matter right.

 STARTING ASSEMBLY: The first item you will need is the setting up jig. The transverse profile jigs will be supported by the metal "castles" that come as part of your kit. The setting up jig is intended to get the assembly of your hull started and the jig is NOT INTENDED TO SUPPORT THE BOAT during the entire building process. After you have both sides of the bottom plates tacked together you should consider adding extra support and bracing to the structure.

Do not attempt to fully weld the plates into one length on the floor. The plate joins should be only tack welded in three locations, one weld at each of the ends of the join and one in the centre. These tacks should be no more than half inch or 12mm long. If you weld the plates on the floor you will end up with a "hard-spot" in the hull plating.

Some plates will need to be beveled before tacking in place or you may prefer to make the bevels after you have tack welded the plates and just before running the final welds. In all cases good metal boatbuilding practices will prevail.

  SAILBOATS WITH FIN KEELS: Sailboats with deep keels will have the keel installed after the hull is completed. The "canoe body" should be built from the bottom of the hull upwards in a similar manner used to assemble a powerboat hull. The webs will be arranged so you can later add the keel after raising the hull into the correct elevation. The idea of this method is to allow you to work on the hull deck and superstructure while the boat is at a lower level and thus more accessible. The exact method and order of assembly may depend on the availability of lifting equipment and your general working environment.

ALL HULLS: Once you have set up the bottom hull plates and tacked these along the centerline together with installing the bottom sections of the frames, the remainder of the hull structure will grow upwards. The better equipped your workshop is with overhead lifting equipment the easier and more smoothly your job will proceed. We do recommend that you read Bruce's book METAL BOATS, which will answer many of the general metal boatbuilding questions that are sure to pop up as you proceed with your project. Also, please remember that we are only a phone, fax or email away and are only to happy to offer advice should you require it..  

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