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Bill H

Buying a boat in the Philippines and boat related stuff.....

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Bill H

In my nearly 3 years here I've built 2 banca's, extensively repaired a third and I've got a mono-hull in the early stages of building.  Here are my impressions of boats and boating in the Philippines.

 

Cruising the Philippines:

 

I have not been able to do as much as I'd like, but I do know there are absolutely stellar cruising grounds here that a largely pristine because very few foreign boats come here.  Foreign boats don't come here very much because the Philippines has a bad reputation some deserved some not and very, very few facilities for cruisers.  When I talk to cruisers who have never been here, the first thing they ask is, "is it safe?"  Except for a selected parts of Mindanao I think it's as safe here as most any other poor 3rd world country.  As for the lack of facilities, I don't understand why there is so little support for them, but there isn't and I don't think that will change any time soon.

 

Buying a Boat here:

 

Most locally built boats are banca's as it's the traditional boat of this region.  A banca is really a trimaran and the locals have been using the same design with few changes for a very long time.  Does that mean they are great boats?  NO.  It means it's what they locals have been using for generations and they are slow to change.  I've built mine so I could evaluate my crew and get them used to doing things differently.  I won't be building any more unless someone really wants one and offers me a great deal of money to build it and even then I'll try to talk them out of it.  While in general I do not like multi-hulls, I think for these cruising grounds the best option is a catamaran.

 

The problem with most of the local boats is with two exceptions the local plywood is horrible.  I wouldn't use it to build a table, much less a boat where people's lives are on the line.  I have tested the local plywood and even the more expensive "marine" plywood fails a boil test in less than 3 hours.  Good plywood should go for at least 3 DAYS!  The two exceptions are Santa Clara and TuffPly.  I have not personally used or tested Santa Clara, but I know builders who have and it has a good reputation although it is a little bit heavier than TuffPly.  I have tested and used TuffPly extensively and swear by it.  The problem now is the Philippine government has banned all commercial logging, so TuffPly and soon Santa Clara are rapidly running out of wood.  TuffPly has stopped production for an undetermined amount of time.  In short, times are tough for boat builders in the Philippines.  Chinese plywood is not to be trusted.

 

There are very, very few sources of supply for marine anything here. I bring most of my stuff from the States.  Locals use automotive parts from the junk yard.  It's the only place in the world where a boat has a 4 speed tranny with clutch!  There are back yard mechanics making props but they largely follow a pattern they got from who knows where and if you ask for a different diameter, no problem.  Different pitch?  What's pitch?  This is a huge problem here.  Consequently, most any bancas you buy here will be made of inferior plywood, using automotive parts from a junk yard.  It will not have a stuffing box and the steering system will be a bamboo pole with a hole in it on a stainless steel rod.  To turn the boat push or pull the pole.

 

The engine will be a old diesel pulled out of a truck, transmission still attached.  The fuel tank will frequently be a 5 gallon water bottle.  Cooling for the motor may be a radiator or maybe a galvanized pipe running on the outside of the hull or maybe not.  In short, it's all jury rigged, but it works in a manner of speaking, more or less until it doesn't.  GPS, Chart plotters, depth sounders, in many cases even electric start is unheard of.

 

Marine borers are a big problem here.  Unprotected wood will be damaged in less than a year, almost useless in 3.  Bottom paint to protect the wood is sometimes not used at all.  Fiberglass skins uncommon.  Fiberglass boats very rare.  The exception to some of these comments might be in the metropolitan Manila area (to include Subic Bay), where I have seen commercially made fiberglass boats.  Very occasionally one will come for sale in Cebu.  Beyond that, very rare.

 

I realize this may seem negative and to some extent it is, but all the problems I've outlined can be worked around, it's just a slow and trying thing to do.  None-the-less I love it here an will continue to buck the trend and build my boats the way I think they should be built.

 

I'd be happy to hear your comments and answer any questions you might have. 

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Stone

Must be damn hot on a boat in the Visayas... 

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Monsoon

Most people don't know that boat is actually an acronym.

 

Bring

Out

Another

Thousand ($)

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miles-high

Must be damn hot on a boat in the Visayas... 

 

Why? Marine AC's are just as efficient... :)

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Stone

Why? Marine AC's are just as efficient... :)

 

but out on the deck I mean... ;) Burning hot i think, if no roof

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miles-high

out on the deck

 

Ahhhh, I guess so…  ;) I have been onboard friend’s motor yacht out of Subic Bay a few times… stayed inside or under the canopy all the time… :D

 

I supposed the Visayas being closer to the equator so must be hotter… :scratch_head:

 

 

 

Edited by miles-high
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samatm

Bill,  its interesting that you see no Fiberglass production hulls here?    Why do you think that  is?      I know of several  Fiberglass  composite "factories" that are idle due to seasonal orders.  I am wondering if there would be a local  market for fiberglass boat production.     I am wondering what it would take to start making  a first boat and if there would be buyer ready to order.     it would be interesting to have your insight. 

Edited by samatm
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Headshot

Bill,

 

It seems like it would be a very good business opportunity to create safe harbors (anchorages) for cruisers modeled after the operation in Tambobo Bay at the south tip of Negros. All you need is a pier, a small restaurant, a small store (with food, casual clothing and boating supplies), and twenty to thirty secure, buoyed tie-ups and you have a business. An anchorage owner would also want to look at providing services like a bath and shower house, black water and grey water pumping and disposal, fresh water supply, and motorbike rental (to let people get to the nearest towns easily). A few small cottages (where cruisers can lodge overnight guests if they don't have room on their boats) might be good too, but I wouldn't go overboard (small pun). Of course, you also need a sheltered cove that doesn't already have a city or big town dominating it. However, there are a lot of sheltered coves around the philippines.

 

There are tens of thousands of "beach" resorts around the Philippines, but very few safe anchorages with services. I have to wonder why anybody would invest in a beach resort when there is so much competition there...and yet so little competition for safe anchorages  around the Philippines. Maybe it's the fact that most secluded coves usually have mangroves rather than white beaches, so nobody sees the potential. However, anybody who has snorkeled amongst mangroves knows that there is life everywhere. Groves of mangrove trees are the nurseries of the seas. Built properly, an anchorage facility like this wouldn't have to pose any threat to the mangroves or the nurseries in them. In fact, a pier (and even small buildings built over the water) using driven concrete pilings would actually provide even more habitat for sealife. Any thoughts on why more people haven't realized the opportunities there? Certainly, focused advertising would be fairly easy, since the boating community (cruisers) is fairly tight-knit and uses the internet heavily. Why haven't others thought of this and created a network of anchorages? Land around mangrove coves is generally very cheap, so it would be a lot more reasonable as an investment.

 

Also, have you looked at the possibility of either fiberglassing (laying up fiberglass and resin) the outside of plywood boats or creating fiberglass molds for hulls? Obviously, you get a smoother, more professional-looking finish and there is less labor involved (after the molds are built) if you are using female hull molds and laying up the layers up layers or resin and fiberglass inside the molds, but either method would be feasible for radically extending the boat's life expectancy. My uncle built a plywood and fiberglass boat over 60 years ago. He fiberglassed all interior and exterior surfaces (with no gaps) and sanded vigorously between each of several sprayed coats of gelcoat (a thin resin), and his boat is still in operation today. It just needs to be treated with rubbing compound and a few coats of car wax each year, and it still looks almost like new. My uncle is dead, but his boat was passed down to his son who still cares for it and uses it.

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thebob

As a boat owner, I can tell you that mooring is a bear. One of the reasons I don't like multihulls is that they are just as stable upside down as the right way up! Obviously they are easier to beach.

 

For props there is a place in the city called Dynacast, they know what they are doing. Not cheap though.

 

Rather than building a female mold and laying up inside it, foam males and vacuum bagging would be more consistent.

 

Plywood boats should be laminated from 1/4 ply and vacuum bagged. The constant camber system would be ideal for building bankas.

 

Or buy a TIG and build an alloy boat. Very low maintenance. Next time you come back from the States bring me a new main sheet for my boom please. 

Edited by thebob

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DogHasItsDay

Define black/grey water for us noobs please

Edited by DogHasItsDay

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miles-high

 

black/grey water

 

CR is connected to the black water tank, chemically treated (old airline type blue water) and/or a macerator is used…


Sink/shower/bath tub/washer are connected to the grey water tank…

 

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DogHasItsDay

CR is connected to the black water tank, chemically treated (old airline type blue water) and/or a macerator is used…

 

Sink/shower/bath tub/washer are connected to the grey water tank…

 

 

Many thanks

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Headshot

I don't want a boat that has to be in the water (or left at the shore) all the time. It's too likely it will be stolen or stripped if you aren't there all the time. For that reason, when I do get a boat, I want a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat). About a 12-footer will probably do me...with twin 25 HP outboard motors (for redundancy) that I can trailer. I can use it for diving and fishing, and I can launch wherever there is a public ramp (including taking ferries to other islands and launching there). That will greatly increase effective range of where I can go with my boat. With a RIB, even if you ship water due to a big wave, you can bail it out and not worry about sinking. The inflatable part of the boat keeps the gunwales above water (even when the rigid hull is swamped, and the inflatable part is segmented, so even if one section is punctured, it won't cause the boat to sink. There is a guy who owns a resort up in Compostela who sells RIBs.

 

post-6379-0-23449000-1364994267_thumb.jpg

Edited by Headshot

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Stone

A few years ago I was thinking about exporting small to medium size yacht boats to Europe from China. One of the more popular small to medium size yacht brands in Europe is Bayliner which is supposed to be an American brand, but all of their boats are assembled in Mexico. 
The prices I was quoted from some Chinese yacht manufacturers was ridicilous, less than 30,000$ for a 16m yacht without engine. I'm not sure if they also tax boats  in the Philippines same like they do cars, if not it might be something to look at.

 

IMAG004.JPG

 

oj3248.jpg

Edited by Stone

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Bill H

Most people don't know that boat is actually an acronym.

 

Bring

Out

Another

Thousand ($)

The definition I like best is a hole in the water in which you throw money trying to fill.

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