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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Starting my build of the Salt Boatworks FRS15, which I’m naming Kestrel (small bird of prey, sounded fitting!)

15’ long, 6 and a half inch draft. 5’4” beam, 700lb capacity. Going to use a 30hp tiller, center grab bar with cooler rack. Casting and poling platform. Otherwise keeping it simple for solo trips and the ability to keep it in the garage.

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Laid out the plans and building it in my mind first, wrapping my head around the abundance of information and thoughts. First off, I’m considering using my motorcycle lift as a “base” for strongback (really not a strongback as my plans don’t call for that, but really just a table to build on). A frame of 2x6’s on top to enlarge it, and the ability to move it up and down, and around the garage will be ideal I think. Look forward to sharing the build and getting y’all advice as I’m a novice builder.
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Starting my build of the Salt Boatworks FRS15, which I’m naming Kestrel (small bird of prey, sounded fitting!)

15’ long, 6 and a half inch draft. 5’4” beam, 700lb capacity. Going to use a 30hp tiller, center grab bar with cooler rack. Casting and poling platform. Otherwise keeping it simple for solo trips and the ability to keep it in the garage.

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Laid out the plans and building it in my mind first, wrapping my head around the abundance of information and thoughts. First off, I’m considering using my motorcycle lift as a “base” for strongback (really not a strongback as my plans don’t call for that, but really just a table to build on). A frame of 2x6’s on top to enlarge it, and the ability to move it up and down, and around the garage will be ideal I think. Look forward to sharing the build and getting y’all advice as I’m a novice builder.
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Welcome to the onset of boat builder syndrome, it's incurable. I like the idea of the adjustable strong back, just concerned that you're able to build it so it's stable enough without any twist etc. Remember, even though this is a light boat, a few hundred pounds needs a lot of support with zero movement in any direction, so build accordingly. I'm curious about the draft. Seems a bit much for this hull, is that fully loaded? I'd assume the plans call for 1/4" ply for the hull, and possibly 3/8" for the deck. Don't know what your budget is, but I wouldn't go cheap on ply. Okoume is the best, and the lightest if you can afford it, Meranti would be the second choice, a little cheaper, but heavier. Since you're in Vero, you can get everything you need for the build from Jeff and Reid at Boat Builder Central in Ft. Pierce. Their Marine Epoxy brand is excellent, and non blushing, but if you're wealthier than me, and most people are, buy the System 3 Silver Tip, and all the products that go with it, like Quick Fair, and Easy Fillet. I think it's the best money can buy, but I've used it on only part of 1 build, and the Marine Epoxy on 5 others. Good luck with your build, it's a lot of fun and very rewarding. Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice Mike! The lift is very stable with the feet down. Did a lot of work rebuilding a heavy 1978 Harley on it, so I’ll just have to do my part and make sure the platform is attached well and good. The lift has u bolts for straps that I think I can use as anchor points for the platform structure.

6 1/2 is fully loaded to the 700lb limit. Was thinking Meranti for the ply, and definitely utilizing Boat Builder Central’s resources! Lucked out with that! I’ll check out the Silver Tip. Haven’t gotten that far yet with the research. Trying to remind myself to eat the elephant a bite at a time.
 

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Thanks for the advice Mike! The lift is very stable with the feet down. Did a lot of work rebuilding a heavy 1978 Harley on it, so I’ll just have to do my part and make sure the platform is attached well and good. The lift has u bolts for straps that I think I can use as anchor points for the platform structure.

6 1/2 is fully loaded to the 700lb limit. Was thinking Meranti for the ply, and definitely utilizing Boat Builder Central’s resources! Lucked out with that! I’ll check out the Silver Tip. Haven’t gotten that far yet with the research. Trying to remind myself to eat the elephant a bite at a time.
Just so you're aware, and depending on ply thickness, using Meranti will add 40-50 pounds over using Okoume. You mentioned using a 30 hp, but that could be overkill depending on the weight of the boat, and how fast you want to go. I would think a 20 would be adequate. Looks like a nice hull by the way. Mike
 

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I had read that the Meranti was 20-30% heavier, but thought the strength and rot resistance was the trade off for that? I’ll look into Okoume and then maybe a lighter motor.
The Meranti is 20-25% heavier, and I'm assuming the boat will have about 7 sheets of ply, so maybe 40 or so pounds more than Okoume. The ply is just the core, the strength comes from the fiberglass, so Meranti being a little stiffer and heavier is not a plus in any way. As far as worrying about rot resistance, all off the wood will be completely saturated and encapsulated in epoxy, so if built properly no water would ever touch the wood. Just think of all the high dollar sportfish boats that are Okoume ply and epoxy; Spencer, Rybovich, Jarret Bay, Bayliss, Buddy Davis, to name a few. And they all spend their lives sitting in water, not on a trailer. When you go over to Boat Builder Central ask Jeff and Reid to show you my FS14 low sheer under cover in the warehouse. It's a little shorter than you're building but might give you some ideas as to lay out and fuel tank placement etc. Mike
 

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The extra expense of Okoume is well worth it given it will be a very small fraction of the overall budget when everything is done. Lift a 3/8" Meranti and Okoume panel and the weight difference is shocking.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well that’s a resounding statement, so Okoume it is! Any reason to maybe use Meranti for decking since it’s supposedly less bendable? It’s only two sheets of 3/8” for that so it’s not a monetary question, just curious since I’m not a small guy, if the decking would be sturdier.

Mike, I plan to go chat with the Boat Builder Central guys soon so I’ll check yours out, that would be a great help since I was debating which to put up front, the batteries or gas tank. My thoughts had always been that the less distance between battery and motor the better, so was going with two batteries in the back, one for starting, one for lights and trolling motor (line ran to front to plug for removable trolling motor), and then gas tank in the open compartment in the front. All of that in good time.

Meanwhile, strongback/work area for boat was put together and made level/square. Took all 250 pounds of my weight on the far end to move it so we should be good. And the ability to jack it up or lower to the floor is great! Might convert my workbench to that in the future it’s so nice, lol.
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Well that’s a resounding statement, so Okoume it is! Any reason to maybe use Meranti for decking since it’s supposedly less bendable? It’s only two sheets of 3/8” for that so it’s not a monetary question, just curious since I’m not a small guy, if the decking would be sturdier.

Mike, I plan to go chat with the Boat Builder Central guys soon so I’ll check yours out, that would be a great help since I was debating which to put up front, the batteries or gas tank. My thoughts had always been that the less distance between battery and motor the better, so was going with two batteries in the back, one for starting, one for lights and trolling motor (line ran to front to plug for removable trolling motor), and then gas tank in the open compartment in the front. All of that in good time.

Meanwhile, strongback/work area for boat was put together and made level/square. Took all 250 pounds of my weight on the far end to move it so we should be good. And the ability to jack it up or lower to the floor is great! Might convert my workbench to that in the future it’s so nice, lol.
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No reason to use Meranti for the deck. The decks on all 4 of my builds a 3/8" Okoume with 1 layer of 6oz. woven only on top, and with proper framing, my decks are a solid as a concrete slab. As far as batteries, obviously you need a big battery for a trolling motor, but for starting a small 4 stroke, and for lights etc., a little dink battery works fine. A buddy gave me a used wheel chair battery 4 years ago and it's powered my FS18 for 3 1/2 years without ever being charged, and most of my runs are less than 2 miles to where I fish. Besides, you can pull start the motor with no effort, so no need for a big starting battery. When you stop by BBC take a look at the fuel tank in the FS14. It's a stock 5 gallon from Boyd's Welding in Ocala that was $99.00. I like your adjustable strong back, but I'm concerned you'll still need to have support under the overhanging ends as the boat gains weight, so be sure you don't end up with any sagging as you go forward. Maybe want to add a few diagonals as well. Mike
 

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Following this build... Good luck!!! I should be starting mine soon also. First time builder and looks really exciting and fun. There's not a whole lot of info on this build anywhere. I saw photos of a couple being glassed and sanded down. None of them are painted and no where near rigged yet. I really want to see what it looks like completed but I guess the only way to find out is to just go ahead and build one! Did not know Okume and Meranti weight difference was that much. I am stuck with Hydrotek which a local lumber yard down the street carries in stock. I'll work with what is available.

Your build is pretty much exactly what I have in mind. I was planning on going with a Tohatsu 30 tiller also, but have been strongly thinking of going with just a 20hp to keep the weight and cost down a bit. Battery and fuel is going up front if there is enough space and will be using the rear deck for storage.
 

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I'll be following, looking forward to see how it goes! I am ordering plans for the FRS 12, if that one goes well then I'll build the FRS 15 as well. I have wanted to build a boat for 10+ years, I even have plans to an OD18 from Bateau but never started it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
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Assimilation of the parts has begun! Picked up the plywood from the guys at Boat Builders Central. Can’t say enough about their customer service...just awesome. And Mike, they let me check out the boat you built. That’s a work of art! Absolutely beautiful! I really like the gas tank setup too.

So got the wood all laid out, and as awesome as the full size prints are, it was much more meticulous and time consuming than I expected. Never the less, got them all cut out, placed appropriately, and traced onto wood. Next step is to make some sawdust. Obligatory picture of the boat security system included as well!
 

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Assimilation of the parts has begun! Picked up the plywood from the guys at Boat Builders Central. Can’t say enough about their customer service...just awesome. And Mike, they let me check out the boat you built. That’s a work of art! Absolutely beautiful! I really like the gas tank setup too.

So got the wood all laid out, and as awesome as the full size prints are, it was much more meticulous and time consuming than I expected. Never the less, got them all cut out, placed appropriately, and traced onto wood. Next step is to make some sawdust. Obligatory picture of the boat security system included as well!
Thanks for the compliment on my FS14, just wish they'd stick a motor on that thing so I can see how it performs. I'm looking forward to watching your boat come together. Do you know about the builders get together at the River Palms in Jensen in September? You should try and make it since you're so close. I'll have my FS18, and I'm sure there will be some other boats as well. Mike
 

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I haven’t! Shoot me the details and I’ll try to be there.
If you go on the Bateau forum and open " builders meets and get togethers" then open "2019 southeastern boat builders meet" and go back 4 pages to May, is where the discussion for this years meeting begins. There's a handful of guys showing at this time, and Reid still has 1 room available in the big house if you don't need or want a cabin for yourself. It's a really nice house, and we have the barbeque right out front facing the river. It's a beautiful spot just north of the inlet, it's right on the river, and some guys leave their boats anchored right out front. The main river is far enough away that there are no boat wakes to worry about, and it's all sand bottom. I leave my boat on the trailer and launch at a public ramp about a 1/4 mile south. You'll see my FS18, an XF20, SC16, possibly an OD18, hopefully some others. Not sure what Travis is bringing, he builds them so fast who knows, maybe he'll chime in and let us know. It's always a good laid back and relaxed group talking boats, fishing, and some good grub. A few shots from the last meet. Mike
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Coming along nicely!!!

I have also just started transfering the templates to the plywood sheets. The way the templates are printed really got my cussing all night. The tight space I have, I had to shuffle the plywood around to get a template traced. Then find out I needed to trace another template on a different peice of plywood then come back and only to find out, I need to trace that template in order to cut out the template inside the template. It went on and on in 100 degree weather. Made a little progress but I called it quits after 2 hours trying to figure out where all the templates went.
 
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