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Thread: Elco

  1. #1
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    Default Elco

    Hi, I'm new to the forum and I'm interested in building a Elco torpedo boat. I want to build one for two reasons. main reason I love world war two and I think it would be cool to live aboard the replica of an old Elco boat. second the interior design of the Elco 80' looks very roomy. does anyone maybe have any plans to build a Elco from scratch or know where I could find them? Also how much in lumber would a project like this cost?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Elco

    Welcome to the forum!

    Build an 80 ft. boat? Have you built any other boats? I'd take a guesstimate that, using original materials, an 80 footer would be a quarter million - maybe more. I know the replacement cost on my 52' sloop (without any sails, rigging, etc.) was estimated at 750K. While that includes labor, it's also 5/8 the boat.

    Original engines (if you can find the Packard V12s) would easily add 200K to that I bet.

    Google "elco torpedo boat plans" They're out there.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Elco

    Elco is still in business, albeit building electric propulsion. Same company though, so they would be a good starting point in seeking plans.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Elco

    Sadly the most experience I have in building boats is model boats in this way I'm like a kid with a dream. This boat would be a project for me on a different scale than what i'm used to pun intended. In the end I think it would be worth the effort. As for the engines would there be any modern engines that could compare or surpass the old Packards that might be more efficient on gas. I plan to do as much of the labor on the boat as i can to cut down costs.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by Kastner84 View Post
    Sadly the most experience I have in building boats is model boats in this way I'm like a kid with a dream. This boat would be a project for me on a different scale than what i'm used to pun intended. In the end I think it would be worth the effort. As for the engines would there be any modern engines that could compare or surpass the old Packards that might be more efficient on gas. I plan to do as much of the labor on the boat as i can to cut down costs.
    I hope that you have a tolerant Significant Other as this project will absorb perhaps ten years of your life.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Elco

    It's certainly a bold dream. There's an old Elco torpedo boat for sale in NY: https://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/...870131084.html
    Perhaps you could restore instead of build.
    It's a good practice that if you wish to build a big boat, build the dinghy first. That gives you a good idea of the time, skills, tools and materials involved.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Elco

    Lines plan, offsets, construction details are all available: http://ptboats.org/30-0-05-plans-01.html

    If you plan to replicate the original construction method and materials it's going to be expensive (sitka spruce, tabasco mahagony and bronze screws). Even substitute woods are going to cost a bunch. A few barrels of epoxy are going to be cheaper than the screws.
    Building space will be a challenge for such a big boat. At 20ft beam you would want to build it close to were it can be launched.
    If it was me I would install two gas turbines (Lycoming T53 for example) and a diesel for low speed operations.
    Last edited by Rumars; 04-29-2019 at 10:06 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Elco

    Kastner, I will offer the following as some advice for you....before you embark on this project, I would strongly urge you to build a small 8 foot or so dinghy. Reasons for this are many. First, you've never built a full scale boat. An 8 footer will be a great introduction to building real boats at a minimum of cost. Second, if you are planning on living on your homebuilt Elco, you will probably need a tender. The 8 footer will be great for that, and would fit on the deck of an Elco rather nicely. Lastly, the build of an 8 footer will allow you to assess your skills, desire, and the logistics to build an 80 footer.

    For example, if you find the 8 footer hard to build, the Elco won't be any easier.
    If you don't have the space to build the 8 footer, you won't have the space to build the Elco
    If you find you don't have the money to build the 8 footer, you won't have the money to build the Elco.
    If you find that you hate building the 8 footer, you probably won't enjoy building the Elco either.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't want to discourage you from building your dream, but you should know the absolute truth about building an 80 foot boat. The reality of that build is that its going to be VERY expensive, and INCREDIBLY time consuming. Are you prepared and able to invest the cost of a house and the next decade or so of your life to that build?

    Start with the 8 footer. Any 8 footer will do, though a traditional ply on frame design from the 50's would probably be most similar in construction to a PT boat. Post pics and questions etc of that build, and once its finished, then decide whether or not you really want to and are able to build a 80 footer.

    If you go on to build the Elco, awesome. If not, at least you've got a nice 8 foot dinghy to play around in, and the memories associated with its build.

    So, no more about PT boats for now. Get the 8 footer going.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Elco

    There used to be a PT boat that was turned into a yacht at Yank marine in Tuckahoe, NJ. From what I recall, the PT boat was Yachtified by Clark Gable.
    There is a joy in madness, that only mad men know. -Nieztsche

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Elco

    Why do you want an 80ft boat? If you are worried about keeping cost of construction down, you will never be able to afford the boat when it is finished.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Elco

    If he's going the authentic all the way route, then he might want to build the original tender used by the PT boats:

    http://www.atkinboatplans.com/Dinks/HandyAndy.html

    However, I have my doubts about the viability of building an 80 foot boat. Volume goes up by the cube of the length (or thereabouts) and an empty 80 foot hull looks like a cathedral inside. It s a LOT of volume to fit out. The hull ranges from about 30% of the price of the complete boat to a bit less for the big ones.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Elco

    Why not start by building a scale model that you can get into? 20% scale would produce a 16' boat with a 5' beam, which you could build in a garage and transport on a trailer. then, if you're convinced you want to proceed with the larger vessel, you'll have a good feel for how it goes together.

    Here are the lines and offsets for the Higgins PT boat, to give you an idea:



    Haven't found a complete set of Elco lines I trust, but here's the sections:

    Last edited by johnw; 04-29-2019 at 06:03 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Elco

    Looking at those drawings, you might also consider that PT boats were developed early on in the history of planing craft. Much has been learned since then. A modern planing craft sports lines almost entirely different from those shown above.

    Just sayin.'

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  14. #14
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    Default

    Buy a oldish 50 or 60 foot boat. Timber or glass doesn't matter. There's plenty around at fire sale prices. Paint it grey. See how you go with maintenance and running costs for a few years. Then revisit this dream.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Elco

    You need a water front property with a marine railway as a starter. Basically you need to hire a ship builder just to have a facility that can handle launching the vessel. An 80' ship isn't something that can go down the road on a truck.

    You should be prepared to spend a million dollars, even if it actually cost half that, you should be ready to spend a million. I suspect it would ultimately be more than a million.
    Last edited by navydog; 05-03-2019 at 07:21 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad Van Gilder View Post
    There used to be a PT boat that was turned into a yacht at Yank marine in Tuckahoe, NJ. From what I recall, the PT boat was Yachtified by Clark Gable.
    I'm pretty certain that boat ended up in Oxford MD. I saw it on the hard about 1982 looking very hard itself.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Elco

    While not a torpedo boat, it is within the capabilities of a homebuilder with woodworking experience and it's a design from around the WWII era.

    Elco 26 and could be trailerable.
    https://www.duckworks.com/product-p/wf-elco.htm

    Builders article.
    http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/07/...elco/index.htm
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Elco

    Those WWII torpedo boats did NOT have an ideal hull form.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by Kastner84 View Post

    I'm interested in building a Elco torpedo b. does anyone maybe have any plans to build a Elco from scratch or know where I could find them?
    Plans available here:

    http://ptboats.org/30-0-05-plans-01.html

    Do you have a full time job, or are you free and independently wealthy?

    Sorry Rumars, I see you posted this site already - doh!

    Maybe if a guy only had 25 years of build time available he could do one of the old British 63 foot HSL's.

    Last edited by Dave Wright; 06-13-2019 at 03:57 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Elco

    A few thoughts... I once had the dream of living aboard a fast, sexy wooden powerboat too. If you are really committed to doing that I would suggest buying a Huckins rather than building or restoring a real PT boat. This is a nice one for sale right now:

    http://www.huckinsyacht.com/pre-owne...-Corinthian/80

    I've been aboard Lady Susan and she's in lovely condition. The Huckins hull has legitimate PT-boat heritage, as Huckins was one of the three companies (with Higgins and Elco) that built PT boats in WWII. The Corinthian design would make a comfortable liveaboard with a large saloon, big windows and comfortable upper station. But for the true PT-boat look you want an Offshore or Out Islander model.

    The thing is, 80' is a seriously big boat. If you are independently wealthy - and I mean really wealthy, "don't have to ask how much it costs" wealthy, then go for it. For the rest of us, the cost to build the boat is a sizable check to write, even doing the work yourself. I think $1M would be on the low side. But that's only the starting point. Moorage is going to be $1500/month or more - possibly a lot more. Insurance will be similarly expensive. A haulout and bottom paint will easily run you $5k-10k or more every year or two. And then if you want a *fast* boat you have to factor in fuel. Engines that will propel an 80' hull at PT boat speeds are going to burn... 25 gallons an hour? Maybe more? Each, that is. So figure you will be spending around $150-$200+ an hour to run the boat. That sort of money adds up quickly.

    Something like a 50' Huckins is still not going to be an economical boat to run in comparison to a displacement hull, but it will be a very small fraction of the cost to build or buy and operate an 80' boat. And you will still have plenty of room aboard for most purposes. But before you go down any of these roads in earnest, I would encourage you to read this thread on how my own dream turned out.

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...and-redemption

    It wasn't pretty. However I don't say any of these things to discourage you. Personally I would love to see someone tackle a big planing boat build project. But I also know what it feels like to sink a decade of one's life into a huge endeavor and come out the other end with nothing.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Elco

    Start with a Higgins.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Start with a Higgins.
    I can agree to that.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Elco

    Er, what sort of Higgins are we talking about here? PT? LCVP? One of the postwar runabouts or cruisers?

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Er, what sort of Higgins are we talking about here? PT? LCVP? One of the postwar runabouts or cruisers?
    More than 23,000 made. It can take a cabin without much fuss, has a low draft, and doesn't have to be run hard to deliver ok fuel numbers. 36x11 feet roughly so not overly large and can be manhandled by one person.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LCVP_(United_States)

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Looking at those drawings, you might also consider that PT boats were developed early on in the history of planing craft. Much has been learned since then. A modern planing craft sports lines almost entirely different from those shown above.

    Just sayin.'

    Kevin
    This is a terrible design. Estimate of 25G/HR or 50G/HR for two engines at PT boat speed is way-way too low. Lots of much smaller boats burn more than that.
    Tom L

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    This is a terrible design. Estimate of 25G/HR or 50G/HR for two engines at PT boat speed is way-way too low. Lots of much smaller boats burn more than that.
    Yes, I realized that after I posted my earlier note. I was making a WAG based on the burn rate for the 6-71s in Perihelion running at 20 kts. I think I undershot by a wide margin though.

    The suggestion of building a replica of a Higgins LCVP first is amusing, but why? They are still readily available for cheap.

    https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/196...-lcvp-3210638/

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Yes, I realized that after I posted my earlier note. I was making a WAG based on the burn rate for the 6-71s in Perihelion running at 20 kts. I think I undershot by a wide margin though.

    The suggestion of building a replica of a Higgins LCVP first is amusing, but why? They are still readily available for cheap.

    https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/196...-lcvp-3210638/
    I would so buy that if it would make a good cruiser. I was surprised to see the hull is fiberglass and not solid steel.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by ben2go View Post
    I would so buy that if it would make a good cruiser. I was surprised to see the hull is fiberglass and not solid steel.
    So...slide a "tiny house" into the cargo bay an' Bob's yer Uncle": Cruiser

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    So...slide a "tiny house" into the cargo bay an' Bob's yer Uncle": Cruiser
    Tiny is the problem.
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Elco

    PT728, recently sold for $1,000,000. She was repowered with Detroit Diesels

    Maybe you could relocate to Portland OR and volunteer on PT658. Its a Higgins.
    Ask me! I've got my Leatherman!

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Elco

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    The suggestion of building a replica of a Higgins LCVP first is amusing, but why? They are still readily available for cheap.

    https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/196...-lcvp-3210638/
    that looks like a good little business opportunity !.. if islands nearby..
    i wonder if or what kind of certifications are required to haul cargo and equipment ??

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