A woman dressed in old clothes painting hull of a sailboat.

YouTubers Build 42-Foot Catamaran From Ground Up!

Some people put their DIY skills to the test by completing weekend projects around the house. However, a couple of YouTubers are testing their DIY abilities by building a 42-foot Catamaran.

It may take longer than a weekend, but the final results are sure to be worth the blood, sweat, and tears they’ll be putting into it. And lucky for us, they’re sharing the entire project with their viewers.

Let’s look deeper at this project that might inspire you to tackle your dream project.

A woman dressed in old clothes painting hull of a sailboat.

Who Is MJ Sailing? 

Matt and Jessica Johnson are a couple of high school sweethearts from the Mitten State of Michigan. They’re from Grand Rapids and had never stepped on a sailboat until they took up sailing as a hobby in 2008. However, in 2011 their hobby became a lifestyle.

The couple sold their home to embrace the idea of a full-time traveling lifestyle on their boat. The couple left Michigan on Aug. 12, 2011, and have since sailed up and down the east coast of the United States multiple times and spent time in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Central America. The couple was brave enough to cross the Atlantic Ocean twice in 2014!

A couple takes a selife on their sailboat wearing white clothes and sunglasses as the sun sets behind them.

They created their YouTube channel, MJ Sailing, in December 2009. They currently have 172,000 subscribers and are just shy of 50 million views. You’ll find the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of traveling full-time on a sailboat and taking on the massive project of building a boat from the ground up.

What Is MJ Sailing Known for? 

Matt and Jessica of MJ Sailing are known for their epic sailing adventures, and impressive boat builds. Whether traveling to Central America, crossing the Atlantic, or overhauling an old boat into an incredible floating home, they share their adventures on their social media pages. They live the type of life many people dream of. 

If boat builds and repairs interest you, start following Sailing Parlay Revival.

Why Is MJ Sailing Building a 42-Foot Catamaran?

The couple loves building projects and was itching for a new one. They wanted a Catamaran and considered all of their options.

Two catamaran-style sailboats anchored off a white sandy beach.

Anything that was cruise-ready was going to be well outside of their budget, so building their own was the best option. They learned the lesson from their previous build and felt their money would be better invested by building their own Catamaran.

When you see their DIY abilities, you know they’ll be able to create an incredible boat for their future needs.

What Challenges Does MJ Sailing Face With Building a Catamaran?

Building a Catamaran is a long process that’s a lot of work. They’re taking an IKEA-like approach, where they assemble the boat themselves. The couple announced their project over two years ago, and it still isn’t finished. 

While they predicted the project’s complexity, they didn’t expect the massive chaos of a pandemic and global supply shortages. Even the smallest of details can require a tremendous amount of effort and prove very challenging.

Close up of the front of a blue hull of a sailboat with a yellow stripe,

If you like sailing or have an adventurous spirit, you’ll want to check out a few of their other videos. These are some of their most popular videos and their greatest hits of sorts.

If you like what you see, be sure you subscribe to their channel! 


In this video, the couple enjoys adventures in Stuart, Fla., on a shakedown cruise. You can tell by the title that they experienced both sailing and swimming failures during this video.

They hoped to make it to Palm Beach to raise their sails for the first time in their new boat, but they had to wait until the next video.


Jessica and Matt share with their viewers what a typical day is like when crossing the ocean in a sailboat. They enjoy their coffee, check email, watch a massive tanker pass by in front of them, and share their meals with viewers.

However, they remind their viewers that sailing is never consistent and that each day is an entirely new experience.

Welcome to the Boat Graveyard

In this video, Matt and Jessica share with viewers a recap of their past three years of adventuring and six months of blogging. They want to show their viewers how they ended up where they are in Indiantown Marina, also known as the Boat Graveyard.

They walk you through a handful of the projects they’re working on with their 37-foot aluminum sailboat they’re renovating. You can tell the final project will be an incredible floating home! 

Where Else Can You Find MJ Sailing? 

If you want to follow Matt and Jessica on their adventures, you should first subscribe to their YouTube Channel. They do an incredible job of bringing viewers along on their adventures. 

However, because of the massive amount of work that goes into each video, you should follow them on Instagram and Facebook for more frequent updates from the couple. We also highly recommend visiting their website for all the details on their various builds and adventures.

A man heading up to the mast of a sailboat.

Is Building a Catamaran Worth It?

They predict that building the Catamaran themselves will cost upwards of $200,000. Purchasing a similar model would easily cost over $500,000. While it may take a lot more time and sweat, the financial return and flexibility of customizing the boat make it worth it.

However, this is a massive project that not just anyone should undertake. The couple has all the skills and resources to ensure the finished project is worth far more than what they’re financially putting into it.

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