I am not saying that the only way to build sailing craft is with a kit, my contention is that if there were more kits of such craft, more would be built and make died in the wool, stick and string sailors like me happy to see more sails on the lakes. In fact, I spent a very happy afternoon this week, sailing the second model I ever built from a kit, An Aeronaut 'Bella'. a lovely sailer . I quite agree, scratch building whether literally from scratch or from a moulded hull are fine. Whether it is cheaper than a kit, I'm not sure, but I can think of one kitmaker who charges a 'handling' or 'administration' charge of, if I remember correctly, £30 on an already very expensive kit, in addition to carriage. Enough said.
I consider myself to be a model Thames Barge builder and have used moulded hulls as well as building from scratch. Unfortunately the source of the moulded hulls appears to have dried up with the retirement of 'Mastman'.So, it's scratchbuilding for me from now on. I do not use plans either, I work as the real barge builders of old did, and knowing barges as well as I do, I build by eye, if it looks right, it must be.And I've yet to have a failure.
I digress, our hobby has come about from the great Victorian tradition of the pond yacht. Marbleheads and One Metres spring to mind but such aristocrats were nothing compared to the simple model carved from a solid block that every boy received for Christmas. I don't doubt some of our members still possess theirs, or one they've bought since. This is what I'd like to see, loads of very simple model yachts swarming on our lakes. Whether built from kits or not, who cares.
Footnote; yes Ron, a scrollsaw is a great tool to have.