Built not Bought
This new design from Spirited Designs is the ideal starter project for a first-timer amateur boat builder. It fills the gap between the tender size bracket and the trailer-boat range.
The 5.5m Rapid is set up as a centre console configuration with enough deck room for a family or group of fishers. The self-draining deck provides a good level surface allowing access all round the boat. The fuel tanks are mounted below the deck as well as additional storage which are accessed through guttered deck hatches. As with the Ripple range of tender designs, there is a good-sized storage locker below the foredeck which has proven to remain dry for things like towels, extra clothes etc. The back deck is closed off with a full gunnel height wall when underway but there is a useful centre door to access the aft hull steps when swimming or loading. An option for weather protection is a hardtop combined with a Targa design which creates a sturdy one-piece structure.
A difference here with this design over the smaller tender range is that it is powered with twin engines. Not forgetting that this design will be relatively light-weight, the engine horsepower can remain on the lower side. In comparison, the popular 4.2m Ripple tender is powered with as low as a single 20hp outboard with no issue of power lacking. As such the 5.5m Rapid is designed with twin 20hp long shaft outboard engines for a good balance between power and weight. The centre console and fixed seat design can be personalised however as standard this offers good storage and space for the battery and electrics.
As found with the various Spirited models in this concept range, the stability, ride and performance are second to none. The cushioning effect of the twin hulls is well recognised in power cats and come into play with these designs. The hull shape lends itself to super-quick jump onto the plane but experience has also found this hull design to also be very efficient and economical at low trawling speeds. A cat can’t be beaten on stability and this is shown so well with the popularity of the Ripple tenders, where passengers can stand on the gunnel edge itself when boarding. The flat wet-deck ensures safe footing even in a choppy sea way. Floatation chambers are built into the design making it unsinkable in case of grounding or capsize.
Building this design is made as easy as possible with the use of computer-cut parts and easy to follow DIY plans. There are a choice of material options which begin with either Duflex foam or balsa core, plain Divinycell foam core and Gaboon plywood. The Duflex panels are the easiest option and most suited to DIY because they are pre-laminated and pre-jointed along the joining edges. However for those wanting to challenge their boatbuilding skills, the plywood or plain foam core options are a little more technical. As with all Spirited Designs kit packages, an interlocking MDF build frame is included to jump-start the project. The advantage of the kit system is that once your hull panels are ready for assembling the hull takes shape extremely quickly. This system is also quite forgiving for the DIY builder because the parts can be adjusted dry before gluing, enabling the builder to double check fitment prior. Once the hull is complete it is removed from the build frame and ready for all the internal work and fitting out.
For anyone wanting to source their own material at their own pace, building plans are available which include all parts dimensioned for self-cutting.
There’s an old saying, ‘every man loves a project’, or something like that but it is so true. Starting off with a smaller project like this may give you the confidence to move onto bigger and better things …
Check out the full range of designs from Spirited Designs
Okara Marina has had an uplifting construction start!
It was a dramatic start for the new marina with a helicopter lifting cut mangroves off the reclamation area over two days.
Whilst recognising the importance of our river’s mangrove ecosystem and understanding concerns being voiced about the removal of some mangroves, the portion removed constituted only 0.07% of Whangarei Harbour’s mangroves. An extensive environmental study was conducted as part of the resource consent process. The results indicated that the marine invertebrates in the area are not diverse, abundant, or rare, nor are there species of specific conservation interest. The new sea wall will provide a new intertidal habitat, with voids ready to be colonized by invertebrates and small fish.
Since being advised By NRC that disposal of the mangroves were not specifically covered in the resource consent for the mud fill site at Kissing Point, hasty and well considered alternatives had to be assessed. It was decided that helicopter removal was the most efficient method. It could have least public disturbance in a short time at a similar cost than a difficult shoreside removal right beside a busy road. Road closures and lengthy traffic management could be avoided. The arborist has effectively used this method elsewhere in New Zealand.
Construction kick-off was celebrated together with Contractors, Neighboring businesses, Berth holders, Whangarei’s Mayor, Staff and the Marina Trustees.
Digging into mud cake was symbolic of the 150,000m3 of mud to be moved out to create berths for 113 vessels.
Northland based contractors Total Marine have begun the year-long process of digging the marina basin. The dredgings are disposed of just around the corner across from the Kissing Point mooring field. The basin area has been ringed with floating silt fencing to contain the work of the two digging barges which will be working simultaneously. A trench is being dug from the southern end of the channel towards the reclamation site to enable access to the new rock wall perimeter. This is the initial focus for the dredge path as the land reclamation for the car park and building requires time to settle.
A model has been made by Outline 3D architectural scale-models in Mangawhai.
Come see the 3D model on display at the Marina office in the Town Basin (beside the Quay restaurant). It shows the scale and position of the site.
Imagine coming in from Great Barrier to pull into the fairway and gently park your boat alongside K18. Tie off, plug in and and stroll along to the marina lounge to make a pizza in the atrium for your guests.
• Opening in early 2025
• Great investment
• Sheltered berth in the city, 9km from an airport
• Sheltered inlet with destinations for a weekend fish/sail
• Central to Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier, BOI
• Amongst a marine service hub
• International sailing base
• Operated by a Charitable Trust
– Into Hot Water –
Hot water used to be a luxury on previous multihulls I’ve sailed on. I now consider it a necessity as the bones cope less with getting cold. This is despite the fact that I mainly sail in tropical waters. For those in the southern climes the need for hot water is definitely a must.
In my earlier frugal sailing days the systems in play were pretty basic – for a while we used solar showers – basically a black bag using sunshine to heat the water, pull it up a halyard and shower while it remains hot. The big drawback was that if it was sunny and hot enough to heat the bag, you really didn’t need that much hot water. Down the track, in desperation, Catherine and I used a kettle, put the boiling water in a bag or spray bottle and tried to get out of the breeze to avoid any wind chill factor.
Needless to say, as children arrived, we needed more efficient and less labour intensive systems. When we had multihulls with outboards we trialled a few systems using the saltwater coolant outlet from the engines but, at the best, we got tepid water.
Pleased to have hot water back after a mast climb.
Our first diesel engines solved the problem. For most multihulls with a diesel engine, the coolant system can be plumbed through a marine hot water tank heat exchanger to heat fresh water. Most tanks hold about 40L and we found running the engine for about half an hour bought the temperature up to suitable for showering. The dilemma was always what to do at anchor – running a diesel unloaded just to heat water seemed a waste. We usually showered quick and cold unless desperate.
Catherine and I have a new catamaran – a Roger Hill 15.9 performance cat which we have renamed Favourite Child. Built and sold in full survey, we have steadily lightened her and are working at increasing performance and liveability. In the process I removed the 120kg generator and discovered, in doing so, I had also removed the hot water heating system.
The generator and hot water storage had been positioned central middle beam – perfect place – but not so perfect to re-plumb the hot water system into either of the Yanmar 75 diesels. I was not keen to relocate the hot water storage and plumbing to the sterns, so I researched alternatives.
During our refit I have added a hard top bimini and 1920 watt of solar panels. As a result, I have ample 12V power linked to a 3000W invertor. The maximum output could be over 180 amps and even with boom shadow and sun angles I’m seeing 50 amps plus. This meant I have excess 12V power. Could I harness this?
Diesel Furnace and exhaust system.
I looked first at 240V heater elements. Most marine systems that are engine heated have a 240V shore power heating capacity with the elements ranging between 700 – 1200 watts. One thousand watts would draw 80 amps at 12V so driving the heating element from the invertor would mean huge cable sizes needed to keep the current flowing. The batteries would also be taking a hammering. Invertor 240V driven heating was taken off the list – but would be an option for marina living. I researched gas systems as these were familiar from house use. The marine systems are efficient and compact but none included a 12V element option and for extended cruising we would need to carry extra gas bottles – and the inherent risks of these combined with storage made me look further.
One website I researched mentioned a 12V solar divertor system running a 300W 12V element. I dived down this rabbit hole further. Very quickly the rabbit hole split in two. The information was contained in an article that detailed a diesel hydronic heater in combination with a 12V element.After weeks of sketching, planning and emails the bones of a system fell into place.
I bought a new 40L, well insulated calorifier (water tank). With this I ordered a 1000w 240 element and a 300W 12V element. I linked the 12V element to a solar divertor and relay switch. To give the system a third option I also added a diesel hydronic furnace. This tiny unit (literally 3.5kg) heats a coolant that circulates through the calorifier.
There were some setup and location advantages to my decision. The compartment already had an exhaust outlet and a diesel supply from the old generator. The was also heavy electrical cabling to the location.
The diagram details the system I’ve installed. Like all boat systems there were a few glitches. The diesel heater instructions were confusing and detailed the layout for a campervan installation. I eventually searched the web for marine instructions and had to remove a (provided) car exhaust muffler from the piping. The 12V solar divertor system was also counter intuitive and I had to reverse wiring to make it work.
Hot water tank heated three ways.
The diesel heater basically does the job of the engine – but without running lots of cylinders for no gain. It is efficient, quick and uses only millilitres of diesel.
The beauty of the solar diverter system is that I have set the unit to operate when the house battery bank is between 98 and 100% capacity. I have 1400 amp-hours of battery bank and have made 28 amp-hours available to heat water. In practice during the day, I use no battery power – if the battery bank is full and the amperage from the solar panels is diverted to the 300w element.The unit heats cold water to 65c water in about five hours. No sun, or night, then I switch on the diesel heater which uses max 500ml per hour – so about 125mls for the 15 minutes needed to bring the 40L tank to heat.
The plumbing system in place.
For those in colder locations than far north Queensland, the diesel furnace can also circulate hot water into heat banks with fans for cabin heating. Something I might consider if I can convince my co skipper to do a run to Tassie. Then I would definitely appreciate hot water.
Scimitar revival reaps rewards
Brisbane-built Scimitar cats enjoy a warm return to Sanctuary Cove Boat ShowTwenty five years since the brand’s last appearance at a Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, Scimitar Catamarans, now under the ownership of naval architect, Tommy Ericson, exhibited two new models at this year’s SCIBS. Making their official re-launch at the boat show, May 19-22, the two Scimitar models, 1010 Sedan and 1010 Flybridge, were accompanied by a Scimitar tender, known as the ‘Minitar’.
The 3.75m twin-hulled tender, powered by a 15hp engine, boasts a capacity for up to six persons plus equipment, rated for a total of 500kgs. Tommy Ericson, CEO of the Aus Ships Group said the 2022 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show was ‘exceptional’ and despite the rain over the weekend, visitors were thrilled to be back to boat shows and very enthusiastic about the reimagined Scimitar cats.
“The atmosphere throughout the entire show was amazing,” he stated. “The industry is buzzing, consumers were excited to be back at a show stepping aboard boats, and although the weather was less than ideal, the volume of seriously interested parties was beyond expectation.” Feedback on the new vessels was “nothing short of sensational”, he continued. “Everyone was surprised at the internal accommodation and feeling of space, especially when they discovered the boat is only 10m (33ft) in length.
“The finishes and the no-nonsense approach to achieving a modern, clean and aesthetically pleasing boat that was still focussed on being practical and user-friendly were really well received. With the added benefits of performance and the exceptional fuel economy, it just makes a lot of sense to a lot of people. “The quote from a scimitar review many years ago still rings true; it’s ‘a thinking person’s boat’.” “Existing owners say they love the changes we have implemented in the new models, including many subtleties that someone not familiar with the boats might miss. “The two most commented on improvements were the engine access from the forward side and the openness achieved by the redesigned aft cabin bulkhead, which now incorporates a sliding door and window system which effectively blends the aft deck and saloon into a single space.
The original Scimitar 1010 was the product of collaboration among Bryan Bradford, Greg Byth and catamaran designer/builder, Peter Brady. The first boat was launched in 1997 and it immediately won Australian Power Boat of the Year. By 2012 when manufacturing ceased, 65 units of the Scimitar 1010 had been built for Australia private and commercial clients, as well several built for export to the US and South Pacific. “In addition to more than 20 interested parties from the show that we are now providing specific arrangements and options pricings to, we had at least 20 existing owners on board over the four days and many of those asked if we are planning to offer an ‘options list’ for them to upgrade their current boat with some of the improvements and additions we have made.”
Owner of hull #54 attended SCIBS and said he was pleased the brand has made a revival. “The Scimitar was always ahead of its time and we have nothing but great respect for the boat, having done thousands of miles in our 1010 over the past few years. “The new models are a great improvement and we are considering an upgrade to a new 1770 when they become available.”
The compact tender, known as ‘Minitar’ was also a hit, and Tommy took three orders at the show – two for existing Scimitar owners and one for a commercial angler who loves the concept. “The tender is an asymmetrical catamaran designed from the ground up to serve as the ultimate all round tender,” explained Tommy. “Stability and weight were the primary focal points for its development – achieving a platform that can comfortably carry at least four adults and all their gear safely to and from the beach, with sufficient uncluttered deck space to be a practical platform for fishing and crabbing all whilst being at a weight that makes it easily carried on davits or duckboards like that on Scimitar 1010s. “The minitar will be fitted with a closed cell, foam fender all round, self-draining deck and economical powering options from 6-15hp.”
Also on the drawing board is the Scimitar 1770, which attracted its own share of interest and enquiry. “We received excellent feedback on the 1770, with many people excited that there will be an Australian-built option of that size available in the coming years. “The detailed design is progressing well and production is set to commence this year, followed by the anticipated launch in the latter part of 2023.” Proudly built in Brisbane at AusShips premises at Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, the Scimitar 1010, Sedan and Flybridge models have lead times of approximately 12 months.
“As demand increases, so will the production line to maintain the 12 month turnaround,” Tommy added. “The first production models of the tender will be available in the fourth quarter of 2022. Lead time once in production will be in the order of four months.”
YOT 36 TO BE UNVEILED AT THE
2023 CANNES YACHTING FESTIVAL
Catana Group is proud to present the first model in the YOT range, the new brand of Power Catamaran. The brand is unveiling its first YOT, the YOT 36, at the Cannes Yachting Festival from 12th to 17th September. This 36-foot motorboat is the first model in the outboard-powered YOT range. The ethos of YOT: pleasure on board. A new spirit on the yacht market, combining design and trends, space and comfort.
YOT 36 – The pleasure of outboard power with plenty of space
The YOT 36 offers spacious, functional and modular comfort on board, all in a smart, contemporary design. With remarkable stability, this boat offers assertive seakeeping and great agility. Featuring a deck that covers an area of 38 m² and with two cabins, the YOT 36 can be adapted to suit a wide range of uses with a high degree of modularity. Thrills under way, conviviality and relaxation, comfort on board, overnighting at anchor - all the pleasures of the sea are ready and waiting for you.
YOT 36 – Space on board for every purpose
With a beam of 3.99 m and two opening side platforms, the spacious YOT 36 leaves nothing to be desired.
The central wet bar comprises two modules with a fridge, sink, storage and optional cooking facilities. Optimum self -sufficiency is ensured with a large freshwater capacity.
With its modular platforms, the immense terrace makes for a dream location on the sea: a modular double saloon for sunbathing, dining for up to 8 guests, or enjoying the wet bar. Forward, the cockpit has a vast sun-lounging area, truly like a bed on the sea, and a wide bench seat at the bow so you can feel the speed. Recessed access to the starboard side-deck means perfect safety, for the peace of mind of everyone aboard. Inside, the YOT 36 has two bright cabins, each with its own bathroom and toilet, for great privacy when you’re on board overnight.
YOT 36 – The pleasure of helming
The helm station is innovative, with four very comfortable seats forward, and front and side windscreens so you can really enjoy the speed. The elegant hard top creates a pleasant space shaded from the sun. At the helm, the skipper can fully enjoy the total 550 hp performance of the Mercury Marine outboards, with joystick controls and advanced electric steering. The multi-function electronic navigation system makes it simple to control and use. Lively, supple and easy to handle, the YOT36 offers a safe and thrilling experience. The Mercury Marine engine and catamaran design make this a fuel-efficient boat.
YOT 36 – Design, quality and reliability
Designed by JnJ, the YOT 36 has a sleek profile that glides elegantly through the water. The materials and upholstery have been rigorously selected for their performance, quality and design. The YOT 36 benefits from the experience of Catana Group, a pure player in the catamaran sector for over 40 years, renowned for its technological innovations and design know-how. Bearing the signature of Catana Group’s expertise in reliability, the hull incorporates structural carbon reinforcements.
Production is undertaken in Portugal by Composite Solutions, a company acquired by the Group back in February, which is based in Vagos, just south of Porto.
Discover the website: yot-power-catamarans.com
About: CATANA GROUP is a family company specialising in the design, construction and marketing of leisure craft.
It has 5 production sites, three in France, one in Tunisia and one in Portugal, a service base and an industrial joinery facility. Based at Canet en Roussillon in the South of France, the group has over 40 years’ experience and today employs more than 1,300 people united in the corporate project of offering innovative and eco-responsible concepts.
Showing exceptional growth since 2014, Catana Group is listed on the stock exchange and markets the Bali and Catana brands in the sailing catamaran sector Inside, the YOT 36 has two bright cabins, each with its own bathroom and toilet, for great privacy when you’re on board overnight.
Seawind Catamarans to open Production Facility and
European Service Center in Izmir, Turkey
by Mike Rees
New for 2023, Seawind Catamarans has established purpose built production facility dedicated to producing the brand new Seawind 1170 in the European market whilst offering a full Seawind Catamaran Service Centre for its existing owners.
Turkey continues to develop as a manufacturing powerhouse for many industries including marine. The country has developed its reputation as one of the world’s leading boat building locations, with many high end international brands built in the region. As well as many Turkish companies building for the recreational marine industry, the country is now one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of superyachts. This has resulted in the development of high levels of skilled boat builders and a strong marine supply infrastructure ideal for Seawind Catamaran’s planned expansion into the eastern Mediterranean region.
Located in the IZBAS export industrial free zone in Izmir, the newly constructed 5200m2 facility (56,000ft) is purpose built for the Seawind 1170 production line, with production commencing in June 2023. All production tooling has been completed and shipped from Vietnam to Turkey in Q1 2023, with key Seawind Turkey personnel having been in training during development and build of 1170 hulls 1 & 2 at the main Seawind production facility in Vietnam. Hull # 3 is expected for completion in early 2024.
Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city and is a modern, cosmopolitan and vibrant city with a population of 5 million and a well educated, young workforce.
Located on the far western side of Turkey in the Aegean Sea which lies between Turkey & Greece, the Izmir region is an absolutely stunning location with excellent sailing condition all year round and hundreds of nearby offshore islands, all accessible for the cruising sailor. It is a perfect location to both collect and sail a Seawind 1170, starting a new owner’s sailing adventure.
Likewise, the service centre will also function as a commissioning base for any Seawind owners with models manufactured and shipped from the Vietnam facility and wanting European delivery. International Container vessels typically transit through the Suez canal from Asia, making Turkish ports easily accessed and enabling complete European factory to water shipping options.
Likewise, the opportunity for overseas buyers to collect a Seawind in Turkey, enjoy a season in Europe and then sail west to the Caribbean, Bahamas and the US is an attractive prospect to add to sailing plans.
Establishing a manufacturing base and major service centre in Europe is a key strategic move for Seawind Catamarans, with the ability to expand further into the European market whilst offering key customer support to both new and existing Seawind owners, with a dedicated Customer Service Centre in Izmir.
Newly appointed General Manager for Seawind Turkey, Kivanc Kardes, comments:
“We continuously see the development of the marine industry in Turkey and we are proud to bring Seawind Catamarans to the region to be part of this strategic development for the company. We have a team of dedicated and highly skilled staff and look forward to delivering these beautiful sailing yachts to their customers who are setting out on their cruising journey. We are excited to be part of the bigger Seawind community”.
Richard Ward, Seawind CEO and Founder, comments: “This new Turkish facility is one of the most exciting recent developments for the fast-growing Seawind group and I warmly welcome Kivanc and his team and wish them huge success in the coming years. The Izmir location is perfect for Seawind to properly service the important European market, both as a strategic production location but also as an accessible and yacht friendly centre for Mediterranean cruising owners. The region is both beautiful and fascinating for the cruising sailors with thousands of years of history, crystal clear blue waters, a benign and temperate climate, and the close proximity of hundreds of Turkish & Greek islands famous for their hospitality and warm welcomes. It is the perfect place to start a sailing adventure or an equally perfect location for a long-term owner to linger awhile for the annual Seawind check up by the experienced Seawind service team".
News From the Shed - 2023
The Transformer Cat will be a test for my new stern sections and keel set up for outboards.
As 2023 kicked off and we made our way back to work, I realised that it has been 50 years since I began my boatbuilding and design career as a 15 year old and how lucky I have been to have my passion as my job. Treading the fine line between risk and reward both in business and design development is not for the faint hearted, but more importantly you need a team behind you like my family, employees and people who believe in you like the many clients we have had over the years, and to all of these people I give a heartfelt thank you.
We are nearing the finish of the Transformer Cat project with construction just on completed and the last few details of the seals and guides to sort out. It has been a long haul, but given that this type of catamaran has never been done before, there have been a huge number of details and issues to work through and solve.
Most eyes will be on the Transformer Cats big innovation which is its reducing beam to make it trailerable, but I am just as interested in seeing how the displaning hulls perform with the design modifications for outboards as this may lead to a new design range particularly now that diesel outboards are becoming more common. The boat will be less than a third of the weight of the Brava 42 along with lower windage, so it will be interesting to see the speed achieved given that it will have just over half the horsepower of the original Brava, although the torque output of the inboard diesels at the props makes the horsepower comparison between inboard and outboard a bit less predictable. The hull beam on the Transformer Cat has been reduced back to the same as the original Brava 42’s hull as I had some data to work with from when we shortened Ocean Cat, one of the original Bravas to 40ft to make her fit within the regulations for dive operations under a coxswain’s ticket. Where the Transformer Cat’s hull moves into new territory is with its cut down keel and revised aft sections which are deeper and flatter than my previous displaning hulls in order to support the weight of the outboards. The hull will also float considerably higher on its lines than the original Brava as it is much lighter and on the spectrum of displacement to full planing hull types, it is definitely more planing and less displacement.
I’ve kept the boats height down to a minimum for windage when trailing and also to fit in Justin’s shed, however there is still enough keel parallel to the waterline on the hull to support it on a straight line of trailer rollers. This shallow keel will also help the boats tracking in a following sea: while predictable tracking in following seas is not a subject much discussed these days because so few planing powerboats have it, when you have experienced how relaxing it is not to have to steer down every wave with the possibility of broaching in the back of your mind, it is definitely a feature well worth pursuing.
Steady progress is also being made on the 52 Sports in our shed, as are Dan Williams and his staff at Hybrid Composites on the Offshore 50 at Gold Coast City Marina.
I have made a number of changes to the original 52 Sports design during construction as the owners have thought more about what they wanted now they’ve been able to walk on board and get a feel for the boat and there are also some changes to the styling of the boat which we are all very pleased with. The changes to date include the following:
1: Revising the sheer line which includes removing the raised section on the foredeck that was a continuation of the cabin line.
2: Changing one of the two anchor winches to a drum winch for faster dropping and retrieval of the fishing anchor and locating the anchor lines and launchers under the deck rather than on it, which removes a potential trip hazard and keeps the foredeck clean of mud from the chain.
3: Moving the fishing deck aft by 600mm so part of it overhangs the transoms and shifting the aft beam back by the same amount, increasing the room on the aft deck and widening the gunwales to get quick access storage under them.
4: Changing the window style on the cabin side and flybridge that when coupled with the changed sheer line, gives the boat a more mainstream sports fisherman look, without diminishing visibility or practicality.
5: Altering the position of some internal refrigeration to give the starboard guest cabin more headroom over the double bed, and raising the bed base to provide some storage between the bed base and the fuel tank.
Good progress being made on the Offshore 50 at Hybrid Composites.
While fully moulded hulls, decks and internal liners make production boats faster to build and lower the labour costs, they do make it very difficult if not impossible to make the types of changes we have been able to make during construction.
Custom boatbuilding to plans from a third party also make it more difficult and often very expensive to make these types of changes during the building process as there are now three parties involved and communication and agreement on the changes can take some time.
Our business model of design and build was the norm from the beginning of boatbuilding up to the 1950s, but it is very rare these days in industrialised countries for a variety of reasons. Rare though it may be, its greatest advantage is the ability for changes to be made on the go and providing both parties respect eachothers opinions and have good communication skills, then the final outcome is a true partnership between the client and builder.
As I explained to Multihull World readers in an earlier article, I developed the changed sheer line and foredeck design while working through how to incorporate the under-deck anchor line system the clients had requested in the early stages of construction. What then came from this was a win-win for both parties as the changed sheer line looked better and provided more headroom in the mid-cabins and owner’s en-suite.
At this stage, the hull sides were still in the moulds that have an extension on their height allowing us to use different sheer lines and also to ramp off the infusion process, so extending the topsides was not a huge change, only requiring core to be fitted and extra layers of fibreglass to be laminated to the existing gelcoat and tie layer. This work was offset by the foredeck being less complex to build and therefore made the cost for constructing the under-deck anchor system more reasonable.
Extending the fishing deck out past the transoms was a request from the owners once the aft bulkhead was stood up and the first section of the aft deck was in place and they could get a feel for the space. During the design stage, we had moved the main aft bulkhead backwards and forwards a number of times trying to get the right balance between internal and external spaces. The aft deck as originally drawn was still large by any other 52ft power boats standards, but when they walked around the back deck, they realised that it was smaller than they had imagined in proportion to the rest of the boat. This is their ‘dream boat’ and given that they are kitchen manufacturers, they understand the old saying, “what feels right is right”, so after talking it over when they got home, they rang me the next day and asked if it was it too late to move the fishing deck further aft. Luckily we were at a stage where it was not too dramatic a change to make, so I drew a revised plan which in combination with a change to the design of the steps from the lower duckboard, made the extension blend in seamlessly.
The revised styling on the Pathfinder 52 Sports has given it a more mainstream sports fisherman look.
It was important to both us and the clients that the boat didn’t look like things had been tacked on as an afterthought. The revised back end flows nicely into the hull lines and when balanced by a short bowsprit-anchor launcher makes the boat look longer and leaner. The use of a short bowsprit means the anchors are still visible when launching or retrieving even with the rope and chain now housed under the foredeck.
Changes to the window shape and style came about when I was drawing up the final window dimensions for construction: I was also working on the window shapes of another design and had one of those “I wonder what this would look like on the 52 Sports” moments and sent the revised drawing through to the clients who also liked what they saw. This then led to them asking if I could take another look at the flybridge styling as their preferred style didn’t fit with my original cabin windows and so I hadn’t used it. In re-considering the flybridge styling, I tried the same new lower window shape on the flybridge and with a few tweaks to the flybridge lines it worked making the owners happy, as it was much closer to their original requested style - so again a win-win situation.
Making changes as you go does have a down side as they can cause delays that effect the launch date, however getting the boat right is important, both to the owners’ enjoyment when using the boat and to its future resale value. When considering the changes we have made to date, the overriding reason we have gone ahead with them is because we know how annoying it would be for the owners each time they stepped on board thinking “I wish we had made that change when we had the chance”.
What’s Coming Next?
In mid-2020, just after Covid first hit I began writing about our 3R’s projects - Recycle, Repurpose, and Re-invent, to turn under used yachts into power trimarans, or what could also be described as a ‘stabilised monohull’. The idea had begun during a conversation in 2012 with Grant Warrington while we were working on an extension of Wild Thing and the two of us discussed how narrow and easily driven the first generation of canting keel maxis were. He told me that with the canting keel off and the rig out of Wild Thing, she did 17kts under power with 240hp Yanmar’s as she has a fixed three bladed prop that pulled up into the bottom of the boat when sailing. Half joking, but with ideas instantly running through my head, I then said to him that once the boat was retired from racing they should take the keel off, pull the rig out and turn it into a power trimaran, or if you don’t like to say the word multihull, a stabilised monohull. I then discussed the idea with a number of people between 2012 and 2020 and although they could see the logic, it was just ‘too out there’ for them to try.
The idea finally became a reality when two ex-IAAC Americas Cup boats that used to sail on Sydney Harbour and were in storage at The Yard Brisbane were put up for disposal because Covid had made the future for tourism look very bleak. We obtained these two AC hulls at the same time that we started the first 3R’s project using Isis, our own 8.7m (28ft) Alan Wright designed yacht as the prototype and test bed. She would be converted in to a 10m (33ft) power trimaran using 90% recycled parts from one of the ex-America’s Cup boats and the other hull would be stored above the workshop for the next step in the design development. As is often the case, we then got extremely busy and so the project went on the back burner and then got further interrupted by my cardiac arrest and subsequent recovery time.
Before my hospital stay I had been approached by New Zealand couple Brendan and Sara Sheehan to see if any of my existing power catamarans on the market in Australia could be converted to being operated by someone in a wheelchair. Whilst it was technically possible it didn’t take long to work out that modifying any existing power catamaran was problematic and not financially viable, because the side decks would need to be at least 700mm wide for Brendan’s wheelchair and maintaining the motors himself in a catamaran would be near impossible as it can already be difficult for an able bodied person. The vessels we looked at could have been made to ‘sort of’ work, but having now spent time with Brendan and better understanding the difficulties that come with being in a wheelchair, I don’t believe they would have been very successful.
Like so many questions that rattle around inside the heads of developmental designers like myself, I woke up one night with the realisation that the answer was literally staring me in the face with the second ex-America’s Cup boat Kookaburra sitting above our heads in the workshop. I went into work the next morning and did some quick measurements and sketches and it did seem to be a viable solution, but two questions quickly arose:
1: Would Brendan and Sara think I was stark raving mad for suggesting such a unique and untried concept for them?
2: Kookaburra was actually going to be our boat once we had tested the 3R’s principle on Isis.
The boat that Brendan and Sara needed had to be stable with a soft motion and laid out in such a way that made it not just accessible for someone in a wheelchair, but able to be operated from a wheelchair: and if this wasn’t demanding enough, they also wanted the boat to be trans-ocean capable which meant strength, seaworthiness, carrying capacity and range. I rang them at this stage and talked through my idea which they very quickly grasped, so I kept going with my line of thought and further sketches.
It was hard to know what questions to ask Brendan in regards to what he was capable of in a wheelchair and just how sensitive I had to be when asking. Luckily we got on a wave length straight away and as Sara is a community nurse, they both said, “don’t worry about being politically correct, just ask any question you need to and we will answer,” and after that, it actually turned out to be very easy to communicate what they needed in terms of dimensions and detail. It was all still a concept at this stage, but we did start discussions with other boatbuilders to see who might be able to take on the project if it went ahead, as at that stage we already had so much on our plate.
The second question of what to do with Kookaburra resolved itself unexpectantly but quickly with my cardiac arrest. She was to have been Lorma’s and my 3R’s big boat project and we had a clear vision of what we wanted to do with her but needed time to assess how my health long term would be. Realistically seeing the boat finished using the 3R’s principles was a lot more important than owning another unfinished project, so we made the decision to sell the hull and get it to the water sooner rather than later.
The two AC boats had been stored right next to our shed for a year and I had looked at them every day thinking how their hulls were perfect for a conversion to power trimarans, but at that time their owners were intending to either move them to the Whitsundays to operate in charter, or to take them to New Zealand for the last America’s Cup, so besides stoking my imagination they were out of reach.
I was always brought up to believe that as one door closes another door opens and what happened was the classic case of it, twice in row: the first was Covid providing the opportunity to obtain the hulls and the second was with Brendan and Sara contacting me, which presented an alternative way to use the remaining hull.
As the project has started to take life, the more I have realised that it would have been hard to find a more suitable hull to use as the basis for their project or a more worthy purpose for the boat. Designed to be as easily driven as possible, Kookaburra already had a very narrow waterline and used a combination of a deep heavy keel with crew weight on the rail for sail carrying ability, so the hull flared out to 4.7m at deck level which was the ideal combination for the project. I had already cut off 5.3m from the back of the boat which was in effect a pin tail above the waterline, extending the waterline when she heeled so was not needed for a power trimaran. The interior had originally been completely empty except for the carbon fibre frame that carried the rig and keel as she was a pure racing day boat. When she was put into survey as a charter boat on Sydney Harbour, a number of watertight bulkheads were fitted plus an engine room and a toilet with a large sullage tank, but other than this, she was still pretty much clear inside. Constructed from carbonfibre skins on a Nomex honeycomb core - state of the art, no expense spared at the time, the interior is clean of frames and stringers and so will be very easy to fit out. She’d been originally designed and built to handle the extreme loads of a 19 tonne bulb 6.5m below the waterline, along with the amount of power developed by a 33m high rig, plus 17 guys on the rail, so now that the bulkheads had been fitted for survey, I had no doubts about the hulls strength so that box was ticked. Being constructed in such a high tech way and without the weight of the keel, rig, sails and deck gear once they’d been removed, what was left was a 57ft hull at just over three tonnes and in fact I was going to need to put weight back in the boat to pull it down into the water and dampen its motion.
Brendan is in his early 50’s and has been in a wheelchair since a motor vehicle accident when he was 19, so he’s very pragmatic about what he could and couldn’t do on a boat. Being in a wheelchair has not stopped him travelling extensively nor being successful in his career and so it is obvious he is individually very capable and with Sara alongside, even more so as a team. Being a civil engineer specialising in dams, he is also used to dealing with and understanding structural concepts, so again tossing ideas backwards and forwards was surprisingly easy. As we have moved forward on the feasibility of the concept, the requirements they gave me were for a layout that included the following:
1: A master bedroom with en-suite that could be accessed by wheelchair.
2: An engineroom that could be accessed from a wheelchair and could be crawled around by Brendan when checking the engines.
3: A guest bedroom with en-suite that could be accessed by stairs and by wheelchair if possible.
4: A bedroom for their 11 year old daughter Danielle with en-suite if possible.
5: A wheelhouse that was again easy to get around in a wheelchair and had a day toilet and shower that was could be accessed from the back deck.
6: Good visibility from the helm as Brendan was not going to be able stand up or move around quickly to get a better view of potential dangers.
7: A method of getting into the water, a tender and on to wharves and pontoons from a wheelchair.
8: A deck layout that would allow Brendan to be safely involved in all the day to day operations of the boat like anchoring and docking.
9: Fit all these requirements in with the existing structure where possible as there was also a budget to work within.
The boat also needed the range and carrying capacity to cruise the Pacific and be mechanically simple and reliable as Brendan was keen to look after the boat as much as possible himself.
I have to say that this is one of the most interesting projects I have ever undertaken and is further complicated by the fact that at this stage I don’t have a set of plans or even hull lines for the boat, so am working off the basic dimensions I have lifted from the boat along with a good degree of intuition and experience. I am trying to track down any documentation that I can, so if anyone who had anything to do with the boat in her past has any information, I would love to hear from you.
Kookaburra was originally known as FRA40 and was built in France for the Challenge France syndicate, which ultimately collapsed, so the boat was not raced in the Louis Vuitton Cup or actual America’s Cup, although I have been told it was used as a trial horse by the British GBR Challenge in 2003 before being brought to Australia and renamed AUS40 Kookaburra. I have not even been able to find out who the boats designers were, let alone any of its technical details, but it is obvious that its construction was carried out by a very skilled and professional organisation. Once the 52 Sports is in the water and we can bring the boat down to floor level I will be able to get Kookaburra either laser scanned or set up a grid to further measure the hull, but in the meantime I have built a CAD and MaxSurf file from my basic measurements so we can undertake as much planning as possible.
All my research to date indicates that converting an ex-racing yacht into a long-range ocean capable power trimaran is a world first in itself, without the added complication of making the vessel not only wheelchair suitable, but genuinely capable of being operated safely by some in a wheelchair. I have been thinking about the potential for giving ex-racing yachts a new lease of life in the form of a power trimaran for 10 years since that first conversation with Grant and now have the opportunity to make it happen and if successful, this project will not only provide Brendan, Sara and Danielle with a unique opportunity for an adventure, but it could also add another branch to the multihull family tree and create long term local employment with more conversions being undertaken. Brendan and Sara want the project to be an example to others in their situation, that will show that cruising in a wheelchair if set up correctly is possible and could be relatively easy.
AUS40 (Kookaburra) before I removed the aft 5.3m showing her easy driven hull lines, narrow waterline and wide decks.
There are literally thousands of ex or current racing yachts parked up around the world because the combination of their deep draft and the current requirement by insurance companies for regular rig inspections have made them less viable. By removing the keel and rig, then adding stability in the form of floats we can increase their value and give them a new lease of life: most yachts these days already have a reasonably powerful engine with a well thought out interior or are blank canvases like Kookaburra, so would make a very good power trimaran. By removing the keel you not only reduce the boats draft which dramatically increases its access to shallower cruising grounds, but you also reduce the boats weight by up to 40%. By removing the rig and deck gear you will further reduce the boats weight, along with its air drag, deck clutter and future maintenance costs. Reducing the air drag will make the boat easier to power and again will increase access to more cruising grounds as bridges will no longer be an issue. Reducing the deck clutter means no ropes, tracks, chainplates, spinnaker poles or turning blocks to trip over and no stays to dodge, making the boat much more user friendly particularly for younger, older or less physically able people.
Structurally taking the keel and rig off will dramatically lower the loads on the boat which in turn should increase the boats life span, providing the engineering for the floats is designed and built properly. There is no reason to change the interior if a yacht already has a nice usable one as long as you can make room for increased fuel capacity. In regards to performance under power even a simple thing like changing from a folding or feathering propellor to a fixed blade prop in combination with a large weight and windage reduction will make a huge difference to the boats performance without having to repower it.
Technically speaking any existing yacht could be converted into a power trimaran but fin-keeler’s have much more to gain than older long keel hulls and the lighter displacement yachts with flatter lines aft have more to gain performance wise than heavier displacement yachts.
Boats though out history have been repurposed from military to commercial or pleasure, or the other way around depending on the need at the time. Parts of wooden boats and ships have been recycled into houses, sheds and used in other boats, and when metal ships are scrapped, they are turned back into new metal and potentially ships again. The principle of 3R’s just does this in a different way and requires far less energy input in the process.
There have been boats built or altered for people in wheelchairs, there have been studies undertaken into the ergonomics of wheelchair access in boats and there is even a production sailing catamaran advertised as wheelchair accessible. The project we are working on with Brendan and Sara is far more comprehensive than this however and they are very keen to demonstrate the possibilities to others in the same situation.
INDUSTRY LEADER PRESTIGE YACHTS SELECTS TMG YACHTS
AS EXCLUSIVE IMPORTER FOR AUSTRALIA
Award winning agency TMG Yachts has been announced as the sole distributor for luxury powerboat manufacturer PRESTIGE Yachts – As a part of the Groupe Beneteau, the French based manufacturer is positioned at the top end of the luxury market and is renowned for producing four different lines of powerboats, including the world-famous F-line, the flybridge yachts, the recently-launched M-line power catamarans. The 40-80ft range also includes sports sedans and crossover vessels.
Announcing the appointment Erwin Bamps, VP Prestige Yachts explains, “Australia is an important yachting destination and a key market for Prestige. The widening product portfolio, with the recent introduction of our M-Line family of multihull motor yachts, is offering an opportunity to grow our presence in the Australasia market. With our partner TMG Yachts, we look forward to further expanding our existing footprint with a clear focus on customer experience and service.”
The recently launched M-line of power catamarans from Prestige has already set the standard in this segment and will be the industry reference that others now follow. This new M-line rounds out a very complete offering for Prestige who dominates the 40ft-80ft powerboat market across the world. The X-line with her modern trawler style and added space, courtesy of the full beam main deck interior, is a wonderful complement to the F-line, where Prestige continues to innovate and lead with their traditional sleek flybridge range.
Commenting on the partnership, John Cowpe, TMG Yachts Managing Director says, “In line with our growth strategy, we are very pleased to announce that we have accepted the opportunity to represent one of the global powerhouses in motor yacht manufacturing, in Prestige yachts.
Prestige Yachts are headquartered in France with production on the French west coast and on Italy’s Mediterranean coast. These vessels are a fantastic fit for the Australian boating community. For those wishing to explore Europe before shipping over to Australia, there are lots of exciting options available.
The DNA of Prestige sits well within our company, the French Art de Vivre (Art of Living) delivers discrete elegance. An unpretentious yet luxurious product. Allowing easy owner operations and delivering experiences and memories in an escape from the everyday.”
“We strongly believe that TMG Yachts is the right partner to promote and represent the full Prestige product line in such a key market. Australia has always been a demanding market and looking for space on board, comfort, and luxury, which our F, S, X and M-Line are offering.” Tanguy Tertrais Sales Director Asia Pacific.
In 2023 TMG Yachts will be having some viewings over at the factory in Italy and in France for clients who would like to look through the factory. TMG will also be present at Cannes Yachting Festival which is a great opportunity to see the range. The first Prestige Yachts will begin to arrive in Australia towards the end of this year with the first M48.
If you are interested in the range, please contact us at
or visit www.tmgyachts.com/prestige-yachts/