Around the yards – monohulls


Australian boat-builders' latest projects range from STP offshore racers to innovative cruisers, reports Bob Ross.

McConaghy Boats at Mona Vale (NSW) is building one of the new STP65 “box rule” class of offshore racers to a Reichel/Pugh design for American owner Jim Swartz.

The Storm Trysail Transpac 65 rule was developed initially by the Storm Trysail Club, based on the east coast of the US. It was then modified in an association with the Transpacific Yacht Club which, following the success of its TP 52 class, was looking towards moving up in range to a 65-footer that could compete as a class and also be competitive under the IRC rule.

The STP65 rule specifies an overall length limit of 20m, displacement range of 13,000kg to 13,400kg, a lifting keel and a healthy sail area.

Storm Trysail Club Commodore Rich du Moulin, in announcing the partnership with the Transpacific YC, said: “The STP65 rule promotes a high-performance boat for both inshore and offshore sailing with tight enough parameters to minimise obsolescence.”

The STP65's lifting fixed keel, with a draft of approximately 4.8 metres in its down position and three metres when fully retracted as part of the class rule, is to facilitate entry into shallow harbours and marinas. The keel must be pinned down when racing.

“The boat should begin planing slightly earlier than the TP52 yet have very similar upwind stability numbers,” said Transpacific YC director and 2007 Transpac race entry chairman Bill Lee, a yacht designer who has helped in streamlining the original Storm Trysail 65 Rule.

The first-launched STP65 Rosebud, designed by Farr Yacht Design for Roger Sturgeon who previously had a TP 52 of the same name, finished third in division one in the 2007 Transpac race. A third STP65, named Container is being built for German owner Udo Schutz at Premier Yachts in Dubai.

Swartz, a well-known offshore campaigner with his Swan 601 Moneypenny, will keep that name for the new boat which is due for completion in mid-March.

“The goal is for the three boats to be on the starting line for the 2008 Newport to Bermuda Race,” said Swartz, explaining that the event fits the multi-faceted racing profile of the STP65. “It's designed to be a Super TP52,” Swartz said, “and is capable of true offshore racing. We want to do a combination of offshore, coastal and buoy racing.”

It will be shipped to Newport, Rhode Island, for racing in the northeast US in the summer. On June 20, it will contest the Newport-Bermuda race and after that possibly the Cork regatta in Ireland, then Cowes Week and events in the Mediterranean, including the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the St Tropez regatta and the Middle Sea race.

Construction is McConaghy's tried and proven carbon/Nomex core, but for the first time in Australia McConaghy has used a scanning technique from the aerospace industry to ensure that the hull tooling met the designer?s finest tolerances.

A track ball was used for a 3D scan of the of the hull tool at various stages of construction before it took the full carbon female mould off the plug. “This enabled us to develop a 3D computer image of what we had built and lay it over the full 3D file from the designer,” said Jon Morris of McConaghy's. “This way we were able to analyse the results and determine whether something needed to be modified a little bit.”

That meant no fairing would be needed and the hull could be clear finished. There will be some paint in the interior; the deck will be painted with non-skid and the hull will just be clear-finished black carbon.

McConaghy's joint venture factory with Jin Li Composites in China is building a new Mills 40 design for Drew Taylor and is building a new Hugh Welbourn design hull for Hong Kong sailor Neil Pryde to fit under the sliced-off deck mould of his current Farr 52. The China factory is also turning out three Bladerider Moths a week!

Azzura Marine Group

Azzura Marine will begin moving its design team and other business components on to its new facility to construct and service super yachts on the former state dockyard site at Newcastle, NSW. It will handle yachts, sail and power, up to 50 metres in overall length and weighing up to 400 tonnes.

Azzura Marine has already received expressions of interest from potential customers for building a 60m “shadow” vessel, a 42m motor yacht and building vessels under licence for a leading superyacht manufacturer for its world-wide clientele.

Azzura has launched a customer service division, AM Care, offering professional marine support services to its clients at special rates. AM Care will also attend key Australian regattas, carrying spare parts, undertaking repair jobs and supplying assistance to its racing clients. The service made its debut at this year's Hamilton Island Race Week.

Within the Azzura Marine Group, Marten Yachts, following the successful appeal of the Marten 49, has a deposit securing the construction of the first Marten 67 cruiser-racer. Marten 72 and Marten 85 models further extend the range.

Original group member Sydney Yachts has its seventh Sydney 47CR under construction at its Nowra factory. It will be the fifth of the fast performers, with the comfortable and pleasant interior, to sail out of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

The Sydney 36CR has been a winner for Sydney Yachts with 20 sold since its launching at the 2006 Sydney International Boat Show. This cruiser-racer development of the Sydney 36 has broad appeal for its forgiving qualities when sailed by a crew of even only two or three in club and twilight races.

Its high ballast to displacement ratio delivers good stability and the asymmetric spinnakers can be handled easily by casual crew members.

Besides appealing to older sailors for its sure-footedness, it's proven to be a good racing boat. Mike Dunn's Equinox finished second in the IRC cruiser/racer division at the 2007 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. And the owners of the Port Lincoln fleet of five Sydney 32s have all committed to upgrading to new Sydney 326CRs.

Austral Yachts robots

The well-established Austral Yachts is re-developing its site at Hackham, SA, to include robotic manufacturing at a cost of around $6.5 million. The facility should be constructed by Christmas with most of the machinery and equipment installed by then.

General manager Sarah McGrath says Austral's manufacturing capacity space will be increased from about 300 sq m to 4000sq m. Overall manufacturing and office space will be
4680 sq m.

In the factory, two robots running along 26m parallel tracks will enable multiple jobs to be machined at once. For instance, if a yacht plug was being manufactured in the centre of the factory and the tooling paste had to cure before cutting could begin, the robots could be working on other jobs outside the central area. The robots will be able to mill, drill, cut, sand, polish and apply tooling paste.

A curing oven will be capable of taking a 20m long by 11m wide mould. Austral is also setting up a machine shop and carpentry shop to assist with its tooling requirements.

Besides the robotics, which will tend to focus on custom-boat building, Austral in its new facility will be able to design and produce patterns and plugs, create tooling and manufacture.

“From the technical aspect we can cover everything from concept to manufacture including design in 2D and 3D, preliminary concept design, structural analysis, visualisation, animation of concept, generation of plug and mould design, manufacture of moulds and the end product,” said McGrath. “We have our own in-house naval architect and a complete suite of design software, so imaginations are running wild at present.”

Austral intends to increase the following of its Farr 42 and have its own yacht competing in the major regattas and events like the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race. Its principal, Michael Keough, campaigned Laurelle, the first launched of its Farr 42s, in the IRC class at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Austral is planning to build a new IRC cruiser/racer of around 50ft and is thinking about a 60-footer as well.

Hart Marine's R/P 40

Mal Hart's factory in Mornington, Victoria, has been buzzing over the past two years and continues to be busy, completing a new Reichel/Pugh 40 for regular Melbourne campaigner Bruce Taylor to sail in this year's Rolex Sydney-Hobart race.

And it expected to build another boat from the same moulds after it finished the first R/P40. “There is a lot of interest in this sized boat,” says Hart.

In August, Hart had just completed a 75ft powerboat and was building a Grainger 48 catamaran.

Hart was also repairing Geoff Boettcher's Hardy's Secret Men's Business, which was structurally damaged in the first race of Audi Hamilton Island Race week in a start-line collision after just four seconds of racing.

The work, which will include some modification from the designers, will be completed in time for Boettcher to contest the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race.

Hart has also been talking to prospective owners about building 50ft IRC boats. “There is a lot of interest in IRC at the moment, as indicated by the size and quality of the fleet at Hamilton Island,” says Hart. “We are looking at building three new IRC boats in the next 18 months.”

Hick 40ft daysailer

Williamstown (Vic) designer-builder Robert Hick is building a new 40ft day sailer, which will have a teak deck and electric winches, with the emphasis on ease of handling.

Hick Marine finished a refurbishment of the Cookson 50 Living Doll for Michael Hiatt, which included converting her from canting to fixed keel, just in time for the Whitsunday regattas. It is also begun building Flying 15s and is on its second boat.

Over the past year, Hick has developed a system of infusing carbon masts and recently delivered complete rigs for a 30- and 40-footer. “Our system eliminates the need for expensive tooling and is delivering superior laminates to our previous pressure-blown pre-preg masts,” says Hick.

Cruiser racer Bobsled

The owners of the Kell Steinmann-designed “sled” Bobsled, Kerry Spencer, Paul White and Robert Bird, are building a virtually new boat along similar lines in aluminium with contractors in the Allyacht Spars Australia factory at Wynnum, Queensland.

Spencer says the reborn Bobsled at 25m is slightly longer than the original boat but with a deeper draft available through a hydraulically lifting keel, 14ft 6in draft with the keel fully down, 8ft 6in when raised. She will carry more ballast.

“Because we loved our Wednesday racing on Moreton Bay, the old boat drew only 10ft so when it blew over 15 knots we would be down to a number three headsail, three reefs in the main and still going sideways,” said Spencer.

“The new boat is much more powerful with a bigger foretriangle and a lot more righting ability. It will be a bit heavier, but will really go to windward for a change.”

The syndicate has set its sights on the premier cruising division of regattas beginning with Audi Hamilton Island Race Week next year.

The boat has bridge-deck superstructure with a big saloon, finished in teak, in a cruising fit-out. “We are coming back in a boat that will take us into our old age, but will still go fast in comfort,” says Spencer.

The syndicate is considering taking the new Bobsled to the Kings Cup in Thailand and the Rolex Maxi World Cup in Sardinia. “She will go anywhere; she is built to travel.”

Jarkan's cruising 36

Kanga Birtles' Jarkan Yachts, buoyed by the success of its custom-built Open 60 with a third place in the Velux 5 Oceans single-handed around-the-world race, is building a 12m power cat for the tourist industry, a Jarkan 48 cruising yacht and a new Jarkan 36 pilot cruising yacht.

The Jarkan 36, designed by Andy Dovell, was commissioned by an experienced couple and will be the first of a limited production series.

She has a pilot-house configuration similar to that of the Jarkan 48 and like the bigger boat has a watertight collision bulkhead near the stem. This follows the rules for the Category 0 trans-oceanic race boats and creates a forepeak with the anchor chain and stowage isolated from the accommodation.

She will also have an island double bed in the owner's cabin forward.

The pilot house will have an inboard control station and the seating is raised so that all of the view is available from the main saloon settee.

“With generous displacement and lead ballast she is designed to look after the crew no matter what weather comes along,” says Birtles. “The structural integrity is guaranteed by 'glassing? the hull, deck and bulkheads into a solid structure, encapsulating the keel and hanging the rudder on a skeg.

“The whole concept fits with our history of making genuine blue-water racing and cruising yachts and, in fact, reverts to our original 10.5 as being traditionally the ideal size for cruising.”

Mastercraft Marine

The Buizen 48 pilot house cruiser, the Paul Stanyon design superbly built and finished by Frits and Eddie Buizen's Mastercraft Marine, continues to keep its factory in Terrey Hills, NSW, fully occupied.

It is currently building three 48s, has two more orders. “The Sydney International Boat Show was very good for us,” says Mastercraft Marine's Steve Howe, straight after the show. “We expect to be taking deposits in the next few weeks.”

Melges Asia Pacific

While Melges Asia Pacific/Northshore Yachts has been largely occupied with completing the tooling for the International Melges 24 one-design sports boat and building them to fill orders from Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, it is still building classic cruiser/racers from the Northshore range.

It sold a Northshore 370 from the Sydney International Boat Show and Heath Walters, Northshore's new owner, said the Northshore 34 at the show had also probably been sold. “We will build to order any of the boats in the Northshore range,” Walters said.

For now, it was just importing the Melges 32 sporty-looking keelboat. “It depends on how the numbers go before we build it,” he said.

The company has moved its factory to West Gosford, NSW, where, says Walters, it can work a lot more productively. “It's all exciting,” says Walters.

Walters, who served his apprenticeship with noted Pittwater shipwright Ken Beashel and later started his own shipwright services business, hopes to create more opportunities for young shipwrights. “We have a lot of guys keen to do their apprenticeship and with fewer Australian boat-builders, it is hard for them,” he says.

Peter Milner Yachts

Established in 1977, Peter Milner Yachts in WA has specialised in building one-off sailing and power yachts with well-known designers on the sailing side including Bruce Farr, Nelson Marek, Laurie Davidson, Scott Jutson, Graham Radford and Brett Bakewell-White.

It is currently building composite yachts ranging in size from 7.5m to 27m in a 2600sq m purpose-built factory close to the water and lifting facilities as part of the Henderson marine complex.

Milner has built three of the new 8m training yachts designed by Bakewell-White for a consortium of five major WA clubs and Yachting WA and is anticipating orders for another three.

It is building a large luxury cruising catamaran, the Spirited 380 from Spirited Designs, a 39ft IRC race boat designed by Malcolm Runnalls and a Southerly 52 sports cruiser. “No time to scratch ourselves,” reports Peter Milner.

Bluewater Cruising

Bluewater Cruising Yachts at Cardiff, NSW, has received a second order for its Bluewater 450M cruising yacht. It's for a Queensland couple who conducted extensive research, comparing six brands: five international and one local.

They had four specific requirements: It had to be a true “blue-water” yacht; it had to have shallow draft; three separate cabins were needed with the owners' cabin being an aft berth; the quality of construction and fit-out were to be of a very high standard.

In the end they concluded that the Bluewater 450M offered the best available combination of value, build quality, design, performance and comfort levels.

Managing director of Bluewater Cruising Yachts Pty Ltd David Bradburn believes this vote of approval by his new clients confirms Bluewater's standing as a builder of superior cruising yachts. “This segment of the market is highly competitive with the best names in the industry striving to appeal to a limited number of potential buyers,” he said.

The couple initially plans to cruise to Tasmania before eventually turning to the open expanses of the Pacific. They also hope to do some club racing.

Some new features of the Bluewater 450M include a 1.7m shoal draft keel while still maintaining an AVS of approximately 127 degrees and an extended “classic” stern for scuba gear storage.

What is infusion?

Infusion is a mid-tech composite construction process for small and large components using a one-shot approach instead of wet resin lay-up.

All laminate layers are laid up, a vacuum bag is applied to remove air pockets then resin is infused through the component in a single process.

Improved fibre wet-out reduces the void content, which increases the structural integrity of the part and provides a more consistent component weight, says New Zealand composite engineering research and design company High Modulus.

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