Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Launching of a Big Cat

People who have never seen the process may wonder how a large catamaran is moved from the build site to the launch site, if they are not close to each other. Recently a DH550 catamaran was launched at Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, South Africa and it was built about 30 miles away in a rural location. This series of photos and videos sent to me by the builders tell the transport story nicely.

The new boat, named "Friends Forever", was built by a team headed by Jean Jaques (JJ) Provoyeur and Richard (Thirsty) Bertie. JJ Provoyear is the owner of the boat and it was built on his property. The rig is being set up this weekend and we should soon see sailing photos.
Inside the building shed, being readied for transport
The men in this photo give scale to the boat. Ready for the transporter to be backed in.
This is a big boat, so it needs specialist transport equipment to get it to the water. Cape Town is the home of a few production catamaran builders, so there are transporters available that are ideal for this job. In countries where this sort of project is more rare, large flat-bed transporters from other industries can do the job as long as the boat is properly supported.
On the transporter and moved out of the shed, with the keels still to be fitted.
Cruising keels were test-fitted before leaving the build site but only fitted at the launch site. Road clearance would have been an issue if transported with the keels in place.
With a large package like this, it is very important to research the route before the build even starts. There is no point building at a convenient location then finding that you can't get it to the water. That means finding a route that is wide enough and high enough for the boat to fit through on the trailer. It may also mean having people on the boat during transport to lift lift power cables and tree branches if they are hanging a bit low.

It also needs liaison with and permits from local authorities to move the load on the roads. It may need narrow roads to be closed to other traffic and for police escorts to help it through congested areas and along heavily trafficked highways.
Negotiating tight corners can be an issue due to the width of the load, even on roads designed for use by tractor/trailers. This boat fills up three lanes of highway, which can become interesting when negotiating tight corners. That is when it really helps to have a transporter that has steerable wheels all along its length. These can be seen in the video below, at about 0:30, where the trailer wheels all steer to move the back end sidewards when they have a very tight 90 degree corner to negotiate at a traffic light, without taking out any poles nor damaging the boat on the curbs.
After being on the move from mid-morning through to well after dark, "Friends Forever" arrived at her launch site, at Royal Cape Yacht Club. There her cruising keels were fitted and other preparations completed over the next two days before she was launched.
Crane lowering the spreader frame over the boat preparatory to fitting the slings.
In the water for the first time. The end of her first journey.
At time of writing the rig of "Friends Forever" had still to be stepped, prior to sea trials. Thanks to Esther Provoyeur for the photos and videos.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Pinta del Sur", Classic Schooner on a Modern Hull

"Pinta del Sur" is a Shearwater 39 with a difference. She was professionally-built by Nebe Boats, starting with a production GRP hull out of the Shearwater 39 moulds. That is where the similarity to the standard boats ended. She then received a custom-built wooden deck with a classic two-box layout and a custom interior designed by her town-planner owner.

She was custom-built to fulfill the dream of the owner to own and sail a classic schooner in the image of those designed by Pete Culler. Her owner bought me a copy of the beautiful book "Pete Culler's Boats - The Complete Design Catalog" by John Burke, as inspiration to steer me along the right route when I was drawing her.
"Pinta del Sur", very pretty under sail.
She has now come onto the market and is available at a very good price. The perpetual decline of the South African currency has resulted in boats being available to foreign buyers at very good values. That includes this beautiful schooner that is ready to go world cruising.
Classic styling on a modern hull.
This is a yacht that would fit in very nicely with the schooner fleets on the US East Coast. She would account for herself very well in the big schooner races, like the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race between Baltimore and Portsmouth, Virginia and other schooner events up and down the coast. She is the smaller sister to the Shearwater 45 schooner "Apella", which has been in those fleets the past few years.
Nicely fitted comfortable low maintenance interior.
We have her listed in our brokerage listings, where you can see many more photos of her. She is a fine seaworthy and fast cruiser, capable of taking you to almost anywhere that you want on the normal cruising routes of the world.

To see more of our designs, please go to our main website or our mobile website.