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Lizard 2020 - LEADERBOARD Newsletter: It's not easy


It’s not easy

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A process called vacuum infusion technology was used to build the hull of the BAVARIA C65. This gives it greater strength while reducing its overall weight, and also protects it effectively against osmosis. - photo © Bavaria Yachts

Dear [recipient name]

Kermit probably had the most famous iteration containing those words as part of a longer statement. However, ours refers much more to Bavaria, and follows on the back of Oyster, which was the main subject of our last little ditty on these pages.

We were delighted to bring you some greater understanding and detail over last weekend, as news of Bavaria's voluntary administration came out. Putting foam on the highly combustible material was great way to ensure we did not get an unnecessary firestorm in place of a more considered view of the forest from the fire tower.

As this was written, Bavaria's own statement about it all has been published, and we hope that like Oyster, Fairline and Sunseeker too, Bavaria finds a path forward to help it match its own recent successes. Alas, it all stems from the fact that it is not an easy business. There are long lead times, massive cash requirements, a large footprint needed to build it all, and these become somewhat exponential when you grow both the size of your boats and the your order book holds many for 12 months henceforth, or longer.

Yes, they are all good problems to have, but issues they are, and astute management is required to ensure a solid path forward is in place. It does not help when the owners perhaps want a way out, and may not have understood just how hard it is to build boats, and what is required, relative to your own exit strategy.

Elsewhere I have written about how the current owners were given a significant inducement to take the business on in the first place, so to the entire team at Giebelstadt, we simply say may it all go your way, and the funding needed to continue be forthcoming based on your order book, and innovative craft now coming out of your factory.

Last time we also looked at new-to-cruising family man who had a tremendous budget, and also the wherewithal to ask a lot of really good questions. Now given how many new cats are being sold, I imagine I had my cat radar on full sensitivity. First I saw how Bali (Catana) have sold 140 of their 4.0 model, with a 4.1 now available.

Nautitech 40 Open number 100 - photo © Bavaria Yachtbau
Nautitech 40 Open number 100 - photo © Bavaria Yachtbau

Next, Nautitech, the wholly owned, but completely autonomous cat arm of Bavaria, have launched a revised version of their 40-footer. The slipperier stepped hulls and lighter weight, along with wide-open prairies had been a runaway success, and why not. Space is always sacrosanct in this size, and the Open 40 always offered a great feel. It will be good to see how the new version modifies and adjust to stay fresh.

At any rate, where all of this came from was following on from another relatively new sailor who was trying to convince himself, and he honestly admitted it was also about his wife, that 50 feet was not going to be much more to own and run than a 44 foot cat. As he said, 'After all, it's only six feet.' So a lot like the boatbuilding example above, and armed with a lifetime around boats, my curiosity was well and truly piqued.

Yes it does all add up, and he quickly noted that he had seen an example of a couple who had bought too big, only to then need to re-sell (with a dent in the budget), as the running budget was not coping. Period. Equally, as observant as he was, and obviously learned and looking for more, he talked about how bad could it be needing to replace one of the 75hp motors in the 50, versus a 50hp in the 44-footer, without realising that is 50% more power, and whilst it won't be half as much again, you had better get yourself set for good case of sticker shock!

Going back a ways now, when all that mattered to me was pace, big arse boats had big gear. Heavy ocean graders had wire braces. These gave way to 14 and 16mm Spectra and Dyneema, and as the boats got flatter and faster, this came back to 12mm, and the mainsheet had carbon in it. It all cost money however, and a lot left the 50-footers to go play in 40s or even 36s, as the bills just did not hurt in the same way.

The corollary is that there is no getting away from the fact that if you want to go upscale, then the budget goes up range, as well. Often to the power of!

So then the question remains, just how much do you need? If you are a couple, then a saloon, galley, stateroom and head are ticks, but three additional staterooms and heads? Could it be that this is already over a third more than you might need? The bigger boat will have more substantial standing and running rigging, larger blocks and deck gear, and if have powered winches, then there are cables and batteries to consider. Not only is it more to service or replace if it breaks, but over time you would have to think that it will all add up to 20-30% more. That is a decent number, even if you plan for it.

Finally then, do consider displacement. No matter whether it is sailing, motorsport, aeronautics or cycling, mass means more horsepower, bigger brakes, larger panels and heftier firewalls, and all of these have equivalents across all of the endeavours named above. The late Colin Chapman was an ardent believer in small and light, and Lotus continues that trend today.

Outremer 51 with wakeboarder in tow - photo © Ross Southam-Walker
Outremer 51 with wakeboarder in tow - photo © Ross Southam-Walker

For us, you have the Nautitechs, then Outremers and so on that are marks on the lightship ladder. If you have a 50 with the same displacement as a 40, then you won't be running massive gear to handle it all. Much of it will be the same, so the differences will be in berthing, dry dock and so on, where you cannot hide lineal metres. Now depending on your total requirements and budget, this has hopefully made it all a little easier to select the right craft for you.

Just before finishing these miscellaneous ramblings, almost immediately after receiving a release about the Jeanneau Rendezvous on Sydney Harbour, an email came in reminding me of the 2018 Beneteau Pittwater Cup on May 5. For those in or near the area, these events are great fun for those seasoned at a relaxed gathering, and also those with new boats looking to mingle. It is $90 for the skipper and $95 per soul thereafter, and it is all-inclusive of cap, shirt, Champagne breakfast, lunch, dinner and prizes galore. Check it out at B&G, plastics, the great Shackleton, Musto, Cuba, Multihull Central at the Pittwater Sail Expo, stonefish, Tasmania with Jack and Jude, Nebo, the Caribbean, Indonesia, Donald Crowhurst depicted in another (and scarier) film, ProFurl, Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40, the new Neel 47 tri, Key West, Royal Huisman and that awesome 81m alloy schooner, Watt & Sea hydrogenerators, Energy Observer begins her huge six year voyage, conducting a major refit in another country, as well as much more.

The Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40 is just one of the boats on display by Multihull Solutions at the inaugural Phuket Rendezvous. - photo © Kate Elkington
The Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40 is just one of the boats on display by Multihull Solutions at the inaugural Phuket Rendezvous. - photo © Kate Elkington

So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other Hemisphere, go to the top and the drag down menu, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

In the meantime, do you love being on the ocean? Well remember to love them back too. They need our help. Now more than ever! Until next time...

John Curnow, Editor

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North Sails 3Di 60 300x250   Abell Point Marina 2018 Retina MPU
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Jeanneau America wins Best in Show at Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show
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Barton Marine 300x250   Pantaenius EU 300x250
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Nebo 660x82 2

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