Adventure 40—It’s Happening!

Chapter 4 of 18 in the Online Book Adventure 40 (Free)


It’s nearly two years since, while walking through a marina in Charleston, South Carolina, the germ of an idea formed in my mind: A simple, fast and safe sailboat at a price that would enable more people to experience the wonderful world of offshore voyaging without having to accumulate a fortune or spend years refitting an old boat.

Over that time I wrote 14 posts specifying the boat and you, our readers, contributed the experience gained in millions of miles of offshore sailing in the form of hundreds of comments.

And, most exciting of all, lots of people signed up to buy what came to be known as The Adventure 40.

But there was always something missing: How was this boat going to come into being? Who would raise the money and build the boat? I didn’t know but I instinctively felt that at some point a person would just get it. Would understand the concept. Would be excited. Would see the business potential. And all without me having to sell them, because I knew that if this was going to work we needed one of those rare people that just makes things happen based wholly and solely on their own drive, vision and ability, without looking to others.

We now have that person. His name is Erik de Jong, and he is about as well qualified to build the Adventure 40 as it is possible to be. Let me tell you about Erik:

  • He grew up in a boat building family and built his first boat before his teens.
  • His offshore sailing resume reads like that of a person twice his age. He has crossed the Atlantic several times and voyaged to Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland and many other tough high latitude destinations.
  • He is engineering trained and is a fully qualified naval architect with many large commercial projects under his belt.
  • He worked for North Sails and is an expert in sail and rig design.
  • He designed and built his own 50-foot steel high latitude expedition sailboat Bagheera. You can learn more about his boat and the expedition charter business that he runs at his site.
  • He knows people throughout the boatbuilding business both in Europe (he’s Dutch) and here in Eastern Canada where he now lives and works.

Erik on Bagheera

But all of these admittedly impressive qualifications wouldn’t mean a thing if Erik did not have the other vital qualification to build the Adventure 40: the ability to get stuff done. It is just a few weeks since Erik emailed me—a few days after we spent a pleasant evening on Bagheera talking about the high northern latitudes we both love and I had casually mentioned the Adventure 40 project—to say that he was interested in building the boat. In that time Erik has:

  • Drawn a preliminary design that satisfies the Adventure 40 specification in every respect and improves upon it in several ways.
  • Made substantial progress on a detailed build specification that will eventually run to several hundred pages and encompass every single detail right down to the last nut and bolt. (Erik is used to operating in the commercial classed vessel world where the casual yacht building practice of “we will figure it out as we go along” just doesn’t cut it.)
  • Come up with three alternative methods to finance the prototype phase and raise the required capital.
  • Interviewed several companies that are interested in bidding on building parts of the Adventure 40.
  • Secured volume discounts of as much as 50% on engines and rigs.
  • Done a preliminary costing that indicates that the boat can be delivered ready for offshore sailing, complete with sails, vane gear, and liferaft, at the target price of US$200,000, and still make a decent profit for the builder.

Another thing that impressed me about Erik is his pragmatic flexibility. During our early conversations the elephant in the room for me was, were we going to be able to sell an Erik de Jong branded boat, and how was I going to bring that up with this eminently qualified young designer who was putting so much into the project?

Was he going to storm off and have the sort of ego induced meltdown that many creative people are prone to when I broached the subject? I needn’t have worried. In Erik’s commercial world every design is checked and vetted by another naval architect when the design is done. He is happy to hire a name-brand yacht designer later in the project to perform that role. In fact he was already planning to do that, even before I brought it up.

Of course there is no way that I can guarantee that Erik will be successful. Or that his enthusiasm is not a flash in the pan that will melt away with time and the vicissitudes and frustrations of putting a project like this together. But I suspect that won’t happen. Any man that can build his own bomb-proof 50-foot expedition sailboat with his own two hands, on a shoestring budget, over a period of years, is not a quitter.

So, from this point on, Erik will be in charge of all aspects of designing and building the Adventure 40. I will continue to advise him and will also handle the promotion and marketing by writing about the process of designing and building the boat as it unfolds. I can’t wait.

If you want to comment on design aspects of the Adventure 40, or ask questions, Erik and I are all ears. But please make sure that you have at the very least read the summary post first. And if you want to ask questions or make suggestions for improvements in the details, make sure you have read the relevant specification post (listed here) and the comments thereto first. We don’t want to waste time duplicating discussion and analysis that has already been done—we have a boat to build!

Above all, sign up for what promises to be the best value in an offshore sailing boat in a generation, maybe ever.

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{ 59 comments… add one }

  • Jonny December 26, 2013, 5:47 pm

    2014 is going to be a good year!

  • RDE (Richard Elder) December 26, 2013, 6:47 pm

    Congratulations Eric (& John)!
    When John started writing about this concept, I threw a list of specifications on the table in order to provide a substantive starting point for the discussion. Good to see that your preliminary profile sketch is very much in the spirit of the original concept and the discussion that has ensued. And it will be interesting to see how your experiences as a voyager and naval architect refine and improve it along the way.

    ps. “Name Brand” naval architects create their brand by self promotion, and successful self promotion naturally nurtures ego. If you feel that you must hire a “Brand” I hope you will find the rare one that respects your vision and real world experience!

    • John December 29, 2013, 12:57 pm

      Hi Richard,

      First off, thanks so much for the huge contribution than you have made to this project to date. We look forward to getting the benefit of your experience as we go forward.

      Good point about the number of “Brand” designers who are, shall we say, a little short on the real world offshore experience that Erik has. We will watch out for the dangers inherent in that.

  • Erik de Jong December 26, 2013, 9:16 pm

    Hi Richard,

    That is a good point that we are actually working on. As John mentioned in his post, I’m used to work with commercial shipbuilding projects where there is no space or time for the ego of a well known designer. In that world, one gets a set of specs and regulations that the vessel needs to comply with, and one starts working to make sure that the vessel will be low cost, low maintenance and works well for the client.
    In the commercial world, it is also common practice to give an independent naval architect a copy of the specs, regulations and the design, and request them to verify if all the requirements are met and if the vessel will be technically sound and reliable and is designed in an “ethic way”.

    The “reviewer” will make his or her own calculations to verify the design. Only if discrepancies of technical or ethical nature are found, the reviewer and the designer will have to communicate to find out why there is a difference of opinion, and how that issue can be resolved. This is usually dealt with in great detail in the building contract.

    Having set all that, in a commercial design, the looks of the vessel are usually not important and everything needs to be practical and technically sound. As long as that is the case, the reviewer makes no official comments and might give some off the record suggestions here and there.

    This is a very unusual practice in the yacht design business, but I do not see why we should not go this route for this project. A design review does not cost that much money, and it can prevent potentially expensive problems in a very early stage and can therefore save a lot of money further down the road.

    So later in the design process, right after the design is finished, but before the fabrication documentation is put together, we will have to find our selves a naval architect that wants to review our design. If it happens that we will not be able to find somebody “with a name” that is willing to do that, we will have it done by a qualified naval architect/engineer that is less well known but will get the job done as well.

    I personally do not really foresee a big problem with this, a designer has to listen carefully to his or her client when designing a vessel, and I personally find it a lot easier to work for a client that has a clearly defined plan and wishes.
    Instead of ordering a design from the naval architect, we will be ordering a set of calculations to verify our design, something that yacht designers should not be unfamiliar with since a lot of cruisers design their own vessel and have it worked out be a well known designer.

    Best regards,
    Erik de Jong

  • Matt December 26, 2013, 10:37 pm

    I’m very excited that Erik has taken this on. (Sitting quiet for the official announcement has not been easy!)

    The design and specification process for this boat should inspire confidence in potential owners. Every line of the spec sheet, every figure on the drawings, every number in the strength and stability formulae is going to be professionally calculated, checked and independently double-checked. The boat is being designed according to what is technically appropriate for the mission, with hundreds of thousands of (combined) miles of offshore experience among the team taking precedence over what looks good at a dealer’s sales dock.

    When she splashes, there will be a very high degree of confidence that the boat will be exactly what she is expected to be.

  • Travis C December 27, 2013, 1:20 am

    Absolutely excellent to all. It’s always a great feeling to see something with so much thought and love poured into it come to fruition. Congrats on a wonderful end of year announcement.

  • C. Dan December 27, 2013, 2:28 am

    I’ve been following this saga since the beginning, and I had feared that we might end up waiting for the “right” builder forever, so this news is a great holiday surprise.

    My first question: would you be willing to share some of the ideas you’ve had for financing the prototype and capitalizing the project?

    • John December 27, 2013, 2:43 am

      Hi C. Dan,

      I’m going to jump in here, although that’s not an area I’m handling, and say that I think that it would be better to keep that information private until something is nailed down. I can say that, having heard his plans, and the state of his negotiations, that I’m confident that Erik will be successful in securing backers.

      • C. Dan December 27, 2013, 2:49 am

        No problem.
        Perhaps something easier: What does Erik think about the idea for integral chainplates, as Matt has discussed?

        • Erik de Jong December 27, 2013, 8:11 am

          Hi C.Dan,

          It only makes sense regarding those chain plates.
          The way that Matt proposed to design them, has been well tested in the various off-shore racing circuits for at least the last two decades, but probably longer. These days, you can’t find any new build racing yachts that do not have composite chain plates, and as far as I know, they have never been a point of failure.

          The only thing we will have to make sure is that the chain plate will be stronger then the stay that is attached to it, but that would be a requirement regardless of the building material.

  • Dick Stevenson December 27, 2013, 5:06 am

    John, Erik,
    All this kinda makes me wish I was 30 years younger. Congrats on this major exciting step.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

  • Simon Wirth December 27, 2013, 5:13 am

    Greet news! I can’t wait to read your progressreports John. Already they promise to be another great read.
    Regarding designing a good “look” on the dock into the A 40, I have a strong feeling that in the end, most of the readers here will find here good looking. Functionality most often seems to have it’s own kind of beauty.

  • Erik Snel December 27, 2013, 6:30 am

    John & Erik,

    Congrats to you both. I pointed Erik to Morgan Cloud’s website some years ago and have thought ever since the adventure-40 idea was first posted that Erik would be the right designer for it!
    Keep us posted on the designs, I look forward to it!

    Erik Snel

  • Bjornar December 27, 2013, 6:34 am

    Great news! Looking forward to reading more about the progress!

  • bruno December 27, 2013, 9:54 am

    great news idd, a young openminded and expererienced dutch engineer, whet else do you want for such a simple, strong and no nonsense boat !
    impatient too !
    nice lines on the first drawing !

  • Eric Klem December 27, 2013, 10:07 am

    This is great news. I wish both of you the best of luck in actually bringing this to production.

    I hope that the design will continue to be shared for everyone here to see and discuss.


    • John December 27, 2013, 12:40 pm

      Hi Eric,

      No worries there, Erik is absolutely committed to continuing to keep the design and build process open. In fact, when I sent him the initial draft of this post he prodded me to be even more transparent and inclusive.

      Thanks very much for everything you have contributed to the project to date. We look forward to your input as things progress.

      • Nicholas Sweeting December 30, 2013, 10:10 am

        If possible, a wiki based system should be created for the design. Easy to make comments, suggestions, etc regarding specific details.

        • John December 30, 2013, 3:29 pm

          Hi Nicholas,

          Interesting idea. Having said that, the moderated comment model has served us well so far, so I think we will stick with that, if for no other reason than I would rather spend my time helping make the Adventure 40 real rather than maintaining and managing another online system. Also, wikis can be very confusing for those that don’t spend a lot of time on that kind of thing. And, by definition, the voyagers that have the most to contribute to the Adventure 40 through experience are less likely to be computer nerds.

          Bottom line, I don’t think its broken…

  • Richard Marsh December 27, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Splendid news that the project is going ahead. I look forward to reading about your progress and learning more about the details of the design as it takes shape.

  • richard dykiel December 27, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Great news. I’ll be following the adventure with interest (would not be a buying prospect for several more years though). Question looking at the picture: would a skeg-protected rudder increase the price dramatically? I’m a fan of protected rudders (and propellers) on cruising boats.

    • Erik de Jong December 27, 2013, 3:04 pm

      Hi Richard,

      We are currently considering a transom hung rudder that can kick up in case of a grounding. A transom hung rudder has a lot of technical and safety benefits, but is often difficult to combine with vane steering or a sugar scoop. We still have to do some engineering to get the final arrangement figured out. But if we can get it done, we definitely prefer a rudder that can kick up above a spade or rudder with skeg.

      Best Regards,

      • richard dykiel December 27, 2013, 3:15 pm

        OK for the kick up although I’m thinking more moving parts may be more headaches. But since I’ve been cruising Maine a lot I’ve come to appreciate the comfort of a long keel with protected rudder, for comfort: less dodging of the lobster pots :-)

  • paul Mills December 27, 2013, 3:48 pm

    Hi John, Erik and all,

    This is really, really good news. I have enjoyed following this project since its inception, though avoided commenting through chiefly feeling of ‘too many cooks’ and that my skills are general rather than useful. I think this will really fly and look forward to seeing an A40 in real life.

    Great news


  • Captain Kipp December 27, 2013, 7:24 pm

    This is sounding better and better all the time. My interest was waning when I heard the Adventure 40 wasn’t going to be aluminum or a swing keel. But after researching all the proposes specs, I think I’m back on board. She looks to be a nice piece of work, good job.

  • Hans Vernhout December 27, 2013, 7:26 pm

    Erik de Jong really is an excellent partner in developing this Adventure 40 concept into a very interesting cruising yacht. Visitors of the main sailors discussion board in The Netherlands ( appreciate him because of his down to earth approach and knowledgable posts, and this attitude – combined with his substantial hands on cruising experience – will really benefit the Adventure 40 project.
    Looking forward to see the result of this interesting development!

  • Steven Schapera December 27, 2013, 9:47 pm

    I suggest Dudley Dix as the naval architect for review of the design. The man is a genius. I have a Shearwater 45 and cannot fault it as a blue water cruiser. Look at .

    • John December 29, 2013, 12:39 pm

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for the suggestion. Dix has already written to us expressing interest in being involved in the Adventure 40 project. I’m sure Erik will consider him when it comes time for him to choose a designer to review the Adventure 40.

  • John Tynan December 27, 2013, 11:23 pm

    The drawings are very close to what I would consider ideal as a retirement boat. Well done.

    As far as building is concerned, I presume the intention is for it to take place in N.America? Have you considered the possibility of building on both sides of the Atlantic to avoid tax, delivery and RCD compliance additional costs for Europeans?

    • Erik de Jong December 28, 2013, 1:56 pm

      Hi John,

      Glad to hear that you like the first sketches! That is encouraging.

      We indeed plan on building the boat in N.America, but nothing is concrete yet.
      There are different regulations that are applicable for Europe and N.America, but we intend to make the boat compliant with all existing regulations. Not only the CE, TC and USCG regulations, but also MCA and ABS.
      All these regulations are minimum requirements and are not really all that different from one another, but In my opinion, and I think that any experienced offshore sailor would agree with that, a decent offshore yacht needs to exceed those rules in quite a lot of fields to be as reliable and durable as we want it to be. We will significantly beef up the safety factors of the rigging, the keel, the rudder, the stability etc. This way, it is not hard at all to meet all requirements of the different regulatory bodies. The boat can therefore be available with any compliance declaration at no additional cost.

      The ABS regulations are by far the most strict and defining of all of those rules, and form the main guideline for me during the design process of the vessel. I’m currently looking into the cost of obtaining a plan approval certificate from ABS on the structural design.

      Delivery of the vessel to Europe should not be expensive. Once the keys are handed over to the buyer of the boat, it can sail across the Atlantic on it’s own keel. Another option might be to have a group of vessels picked up by a cargo vessel as deck load, and share the cost between the different owners.

      Tax rates is not something I have looked into at the moment, but it is my understanding that the vessel will only be subject to VAT in the country of registration. In the end it does not really matter where the vessel will be constructed.

      Having set that, we are currently primarily focused on getting the design nailed down, reviewed and approved before we can start the building of the prototype. After that, there is going to be an intensive testing and improving period before production can start. In the first series, it would not make sense to do that on more than one location because of the capital cost of double sets of molds, patterns, additional management fees etc.

      Production on different continents might definitely be something to look into once production has started and is running well.

      Thank you for your thoughts and input.

  • Svein Lamark December 28, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Hi John,
    This is a nice Christmas gift to us readers of ACC. I look forward to read more about this boat becoming a real thing, not only something we have been talking about.

  • Vince Bossley December 28, 2013, 7:10 pm

    Hi John, Great news re the Adventure 40 project launch. Now that it has finally come to fruition I guess you are all pretty excited about future prospects.

    With the number of folks signed on already, the key in future is going to be garnering sufficient ongoing orders to justify building the boat, so the more exposure the better.

    To that end I have just posted on my blog featuring the project and here is the link:

    I trust it meets with your approval.

    Also, I would again raise the thought of looking at New Zealand builders. The experience and innovation there is vast and any question re the cost of transportation all over the globe would be more than compensated for by the more reasonable build costs.

    Good luck


    • John December 29, 2013, 12:23 pm

      Hi Vince,

      Thanks very much! This is just the kind of promotion that we need. I read your post and you did a great job explaining the Adventure 40.

      As to building in NZ, I would be all for it since I have huge respect for the industry there, and, in addition, my mother was a Kiwi, so I have a connection. I’m sure Erik will look at all the options. In the end, I guess it comes down to a trade off between building and shipping costs.

  • Ezequiel Sundblad December 29, 2013, 11:03 am

    Hi Jhon and Erick.
    Nice project.
    Excuse my ignorance I am a new reader off AAC and I am just thinking, the Boreal 44 looks like a very nice allround boat and very smart think.
    They can desing a 40′ and if you go and offer to buy 20 or 30 boats (not nessesary 97) I am sure they can make a very very good price and listen to all your sugestion. ( I dont know them at all, but looks they have two fingers)
    I like very much the keel and ruder option.
    A pilot house gonna be something better on my ideas but that can be modify very easy.
    I plan to modify my own 40 to a lifting keel and a ruder like the boreals.
    Again excuse me for my ignorance on all this project and is only a opinion to do things simple

    • John December 29, 2013, 12:36 pm

      Hi Esequiel,

      I share your admiration for the Boreal boats. But they are designed to fill a very different need than the Adventure 40.

      We communicate regularly with the management at Boreal and they have no interest building a smaller boat. They already have a two year and growing backlog on their current boats. Also, their material of choice is aluminium, which does not lend itself to mass production boat building. In addition, lifting keels add quite a bit of cost and complication. This is all confirmed because Boreal have told me that they could not build a boat the way they do to get even close to our US$200,000 target price.

      Finally, a pilot house would be very difficult to do well on a boat as small as the the Adventure 40 (only 18,000-pounds). The hard dodger and raised area (dog house) that Erik has drawn are, in my opinion, the very best way to get good shelter on a boat this size without compromising appearance, performance and safety.

    • Laurent December 29, 2013, 12:50 pm

      I heard that Boréal has already 2 years of orders with their existing models and for their current capacity, so I am not sure they would be very interested today by large orders for new, to be developed, models.

      Furthermore, aluminium or aluminium-composite boats are supposed to be more expensive to build than pure composite ones and are a bit rare, and supposed to be more difficult to sell, in North America. Those 2 points seems to be real problems for the A40 intended target. Personally, I don’t think those 2 arguments might not be double checked, just in case, but I am not very optimistic about that….

  • John December 29, 2013, 12:52 pm

    Hi All,

    Thanks so much for all the positive comments.

    More great news: We are now up to 101 people signed up as interested in an Adventure 40! And that based on an overview specification and one small drawing. Imagine how the interest will grow when we have a full design. And then think about how many more will sign up when they see the prototype sailing. And then when the first ten boats are out there….you get the idea.

    • Hoftman December 29, 2013, 10:43 pm

      Awesome!!! The price tag Vs brand promise creates an immediate sense of “value”. Now, the next thing is to properly manage the expectations of real potential buyers. A good step in that direction would be to provide reasonable timelines…

      They are buying, and they can be patient!!! (i) They are buying the philosophy of the sailboat, (ii) they see value in the price tag, but (iii) now we need to let them know when they’ll be sailing.

      Expectation management 😀

      • John December 30, 2013, 3:22 pm

        Hi Hoftman,

        Good idea. Having said that, there is no way we will be rushed on this project and therefore I certainly would not want to see a schedule set this early in the design phase. Also, we will go on with the prototype testing and refinement phase for as long as it takes to get the boat right, my guess would be about a year for that part alone.

        I know this sounds like a long time, particularly since we have been at this for two years already, but really it’s not excessive when you consider that it typically takes a new voyager 5 years to get a new or refitted boat properly debugged. So even if it takes us two years from now to get the A-40 right, it is still better than that.

        Bottom line, doing it right takes time. We don’t want to do the typical boatbuilding thing where the first ten buyers get to be the unpaid testers!

  • Bjørn December 31, 2013, 7:44 am

    Finally came the drawings on the boat I’ve been waiting for.I am very excited about the interior, and hope that it can be as good as the exterior. In fact, I sketched a similar boat for 4 -5mnd ago that should be built in aluminum, with a swing keel, and discussed the sketch with a Swedish designer, Gabriell Heyman I found out that the costs of an one off was too large, so I put the plans away. So my question is, is it possible to design a boat in fiberglass and one in aluminum for those who want to use the extra money, or wil that be double work?

    Bjørn from Norway

    • John December 31, 2013, 12:55 pm

      Hi Bjorn,

      I’m afraid the short answer is no. The two materials are just too different. For example, compound curves that are cheap to do in fiberglass are more expensive in aluminium. Also, aluminium requires stringers and frames that impinge on the internal volume and that, in turn, requires a completely different accommodation design. Also, the structural engineering would be completely different for the two boats.

      Bottom line, they would be two completely different designs with all the costs that implies.

      One more thing. And perhaps this is the most important. I believe it is a mistake to go into a boat acquisition project with a single must have criteria like hull material. All boats are compromises and the best boat for a given person and need is the best mix of compromises at a price that person can afford. So when you start with a single criteria you risk missing the best boat for your needs. Great boats can be built in many different materials. See Matt’s post here for more.

  • FAIVET DANIEL December 31, 2013, 4:13 pm

    En France , le concept d un voilier a évolué avec la demande du marché vers le confort , le design d interieur, les performances etc
    De la navigation au long cours on est passé a la plaisance ……
    la fiabilité des équipements a diminué pour les bateaux de séries, seules certaines marques de hauts de gamme conservent un niveau de qualité suffisant pour entreprendre des grandes traversées
    C ‘est pourquoi l’ adventure 40 est d un grand mérite car il allie, fiabilité et prix convenable accessible a des navigateurs confirmés
    Je vous adresse pour cette nouvelle année tous mes voeux de prospérité
    D Faivet

  • Ludo Mathijssen January 1, 2014, 1:01 pm

    This is great news! I’m looking forward for things to take shape!
    This could very well be a happy newyear indeed.

  • bruno January 2, 2014, 4:03 am

    it’s got a bit of the shape of JF André, french rugged boats architect, Cordova 40 and other patago’s … even if the concept and material will be different

    • John January 2, 2014, 3:10 pm

      Hi Bruno,

      Thanks for the link. An interesting boat, although very different to the A40 hull form wise.

  • RDE (Richard Elder) January 2, 2014, 12:46 pm

    Hi Bruno,
    re Cordova 40
    The designer did a very nice job of integrating a full pilothouse into a 40 ft. boat. Its rare to see one under about 45′ that doesn’t look like the product of a midnight meeting between an elephant and a giraffe.

    • John January 2, 2014, 3:12 pm

      Hi Richard,

      I love the metaphor, sums it up perfectly!

  • Roger January 3, 2014, 1:29 am

    When will other preliminary drawings be available? The rudder looks more than a tad small. Are twin rudders planned?

    • John January 3, 2014, 12:18 pm

      Hi Roger,

      On the rudder, rest assured that Erik will be doing all the calculations required to assure that the rudder is appropriately sized. (This is a preliminary design, with a lot of engineering left to do.)

      One reason the rudder may look small to you is that you are probably used to looking at common contemporary designs that have very asymmetric hull shapes (fat butts) to cram accommodation in. These boats are intrinsically hard to steer and require large rudders because their water plane changes as they heal. The Adventure 40, with her more symmetrical canoe type hull lines will be much easier to steer, and therefore does not need such a big rudder. Of course this is better for self steering too.

      Also, as a rudder moves further aft, it has more lever arm and therefore can be smaller. This drawing shows the A40 with transom hung rudder, which is as far aft as you can get.

      And no, no intent to have twin rudders, which are (in cruising boats) an attempt on the part of designers to compensate for boats that have sterns that are too wide. In other words, they are not a desirable feature, but rather the result of making poor design choices driven by the desire for excessive interior volume aft. Not only do twin rudders add complication, drag and expense, they are much more vulnerable to damage from floating objects because they are not behind the keel.

      As to availability of drawings, I will be having a Skype conference with Erik today and will have a better idea after that.

  • Erik de Jong January 3, 2014, 4:22 pm

    Hi Roger and John,

    The rudder looks indeed smaller than what the standard is these days. But exactly as John points out: A large rudder is only required to compensate for a poor design. When the balance of rig and underwater is well done, the sails are shaped correctly and the trim of the sails is done properly, you can practically sail without a rudder.

    The rudder I have shown on this first sketch is a size of rudder that I have used on similar boats, and works very well offshore under all conditions.

    More details on this part of the design will follow later when the calculations regarding balance and rudder structure are completed.

  • Patrick Chesnot January 3, 2014, 9:02 pm

    Hi John, Erik,

    Would it be appropriate to start maintaining a running draft of the Adventure 40 spec sheet, as a single PDF, to keep in one place a list of all the features together with related views and plans for handy reference, even if very minimal at first, or is it way too early for that?

    I don’t know for the others, but I tend to lose track of what has been discussed and where over time.

    • John January 3, 2014, 9:21 pm

      Hi Patrick,

      That in effect, already exists. About a month ago I spent a couple of days cleaning up and editing the specification posts to date into a single online book. You can find the table of contents here.

  • Roger January 4, 2014, 11:38 pm

    As Bob Perry once quipped, “No one has ever questioned me for designing too large a rudder.” I will wait for the further plans, but it still looks small to my eye, even given design characteristics and placement. That being said, I am excited by the prospects.

    • John January 5, 2014, 1:01 pm

      Hi Roger,

      Had a long chat with Erik yesterday and he is very confident that the rudder, as shown, is actually a bit oversized for the boat.

      Having said that, a key point to understand is that we are going to build a prototype and test the heck out of it with real ocean crossings. So, if the rudder is too small, we will find out then and fix it before any boats are built for customers.. I suspect that Perry’s quip may be driven by the fact that proper prototype testing is almost unheard of in yacht building and so designers have to err on the side of caution.

  • Wojtek January 14, 2014, 10:53 am

    Beautiful boat. I read about this idea about two years ago and I thought this would be the ideal boat for a lot of hardcore sailors. Then I forgot about it because I thought there was no way it would actually happen. Now that it is coming together I could see some other builders (Hallberg Rassy, Pacific Seacraft) jumping on board with their own versions of stripped down ocean going boats.

    I’m not in the market right now (too young, too many kids) but I could definitely see myself looking at one in 15-20 years. Hopefully it will still be around and if not hopefully the used ones aren’t appreciating in price.

    • John January 14, 2014, 1:31 pm

      Hi Wojtek,

      Good point, I will be super happy if we can get the Adventure 40 built in large numbers, but it would be even cooler if we started a trend toward healthy offshore boats, instead of the over-0complicated monsters we are seeing today.

  • Bruno January 14, 2014, 11:21 pm

    some basics by Skip Novak on his expeditions boats Pelagics, keep it all KISS and manual …

  • Steve Gallion January 17, 2014, 5:17 am

    As one who previously lamented about the Adventure 40 being a fiberglass design, I must now say that I have been converted. I have been convinced that a properly executed fiberglass design can be massively strong and also overcome the chain plate and through bolting issues of most production sailboats.
    So, I am wondering what sort of timeline we are looking at before boat production could be expected to start. It would seem like we are talking about at least 2 years. Or are you thinking even longer?
    Just want some idea for financial planning purposes…

    • John January 17, 2014, 11:31 am

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the positive thoughts on the A40. You are right that a great boat can and will be built in GRP. And wait until you hear about the testing that Erik has planned for the prototype hull to make sure we have the structure right. That, and an update on progress are coming in a few days.

      As to a time line, there are many variables here, but my guess is that your two year estimate will turn out to be pretty accurate.


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