Adventure 40–January Bulletin

Chapter 16 of 18 in the Online Book Adventure 40 (Free)


With the Adventure 40 well and truly on her way to becoming a real boat that you can buy, I thought it would be a good idea to keep everyone informed of what’s going on with a series of bulletins. This is the first.

John Interviewed by 59 North

Pod CastAndy Schell, over at 59 North interviewed me, in the form of a podcast, about how the Adventure 40 concept came to be and the goals for the boat.  Andy is a great interviewer and managed to draw the best he could out of me in a medium I have no experience with. You can subscribe to Andy’s series of interviews, including the one we did, at iTunes.

By the way, the very fact that Andy has become a big booster of the Adventure 40 does him huge credit when you consider that I have been pretty negative about cruising rallies and he is the organizer of the Caribbean 1500. We had some offline discussion about that, and I have to admit that Andy had several things to say that got me thinking that maybe the issue is not as black and white as I would have you believe in this post.

Andy’s point, in a nutshell, is that there is a huge demand for rallies. People are going to go to sea that way, whatever happens. So the best thing to do is make sure that rallies happen in the best and most seamanlike way possible–hard to argue with.

Design Process

Erik, designer and builder of the Adventure 40, and I had a long and fruitful Skype conference a few days ago. The design process is coming along well, and Erik hopes to have detailed drawings completed by the end of March. We will be sharing those and the associated specifications as Erik completes them.

Design Trade Offs

We also talked a lot about the different trade offs that must be made in any design. The bottom line is that you simply can’t have it all, and if you try, you end up with a poor boat that doesn’t sail worth a damn. In fact the things you leave out are more important to good design than the things you leave in. Rest assured that the trade offs that we make will be aimed at building the best boat for offshore sailing, not sitting in a marina or looking nice draped with cheese-cake at boat shows.


We also talked a lot about the prototype phase and Erik shared his plans for testing the first boat. Aside from sailing the boat aggressively, including several ocean crossings, he has some truly fiendish things in store for the prototype, to make sure the production boats will take most anything their owners can throw at them, including:

  • Hoisting the boat out of the water with a crane and then dropping her back from a height of five meters.
  • Running her aground on a rock at maximum speed (8 knots +)  with the lowest point of the keel making first contact.
  • Backing into a rock with the rudder making first contact.
  • Hauling the boat over until the mast touches the water and then measuring the true righting moment and making sure that no water is getting below.

Erik says that the only damage he will tolerate in these tests is a little easily repaired bruising of the keel and rudder at the point of impact…and broken glassware in the galley! Just another reason why the Adventure 40 will be a great boat: the chief designer has a boat torture fetish!

Seriously, the above list includes just a few of the tests that Erik has planned for the prototype; we will be publishing a full testing protocol, including minimum standards, at a later date.

Go Sailing With Erik

IMG_1523By the way, if you would like to go sailing with Erik, get some serious offshore experience, and have days and days to bend his ear about the Adventure 40, he has a few spaces left on his expedition to the Arctic on Bagheera this summer. Check out his website for more information.

Sign Up

As of today, we have 112 people signed up as interested in buying an Adventure 40. If you like what you are hearing, and are seriously interested in buying an Adventure 40 within 5 years, join them by filling in the form below, it’s the single biggest thing you can do to make the Adventure 40 real. And if you want to learn more about the boat before committing, start reading here, or listening here.


Book Navigation
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Adventure 40 April Bulletin–The Design Spiral >>

{ 41 comments… add one }

  • C. Dan January 24, 2014, 10:53 am

    Glad to hear about the progress, and very excited to start seeing the designs/drawings as they’re completed!

    Would love to hear from Erik about his current thinking on timeline and the milestones that he’s focused on.

  • Erik de Jong January 24, 2014, 11:22 am

    Hi C. Dan,

    As stated in the previous post, it is unlikely that the actual production of the Adventure 40 will start in less than two years. There are several phases that we will have to go through, and every phase is very important to get right before we move on to the next phase. If we would rush anything through because a set timeline is agreed, we might end up with a boat that is lacking certain qualities that would make the Adventure 40 a great boat, and that will defeat the purpose of this whole project.

    We have the following phases to go through:
    – Phase 1, in which we nail down the design, design review and improvements, funding, business development and finding sub contractors. By the time this phase is completed, we are probably talking October.
    – Phase 2 is building the prototype, depending on how that will be organized, who and where it will be build etc, that can take anywhere between 2 months and a year.
    – Phase 3 is testing the crap out of the boat with probably minor modifications through out the testing phase. This is going to take 6 to 9 months, but might take a year as well to get it right, and is somewhat depending on the seasons too.
    – Phase 4 is improving the prototype and modifying the moulds, design and specifications accordingly and get this frozen for production.
    – Phase 5, which will partially take place simultaneously with Phase 4, is setting up the production and assembly facilities.
    – Phase 6, Production of the first series of 10 boats.

    As you can see, there are still quite a lot of uncertainties in this program to give you (speaking in general terms) a date at which you can sail away with your own Adventure 40. Having said that, I ‘m pretty sure that once Phase 1 has been completed, we will be able to set a clear timeline at which the first series will be ready for shakedown, that date would be within plus or minus 2 months I assume.

    As John pointed out in the beginning of this post, you will be kept informed about all the progress we are making, and once the design and specs will be published, they will be open for public input as well. We currently have not much to show you yet, but more and more pieces of the puzzle are being fitted together as we speak and many hours are put in this project behind the scenes on a daily basis.

    • C. Dan January 24, 2014, 3:19 pm

      Thanks for the reply – that’s exactly what I was interested in hearing about.

      It sounds like one of the crucial next steps will be finding the right investor(s). It may be worthwhile to include the community of “interested” parties in that search.

      I know it may seem outlandish, but have you considered Kickstarter, or an equivalent? This would be way outside the box of typical crowd-sourced products, but I believe the A-40 would fit the criteria. Let me know if you’d like to discuss offline.

      • John January 28, 2014, 12:53 pm

        Hi C. Dan,

        Yes, we have thought a bit about Kickstarter, but now it does not look as if anything like that will be necessary to fund the project. The point being that the funding that seems to be coming together will be a lot less distracting to manage than a crowd based model.

        Having said that, we will certainly keep your kind offer in mind if things change and we need to look in that direction.

        • C. Dan January 28, 2014, 2:27 pm

          That’s great news. In that case, it would probably only be worth considering a Kickstarter for the PR/social networking value (which can be considerable, especially for what many would consider a unique project in terms of scale, complexity, and romance). You’d want to make sure that it had zero risk of failure, however, so would have to coordinate fairly closely with the existing community.

  • Roger W January 24, 2014, 12:00 pm

    Great to hear that you are burning the midnight oil working on the design. I would just like to say that you have a great resource available in the posters to this site that you can draw upon, assuming that you have a thick skin! To the extent that you can share preliminary drawings early, it will help improve the final product and maintain interest. I appreciate that this is difficult in the early stages, converting a concept to lines drawings and layout, but no one is going to complain about revisions as the design evolves.

    Serious thought needs to be given to compressing the schedule. It will be very hard to maintain a buyer base over a 3-5 year time period. For instance, I would like to think that the only mold modifications required will result from minor adjustments due to equipment changes. Given 3D modelling capabilities and the size of the design review team (!), changes should be minimal.
    Carry on, and good luck!

    • Erik de Jong January 24, 2014, 12:25 pm

      Hi Roger,

      Thank you for the feedback. There is indeed a great review team available. I assume the best any designer or builder can wish for!

      In regards to compressing the time line: That will be done as much as we can without compromising the main goal of the project. It is a very true point that you can’t keep potential buyers waiting for years to come. However, if we can’t get the financing straightened out, there will be no Adventure 40 at all. This will be part of Phase one, so once Phase one is completed, we can commit to an approximate timeline at which the first buyers can sail away with their own Adventure 40 (again, plus minus a couple of months).
      In this stage, I have no reason to believe that it is going to take as much as 3 or even 5 years, but if that is required to achieve the goals of this project, that is what we will have to. After all, if one was to order a custom built yacht or buy an old boat for a refit, or a standard production boat and make it ready for sea, it is going to take a multiple year time period before one could make their first ocean crossing with that boat as well.

      I can promise you this: we are working hard on making the project with it’s intended goals a reality, in the shortest time frame possible!

    • John January 24, 2014, 12:40 pm

      Hi Roger,

      If I have anything to do with it, the schedule will not be compressed in any way. In fact I think that holding Erik and the Adventure 40 team to a schedule would be one of the worst possible things we could do.

      The bottom line is that we are going to do a boat that is simply better than anything that has gone before: simpler, stronger, more fun, more reliable and above all, an elegant design. To do that the fundamental tenet of doing it right must overrule any schedule.

      To give you a real world example of this policy in action and the benefits. I think that everyone would agree that Apple has a track record of producing the most elegantly designed products out there. I have a friend that used to work there at a senior level and he told me that some of their great and innovative products, like the iPad, had existed at Apple in a form that other companies would have rushed to market for as much as five years before they were released.

      But at Apple, no product was released until Jobs said it was ready, and that meant it had to be “insanely great”. Every detail had to be as perfect as it could be.

      Bottom line, when thinking about the Adventure 40, do you want an iPad or a Microsoft Surface. I know which way I vote.

      If we rush it, it will just be another poorly thought out unreliable boat.

  • Dick Stevenson January 24, 2014, 12:07 pm

    John, I think Andy’ s point is all too easy to argue with. (Saying that these cruisers would go anyway so they might as well go with me on my rally.) Essentially, my argument, is that it is one thing to have people do irresponsible things on their own, and quite another to facilitate their doing so. Further, we, and Andy, do not know how many of the unprepared would back off as the reality of their endeavor washed over them in their preparations. Rallies acceptance gives some the illusion of personal and boat readiness which has a momentum all it’s own.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John January 24, 2014, 12:24 pm

      Hi Dick,

      All good points, and ones I agree with entirely.

      Don’t get me wrong, I have not changed in my fundamental distrust of the rally concept.

      What I did want to convey is that Andy seems to be a smart guy that really get’s the fundamentals of seamanship and is genuinely trying to improve the rally model. Point being that no matter how much old farts like me rant against rallies, they are not going to go away, so perhaps Andy’s approach has benefits.

      Having said that, I don’t plan to stop warning of the dangers of letting other people and outside pressures make your decisions when you are skippering an offshore boat.

  • Dick Stevenson January 24, 2014, 12:15 pm

    John, Erik,
    I can already imagine the change in the cockpit questions some might ask at boats shows and how dealers will squirm as they get asked about their vessel’s testing and how their vessel fairs when hitting a rock at hull speed. I love it!
    Dick Stevenson, S/v Alchemy

    • John January 24, 2014, 12:43 pm

      Hi Dick,

      That’s really the point isn’t it. Maybe the Adventure 40 will not only be a great boat, but will also improve the whole breed of “offshore boats” from today’s sorry state.

      • Marc Dacey January 24, 2014, 5:54 pm

        You have an optimistic nature, John, and I assume you don’t go to many boat shows. What gets classed as RCD Class A or Lloyd’s Offshore “A” started to scare me a bit 10 years ago and has not really improved. I think you might not see the Adventure 40 so much as “a safer Beneteau” but more like “a smaller Swan a sub-millionaire can contemplate buying”.

        Which, of course, would be a good thing. Aim high, though: I doubt most potential clients would recognize the virtues of a properly constructed vessel. I realized yesterday I was on the wrong side of the equation when I read that the Oceanis 45 is available in “two- or three-head configurations”. Silly me, I though that if you needed more than one head, you were too incontinent to sail!

        • John January 24, 2014, 8:13 pm

          Hi Mark,

          Yes, I am an optimist, without that there would be no A40.

          I think what appeals to buyers, if properly explained, may surprise you. Five people have signed up for the A40…today. I suspect the note about testing might be at least part of the reason for that.

          My gut says that the trend to light flashy junk is coming to an end.

          • Marc Dacey January 25, 2014, 10:51 am

            No one would be happier than I to see the end of sketchily constructed dock queens…even if that will never happen because people do in fact want fair-weather condos good to 18 knots. I can’t say I feel badly that I already have a strong boat…it’s a bit late for that…but I will continue to follow with intense interest the course of this project, “torture tests” and all. The argument for a bulletproof 40 footer at this price point (or even in the vicinity of this price point) is truly compelling, even for those who never intend to test the proposition in survival conditions. It reminds me of why people used to buy Volvos: for a number of years they were the only car you could expect to walk away from after a bad crash.

    • Matt January 24, 2014, 4:50 pm

      I have scared quite a few boat salesmen by asking too many questions about their construction practices.

      The salesman doesn’t know that if you don’t taper the core to a solid laminate at the chines, the chines will split open when the boat slams. He doesn’t know that tooling putty and Core-Cell are intended for completely different applications, and using the former in place of the latter will make the hull break apart with fatigue. He doesn’t know that the trailing edge of the keel will try to punch through the hull if you hit a rock, and that the frame or bulkhead above that point must therefore be able to take a truly enormous upward impact.

      He’s a salesman. It’s not his job to know all the engineering details.

      But perhaps it should be his job.

      • Marc Dacey January 24, 2014, 6:00 pm

        It’s comments like this that will get you a ride on my boat, Matt. Apparently, we share the same wacky notions that a boat shouldn’t…you know…break while sailing.

        As it’s currently inclement, I’ll just link to your design firm on my blog. It’s the least I can do.

  • David January 24, 2014, 1:41 pm

    Love the torture test protocol! And when you do it, I hope you milk it for all the marketing benefit you can get from it, as many boaters would love to see videos and read articles about those tests. You’ll set the whole industry buzzing. Not only will you assure that you are building a stellar boat, but you may help raise the bar for the whole industry as people start asking other builders if their boats could stand up to that abuse.

    What if the test protocol you settle on became a branded service and certification that any builder could purchase…


  • John January 24, 2014, 8:00 pm

    I’m excited to see this moving forward. While I haven’t signed up as a potential customer I may become one. Looking forward to see how this develops.

  • Pascal January 28, 2014, 5:42 am

    Have followed the Adventure 40 discussions with interest so far. This post has taken the project to an entirely new level, I think. The test protocol alone might be an industry-changing undertaking. The Volvo analogy somebody makes is a good one, since Volvo has almost singlehandedly changed what buyers expect from a car in terms of crash survival.

  • John Kettlewell January 28, 2014, 2:28 pm

    Not to denigrate strong construction and excellent design, but I think the biggest issue with the rallies is the false sense of security given by making sure people purchase all sorts of wonderful gear, take the proper seminars, and follow the advice of professional weather routers. The bad thing about the Volvo analogy is that survival is still 95% in the hands of the sailors. Even the flimsiest coastal cruising sailboat can usually take a lot more than the crew can, and it has been proven over and over again as abandoned boats are often found later afloat or washed ashore. The vast majority of serious boat accidents are things like groundings, onboard fires, or someone getting injured (like John’s unfortunate accident). The vast majority of those things happen near to shore, even on voyaging boats. The idea of the Adventure 40 is great, but I’m afraid that some people will purchase such a vessel and then believe they have purchased offshore safety. You can’t purchase experience, judgment, physical endurance, or luck.

    • John Kettlewell January 28, 2014, 2:34 pm

      And, I should add, despite my post above, the Adventure 40 is still one of the most interesting boats to come along in many years! Can’t wait to see them out on the water.

    • Pascal January 29, 2014, 10:48 am

      You are of course right, John. Nevertheless: since I clearly hope but would not pretend that I will never ground my boat, I would clearly prefer the tested and proven sturdiness of the Adventure 40 over most production boats…. And I am sure so many others would that the industry will simply HAVE to take note.

      • John Kettlewell January 29, 2014, 11:03 am

        I’ve gone hard aground numerous times in all sorts of production and one-off boats, and other than some dents in the keel suffered no major damage. If you haven’t gone aground you haven’t gone anywhere!

    • Erik de Jong January 29, 2014, 11:04 am

      Hi John,

      I’d like to make a little addition to your post.
      In my opinion, there are two different kinds of safety: Accident prevention, and consequence control.

      Most rallies seems to focus on consequence control rather than accident prevention. EPIRBs, life rafts, life vests, flares, wooden plugs and first aid kits are all consequence control category safety. Something has happened and we need those tools to manage the situation.

      But in my opinion, the accident prevention safety is much more important and gets much less focus. Take a seakind boat for example, that is all in the design of the hull-shape and weight distribution. If done correctly in regards to kind motions, one is much less likely to lose balance, fall and get injured. Properly constructed hulls are much less likely to suffer damage that might cause leaking with sinking as a consequence. So a well constructed hull that remains water tight after dismasting, rudder loss, collision or what ever is lees likely to need an EPRIB, life raft or softplugs.

      Accident prevention needs to be “built-in” during the design and fabrication, changing a boat afterwards is an immense task that comes at great cost.

      In conclusion, I am of the opinion that a properly designed and build boat offshore is much safer than most production boats you see these days. It is simply a bit harder to get in trouble with a good boat.

  • FAIVET DANIEL January 29, 2014, 4:20 am

    L evolution de l aventure 40 m interresse particulierement depuis que je suis regulierement son parcours par Morgan cloud
    J ai une problematique serieuse avec HANSE GROUP comme vous le savez ( voir blog hanse 33800 visites dans 71 pays)
    J envisage donc de fait le changement de mon voilier
    Affaire comme on dit a suivre
    Cordialement ULYSSE

    • Laurent January 29, 2014, 2:54 pm

      It looks like Hanse Group has been losing more than 8 M€ on each the last 4 years on revenues of about 80 M€ per year.
      Tree and half years ago, it was bought by Aurelius AG, a Munich based investment corp with revenue of 1,300 M€, who seems to be injecting much money in Hanse for the last 3.5 years to prevent bankruptcy and to enable Hanse group to buy other shipyards.
      Hanse Group is : 1) a shipyard belonging to an investment corp, 2) a company loosing more than 10% of its revenue for the last 4 years. It looks like 2 good reasons to be somewhat anxious about their “kindness” toward their customers.
      If you want to look at a family owned “shipyard” that can’t loose money or sustain long standing legal feuds with its customers, consider Outbound Yachts ( Their Outbound 44 is made in China and looks not very different from a 10% bigger Adventure 40….

      • Erik de Jong January 29, 2014, 3:37 pm

        Hi Laurent,

        The outbounds are indeed beautiful quality boats. Built with craftsmanship and with lots of stunning details. All that also brings the price up to half a million dollar for a 5 year old used Outbound.

        The goal of the Adventure 40 is to build a budget boat with no concessions to quality, but dropping the price by leaving out a lot of those details, that are admittingly beautiful, but which you don’t need to be able to go to sea in a safe matter.

        • Laurent January 29, 2014, 3:56 pm

          It looks like the price tag of a new Outbound 44/46 is supposed to start at about 350k$ (incl/excl VAT ?…)
          If you reduce the size by 10% you should reduce hull/mast etc… costs by #25% (1/1.1^3…) . If other equipment costs are reduced by the same amount (supposing somewhat simpler equipment, because equipment costs does not naturally decrease as much as the boat displacement…), you should get a price tag of 262k$ (350k$ – 25%…).

          –> so the question might be : how to save 25% from that cost to reach the 200k$ target. I think that it should be quite possible, just simplifying the cabinetry and letting ashore a few pieces of equipment (customers may always install them later if they really want them…).

  • Jonas January 29, 2014, 5:26 am

    This is a great project and it warms my heart to see it realized! Good luck to all involved!

    Do you know about Adventure Yachts,
    I don’t know much about legal matters (or boatbuilding) but it might be prudent to make sure the name “Adventure” in this context is available, if you have not already done so of course.

  • C. Dan January 29, 2014, 2:19 pm

    I’ve just reviewed Rodger Martin’s presentation from IBEX, and I felt compelled to share some thoughts here. (Link to the presentation here:

    Years ago I saw one of Rodger’s Presto 30’s in person (“Thorfinn”, in Camden, Maine), and my interest was piqued. Things that appealed to me about this design include : 1) low maintenance unstayed rig; 2) speed; 3) simplicity (nothing you don’t need, similar to the A-40); 4) shoal draft capabilities; 5) transom-hung kick-up rudder

    I had always assumed that these shoal-draft center-boarders would not be appropriate for blue water, but the righting moment / stability discussion in Rodgers presentation (at minute 6) surprised me. I’d love to see Matt or Eric respond to this (some more technical discussion here:

    The upcoming Solarwind 42 ( seems like it will target the same market as the Adventure 40. We’ll see where the price point ends up, but I’d guess it will be well north of $200k (the Presto 30 base price is $138k, and the 42′ is more than 3x the displacement). Time will tell.

    • Erik de Jong January 29, 2014, 4:46 pm

      Hi C.Dan,

      Regarding the stability of the Presto 30, I do not want to judge anybody for any calculations or any assumptions, and I have not seen anything else but this graph, so the thoughts that come to mind on this subject are all loosely based on interpretation of the graph.

      There is quite a bit more to stability than only the graph of the righting moment. But if only looking at the graph, we can see that the volume of the masts are playing a huge role in the stability curve, and improve the Angle of vanishing stability (AVS) with as much as 20 to 25 degrees.
      In case of a 360 roll with some small canvas on in severe weather, I highly doubt that the masts will remain standing. So in case of a roll, one will most likely lose the influence of the mast, reducing the AVS to approximately 120 to 125 degrees and at least double the area under the negative curve (more likely triple it), and take at least 20% away from the area under the curve of the positive stability. I am of the opinion that masts, regardless of their structure should not be included as buoyancy in a calculation like this. When leaving them out, the curve will look very similar to most any other offshore boat that sails out there.

      Second important issue is the required energy to invert the boat. With a maximum RM of just over 5500 ft lbs, it does not take much to get the Presto 30 knocked over. One man of only 180 pounds climbing to the top of the mast (which I estimate from the drawing being 30 foot high) will invert the boat over. That is not much energy for a 30 foot boat, and this one does not even have tall masts. Most any 30 footer suitable for the sea that I know, can handle a grown man visiting the top of the mast for an inspection or repair.

      Next question that comes to mind is the volume of the cockpit. Assuming a fair size wave breaks over the stern, and fills the cockpit for lets say 50% with water. How will the curve look like with a couple of tons of water in that area? I don’t think there will be much left of the positive stability.

      Having said all this, I think the Presto 30 is an awesome boat for coastal sailing. I would personally not dare to sail it across the big bond, but I also don’t think that was the intention of the design.

    • John January 29, 2014, 8:46 pm

      Hi C. Dan,

      One other point on the Solarwind 42, it’s bordering on being an ultra-light displacement boat at 13,0000 lb. Not a boat I would want to go offshore voyaging on, or one that will be able to carry much in the way of load.

      By way of contrast, the Adventure 40 will come out somewhere around 18,000 lb and be able to, so Erik tells me, easily carry a 5000 lb payload without any measurable performance issues.

      Or to look at it another way, the Adventure 40 is a 50% bigger boat for less money, keeping in mind that size is a function of displacement, not length.

  • C. Dan January 29, 2014, 8:13 pm

    Thanks for the quick response – much appreciated.

  • Karl February 1, 2014, 2:41 am

    I found the time to listen to the 59 Degrees North podcast. Well done. My interest meter on the Adventure 40 is reading much higher. Hearing John brought life to the project. I encourage all interested parties to take a listen. Eric, you’re next on the podcast list. Gentlemen, keep up the good work.

    s/v Octavia PSC34

  • Bill Attwood April 4, 2014, 10:04 am

    Hi John. How is the first draft spec of the A40 looking? I have been counting the days!
    Yours aye,

    • John April 5, 2014, 9:38 am

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for the interest and enthusiasm. As you have probably already guessed, today’s post is a lead in to revealing Erik’s design for the Adventure 40. Look for the hull lines in about two weeks and then we will be going on to deck and rig through to interior arrangement.

  • Egil August 18, 2014, 1:10 pm

    You are not the only ones with focus on hard testing :-)
    Keel testing of the new Linjett 43:

    • John August 19, 2014, 6:59 am

      Hi Egil,

      Great link, thanks for the heads up. It’s wonderful to see a builder making a commitment to proper testing.

  • Derrick September 30, 2014, 1:55 am

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

    • John September 30, 2014, 6:50 pm

      Hi Derrick,

      If you look at the bottom of the emails you are getting, there is a link to manage your preferences, including cancelling them.


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