FAQ—Me and The Adventure 40

In this post I’m going to address questions, both asked directly and implied, about my role in bringing the Adventure 40 to reality.

Q: I thought this was a crowd-source design where the boat will be based on everyone’s input in the comments. But you seem very dictatorial. What’s going on?

A: I am listening to and, where I think it appropriate, incorporating ideas from other sailors, designers, engineers, boat builders and the comments. But this is not, and will not become, a crowd-source design. I’m not trying to come up with a boat that will be all things to all people.

Q: How can I get my ideas and desires incorporated into the Adventure 40?

A: Make comments to the relevant post, so that everyone can benefit. But, please don’t be hurt if your pet idea, no matter how good, does not make it into the final specification.

Building something really elegant is, in the words of Steve Jobs, a lot more about deciding what to leave out than what to leave in. Remember how everyone told Jobs that the Blackberry would eat his lunch because the iPhone had no keyboard?

Q: But don’t you want to sell a bunch of Adventure 40s?

A: I did not start this to sell boats or make money. I want to be part of creating a boat that will be an incredible value and thereby get more and new people out there voyaging and enjoying one of the most challenging and satisfying lifestyles possible—the one I have been blessed with.

I have a very clear vision about what kind of boat will best meet that goal. But if the market does not agree, and not enough people sign up to make the boat viable, I am not going to modify the boat to pander to the market’s desires. Doing that would lead to just another lightly built, poor sailing, overly complicated, uncomfortable offshore, slow, floating condo. I want no part of that. And if that’s what’s required to sell the boat, I will turn my energies to something else without looking back or shedding a tear.

Q: What in heaven’s name makes you think that you can succeed with a new boat, when established boat builders with years of experience are going bankrupt left and right? And furthermore, you want to do this with a boat without a condo interior like those that sell well. What are you, nuts?

A: Maybe. But maybe not. I have a couple of advantages over a boat builder:

  • I can reach huge numbers of potential buyers at very low cost through this web site.
  • I seem to have managed to motivate a bunch of really smart people to donate tens of thousands of dollars worth of expertise both through the comments and directly.
  • I have at least some credibility with the market as a result of my years of offshore sailing and writing about it.

Q: I want to get involved in making the Adventure 40 real, I’m even willing to put up some money. What would you like me to do first?

A: That’s up to you. Understand that I have no interest in managing the business aspects of, or the people involved in, a company building the Adventure 40. I have already had a 30-year career as a small business entrepreneur—been there, done that.

I hope that you, and people like you, will take what we have created, including the list of sales prospects we already have, and build a boat from there.

Send me an email outlining what you feel you have to contribute and I will put you in touch with like minded people, of which there are already several.

Q: Does that mean you are bailing out on the Adventure 40?

A: Not a bit of it. I’m willing and eager to:

  1. Continue to help with the design and specification.
  2. Test sail the prototype aggressively—should be a gas.
  3. Write about and photograph the project as it unfolds, which will be the best way to get more people signing-up.
  4. Continue to market (but not sell) the boat throughout its life by writing about it.

Q: What’s to stop a builder just stealing your idea and all the stuff in the related posts and cutting you out?

A: Not a thing, other than losing the benefits listed above, including access to the sign-up list. But how many boats do you think they are going to sell without Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd’s involvement in the marketing?

Q: How can you make sure a builder does not take the Adventure 40 name and then build a junk boat?

A: I can’t. But if I think the project is going wrong, I will bail.

Q: Does that mean you and AAC are taking responsibility for making sure the Adventure 40 meets the goals and specifications laid out here?

A: No way. I will try my best, but part of my deal with the builder will be that every buyer signs a waiver absolving me and Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd of any liability for anything that happens with the Adventure 40. I can’t take responsibility when I don’t have control or revenue.

Q: OK, what are you getting out of this, there must be something?

A: Believe it or not, I did not start this with any plan for making money. The idea sprang from my concern about how difficult it is for people to find a good offshore voyaging boat, ready to go, at a reasonable price.

Having said that, if the whole thing comes together, I would expect to receive a modest per-boat royalty that would cover the ongoing marketing discussed above and my time to date—seems fair to me.

Q: After reading this, I have come to the conclusion that you are an arrogant, opinionated, know-all, son-of-a-bitch. What do you say to that?

A: Ah heck, you found me out. But you are wrong about one thing: I’m not a know-all. As the founder and CEO of a successful high-tech business, albeit a very small one, I quickly learned that while I’m reasonably good at the “vision thing”, there are a huge number of things I don’t know. And I’m pretty good at asking for advice and sifting the wheat from the trash in what I get back.

Comments

  • If I missed anything out, which you are curious about, please ask a question in the comments, I will do my best to answer it frankly.
  • If you think I’m mistaken about any of the above positions, please make a well reasoned case for how I could improve, I’m always willing to learn.

Like what you just read? Get lots more:


Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

45 comments… add one
  • Ronald A. Horton Feb 14, 2013, 6:06 pm

    Keep going on this. I think you are headed in the right direction. I have sailed on lots of long huals and enjoy simplicity.

  • Richard Feb 14, 2013, 6:20 pm

    John you have a great deal of patience. Good luck with the project.

  • Steve Cox Feb 14, 2013, 7:41 pm

    Refreshing honesty with a sense of humor! This is a great project, wherever it may lead. Thanks!

  • Marc Dacey Feb 14, 2013, 9:57 pm

    I offer the excuse of refitting my own boat/being a small business owner/being a dad of an 11 year old for not knowing more about the Adventure 40 story. Clearly, I need to find three days or so to read the entire site. I am, however, in sympathy with any ambition to design a “real” cruiser fit for clean, safe voyaging and built with something other than foam and veneer panelling.

    I could blather on about how damned cheap most “name” designs appear these days, and how the concept of a positively locked down cabin sole hatch seems missing in action, or how the winches seem undersized, and the booms too high off the deck, and the fragile rudders, but I’d hate to spoil the dock queen experience current 35-50 footers are marketed as providing.

    So I will read a bit, and if I feel I have anything to contribute (more handholds!), I will, if that’s OK.

    You should chat with Bob Perry. He’s approachable and has a number of great ideas his clients never seem to want to buy, use or even consider.

  • Jon T Feb 15, 2013, 6:20 am

    Good stuff. The Internet is too full of people who froth at the mouth and know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    About time they were told to eff off!

  • gil Feb 15, 2013, 2:03 pm

    John,

    EVERYTHING you said is ‘RIGHT ON’ Tell blabberface to get lost!

  • Viv and Mireille Feb 15, 2013, 5:46 pm

    John: Thanks for the update:
    Personally I look at ownership of a yacht as justifiable if it is going to be used. Obvious statement maybe but I don’t need an expensive floating condo but a boat that will be sailed distances and lived on for extended periods. Therefore a well-found ocean vessel is what I need.

    I could refurbish, but having done that three times, I know the pitfalls. I could buy new, but the monies for what I want on the general market are way beyond my financial capacity. I could buy used, but still the upgrading is not generally worth the efforts put in; anyway, I want to sail not choke on dust and varnish fumes for months on end.

    So the Adventure 40 fits the bill – the strategy is sound, the purpose of what it will be used for and the point of the project all makes sense and if John with Phyllis’s support had not pushed this to the point it is now, then I would be at square one.

    Some of the comments seem out of place, personal and unnecessary but everyone is entitled to their opinion. The point is that change from the status quo is always hard and the current state of boat building is moving further away from the essence of sailing and towards the ‘idea’ of sailing, a dockside concept, not a reality of what sailing is (exhilarating, cold, wet, miserable, scary and totally idyllic all at once).

    Therefore the A-40 is a refreshing change, an innovative idea of keeping the end result simple and straight forward to serve a basic purpose, to sail safely in relative comfort (which is also a safety issue) and moderately fast at a price that will not drain the bank account completely.

    So I am all for this project, it fits with a growing movement of fundamental sailing without going backwards to tanbark sails and no engine. It provides an opportunity for serious sailors and new sailors to take part in the one activity that cannot be matched for its freedom.

    Regards viv

  • Patrick Feb 15, 2013, 11:39 pm

    Hello John,
    If it were building substations &powerplants, I may really have something to add. Having little sea experience, all I’ve really learned from about 6 years research on a boat, is that there really are only a handful that are safe all around bluewater cruisers.
    Since, the only way I buy is with money at hand, I’ve really haven’t had enough to buy my dream, but here’s wishing you the best and hopefully maybe one day being able to afford it. Enjoy your forum and your many knowledgeable guests.
    For a novice, I learn alot and hope one day to begin actually applying it.

    Patrick

  • John Feb 16, 2013, 8:56 am

    Hi All,

    Perhaps I gave the wrong impression in this piece. It was certainly not my intention to tell anyone to “eff off” or “get lost”. Rather my purpose was to make sure there were not any misconceptions out there about what I was, and was not, willing to do to make the Adventure 40 a reality. I tried to do that with a bit of humor and in the form of a mock conversation. Perhaps that was a mistake.

    Anyway, thanks for the support, all.

    • Marc Dacey Feb 16, 2013, 2:53 pm

      If it’s any consolation, I’m generally considered a witty, quip-dispensing fellow in person, which means I am the receiver of dirty looks and the issuer of contrite apologies for giving offence about one-third of the time. It’s even worse when typed as there’s no emoticons to my knowledge for an arched eyebrow.

  • Laurent Feb 16, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Concerning the business-model and your relationship with potential investor/builder :
    – I guess it should be a bit difficult for a builder/investor to completely fund a boat design/prototyping/tooling project without some kind of guarantee that your marketing support for his boat will not be suddenly completely disrupted just before his sales are supposed to begin, for reasons he might not agree with rightly or not…
    – Also, it doesn’t seem quite reasonable for this person to ask you a complete non-revocable marketing support for his project before he puts substancial money on it: for instance, after general design + scantling + equipment lists have been written, but before any real prototype has been tested.

    So, I guess you might have to think about some kind of “phased support”, for instance negociate some kind of “orange light” non-revocable type (at least for a certain number of years…) marketing support after design phase and after non-ambiguous definition of scantling, equipment etc….., and some kind of revocable type “green-light” full support after prototype has been completely fixed, with a few garantees about the limits of your criticisms about his boat if you decide to revoque or refuse your green-light support for whatever reasons.

    • John Feb 16, 2013, 4:48 pm

      Hi Laurent,

      All very good points. You obviously have business/contract experience, thank you for sharing it. You have identified a tricky area that I had not thought of.

      I think all of that would be doable, although I would not be able to agree to any kind of total “gag” clause.

  • bruno Feb 17, 2013, 4:33 am

    Hi John,
    you won’t please us all … that’s a fact,

    you started that project because you think there is a gap in the market, and i think most of us agree with that,
    this said,
    On the tech side,
    your ideas and the wish to share those and developp them thanks to AAC site visitors’ expereiences and thoughts are great of course, the fact that your style might sometimes seem abrupt or straight forward is also a garantee for the way you wish to manage and your project, seriously and professionally, and with the full conviction of your essentials,
    any forum of ideas will lead to a selection of improvments, and … others (which might reinforce yr conviction for the essential basics YOU have chosen,
    so keep going and keep believing in what you started (if i may !),

    On the other hand, the financials and the marketing, specialists should be consulted indeed,
    My personnal point of view on that (but i’m just a seaman), is that i’m not sure that many builders are waiting for our smart ideas to come and find us … (hopefully i’m wrong),
    another point is that you set the max price to a level where the main items of your equation might seem contradictory, but you knew that from the beginning :
    – build, design and equip just simple and strong, as good as those e.g. (very expensive) dutch one-offs, or (just great but expensive) Boreal’s,
    – but also find a builder with real industrial production solutions where scale savings are high, to build it in many “cheap” exemplaires,

    one crazy idea came through my mind,
    we all know Bavarias, which we might hate, if we love to go at sea the way we like it,
    We all know that they estonished the market last year with the Varianta 44, a very cheap boat (100.000 euros), a basic and economic design at all points, but based on the good older hull of an existing Dehler (part of their group),
    In other words, they combined their industrial power (abt 4000 boat/year, i thought) with an existing design to produce a boat full of good simple but extreme ideas,
    The result is that they did not sell so much of them, i understood, as they might have gone too far in their approach of an economic 44′, and many argued that pay a cheap price for a 44′ but pay the yearly operating (and upgrade) costs of a big 44′ might not match …
    Tests comfirmed that Varianta went too far indeed in their search for the extreme economics and simplicity, putting reliability in doubt,
    so just the contrary of what we wish,
    but Maybe there is something there …, and we could go and see Mr Bavaria and check his moulds … and use their industrial power to build simple BUT strong (and cheap)

    • John Feb 18, 2013, 8:55 am

      Hi Bruno,

      Thanks very much for a very well reasoned comment. I think you are right that very few, if any, existing builders would have an interest in the A-40 project. My thinking would be that our most likely candidate as a builder would be a recently retired successful business person who sails and just “gets” the Adventure 40 concept and wants to do something great, as well as make some money.

      Having said that, I agree that a company like Bavaria would have the capability and would, in many ways, be the idea builder, as long as we could get them to commit to the quality and strength of build that is at the core of the Adventure 40. Incidentally, I have never been one of those that demonizes companies like Bavaria. After all, they build boats to sell them and if the boats that the market wants and buys are not good and safe at sea, whose fault is that? Not Bavaria, they are just responding to the market.

      If you have any contacts at Bavaria, or just want to take on the rather daunting task of approaching a large corporation with a new idea, please have at it. I will be happy to support your efforts in any way I can.

    • John Feb 18, 2013, 9:12 am

      Hi Bruno,

      Just a couple more thoughts. I think that the Varianta 44 is built by Hanse, not Bavaria? Unless of course they are all part of the same groupe—I lose track of who has bought who.

      I just spent some time on the Varianta web site and one thing that struck me is if they can build that boat for just under Euro 100,000, we should not have any trouble building the Adventure 40 for our target price of euro 130,000 (US$175,000) with the right mass production techniques. The extra Euro 30,000 will more than pay for the extra strength and quality we are planning to incorporate, particularly since we will get savings over the Variante in using a tiller.

  • Tom T. Feb 18, 2013, 12:28 pm

    Maybe these folks in Port Townsend that are now making Cape George and Bristol Channel cutters:

    http://www.capegeorgecutters.com/

  • Laurent Feb 21, 2013, 9:05 am

    Reading the Varianta 44 comments, I understand that the A-40 project contains many technical points and a few business-model points.
    – Concerning technical points, looks like the way to go is simple composite construction with good or generous scantling, no leeboard or lifting keel, reasonable beam and draught, elaborate hull and keel shapes for good performance and not-too-elaborate equipment (straight propeller line instead of sail-drive etc…).
    – Concerning the business-model, I understand that the intent is to find potential investor(s)-builder(s), who can fund and manage the whole industrial part of the project with success (including some financial profit for themselves…). Part of the deal is that he/they would benefit from some kind of community support if they conform to the “A-40” technical requirements, thus helping their sales and making their operation profitable.

    It looks like existing boat-builders are not very much interested by this kind of approach, perhaps because small industry business logic is nearly always targeted toward brand-building and promotion, and tend to climb up market scale as quickly as customer might accept and we are asking for some kind of anathemas against this. Would-be non-existing-today boat-builders might also feel quite unconfortable with the proposed approach because we are asking them a good, or high, level of operational efficiency in boat-building (which is a very strategic point in this project…) and a rather high level of initial investment before they can check the economic viability of the whole operation. I understand thas those 2 requirements are way easier to fulfill by existing boat-builders (whose general business-logic looks quite reluctant to this kind of business/commercial approach…) than by would-be boat-builders.

    Looking backward at succesfull examples of past blue-water affordable cruisers, french past 2 main references in this domain are Knocker-Meta “Joshua” (#1963 – #1977) and Finot “Rève d’Antilles” ( #1970 – #1985).
    I understand that those boats were more expensive in their days than current target for the A-40, and that the number of units that were built is clearly not in the “Ford-T” category, but corresponding business projects seem to have bee successfull and they seem to have good similarities with the A-40 project.

    Looking at the business-models of Joshua and Rève d’Antilles, it seems they were both developped with much ingenuity on shoes-string budgets. Joshua design was made by Jean Knocker as a gift to Bernard Moitessier, and Meta boss, Jean Fricaud gave all, or most of, the workmanship of the initial Joshua building for free. Rève d’Antilles design looks like a limited-budget design projet started as an extrapolation of Finot smaller “Revolution” racer prototype and targeted to amateur steel-building. Interestingly, it seems that well thought-of follow-on projects targeted at the same or similar markets by same builders or architects (“Damien” , “Cigogne”, “Lévrier”…) were distinctly less succesfull…

    Looking at Hanse “Varianta” 18′ and 44′ boat, appart from the fact that they adress a different market than the A-40, they also look like low-budget projects based on pre-existing hulls and whose purpose seems to have been much more to prevent the emergence of lower-cost polish serious competitors to Hanse yacht, and thus help maintain or develop sales of more expensive Hanse products, than to sell big numbers of “Varianta” boats. This way, Hanse managers didn’t have to break any psychological barrier or to put substantial money on the table to launch those 2 boats.

    So I think that the business project for A-40 as it has been proposed looks a bit tricky, because it ask for competencies and ressources that non-existing-today would-be boat builders are not comfortable with or do not have (good or high expertise in operational efficiency, already amortised workshop and tooling…), and it might/should scare managers of existing boat-builders because it breaks quite a few of theur existing psychological barriers.

    I think a way to smoothen the business path should be to look for some more incremental approaches, perhaps split the project in 2 phases, first phase might lead to more expensive boats that might be built in limited numbers (one-offs…) with low initial investment for richer than ultimately targeted customers, and, this phase should help define and develop the real second-phase A-40s, with lower technical and commercial risks and perhaps lower initial investment costs than if trying to build it directly from scratch.

    Next technical question might be: is is technically feasible to design 2 satisfactory blue-water cruisers with same or very similar: program, size, rigging and equipment, the first one targeted at small-series semi-affordable blue-water cruising (perhaps with hard-chine aluminium hulls…) and the second targeted at larger-series fully-affordable blue-water cruising (most likely with full composite building…). I guess that proceeding this way the technical questions might be a bit more difficult to solve, but the business questions would be easier….

    hope this contribution might help…..

    • John Feb 21, 2013, 10:20 am

      Hi Laurent,

      Once again, thanks so much for all the time and effort you obviously put into the above comment. Lots of really good stuff for us to think about that will also help me as I write some planned posts on possible business models for the Adventure 40.

      On think I might disagree on is that your thought that the start up costs will be high. I have done a quick back of the envelope estimate that comes out at about US$750,000 for the prototype phase, tool up, and working capital—not a lot of money in the greater scope of starting a business, particularly one that, because of its single well defined product and pre-qualified market has a very nice potential return on investment.

      • Laurent Feb 21, 2013, 2:46 pm

        I tried to make an rough estimate of the costs of starting a business for #200 k$ full-composite blue-water 40 footers (1) and the costs of same for a #300 k$ aluminium hull and deck (hard chine…) + composite roof 40′ of similar designs (2), excluding marketing costs.

        I understand that those boats are not targeted at the same market segments and that boat N°2 needs some arguments to justify a 50% higher price, main argument beeing its metal construction but I guess internal cabinetry would also be of higher standard at least for durability if not necessarily for comfort. In my example rigging, engine, and equipment at delivery are the same (owner may add equipment…).

        In case 2, if you are living in France as I do, it doesn’t looks very difficult to subcontract all metal work and quality cabinetry to established and reputable workshops for the prototype and for the series boats. This way, the investor/builder only needs to rent facilities and hire technicians for integration work (electricity, plumbing, rigging…) after his subcontractors have delivered him metal and cabinetry finished hulls. Furthermore, for the first year or so he can engage in some kind of partnership with an established maintenance yard in order to rent the workspace and most of the qualified technicians he needs.

        In case 1, subcontracting looks much more tricky because as far as I know existing network includes efficient subcontractors for CNC milling of plywood panels, the Beneteau way, but no substancial established business for assembly of affordable-quality type cabinetry. So he will have to hire his own cabinetmakers or use the same full-quality cabinetry subcontractors as in case 2, which should not bee very cost efficient if he wants “affordable quality” and not “full-quality” cabinetry. For hull moulding, I understand that there is no real established practice today in France for “affordable quality” subcontracting of that kind of work, and, if he wants to subcontract anyway, I guess he will also have to pay a premium. It looks like in french boatbuilding industry as it is organized today, affordable-quality type subcontractors existing business is limited to easily transportable parts, probably because their main customers (Bénéteau….) do not want to pay for transport of large moulded plastic hulls or fully assembled cabinetry. I guess situation should not be very different in the US.

        For prototyping and tooling, I understand that in case 1 he will find a rather expensive very elaborate complete-prototype subcontractor in Slovénia (“Seaway”..) supplier to Beneteau and the like, but, if he does’nt quite agree with the (high..) cost, I guess he will need to rent a large workshop and hire his own technicians. In case 2 he will have no problem asking to his metalwork or quality-cabinetry subcontractors to develop the prototypes at a very reasonable cost provided they also get the corresponding series work.

        So, I understand that a new business for boat N°2 as described might be started merely by funding the design work, finding adequate metalwork and cabinetry subcontractors, and setting up, or partly subcontracting the integration work. This solution should be cost-effective enough for the intended market, and, the prototype might even be sold to an early adopter after it has been completely fixed, allowing the investor to limit his business for some time to a phone and some electronic design files if he gets nervous about fixed costs and commercial perspectives.

        For boat N°1, I understand that tooling (molds….) and prototype cost is much higher, subcontracting should be more difficult and less satisfactory because most existing subcontractors are organised for higher quality products are not very efficient for making affordable-quality products, and because the intended market is more cost-sensitive, which should be enough to make subcontracting per se less feasible.

        Speaking about money, I guess that in case 2, design might cost something like 300k$, prototype building and fixing, including management and survey should be something like 360k$ and prototype might be sold to an early adopter for about 300k$, so minimum investment should be about 360k$ with no fixed cost if investor is nervous at the start of the sale period.

        In case 1, design cost should be about the same (300k$) (I guess that in fact it should be more expensive because of more elaborates design details…), tooling should cost about 300k$ (molds…) and prototype the same or perhaps more than case N.2 (let us use the same value: 360k$). I guess investor will have to accept some startup rented workspace and hired manpower costs because complete subcontracting would not be cost-efficient enough for the intended market, this figure should be around 300k$. If he is getting nervous he should be able to resell the prototype for 200k$. That puts minimum cost to 1,060k$ instead of 360k$, with a monthly rent for a workshop and probably a couple of technicians on the payroll.

        In real life a serious investor should include some marketing budget and, I guess, some more fixed costs (rented workshop space and hired employees…), but more so in case 1 than in case 2. So, we might consider that 500k$ for case 2 and 1,500k$ for case 1 should be more realistic figures, not including “working capital” (boats in building…). Also the case N°2 has the added advantage of allowing to slow-down the business for some time to zero speed and near zero costs in case of slower sales than anticipated, which looks much more difficult or impossible in case 1.

        I am not arguing that a semi-affordable 300k$ metal boat should be much better than a fully-affordable 200k$ composite boat, I am just arguing that business risk in the first case seems lower, that a succesfull 300k$ metal boat might be a very good apetiser, and risk-reducing step, for a later 200k$ composite one, and that those 2 boats can also have successfull careers on slighly different market segments.

        • John Feb 21, 2013, 3:59 pm

          Hi Laurent,

          Once again, thanks for the well reasoned comment. You might be right that building a more expensive hard chine metal boat might be one route to building the Adventure 40 I envision, although a somewhat circuitous one.

          However, the bottom line is that I have no interest in building such a boat or trying to make it happen since it does not address my personal goal of providing a cost effective great voyaging boat that will get more new people out there.

          Also, there are companies like Boreal who know far more about such boats and are far better qualified than I am to make them happen and I have no interest in in effect going into competition with them or in being part of setting up a company to do so.

          Having said that, if Boreal could be persuaded to build a smaller and less expensive version of their boats, I would love to help market that through this site,

          I also think that your estimate of 1.5 million for Adventure 40 start up is high by about 100%. I have no knowledge of the situation in France, but most parts of a composite Adventure 40 could be sub-contracted here in North America, or, I would guess, in New Zealand or Australia.

  • Laurent Feb 21, 2013, 5:50 pm

    It would be very nice if Boreal shipyard could be interessed in developping this kind of semi-affordable metal boat. I understand they have all the needed expertise for that, plus an excellent market position to sell it. Furthermore, as a frenchman from Paris, I cannot object when I hear a canadian from Lunenburg giving a clear priority to a french shipyard only 500 km from my door.
    Point is that, in an ideal world I guess that technical issues and marketing for a 200k$ fully-affordable composite 40′, and for a 300k$ semi-affordable metal 40′ could, or should, be coordinated to create some kind of product-range effect, and that in France today, building the 200k$ boats would demand vertical integration to respect its cost constrains. Personally, I think it would be quite difficult to find investors for that in France today, considering the needed capital and the business risks.
    Guess that if Boreal is interessed by the semi-affordable boat and if you do have appropriate subcontractors on your side of the pond for the fully-affordable one, then the remaining question might be : is it possible to coordinate both projects to create some kind of a product-range effect accross the pond ?

    Regards

  • Bruno Feb 23, 2013, 10:14 pm

    Great and argumented comments on the business side of the project indeed,
    i think many of us have been thinking / dreaming that this could lead to a smaller and simplified Boreal, but indeed at a higher budget then now foreseen,
    I’s funny how this proposal to build a small serie of aluminium A40 keeps coming back, even if John redirected us all many times on his basic intentions … but what business plans have to meet designs and marketing plans …
    i just read on the Boreal site that their order book is quite full, with some new customers / demands from across the atlantic, thanks, between others, to some good articles published on AAC … (they say in their feedbacks !)
    On the other hand the A40 is actually supposed to be a much simpler design then their (already KISS) boats, meaning to start up on a completely different design/engineering view, which i think is not their intention,

    there are some other aluminium yards which definitely could be interested indeed, as you can see that new designs keep coming up (and sell), but mainly around 45-55 feet (Futuna explorer 54, Iroise 46 …), built by different shipyards, building as well one-offs, as architect’s designs series …

    but i guess John has been clear enough on that yet !

    • John Feb 24, 2013, 9:35 am

      Hi Bruno,

      Sorry your comment was delayed. The links caused our spam filter to hold it for moderation.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think a simple hard chine lifting keel, no paint, heavily insulated, well heated, aluminium expedition boat would be great and I would love to help promote it in any way I can.

      But, that’s not the Adventure 40 because such a boat is not going to sell to or be appropriate for my target market, which is those who are new to offshore sailing.

      Two different boats with two different missions.

    • Laurent Feb 24, 2013, 1:25 pm

      As I understand it, John’s vision (“A-40”) correspond to a fully-affordable (#$200k$…) blue-water cruiser smaller than the Boreal 44 (a narrow 40′ instead of a rather wide 44’…), with same sturdiness and low-maintenance and less equipment or features (like thick insulation or very low draft….). Also, John seems to like 1960′ or 1980′ elaborate water-lines (the McCurdy way…), considering good sea-comfort and good, or very good, cruising speed as basic parts of his vision, and as interesting safety features.
      As I understand it, Boreal 44 price-tag is about 300k€+ , which is 395,760$ at today’s exchange rate. Plus, I guess that Boreal 44 hard-chine hull and lifting keel/leeboard are probably not quite as good, for cruising speed considerations, as a good fully shaped hull with modern inverted keel.

      Technically, a full-composite quick, strong 40′ blue-water cruiser without unneeded luxuries corresponding to John’s vision seems quite feasible for about 200k$ provided it is built (and sold….) in sufficient numbers.

      The business points are:
      – that this kind of boat project doesn’ t seem to attract much attention from established boat builders for different reasons, including probably quite a few psychological ones.
      – and that I think this project demands a very good operational efficiency in boat-building, and, at least in France, good vertical integration, which might, or should, scare not-yet-established would-be boatbuilder.

      So, I said that if you make some sketch of a composite 40′ fully comform to John’s vision and if you replace at the last minute its composite hull + deck by an aluminium hard-chine hull + deck + composite roof, you can end-up with something of an hybrid which, I guess, could be sold in limited series for about 300k$

      The technical points are not obvious : is it possible or not to design a hard-chine hull of this kind nearly as quick as an optimised composite one and to sell this boat for 300k$ with limited production. Business point are not obvious either: is there a market for such an hybrid ?. I guess that if we can answer yes to both questions then this project might be a good, or very good, bootstrap, although a circuitous on, toward a composite 40′, and a good way to solve the business issues about John’s vision.

      As I see it, Boreal 44 are more elaborate boats (better equipped and finished…), targeted at a more specialised market, and Dujardin’s “Atlantis” or Meta “Outremer” and “JPB” are slower, and, as I understand it, probably more expensive.

      As I see it, Boreal shipyard is in a good position to start a project similar to the hybrid boat I described, which should put them later in a good position to start a project corresponding, or similar, to John’s vision. But John’s vision and the boat I described are different, and they belong to different market segments than the one Boreal shipyard is adressing now.

  • Dennis Fechner Feb 26, 2013, 4:07 pm

    I like the whole concept of your new boat…I think Jobs was successful because he had a vision and stuck with it.

    The whole boat building industry is going to change as sailors change. There are very few new boats that have been created by such an experienced sailor as you who also has the right approach.
    Keep up the great work!
    Denny

    • John Feb 28, 2013, 9:53 am

      Hi Denny,

      Thanks very much for the unqualified support, much appreciated.

  • RDE (Richard Elder) Mar 3, 2013, 11:01 pm

    Came across this in-depth review of the perfect anti-A-40 sailboat.
    Its the new Halberg Rassy 412. After decades of building solid cruising boats that were capable of going to sea, HR has now built a boat for the I-Pad generation. I could hardly watch the video because I was laughing so hard.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw-LawBeoH8

    • John Mar 4, 2013, 8:33 am

      Hi Richard,

      You were laughing, I was crying—what a travesty. Where do I start. On second thoughts, I won’t, I don’t have all day. Thanks for the link.

  • RDE (Richard Elder) Mar 4, 2013, 11:24 am

    Hi John,
    If you have any tears left, check out what a couple of million dollars will buy in a boat about the same length as Morgan’s Cloud. Not only do you get a boat, you get a complete dance floor for 40 in the cockpit area—.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_6HSuR9YBA

    • Viv and Mireille Mar 22, 2013, 5:00 am

      RDE:
      Nice video.
      Tough guys! no lifejackets, no harnesses, no jackstays, or are the demo team self inflating?

  • Bill Stocker Mar 15, 2013, 5:37 am

    I have sailed for 62 years. Everyone interested in off shore sailing must read the book, “Overboard” and the USCG 8 day investigation of the US Bounty disaster.

    WWS

  • Gail Peters Mar 22, 2013, 12:26 am

    Sounds like the idea behind who ever came up with the sunfish but a bigger fish

  • richard dykiel Apr 1, 2013, 4:43 pm

    Iconoclast question: I see you advertise for the Wylo 35.5. I find its concept interesting. What prompted you to advertise this and why isn’t this your sustainable cruising boat? I’m particularly curious about the suitability of the cutter gaff rig and its touted advantages: hype, or reality? They claim you don’t need winches etc, but I sailed on a wooden gaff-rigged cutter once and sail handling was not for the feeble ones. Also they say if you don’t reef in time then you have to do “irish reefing” (with a knife)…

    • John Apr 1, 2013, 5:35 pm

      Hi Richard,

      We advertise the Wylo 35.5 in exchange for money, which, in turn, keeps this site alive. The advertisement does not in any way imply an endorsement of the boat from the editorial staff at AAC.

      Having said that, there are a lot of different and equally right ways to get out there. The Wylo looks like one of the many right ways and so is the Adventure 40, there is no exclusivity. Incidentally the Wylo concept is very well proven by the incredible voyages of Trevor Robinson on “Iron Bark”.

      The key thing that the Adventure 40 and the Wylo would seem to share is a focus on safe and comfortable passage-making, not marina living.

      • richard dykiel Apr 1, 2013, 7:12 pm

        Ah, I hope you haven’t taken my post as an implicit criticism. I am in fact attracted by designs such as the Wylo and was wondering if anyone had anything to share about the choices they’ve made about sustainable cruising, and the viability of a gaff-rigged cutter, compared to more modern riggings.

        • John Apr 2, 2013, 9:18 am

          Hi Richard,

          Sorry, I did not mean to give the impression that I thought you were criticizing the Wylo.

          I have not sailed a gaffer in nearly 50 years since a cruise in one on the UK east coast, so I’m not really qualified to have an opinion on the rig. Having said that, there are plenty of great voyages that have been made under the gaff rig including those of our friends Mick and Bee on Hannah. Mick, any thoughts?

          Another friend of mine, who I have known since I was a child, Paul Johnson, has designed a whole series of gaff rigged cruising boats that have been, and continue to be, very successful.

    • Mick Apr 2, 2013, 10:23 am

      As John says we do sail a gafffer and have been more than happy with the rig. I like the low tech aspect of everything; dead-eyes and lanyards, galvanised steel used extensively, block and tackle for sails, galvanised rigging. We do have winches (there is no “gaffer law” to say you can’t have them and friends of ours who sail a Wylo wish they’d ignored Nick Skeates advice on them). The recent debate on carbon chain plates et al made me smile – 20 years on, these old steel plates continue to function. Do they rust? Sure, a little. Am I worried? Nope. We paint regularly but don’t find it a chore. From the point of view of getting out there and “living the dream” Hannah has worked extremely well for us. Do gaffers have drawbacks? Of course. They’re not good at going to windward and a gaff ketch is even worse and whilst it can be incredibly frustrating at times it has never, ever, made us think we need a modern rig.
      Finally, and not to belittle the A40 concept, I doubt we have spent $200,000 in the last 13 years, including the purchase of the boat. If you have any queries write to us via the blog.

      • richard dykiel Apr 2, 2013, 10:52 am

        Thanks for the insights. I have just bought my dream vehicle, a Pacific Seacraft Dana 24. But I am always fond of gaff rigs and anything that simplifies the life of a cruising sailor. I was (positively) surprised that people would still design boats with gaff rigs (and also junk rigs) and was curious about the opinion of experienced cruisers that have had the chance to compare the pros and cons of modern rigs versus those traditional, time-honored ones. Thanks for the answers.

        • John Apr 2, 2013, 11:29 am

          Hi Richard,

          The Dana 24 is a way-cool boat. I think you will have a great time with her.

  • Brian Smyth Apr 5, 2013, 10:53 am

    Hello everyone,

    Well,
    I kind of don’t know where to start….I have just spent several hours reading everything here about the Adventure 40 and the thought processes you have all been thru to get to this point.
    Why?
    Because I am a sailor (100,000+miles), and engineer-naval architect (27 years), an entrepreneur(Foreign International Trade), and at the moment, a boatbuilder( 15+ years).
    But, I got to this site because John phoned me about another boat yesterday.
    Anyway, I am interested because I have been thinking along these lines for many, many years.

    To put it into a nutshell, I think it can be done. I know you cant please all the people all the time, but you have to start somewhere.
    I will be meeting with John next week and look forward to that conversation….

    Brian

    I am very interested in this project

    • John Apr 5, 2013, 2:11 pm

      Hi Brian,
      That’s great, I will look forward to talking the boat over with you face to face next week.

  • John Apr 5, 2013, 2:12 pm

    Hi All,

    Looks like we might have a builder for the Adventure 40!

    And best of all, Brian and his company have a track record of successful and innovative builds.

  • RDE (Richard Elder) Apr 6, 2013, 2:12 pm

    Van de Statdt Caribbean 40

    Looks a lot like the A-40, doesn’t it!
    http://stadtdesign.com/designs/stock_plans_sail/caribbean_40/7

    Well, take 8″ off the beam, add 8″ to the waterline by making the stem more vertical, and lower the hard dodger a bit to allow the helmsman to see over it.

    We napkin designers are never satisfied!

  • Brian Apr 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Hi Richard,
    I was on one of these at the Annapolis boat show a few years ago. I was impressed with the simple construction and the usability of the boat.
    I’m a HUGE believer in the KISS principle!

    After all, the only reason I build boats is in the hope that one comes my way eventually!

    Brian

    • RDE (Richard Elder) Apr 6, 2013, 4:34 pm

      Hi Brian,
      Back in the day Cecil Lange had a small yard in Port Townsend where they built Cape George 31’s, 36’s & 40’s. His procedure was to always have one under construction for himself alongside the customer boats. You never know——.

      The only fault with the system was that Cecil got married too many times and had to start over repeatedly. (LOL)

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