I am super excited to reveal that we have been approached by a team who are interested in making the Adventure 40 a real boat we can buy.
For those of you who were not readers from 2012 to 2016, the Adventure 40 is a project here at AAC to specify and then encourage the building of a simple, fast and reliable offshore cruising boat that could be bought brand new and ready to sail around the world for US$200,000 (2012 Dollars).
We have 16 articles that I wrote over the following four years defining the concept and boat. To really understand what a cool boat this will be you need to read the lot in sequence, but you can get a quick overview by reading the articles I have linked to in Further Reading.
There Is A Market
This is clearly an idea that has legs since by the time we were four years into it we had over 350 people who had registered as interested in the Adventure 40 and about ten who said they were ready to put a deposit on one of the first batch of boats.
Sadly, the project went into hiatus when the two guys who took it on did not deliver on their promises.
And that’s where things have been for the last 5 years.
A New Life
But a couple of months ago I got an email from Pascal Binet and Maxime Gérardin, both from France, together with a plan to get the Adventure 40 built in their home country, a location that makes a lot of sense to me since French boatbuilders have long been the masters of building boats in a cost-efficient way.
A Great Place To Build
And, yes, I’m aware that most of those boats are the absolute antithesis of the Adventure 40 concept, but that’s simply a function of those builders being smart enough to supply the market with what it wants, rather than what it actually needs to go offshore cruising—never blame a manufacturer for fulfilling the desires of buyers.
Or, to put it more positively, I’m sure that if we resurrect the informed market for the real offshore cruising boat that we created five years ago here at AAC, there are several existing boatbuilders in France capable of producing that boat with high and consistent quality.
Prioritize What Matters
To do that we have to show those builders that we buyers would rather have, for example, a keel-to-hull joint that will withstand a full-speed grounding, than twin wheels and rudders.
This is the key to hitting the price point and not sacrificing quality in the process. For example, the numbers we did showed that the savings gained from a tiller rather than twin wheels would fund said keel joint and a massively strong single rudder, with money left over—quality is about smart prioritization, not throwing money at the problem.
Maxime, at 32, is the ideal age to bring a combination of energy and experience to bear on the project. He also gained his sailing experience in the same club and sailing school environment that Pascal operates in.
Maxime also has a young family and so can add that perspective as well. And he is a potential buyer of one of the first boats.
Both Pascal and Maxime are engineering trained (not sure of their professional designations in France) and both have deep project management experience. Better yet, they blend those professional qualifications with a lot of sailing experience.
Even better, much (most?) of that experience is within the French club and sailing school culture that emphasizes good training and cooperative use of resources much more than the more individual ownership culture prevalent here in North America.
Update March 2022
Pascal has bow left the project.
Here’s Maxime on what happened:
Pascal and I worked hard together to launch the French part of the Adventure 40 project, and, among many other things, were together in choosing Vincent as designer. However, on the way to taking the project further, our views on priorities and on several decisions diverged (for instance, on taking on the personal risk of guaranteeing the design fee), to the point where I eventually called it a breakup. This doesn’t take away from the many things that Pascal has done for the Adventure 40.
I never met Pascal, but I enjoyed our communications and will be forever grateful to him for being part of the French team who resurrected the project.
One thing that really impressed me is that Pascal and Maxime’s first approach to me included a written plan. And since then they have updated and expanded said plan, including adding milestones, without any prodding from me. A sure sign of people who get stuff done. Not surprising since both guys have professional track records of completed projects.
A Great Time
Of course, no matter how ideal Pascal and Maxime are for the project, that does not necessarily guarantee success, but one thing I can tell you for sure, based on Phyllis’ and my recent efforts to find a good-quality fun 40-foot boat to replace our McCurdy and Rhodes 56, there has never been a better time to do this.
There have never been many decent ready-to-go offshore boats around, but now, after the COVID-induced buying frenzy of the last year (didn’t see that one coming), there is pretty much nothing left except very expensive boats, or basket cases that will break their new owners’ hearts and wallets long before they go anywhere.
Competitive With Refits
Talking of that, the refit budget work Colin and I did last year showed clearly that the idea of buying an old boat and fixing it for peanuts to be safe and comfortable for offshore cruising is in most cases a pipe dream.
So even if the eventual price of the A40 must be more than the original target of US$200,00—some increase will clearly be required just to take the inflation of the last 9 years into account—she will still be for many people a better alternative that refitting an old boat.
And one thing COVID has taught all of us is that life is uncertain and short, so grasp it with both hands—do you want to grind fibreglass or go voyaging?
What If Still Too Much Money?
The other cool thing is that even for those who can’t afford a new Adventure 40—while much less expensive than most new boats, it’s still a lot of money—there are still benefits just because the boat exists:
- Will take the pressure off the secondhand market for decent refit candidates.
- Will in time result in a pool of relatively new secondhand Adventure 40s for sale.
I can also see that this project can, and should, result in fleets of shared-use Adventure 40s (very much the European model that Pascal and Maxime sail in) available to enjoy for a small fraction of the cost of individual ownership.
Low Cost Of Ownership
Also, the cost of ownership on the Adventure 40 will be way lower than most refitted boats because Adventure 40s, if we do this right, will both hold their value and cost less to maintain.
Pascal and Maxime’s strategy is to act as facilitators to bring together all the parts—design, building, marketing—using existing resources in Europe, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel by setting up a new builder. Makes a lot of sense to me.
As with the original Adventure 40, Pascal and Maxime’s intent is to solicit input from AAC members as the boat is specified.
That said, it’s important to understand that the Adventure 40 was never a crowd-sourced boat and is not intended to be one now, but rather a wholesome boat that started out as a distillation of my offshore voyaging experience, and then was, and will continue to be, tested with the crowd and improved with suggestions that are consistent with the core concepts.
After the initial specification and consultation with AAC members, scheduled to be completed by late summer 2021, the project will progress through four more phases. I will let Pascal and Maxime tell you about them (lightly edited):
Phase 2 – Preliminary design of the boat
A preliminary design is necessary to know more about the demand for the Adventure 40. We don’t need the complete architectural study at this point, but we do need a preliminary study: hull, deck and rig plans, weight distribution, keel, engine and rudder configuration, and interior layout. Hence an architect will be chosen, to whom a preliminary study will be ordered. The financing of this study will have to be defined.
Phase 2 is complete when we have a preliminary design (v2) that is consistent, well-explained, well-illustrated, and, above all, true to Specifications V1.x.
Phase 3 – Finalization of the design of the boat and the entire project
Phase 3 is the most crucial for the success of the project. We will:
- determine the number of boats to be built per year,
- have the detailed plans (V3.0) drawn by the architect, and certificated (CE marking),
- decide our strategy regarding “testing and adjusting” : what is tested then frozen from V3 on, and what can be adjusted after the first boat,
- finalize the choice of the shipyard and the organization,
- decide on the selling price.
Phase 4 – Deploying the human, technical and financial resources
Phase 4 will involve the large monetary investments:
- preparing the shipyard and its tools,
- building the molds,
- building boat #1 (A40 V4.0), and verifying the interior arrangement in the process,
- test-sailing boat #1.
Phase 5 – Production
Then the serial building will start.
There you have it, a credible plan to make the Adventure 40 real from two guys who have ideal experience, both sailing and professional.
This is exactly what I hoped would happen all along: that someone would understand the potential of the Adventure 40 project and take the first steps without me having to “sell” them on the idea.
Will the Adventure 40 become a real boat now? That’s mostly up to us (the market) to show we are smart enough to turn our backs on cheaply built marina queens and embrace a real offshore boat at a fair price.
- The whole story of the Adventure 40.
- A quick introduction to the Adventure 40 free to non-members:
- Reality about refits
So if you are interested in buying an Adventure 40, please sign up on the form below to receive future updates on the boat.
We will only send you emails that are relevant to the Adventure 40.
If you have questions or thoughts, please leave a comment. I will be available as usual and Maxime will be available every few days (he has a demanding “real” job) to answer questions.
Hi John, this is great news!!!
Quick bug report: on my iPhone, I tried submitting my email address to the enbedded form but was unable to type anything in. (The name fields worked fine.)
Feel free to delete this comment after squashing the bug 🙂
Thanks for the heads up. Fixed now, I think. Please try again.
Sorry, John. I could fill the boxes. The “subscribe” button does not work.
Thanks and best wishes,
Charles L Starke MD
That’s strange I just tested it (for the second time) and it works fine for me. Check your email (spam too) and see if there is a email asking you to confirm. Thanks
Nothing happens when I press subscribe. What should happen? Does it confirm my choice? No email yet to confirm choice in mail or spam.
A note comes up under the subscribe button telling you to check you email. What kind of device are you using: phone, computer, tablet?
My thoughts based on my own, current, experiences.
The $200k currently translates to £145k and with 9 years inflation at 14.5%, is about $229k or about £167k. Straw Poll suggests that 2000 – 2010 Alubat Ovni’s around the 40′ LOA range are within this price bracket with modest refit costs added (there is no free lunch). Compared to the ubiquitous Bavaria in the EU at 40′ LOA, same decade, the highest is priced at $143k (£105k) for a 2010 model, much less, almost half for the 2000 models. My main concern is that as middle men, with other parties involved in the design, build and exchequer take (hi in the EU), the challenge to keep the price low as everyone takes a bite of the pie will be difficult or make margins very tight.
The market globally, one could suggest, and as you imply, is for a Bavaria style yacht, as that is what people want (or wanted), which means that adventure style yachts are a niche market; implication being that economies of scale will not be as beneficial, adding to the price challenge. I suggest that the likes of Bavaria has benefited from the consumption of retired Baby Boomers who rode the spectacular growth wave over their working lives and found they could access the sun and sail markets en mass with their retirement status at that time.
However, we are entering a period where the first of the Gen-X’s born from 1964 onwards, are nearing 60 years of age. A sad fact of life is that their elderly boomer parents are dying off. This Generation has most of the boomer benefits, perhaps access to inheritance, less love of consumption and an awareness of doing things differently to their parents, they may not want the Boomer sun and sea lifestyle: summer sailing and winter skiing (a 1960’s aspiration based on what was seen as wealthy lifestyle); Gen-X want to see something different.
There is no doubt that adventure cruising is increasing in popularity and that interest in it is high. I have seen on Facebook quite a few new groups dedicated only to northern latitude sailing, starting over the last couple of years, also AAC being mentioned more often in other forums as a resource to go to, more folks talking about post working life adventure sailing and the rise of adventure sailing reporting in popular sailing media. My assumptions based on following these discussions are that most who are likely to do this are early 50s to around the early 60s i.e. Gen-x or last of the Boomers. Many will settle for the pain and drain of second hand yacht refits and many more look at prices and baulk at what is being asked for ready to sail yachts, new or second hand and that is your target population.
It is great that the A40 opportunity is being revived, I think the challenge to make it affordable will be significant (EU is not known for the low costs within it’s western countries compared to the likes of the USA), but I also think that the target market is there and funded if the timing is right. I don’t know about timing, so many variables, funding kids who can’t get jobs that pay meaningful salaries e.g. deposit on their home or settling education debt means a chunk out of the sailing budget (100% in some cases), which makes that Bavaria more likely, yet inheriting parents homes may give cash a boost, but country taxes as Covid debt needs to be paid may impact and inflationary pressures are forecast, thus eroding capital and increasing costs. I mention these things because the market is not likely the very wealthy who can afford new adventure sailing ready boats, but the masses of ordinary people who get to a good position in life, but will have to pay, unlike their Boomer parents who did not.
I love the A40 concept, keeping it straightforward and simple to keep the costs down. I think the modern production methods of mass produced yachts may be required to achieve that price but wonder if the volume will justify the set up costs. I think the market will respond to a low cost boat, because most who want this type of sailing, just see the types of boats that we would want to use as being unobtainable from a price perspective. Last point, marketing people know what buttons to push for sales which is why we have huge cockpits, wide galleys and large saloons. There is a marketing challenge required to address this, because some of the market will be aspirational adventure sailors who in their heart of hearts know that the boat will be bought if they can justify marina living. I don’t know how this would be addressed but it must incorporate Green credentials, safety, reliability, comfort and low cost of ownership compared to the current offerings. This latter part is the other aspect I see talked about in forums: the high cost of boat ownership.
For sure, it will be a challenge, but one worth looking at. Good luck.
Fascinating and cogent insight.
Lots of good thoughts, but don’t forget we already created a market for this boat once, and that was at a time where there were many more good second hand boats out there than there are now.
Also with a boat like the A40 final cost is a lot more about efficiency in the manufacturing process than base in-country costs for things like labour. That’s how the French have already pretty much nuked North American boat building, even though their cost of labour is higher.
Heck, even J-Boat, the quintessential American brand has moved all manufacturing to France.
And finally here is how we will save at least 35% of cost base in comparison to any other new boat: https://www.morganscloud.com/2015/07/25/unbundling-the-adventure-40/
As an ex boat builder based in RI then ME, but lately out of touch with the industry, what you say is interesting to me. I knew many shops were struggling or, for composite shops, moving beyond the marine industry, but I hadn’t known France was taking over like you say. I thought my choice of a French boat was due to it being aluminum, which we don’t do here so much. I remember though, working at goetz in RI in the early 2000s, some French sailers were passing through on some boat that needed a repair on one of their foils, and even among some of the old hands there foils were a bit novel.
Yes, the incredible pivot to boat building in France is something I only really noticed a couple of years ago when at the US Sailboat Show. Judging by the boats there it should be renamed the French Sailboat Show!
Also, these days the really big shows are all in Europe: METS, Duseeldorf, La Rochelle
And then when we look at advances in boat design, particularly IMOCA, France again.
Well, we’ve found the head of marketing…buyer persona nailed.
Fantastic news, John. I know this is a project near and dear to many hearts.
Oh my. Our whole boat search priorities and philosophy has just changed. Our broker will be so confused. 😉
Hi John, much appreciated, thanks!
What about an Adventure 32? At 40′ you’re pricing yourself out of a huge segment of the market that would like to get a serious boat but can’t afford the upkeep and dockage (let alone the purchase price) of a 40′ boat. I know personally if I was given gratis a 40′ boat, I would sell it and put the money into a smaller boat and leave sooner and stay gone longer.
I answer that here (scroll down): https://www.morganscloud.com/2013/01/07/adventure-40-faqthe-boat/
Also, it’s important not to confuse LOA with size: https://www.morganscloud.com/2012/11/30/adventure-40-its-about-displacement-and-righting-moment/
It seems to me that the crux of the matter is in the phrase “the financing of this study will have to be defined.”
Plucking a figure out of the air for the study only I would guess $35 k US. This would normally be provided by the 2 guys and if they are unable or unwilling to do so it would not bode well.
A suggested designer is Tony Castro for reputation and experience and a lower cost alternative is Paul Bury of Australia who I have used extensively on my project and would highly recommend.. Concept drawings and quotes for the study should be forthcoming for around $5k each. This should be the first step.
An alternative financing plan would be to have the buyers who indicated they were prepared to put down a deposit fund the study by lodging their share with a trustee, say yourself, who would then disburse as the study progressed.
This study would enable fixed qoutes for the final plansand a very close quote for building based on 3, 5, and 10 boats.
Deposits could then be forthcoming to get production underway.
Hope this may prove useful and that the project comes to fruition.
No question that they will need to come up with some seed capital. Originally we figured about $US750,000, but that included starting from scratch and building the prototype. If they can get an existing builder interested the number would be a lot lower, probably very close to your estimate.
The key to designer selection is going to be finding someone who really “gets” the boat and will stick to the original concept, rather than try and turn it into “their boat”.
If the business plan is compelling then the funding will follow. As an investor in many startup businesses, I have NEVER seen a robust business plan, led by a strong team, fail to get funding.
The funds required to get this off the ground are not, by professional investor standards, large. If the designer/architect engaged is a known name then it will be even easier to get funding. (I suggest Dudley Dix, but I admire to being conflicted as he designed my beautiful Shearwater 45. )
You are right, the key to funding is a good plan and I think these guys have the experience and credibility put one together. As you say, the amount, while a lot of money to each of us individually, is trivial by start up standards.
Excellent news. Now I’d like to address something related, but different: a powerboat version of the Adventure 40.
I have been in contact with Dickey Boats in NZ, re. getting a LRC58, Dennis’s design that was talked about in the Adventure 40 discussions, as a possible ‘dark side’ variation. The reality is that, today, an LRC58 will be somewhere between 1.4–1.8 million NZD.
I am commenting here only to raise that point of discussion in parallel. If there’s no interest, no problem, but I would like it raised, if possible.
We have talked about that in the past and in fact I put quite a lot of time into the idea including some long chats with Steve Dashew, so if you and others can get some traction going in the same way as Pascal and Maxime are doing with the A40 I will certainly write about it.
One thing to know is if you want an offshore version the absolute minimum it can be done for is about US$600,000 and probably closer to a million. Where in that spread depends on number of boats in first build.
What a great news!
Not that I am in the market to buy an A40 in the next 2-5 years, but I would be extremely happy to see this project succeed.
Excellent news. I let my AAC membership expire due to the stagnation of the A40. I just renewed. Please keep me on the very interested list.
Good to hear, I’m thinking the next step is a to put together a survey, so make sure you sign up for the separate list above to make sure you’re included.
Great news John. I was ready to buy an A40 then turned to a Boreal 47 when the project stalled. Dreaming now what I might of done with the extra $$$. I wish you success.
First of all, many thanks John for introducing us so kindly! The illustration with our national flag is very pleasant 🙂
We must say this in public: we’re really grateful to John for having created and put a lot of thinking in the project, and for having then “set it free”. We will do our best to be up to this vision and efforts, and take the project further!
Thanks to those who already responded with encouragements!
Since the original discussions were some years ago, we very much look forward to the collective feedback: are you a potential owner of an A40? If we succeed, what will determine your decision to buy or not to buy one?
@ Alastair and William: we too are impatient to get to the point where we will speak finances and business plans! However, first things first: our immediate goals right now are 1) to get a first feedback of what the interest for the A40 is, now in 2021 – and John is doing us a big favor by allowing this right here, 2) to write the specifications down, in a form that will allow signing a contract with an architect, to undertake the preliminary design.
Really excited to see this get picked back up. Went back through and read all the articles related to the A40 and I really like the premise, initial spec and layout. Great job pulling this together John.
To your question Maxime – I can definitely see myself being a potential owner. How well you can execute against the concept of a simple yet very robust offshore boat setup for a couple without cutting any critical corners will be a big factor. Price is obviously a concern, but I would rather see the price go up if it’s well spent on key aspects of the design. Certainly John’s stamp of approval through the whole process will go a long way to satisfying those concerns and will be a critical piece of the project from my perspective. Unfortunately I have one other concern and that is headroom. Sufficient headroom for my 6’4” height would likely be the final decision point for me personally if all other aspects of the build have been met.
Looking forward to seeing what you and Pascal can accomplish.
Great to hear you might be interested in a boat.
That said, I would not predicate the purchase of any boat on headroom. Adding too much headroom to a boat can have a lot of downsides, particularly making the bilge too shallow and the cabin sole too narrow as well as leaving no room for tankage. On deck too much headroom can make the boat look boxy and result in side decks that are two narrow.
I’m 6’2″ with a bad back and arthritic degeneration in my neck so I get why you might value headroom a lot, but even so I think making it a non-negotiable criteria is a mistake since the downsides may easily outweigh the benefits.
This is not just preaching in that the lead contender boat to replace Morgan’s Cloud does not have standing headroom for me in much of the cabin.
The bottom line is that when living on a boat we really don’t stand much, and even when we do, it’s often possible to reduce hight by leaning against something and bending our knees a bit.
Thanks a lot for the confirmation that sticking to the concept and to quality will be pivotal. That’s how we see this too.
Regarding headroom, this is a difficult tradeoff. And an important one: we aim to put as much tankage and storage as possible under the floors, and, going forward, the deck at mast foot, where hoisting/reefing is done, must not be too high. At this point, our draft of the specifications (in progress) states that there must be at least 1,90 meters available at the main places – so, sadly, not enough for you to stand comfortably. But that’s just a first figure, in the initial draft of a document.
I think that 1.9m is a good target for the reasons you state. No question that some people will pass the boat by because of it, but the whole point of the A40 is that we are building the best offshore cruising boat for the money, not a boat that tries to be all things to all people.
A thought. I’m under the impression that many marinas raise rental when a boat goes above 12 metres or 40 feet. If I’m right it might be a good idea to keep the L.O.A. to slightly less than that given that this boat is going to appeal to people who have lower level budgets. The L.W.L. could still be long and the anchor kept off the topsides by having a pivoting anchor sprit.
Our boat, designed under a different Canadian tax regime (and apparently, one still using Imperial measurements) in the 1980s is 39 feet, 11 inches LOD (and for tax purposes!) and 41′ 10″ when the bowsprit is included. Unless the berth is unusually tight, I just call it a 40 footer or a 12 metre boat. It does show how boat designers must draw at least partially on artificial distinctions such as “a fraction under 40 feet” in length. I do not know if building the Adventure 40 prototype in France would affect this consideration, or if it would affect its appeal in North America in the present day or the near future.
I agree 110.. call it 39.8
An interesting thought.
However, based on over 25 years of cruising all over the North Atlantic and Caribbean I have never seen (that I can remember) a marina that kicks the rate per foot up at 40-feet. If there is an increase in per foot rate it’s pretty much always at 50-feet. Given that I would not constrain the designer with that limitation.
Length is a very important variable for a whole bunch of different things. For example Erik was able to dramatically improve the layout below by increasing the overall length to 42 feet.
I will want the new designer to have the same flexibility since artificially constraining length is a lot of the reason that so many modern boats are as poorly designed as they are. Or to put it another way if you see “the biggest 40′ boat you can buy” run a mile.
And finally, the best way for a money constrained cruiser (aren’t we all) to save money is to stay out of marinas in the first place: https://www.morganscloud.com/2014/10/01/five-ways-to-save-big-money-while-cruising-part-1/
Sailing in the Med — there is most definitely a 12m distinction in marinas. If the boat can stay out of marinas with optionality (watermaker, tankage etc) built in, great..but there are very few anchorage / mooring ball options in the Med. So, market segmentation can focus on the budget conscious cruiser.
Out of curiosity, I’ve looked at the price list of the marina in Croatia where out boat is stored and found that they charge flat price for daily or annual berths in the water for all boats up to 12,99m. On a euro/meter basis, that’s actually disadvantaging all the Pardeys out there who want to stay at this particular marina.
I looked at the price list of another random Croatian marina and found that on euro/meter/annum basis, the optimal boat length is 8,99m and the price jump from 11,99m to 12,00m is not at all remarkable.
This, of course, gives us only very limited information, but my two spot checks did not confirm your assertion.
Thanks for the research. As you say, not definitive, but still valuable. To me anyway it’s a non issue where the A40 is concerned. See my comment to Calvin.
I certainly remember a 12-meter/40-foot cut-off in many marinas in the Med (as well as in Northern Europe). And, some areas, for sure it is likely, sometimes mandatory, to be in marinas, but in our 4-5 years of wandering the length and breadth of the Med 6-8 months a year, the vast majority of our overnights were at anchor. This is especially the case if you stay away from the frequented areas (The Balearics, S coast of Spain and France) or visit them in the off-season.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Thanks for the fill on that, invaluable real world experience.
You may be right, (but see Alex’s research), I have never cruised the Med, so can’t be sure.
Anyway, regardless, my thinking is that constraining an offshore voyaging boat for marinas is a serious mistake and I will argue against it to the end.
The key to good design is understanding the mission and sitting in a marina is not the A40 mission, that’s what Bennies are for. A40s are for those heading for far horizons.
And further I suspect that the target market for the A40 will have a cruising profile much like the one Phyllis and I practiced for 30 years: if marinas were the only option in an area we just moved on.
Glad to hear I was labouring under a false.
I wouldn’t worry too much about arbitrary cutoffs like that. Each place is a little different, and optimizing for one will put you on the wrong side of the line for another.
If you are close to 20 metres LOA, there’s a big cost and regulatory advantage to staying below that mark, but that’s a waaaaay bigger boat than we’re talking about here. Staying just below 12 metres can bring some benefits in places like the Med, but that’s more of a marina thing than a rules thing.
And the A40 is meant to go places, not to sit at the dock. If you want to obsessively optimize your boat size per marina dollar, buy a houseboat.
Hi Matt, John,
So agree with your Marina comment – it’s an ADVENTURE 40…if someone wants to visit marinas, buy an already great value costal boat from any of a half-a-dozen super competent production boat companies.
But on the other hand 12 metres is the magical length of a 40 foot flat-deck container, and more importantly the length of a standard slot on a container vessel. Given the recent hike in shipping costs with COVID19, and possible long tail, might 12 metres be a great target length?
If over 12 metres is the sweet-spot for maximising accomodation layout, then could the boat be designed with a massive watertight bulkhead at the 12 metre cut-off, with a bolt on bow section as another selling feature (sacrificial in the event of collisions and easy replacement from spares stock in France)?
Cutting out the dealer channel and shipping straight to market will require an innovative shipping solution and perhaps the A40 could get another price advantage with some careful design work to meet John’s “unbundled” boat-in-a-box approach?
Whilst talking about spares stock, an Adventure 40 owner, living up to the boat’s name should reasonably expect rapid access to standard spares. As a minimum I would expect a complete rudder with composite shaft attached, tiller, mast, boom and any other mission critical A40 custom fabrication. Anything that could reasonably be expected to get broken in an accident.
Now spares access is something “Benny” do masterfully – even our twenty year old B473 has almost every critical part available ex-stock still today, including the rudder with its composite stock. A Benny by the way that almost never visits a marina, haha!
I hear you on the shipping issues, but given that the whole idea is that it’s an offshore boat customers will be encouraged to take delivery in France and sail it home. No matter what we did, shipping the boat is going to add a lot of cost.
As to bolt on bow, we are trying to keep this boat simple, so while that’s an innovative idea, it goes against several of the A40 core values: https://www.morganscloud.com/2014/08/31/twenty-adventure-40-core-principles/
As to parts, absolutely. And that will be way easier for the A40 builder since the boat will have zero options.
Between my record weekly interest payment from Celsius Network and this news, its the best Monday I have had in a long time. I’d like to offer my support on developing a commercialization plan should you feel the need, pro-bona of course. This is a force of good, that needs to be nurtured back to life.
Quelle belle nouvelle!
As an exercise, I’ve been thinking about the marketing angle of this and how to poke some holes in it. Here’s some half-baked thoughts.
None of these comments are meant to be overly negative, I just enjoy the process of playing devil’s advocate in the hopes that it makes for a better final plan. This will be fun to follow!
All interesting thoughts indeed.
To your second point, I think it shouldn’t be very hard to come up with a tagline. I just thought of one while reading your comment: “A40 – A boat to go, not to dream”. Funny enough, I then went to check out HR website and saw that their headline is “Hallberg-Rassy – Your dream yacht within reach”. See? A40 would immediately stand out 🙂
This is, of course, all coming from a guy who knows nothing about marketing, so take it with a grain of salt.
Well that’s solved! I’m going to add it to the A40 page right now. Thank you, Alex,
The pleasure is all mine
First off, thanks for taking the time to contribute. I know you are crazy busy, so doubly appreciated. Here’s what I’m thinking about your very good points:
1 and 3). I hear you on positioning and price, but that’s for conventional marketing based on advertising and promotion by the builder of the product and sold through dealers and boat shows.
This is content marketing and completely different. One could also call it education marketing, where third parties without a conflict of interest:
who have credibility through experience, explain what really matters when buying a the product. This takes years to build: AAC goes 18 this year.
This solves the age old problem where you have to have experienced the product (offshore boats) to buy the right product, but most buyers of new boats are inexperienced so buy the wrong boat…catch 22.
And we know this works because we already did it with 350 people signed up and ten ready to put down deposits as of 5 years ago.
And in the last 48 hours 52 new people signed up and only 13 unsubscribed even though it has been 5 years since they last heard from us. (75% of the originals opened the latest email as at now) I don’t have to tell you what incredible numbers those are.
Bottom line, when you sell someone on an idea with content marketing, they stay sold!
Another good example would be Steve Dashew who for 40 years sold boats that would never sell otherwise—an ugly* unpainted aluminium motor boat for 3 million bucks—through content marketing.
The final example is 59 North. No one would go sailing with you if you just put an ad in yachting mags. First you teach them why sailing offshore with an experienced mentor matters, through your pod cast and Quarterdeck, then they go sailing with you.
2. Tagline: solved, see below, although still open to suggestions and improvements.
4. Cost of ownership.
The work I have been doing on a refit budget clearly shows that it’s not replacing worn out gear that kills a refit, it’s slipping into rebuild.
And most older boats end up being rebuilds (look at your Swan 44 and Arcturus) both have ended up costing big even though they were well built at first, just because they 30-40 years old—I’m adding up what the previous owners put in before you and your spending.
A ten year old A40 will be a way better deal, both because it’s newer and because we are thinking about stuff like making the boat so the big ticket items won’t be a problem. Examples:
All paid for by the savings from using direct content marketing: https://www.morganscloud.com/2015/07/25/unbundling-the-adventure-40/
Thanks again for your points, really got me thinking. The above might be the basis for the next post on the A40
How about we thrash this out on the podcast? Get August in on it too.
*I think they are cool, but it’s not a conventional or pretty boat.
John an interesting comparison, but in a different market segment, is the Kraken yachts. They’ve gone all-in on being the only true bluewater boats out there, with skeg-hung rudders and internal keel ballast. They launched a magazine and podcast called OCEAN SAILOR, which is full of propaganda and I frankly think very bad for offshore sailing in general. They’ve taken the attitude that if it’s not an internal keel and skeg-rudder, it’s unsuited for ocean sailing, and that’s just misinforming people I think. As AAC knows, it’s way more nuanced! But a good study on how they’ve tried to fill that niche in their own way.
To me the big take away from Kraken is that they are not doing content marketing as you and I do it, but rather just product promotion, just the same as any other company selling something.
True content marketing is dependent on the content being primary and the product, if any, being secondary. For example you talk about what you truly believe on On The Wind and then if someone decides that they want to go sailing with you, well that’s cool. But you don’t structure your content to make that happen. That comes though in everything you do and it is, I believe, the secret of your success.
Here at AAC we are perhaps even more truly content based in that we now take no advertising and don’t benefit from the Adventure 40 so our content is the product, not something else we are trying to sell. So when we say that the A40 is a good offshore boat, and explain why, we have cred that Kraken will never have no matter how much money they throw at it.
Bottom line, for content marketing to work the content itself must lead and must be authentic.
And I agree, a lot of what Kraken say is wrong, overly simplistic, and damaging to offshore sailing.
I think keeping the price down to ~$200k to $250k, ready to sail, is actually a very important part of this effort. I don’t think it’s a weird middle ground at all.
What demographics are likely to buy this boat, by the time Pascal & Maxime get her built, tested, and ready to sell? Largely my own – professional-class millennials – plus GenX and, once the boat’s established, the small handful of GenZ who are on track to being financially secure.
Most of those are people who are still fighting to earn wealth, rather than watching it accumulate by itself in stocks and real estate, and don’t have 20th-century luxuries like unions or job security. The idea of having $300-$400k tied up in a financed boat is terrifying to people like me. But a lot of us might be willing to take on a $200k marine mortgage, or a <50% loan against a $500k house, knowing that there’s a hard floor on how much we could lose if it all goes sideways in an instant.
Also, looking at the kind of boats and cars that my millionaire friends have been driving lately, I think it’s safe to say few of them give a damn about varnished teak or hand-carved oak inlays. They want stuff that’s elegantly designed, that works, that’s low maintenance, that feels like it’s worth what it cost, and that they can enjoy as intended rather than having someone repair it every month.
Andy, these are very valid points. In essence you’re asking what is the value proposition of the boat? What problem (s) will the boat solve? The $200k price point for a 40′ is the hook. But as you well laid, out the total cost of ownership is the devil in the details, which a layperson has no idea on. So, if this boat could draw in a community that has experience/ passion to make this an attractive purchase, where one size fits all, or at least 80%, then it has a chance.
One thing, I think needs to be considered, is the force of customization desires. John’s made it clear in the past , there is not going to be any. I think I read that right?. If so , its a serious limiter. It could be handled by an associate company, that can take the customization orders, think AMG for Mercedes. My guess, this is where the majority of the profit will come from.
Promoting an untested boat is a challenge. There are influencers out there, including you Andy, and others here that could test drive the boat but it needs a long test run to be convincing..Who is going to buy Hull#1? I know one guy who’d be a great spokesman, Erik Aanderaa
I like Alex’s tag line.. a boat to go on, not dream on!
Collaboration – typing ideas here is ok,but not sustainable. Setup a Clubhouse channel for weekly brainstorms with the community. Use Zoom for meetings requiring presentations etc.
Finally, the money. Going up against Beney and the Boys, is a daunting task. We need an army , a community that goes beyond sailors but includes entrepreneurs who can provide additional sales/revenue channels. How about franchising sailing schools and chartering, built on the Adventure 40 platform? Pitch to investors a theme like AirBnB, Booking.com or a similar business that has a network effect. Looking at all the subscribers on YouTube, there are a lot of dreamers out there.
I am one of them and excited to see this project’s heartbeat again.
Interesting comments, a few thoughts in answer:
Really interested to follow the progress of the A40 and wish it all the best. Unfortunately it’s probably too late for me. I’m a novice sailor who bought a 30 year old Starlight 39 last October. The cost of the work I’ve had done makes 200k for a new boat seem a very logical alternative.
I agree with your point about real decisions and real progress being made on paper (or at least in text). However, so far there’s been a natural focus on the design. It may be happening behind the scenes but, like Calvin, I hope someone is thinking about the marketing and promotion. It’d be a real shame if the A40 became one more product that struggles to give the world what it needs rather than what it wants.
If I understand your target market correctly it sounds as though they’re not really the same crowd as the AAC readership? The biggest challenges are going to be getting noticed and then explaining why the AC40 is different. There are lots of great reasons to want the AC40 but success is going to require some very effective marketing.
Best of luck with the project and thank you for all the other sound advice. My spade arrived a couple of weeks ago and we’ve just about worked out how to fit it on the bow roller.
First off, wishing you all the best with the new boat.
It’s interesting to me that many of the comments to this post are worries about marketing and promotion. That’s the last thing I worry about simply because it’s already done and dusted: we created a market four years ago, and latest sign ups and retention on the A40 list indicate that said market is both sticky and has grown.
In fact the big problem with the A40 was always getting the boat built, not finding enough people to buy her. Hopefully Pascal and Maxime will fix that.
Also not sure why you would assume that the market for A40 would be different than AAC membership? I would guess the exact opposite. Anyway, easy to check, by running a compare on the A40 list against our membership table. I will do that. Thanks for triggering the idea to do that.
I’m not sure how typical my own experience was but I spent two or three years researching possible boats. I subscribed to two sailing mags and followed all the forums and YouTube channels that seemed relevant. I ended up with a shortlist of the usual suspects (Malo, HR, Najad, Ovni etc.) but the boats within my budget were so old they felt like ‘project boats’ I didn’t have the experience or time to take on.
My point is that when I had money burning a hole in my pocket I hadn’t come across AAC. I’ve met several people since who know it well, but they’re all experienced sailors who already own a blue water boat.
Some of these folk will of course be interested in a change but I thought the hope was to open up expedition sailing to a new crowd?
Ah, I see what you mean.
That said, I still think that the best way to get the A40 out there is to, at least initially, limit exposure to AAC. The problem with trying to make the boat widely known through conventional marketing is that it’s very expensive to do that, and often ineffective.
For example, I would guess that the price of say a Beneteau includes at least 30% in advertising, promotion and sales costs, might easily be more. I would rather see that money put into quality build, particularly since our experience five years ago showed that we should not have any problem getting at least 10 initial orders once a boat is designed.
Then, once the boats are out there, I think the word will get around pretty quickly—buzz marketing. In fact that will probably happen even before the first boat is launched. We saw that five years ago when other sites and even magazines picked up the story as soon as we had a few sketch’s from Erik. And the great thing about that is that true editorial coverage (not paid for) is at least an order of magnitude more effective than advertising.
By the way, we have already seen this work with the Boreal line of boats. They are one of the most successful boat builders in business today and have never advertised but rather relied exclusively on content marketing and buzz. I would also venture to guess that at least a third of their boats were sold because of exposure here at AAC.
As to the issue of sales effort (different than marketing) we already have a plan for that: https://www.morganscloud.com/2015/07/25/unbundling-the-adv
The key here is that people believe what I write, or at least believe that I’m authentic even if they disagree, because I’m not getting paid to write by a third party. Rather I work for you and the other members and therefore my interest is aligned with yours.
And finally, note that we receive a little over 200,000 unique visitors a year here at AAC, a great deal more circulation than any magazine, and that about 50% come from organic search (google mostly).
If your interested in learning more about how effective true editorial exposure and content marketing is I suggest the writings of Seth Godin: https://www.sethgodin.com
Sign me up for the “My next boat’s an AC40” transom sticker
What a great idea. We need A40 swag: stickers, bags, tee shirts. Maybe half models when we have a design. Might be a nice little business for someone. Any volunteers to organize this?
The idea of creating A40 swag got my gears turning over the last few weeks, and I’m interested in pursuing it. My professional skills include logo design and web development, so I’d like to: A) Volunteer a logo for use on the A40 project and B) Set up a web shop where folks could order quality items featuring custom A40 graphics.
I have a draft logo that I will post here after I consider the best way to present it on a public forum. For now, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the idea of goods offered through a web store.
Also, I hope others will chime in with what particular goods they’d be interested in.
It will take time to find the best suppliers, develop each design, order samples and test for quality, and finally put up a retail storefront on the web. For starting out, I believe the best approach will be to offer a few simple print-on-demand items such as coffee mugs, stickers, and tote bags (all of which are easy to source and test). Later, if there is interest, we could offer posters, hats, t-shirts, polo shirts, duffle bags, etc. (These items are either harder to find in good quality and/or require more design effort and/or testing.)
I’m very concerned with only offering high quality goods, both for the reputation of the A40 project, and because the last thing people need is more useless junk that only ends up being discarded. So it’s essential that each item be fully tested and meet a high standard before being offered.
Half hull models would be another level up from the soft goods, being more complicated and expensive to source (might require a pre-order program, for example), but indeed a bridge we can cross when we come to it.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this.
Just to give you an idea of what we can do, here’s a draft design for Charlie’s humorous transom sticker. We have lots more ideas as well. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated! 🙂
(Click the image to view it at the proper aspect ratio.)
Love it! When can I get one?
After reading one of John’s more recent posts about solo docking it occurred to me that all the reasons men buy boats are pretty primal.
How about a lady’s T with the slogan
“A40 – the boat that gets me there”
(hat tip to the famous VW ad)
That all sounds good to me. That said, I wonder if tee and polo shirts might not be more popular than mugs and stickers. The other advantage is that people wearing an A40 shirt are free advertising for the boat: “what’s an A40” “wow have I got a story for you”.
Love the half model idea and I know a company that does that cost effectively. Definitely something we should do as soon as there is a design.
I really like the logo you sent us. I can also put is up as part of an article on AAC marketing that I was thinking about anyway. Great because it shows that people like you are willing to put skin in the game. Let me know if that works for you.
My other thought is that this should be done in concert with Maxime and Pascal so that, if they like it, they use the same logo. The three of you can, I’m sure, figure out a fair way to do this, so everyone gets properly compensated.
Thanks for your response and feedback.
I agree that shirts will be both more popular and better advertising. And more fun! T-shirts are easier to source than polos, and since they’re printed rather than embroidered, there’s a lot more workable area. After considering the issue further, they seem to be the best starting point.
I have a draft design, so will order samples from some different suppliers this weekend to see who has the best quality. I should be able to make a selection after some wash-testing. (The A40 program is all about testing prototypes, right? 🙂 )
If things move along smoothly on this end, perhaps I could coordinate the storefront launch with your marketing post. That would definitely get the best response. I can probably give you an idea of the timeline I’m looking at after I receive samples, and see if it’s compatible with your posting schedule.
Below is a draft design (suitable for t-shirts and tote bags) with a fresh take on some tag lines. (I’m fortunate to have an in-house copywriter who lends me her services.) I’d be interested in any feedback you and others have. The suggestion box is open!
I’d be happy to coordinate with Maxime and Pascal to see if they’re interested in the logo design or something similar for use on their materials. I’ll also send you an updated version in various sizes that can be used on AAC posts.
Very excited to get the ball rolling on the A40 swag project!
That’s incredible. I love both parts of the copy and the logo. Way better than anything I had in mind. This is so cool I think it deserves an article all of it’s own. Just let me know when you are ready to go and I will do that. Sign me up for the first shirt.
Wow, John, thanks! Really glad you like the design! There’s always a bit of uncertainty when introducing a design, and it’s a great feeling to know we captured some of the spirit and intent of the project.
While printed tees and sundry items are about as simple a project as one can get, there are still bound to be complications. The first, as I’ve just learned, is that direct-to-garment printing (the process used by print-on-demand services, known as DTG) tends to work better on light color fabrics. So I will make a variation suitable for white or light gray t-shirts and get samples printed of both that and the navy blue version above.
I’ll let you know about the estimated timeline as soon as I have anything that isn’t a WAG. 🙂
Sounds good, I’m in for the first Tee shirt and will post a pic of it me wearing it. Hope that does not wreck the project! Size large please.
It’s great to see that others are ready to put some skill and effort into the A40!! The drawings are very good indeed. And thank you John for having asked for others to do this!
As “soon” as we will be close to launching production (so not that soon!), we can discuss whether and on what terms we would use your drawings, and of course we will be happy if we can find an agreement to make things work together!
Thanks for the kind words about the designs! And also, for being open-minded about the possibility of using them, which is a great compliment. I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement when the time comes, but of course you’re under no obligation to use something that has been volunteered.
Hopefully the image will look good on the upcoming shirts, and will inspire many A40 related conversations this summer. 🙂
Would you or Pascal have any suggestions for a French language tagline? The best I could come up with is, “prêt au large dès le premier jour”, but without much fluency I don’t know if such a literal translation of the English sounds awkward to a native speaker.
Another great idea to add a French tagline. Makes the point that this will be an international boat, and of course will be great here in Canada.
Perhaps “prêt à partir en le premier jour” or “fait pour partir le premier jour”? Good slogan however it’s tweaked.
We apologize for our answer coming so late, we should have kept the habit of checking this page.
Rather than having one english and one french tagline, we think a mix might be a good solution – something in english with a french touch, that people from both sides would easily understand, even without much knowledge of the other language. We’ll do some brainstorming and try to come out with something!
No worries about the late reply; I haven’t quite adapted to the the new “subscribe to comments” feature myself, and only saw your reply this weekend.
I look forward to your ideas for a “cross cultural” slogan. It seems like a tough assignment to me, but fortunately you have a far better command of English than I do of French. 🙂
For now, the sample t-shirts I ordered are only in English, but do have a small tricolor flag. In my approach to the logo, I tried to take inspiration from certain French graphic design styles, though the final composition is quite eclectic.
Any input that you would like to share on how you feel the project would be best represented to the audience here on AAC and regionally in FR and the EU would be most welcome! (I try to absorb all the information I can as part of the design process.)
Also, a general update on the shirts: I should be receiving samples around the third week of June, and if they look good (and hold up to washing) the storefront can go live shortly thereafter.
John, if these dates hold and you are ready, perhaps a tentative date for a related post on A40 marketing could be around July 1?
I updated the slogan to read “Offshore Capable from Day One”, eliminating a possible customer confusion regarding the exact meaning of the word “ready”, which came up as a concern in one of the Adventure 40 comment sections that I re-read.
Owing to revisions needed for the constraints of t-shirt design (something new to me) and choosing from amongst the many possible suppliers, it took me longer than I initially anticipated to get the ball rolling for this iteration of product. But broadly speaking things are still on schedule for getting Adventure 40 swag into people’s hands this summer. 🙂
Here’s a mockup (not an actual print) of the white t-shirt. There will also be navy blue.
Lastly, would anyone be interested in long sleeve t-shirts?
The navy version:
Looks great and I think doing everything you have since the idea came up is nothing at all to apologize for!
I’m a fan of long sleeved tea shirts, but I’m not sure if they are popular with others. Anyone else have an idea on that?
And I love the change to the tag line. Definitely an improvement.
And finally, July 1 for a post works fine for me.
Hi Again Scott,
One other thought. I could add something about the A40 to our landing page and to the footer since the way it is now it’s hard to find the A40 stuff.
Something along the lines of: Home of the Adventure 40….
Would you be willing to let us use your design for that?
Thanks for your replies. I too like long sleeve tees to keep the sun off, so that’s enough votes in favor as far as I’m concerned 🙂
I think it’s a great idea to have a link to the A40 section from the public home page and the footer, and you’re of course welcome to use the design. Could you just let me know the approximate pixel dimensions and image format you prefer? I can reformat it to any size and either PNG, JPG, or SVG format (the latter usually gives the best appearance across different screen sizes).
That’s great, thank you.
Please email me the images 2000 px on the long side in both PNG and JPG (100%). Unfortunately WordPress does not allow the upload of SVG due to security concerns, but not a problem since our image CDN will optimize them for size and load speed on the fly for each user device screen size.
Sounds good. I’ll be in touch via email by the end of the week, as soon as my work schedule allows.
I would be very curious to know what kind of learning experience you have had with your Starlight 39 (my partner and I are looking at one at the moment), and if there are any specifics to watch out for when viewing one.
Hi Alwin, I’m not sure if I’ve got enough boat owning experience to give you much of an insight but very happy to try answer any questions you have. Drop a note to charlie armor @ gmail . com with your contact detail (without the spaces).
Many thanks for your interest in the project and for the comments! That you would be a buyer comes as a surprise to us, as you obviously don’t fall into the category of those who need the A40 to head offshore 😉 . Could you please expand on why, and on which criteria, you would buy one?
I do not think that if the boat is built by Beneteau or any other French boat builder this means necessarily low quality: The boat will be built according “AAC standards”, not according mass production and minimum cost requirements that we usually found with those boat builders. There cannot be any compromise on this as this will be the primary signature of the boat. Beneteau is capable of building boats such as the Figaro III that is capable of ocean going. 36 Figaro III are leaving this weekend for a transatlantic race.
La Transat en Double – Concarneau – Saint-Barthélemy – Site officiel de la course
I totally agree. The key to this is that the buyers are willing to pay for the quality and/or forgo other features so that the boat can come in at the right price and be built right.
A40!! I can’t explain adequately my immense joy at receiving the email announcing the resurrection of the A40! I am a relative sailing novice, but big on dreams. I was following the A40 narrative all those years ago, and was devastated when John pulled the plug (for all the right reasons, if my memory serves).
I drifted along for a while wondering if I had what it took to refit a boat, and after years of pondering JUST LAST MONTH I decided that cross ocean cruising wasn’t going to happen as I did not have the expertise to adequately refit a used boat. That conclusion was very, very hard to say out loud. But I forced myself to tell various friends to make it formal.
And here we are. A potential reversal of fortune. In a very good way.
I am in. I will be a buyer.
That is so cool. Thank you! You are exactly the person I was thinking of all those years ago when I wrote the first article that started it all: https://www.morganscloud.com/2012/01/23/low-cost-offshore-voyaging-boat/
Thank you so much for this quite moving response! We do hope that the A40 can be a life-changing thing for some people. Anyway, you deserve the award of the most encouraging answer so far!!
no doubt an interesting project, but 200k is still alot for alot of people and too little for builders. anyone remotely into boats knows that the cost is all about the equipment and not the hull,. the hull is the cheap part. Sure aluminium is a good choice but by building it out it you are forcing the owner to learn yet another skill, which doenst come overnight (sure welding aint that hard to learn, but its hard to become a good, safe, relieable, welder) (says me with absolutely no experience in welding). its easy for this project to reignite the age old debate: what is a bluewater boat? personally, anything modestly robust (there is a few key points that must be present, but one can narrow those down), properly kitted out for the destination you want and a resourceful skipper makes a bluewater boat. People used to sail with no gps, no refrigeration, no engines, no solar, no depth meter, not that long ago and they still went places and had all the experiences. if anyone wants to sell this boat and make money it has to be in a Kit format. you are getting paid for all the designing, autocad hours, not the building. leave that to the customer. A brief visit to YouTube world and one can clearly see that ppl are inclined to have experiences within the experience of sailing, meaning: they like projects, they can monetize their projects by making videos and having patreon accounts, which will help pay back its cost, (all this involve time spent in the making of a production that engages the viewer, and that takes skills, but i guess they are still easier, less mistake prone and danger incurring ones that being a bad welder….). Flexibility is another key thing: offer different layouts and custumization to the buyer. Let them see what they are buying. Establish deals with the manufacturers of the necessary hardware, offer the buyer a deal that they can only get if they buy the kit from you. In essence, the manufacturer of the kit, more than building the kit, becomes a remote project manager/supporter by establishing all those connections. For this you do not need a big team, 3 commited individuals can manage this full time. As for the design of the boat itself i am a fan of pilot cutters, my ideal boat is a modernized pilot cutter. it is a perfomance boat (centuries of evolution) its a safe boat (not one lost to weather, ever!) depending on the hardware can be the shorthand sailed (easily by a couple). Wood epoxy system build suits the hull shape (strip plank base, covered with cold molded outer layers with produce a high-latitute capable boat). I own a 1962 Van de Statd Pioneer 9 that i am currently reffiting as a 2 person go- anywhere boat. and that will do. oh it will. for a fraction of those 200k. hope i have contributed to the discussion. peace!
All interesting thoughts, but a lot of what you are concerned about is covered and explained already in the specification and many of your concerns don’t apply to the boat we are building. Just one example, the boat is not aluminium.
Hi Again Pedro,
Just to clarify a kit boat is a great idea in many ways, but that’s not what the Adventure 40 is all about. The whole idea of the Adventure 40 is a boat for those who just want to go voyaging, not spend years building or refitting a boat.
Also note that your Pioneer 9 is just about exactly half the size of the Adventure 40, so comparing costs is not really meaningful. Also, if you price your time at even $25/hour I’m guessing that by the time you are done you will have the price of an A40 in your boat. Also, your boat will still be 30 years old, so the Delta when you sell her will almost certainly be a lot more than for an A40: https://www.morganscloud.com/2021/02/05/buying-a-boat-a-different-way-to-think-about-price/
Don’t get me wrong, if you are enjoying the refit process, that’s totally cool and the right decision for you, but there are plenty of people that would not make sense for, and the A40 is for them.
Bottom line, we are talking about different boats. Both good ideas, but different.
when i mentioned my.boat wasnt really.for.a.comparison. for you cant really.compare a 40.footer.with.a.29.one. DIYing.it means.one doesnt.have to.account.for.its.labour.in.terms.of.money ( for.me.its more.about time.away from.family.and.other stuff) i live.in Macau (near Hong Kong) so.i.have access.to materials.and.hardware since.everything.is.done in China.these days. i will.be way away from.200k.
if.one.has.200k.to.spent “like.that” they probably.have a bit.more, and.with all.the Cat hype.these.days….hummm….. the A40.is a.great concept.but.it is a sailors.boat,.it.happens that the majority.of.ppl.coming.into.this arent, they are cruisers. there is.a big.difference (sorry for all.the dots,.im on my.phone and have big.fingers)
I agree, often time with family etc is the most important opportunity cost of taking on a refit. Still, I think we need to put a money value on our time when making decisions. Just adds an important dose of reality.
hi again, so i did throw some numbers: boat cost was 6k, say i throw 6 times that value on gear, so 36k, and say i throw 1500 hours at 25USD, so 37.5k(38k for argument sake). total is 6k plus 36k plus 38k, equals 80k. 120k to go for your boat. since im not paying for that labour i just made an additional 38k! total cost 42K, i end up with a surplus 158k,(if the goal here is to stay at 200k) to spend on a few more items (having money at hand is problematic….haahha you end up spending it!) and still have a nice sum to start cruising. Now, the boat is still from 1962, so 58 yo, and it will still be a 29 footer,but i know every nook and cranny, been tru the systems myself, got a new set of sails, a wind vane, a nice B&G chartplotter with radar, a dinghy, 6 hp outboard, a liferaft, epirb, windlass, new synthethic standing rigging (that i am doing myself because i work as a rigger in the entertainment industry), give a nice overhaul on that yanmar 2gm20 which sips diesel, get me a couple 220ah AGM batteries, 2, maybe 3 flexible solar panels for a total of 600 watts (maybe more). doing maintenance on a 29 footer is doable alone, on a 40 footer also doable, painful, but doable. sanding that hull alone……antifoul costs….marina fees….haul out costs….all that is higher. but yeah i will never be able to say the boat is new. but is does have pedigree, the Pioneer 9 (Van de Stadt) was the first boat made in fiberglass in Europe, its a plastic classic as they say, which if kept in good order will see its price rise (slowly for sure) as it slowly approaches 2062. ppl do value that and value something that as been well kept. this is not a comparison, this is just a different take on reality.
How about removing and checking the chain plates, removing the keel if bolt on, and removing and splitting the rudder open? How is the mast step and the bulkheads? Point being that with a 58 year old boat, that all needs doing before she can be classed as ready for sea. Buying and fitting new gear is not what makes a refit hurt, it’s the real hard structural stuff that gets you.
Anyway, none of this matters, because as you say this is a different situation and as I say it’s all very interesting but not relevant to whether or not the A40 will work, which is what we are discussing here. Not many people will go to sea in a 29 foot boat, at least not more than once! Also, most people do not regard the cost of their time as free.
So your boat works for you, and that’s cool, but the A40 will work for other people, and that’s cool too. Neither is a better way than the other, just different. Neither must fail to make the other succeed.
Yes the chain plates are getting redone, not only that they have been redesigned by me to bolt on on the side rather that thru the deck and sheerclamp (which was generating water ingress and rotting the wooden sheerclamp on those areas (all in all only 15% of the sheerclamp needs replacing, not bad for a 58 yo boat) all of that is being replaced with G10 fibreboard which will never rot again) the cost of the chain plates? free. courtesy of an american friend that has a shipyard in china. i will install then. The keel bolts are also being replaced, will need to sail to HK for that, once done, they should be good another 30 years at least and also increase the resale value of the boat. The spars are fine (not original, they were installed 20 years ago) and the mast step is also good, courtesy of a former owner which installed a SS reinforcing structure on the inside, transforming a step deck mast into a bilge stepped one. the boat has one structural bulkhead which is fine, all the other partition-semi bulkheads and are good, some G10 insert needed in some areas but nothing major. im building a molded water tank in the stb quarter berth which will also reinforce the hull and doing a molded diesel tank on portside. all done in G10 so i will never have to to worry again. the electric system is getting totally redone and designed by Jeff Cote at Pacific Yacht systems, i will do the install on that also. the bilge is also a generous place and i will build (thru vaccum bagging, so that they follow the exact shape of the bilge) individual reserve tanks for diesel, and water which allows for easy removal and inspection of keel bolts. about the rudder i dont know its condition so will have to probe it on the next haul out. Macau doest have any lifting equipment so we cant get the boat out and work on them. THe seacocks are also being replaced, some of them deleted permanentely (will have a composting toilet for instance) and some of them added (as i will have AC on board, a smaller 3500 btu unit). All that i said about the A40 is aimed more at the eventual profit made the builder rather then the custumer. i do think there will be ppl interested but i dont see that much money in for the builder and no one goes into bussiness to have a higher risk (new boat, no name in the market, no track records, all of those take time to establish) and meager earnings, hence my idea for the kit, which would increase the builder margin. sure ppl would have to invest some time in it, but there are manufacturers with pretty interesting building methods nowadays. There is an American couple i follow on youtube (MJ Sailing) whom are building a Max42 Catamaran which will take 2 years because it is all pre finished, they chose the interior layout and all the bell and whistles they think suits them. total cost? 202k, but hey its a 42 fr performance cat not a 40 foot monohull. (i am a mono hull guy, would always go for a mono than a cat)
Since the guys need a French Designer the re is a guy named Eric Hanseval, which due to covid has transition to another field but his webpage is still up. He designed some very smart boats. I even bought the plans for a his mini transat , called the Aviateur (5.7 meters long) which has tremendous potential as a ocean crossing boat (not for everyone though)and i was hell bent on building and even draw it up in autocad and redesigned the interior myself. He also as a 9 and 11 meter designs which are similar to the A40, maybe someone wants to call the guy up (if you havent still found a designer), im almost sure we would love to be involved.
Good to hear that you are doing it right. That said, if you get all that done within your time and money budget you are way smarter and more productive than me. https://www.morganscloud.com/2012/03/17/are-refits-worth-it/
Anyway, I wish you good luck with it.
Would an aluminium A40 be feasible ?.. Think unpainted with hard chines to reduce build costs. It would also save a lot on the inital tooling in moulds etc. An aluminium A40 would be a very interesting proposition something I would consider very seriously.
While, as you probably know, I’m a huge aluminium fan, it’s not the right material for the A40 project. I explain why here: https://www.morganscloud.com/2013/01/07/adventure-40-faqthe-boat/
The time-consuming, high-labour-cost task of welding aluminum might become much less of a concern in the near future, with new laser-based technology that is starting to come onto the market.
But painting the stuff will remain an absolute bear of a job for a long time yet. And it will never be as forgiving of neglect and poor maintenance as fibreglass is.
I would leave paint out of the equation completely. KMY are using some kind of stick on material to apply the non skid on the Bestevaer boats and they recently did a refit project on an ovni that used the same.
Just paint below the waterline and leave it unpainted. Personally i like “Tough” look of an unpainted auluminium hull.
In so far as the special care that an Aluminium hull requires I think a relatively small investment in writing a clear and concise manual on the subject and supply it with the boat would go a long way towards solving that problem. After all anyone dropping $200K on a boat would have a decent incentive to take reasonably good care of it. And it’s not that hard to do. The info here on AAC proves that.
Solve the welding cost component “Matt’s suggestion” and it would give the fibreglass option a run for its money.
Great to hear this project has been resurrected! I’m excited to learn more as it progresses. My wife and I are beginning to search for an ocean capable cruising boat and I’ve gained a ton of insight just in the past six months since joining AAC and Andy’s Quarterdeck. Big thanks to you and the entire community on this site!
Your content marketing strategy seems spot on to me. Dog whistle branding. I’m your dog (Gen X, interested in experiences more than stuff, have the resources to pay $200,000 for a boat but not $500,000, see the investment as one that will create experiences rather than be another trophy to show my friends, etc). Your dog whistle is sharing your knowledge and experience through the content you provide. Keep blowing the whistle and the dogs will come. People who aren’t dogs won’t even hear it.
If someone had told me 20 years ago that the backcountry ski market would explode in the 2010’s I’d have told them they were crazy. I never saw the potential market being big enough. How many people want to spend 95% of their ski day sweating their way uphill just for two or three runs all day? As anyone in the mountains today will tell you – plenty! Certainly enough to make a viable market for backcountry equipment, guide services, etc. Shows you what I know.
Any concern about a potential glut in the market 3 – 5 years from now as more and more boomers age out of their boats and a percentage of the COVID frenzy buyers decide cruising wasn’t for them?
I agree, the price point is good, and it’s vital to hit it, or at least close.
The other thing to remember is that if something goes wrong in ones life and the boat must go, an A40 will be way easier to sell than a half refited 30 year old boat, so a way safer option.
And thanks for the encouragement on our marketing strategy.
As to worrying about a glut. Not worried at all. Those ex-boomer boats will most all need a bunch of work that will, at least in many cases, bring them up to a higher out of pocket cost than the A40. So our job here at AAC is to educate people about the real costs of refits, and particularly the opportunity costs: time with family and cruising years lost.
For those that understand and value those two “soft” costs the A40 will always be a no brainer value proposition.
Many thanks for all the input! Please understand that we don’t answer each comment one by one: we totally second the answers by John, and we are putting our available time into preparing the specifications. Issues like fund raising, marketing and pricing will come much later. In short, and in line with what has been said by others,
A last thing: many names have been put forward for the designer. However, our aim is to make things happen in France, and that implies a designer who communicates in french with the builder and other parties, and who is able to go meet people a few times, when necessary – hence, a France-based designer. Please don’t worry, it does exist!
This is exciting news! My partner and I have been looking for a capable offshore boat to purchase and hopefully live on. We have been living on and off a little Pearson 33 for the past few years but recently have wanted to invest in something for long term cruising. I am extremely interested in this project even though it would be at the very top of what we would think to spend on a full time live aboard/cruiser. I look at boats constantly and the asking price and definite refit costs + time for refit just doesn’t add up for me. The possibility to be able to buy a brand new offshore boat with the design laid out in these articles is extremely appealing. I wonder if any sort of timeline can be estimated if the project gets off the ground…. Looking forward to all of the updates!
Thanks for the enthusiasm. Just the kind of comment that encourages us to work harder.
Probably a little early to guess at a date when you can buy a boat, but I do know that Pascal and Maxine are working on the design specification. Once that’s in place (a month or so) we should have a better idea.
That said, if you twisted my arm for a wild guess on the first boats launching I would say 18 months.
Many thanks for your comment!
Regarding the timeline, the short answer is that we’re not under some kind of strict schedule, and we plan to put project quality and robustness first – but we’re impatient to go to the next phases. The longer and more accurate answer should come in a few months, when we will better know how professionals in France react to the project!
I recently joined the site (based on Andy’s suggestion) and have never expected to find an alternative to researching used boats and dreading whether we’ll eventually buy a rotten egg. A40 seems a great alternative, and may become plan A instead.
One thing I would suggest: I was looking for the place where I can leave my interest. Where is it? And if I was not able to find it chances are others will miss it as well. Can you put it on a prominent place?
Thanks! I guess the reason I missed it was that due to many comments the form ended up being in the middle of the page. I would suggest putting it at the top and adding a link to it on all A40 related pages. Or better still creating a separate Sign up page/”article” altogether (with links on other articles).
The reason for such exposure would be that understanding the interest is currently the biggest unkown.
I agree that having an additional Sign Up area closer to the top of strategic pages would be helpful. Perhaps also give both sign up areas a contrasting background color.
And although it would require more web dev effort, it would also be interesting to consider the addition of a site-wide banner (not a dreadful pop up!) with a catchy headline so that any new user coming to a landing page from search results would see it. A headline such as “Big News: The Adventure 40 is Back.” “Learn more about the ONLY affordable cruiser that’s ocean capable on day one,” or something like that, with a link to this page. (Once on this page, the sign up area should be prominent.)
I’m sure John doesn’t want to clutter up the user experience of the site, but I think such a banner could be tastefully designed. With this addition and the fine tuning of the current sign up form, you’d have a basic sign up funnel following a pattern that most web savvy customers are used to.
I hear you, but for a whole bunch of modern web design reasons AAC is a banner and pop up free zone, and will stay that way. And, if we add stuff like that we change the feel from a pure information based reference site to an advertising based feel and that’s totally against our brand identity.
Bottom line, my thinking is that if people are not reading carefully enough to notice a sign up form that takes up half their screen they are not likely to be real A40 prospects.
That said, I will add the form at the bottom of all A40 articles.
Not sure I can really understand how a link would be more noticeable than a form that takes up half the screen with a 35 px bold headline headline saying “Sign Up”.
And putting the form at the top would make no sense in the context of the article.
Probably better to just add the form to all new articles on the A40, which was my intent anyway, and then add it to all the old articles.
Anyway, good to hear that the form is working for you and not blocked.
yes, adding it to all articles makes sense as my problem was to first find the article that has the sign up and than read down to the sign up form (on an iPad that shows less than a typicall computer screen). Once I go there, yes 35px was more than enough.
Also, consider adding link to the form to ”A Boat To GO, Not To Dream” small section.
One other point, we already have the interest established based on the sign ups we already have, the retention or the old ones, and the number of new ones on this article, so that’s in fact a known, and has been for several years. The biggest problem has always been getting someone to take on building the boat and it looks like that might be solved.
Hi John and Phyllis, and Pascal and Maxime,
Great news that the project goes ahead!
If it might be of any use, let me offer you my voluntary (i.e. free of charge =) help in creating some 3D models of the project, aimed at the visual (rather than engineering) representation of the boat for the future owners, investors, and any other stakeholder.
Phyllis has got my email if needed =)
Best regards, and good luck!
This is really kind of you! For now, we are specifying the ship, and we don’t want to influence the architect in his creativity with illustrations. Thus the time for graphic representations will come after the architect has completed the preliminary design!
Other than the obvious price point/build finishes, how is the A40 different than the Outbound you have often reviewed?
First off, the A40 is a way smaller boat.
For the rest of it, you would need to read our reviews of both. See under “Topics” on the menu.
If after that, you have specific questions about either I will be happy to answer them.