Adventure 40 First Funding Round

For nearly ten years, hundreds of us have been planning, writing, discussing and, above all, dreaming of the Adventure 40, a voyaging sailboat that will truly be Offshore Ready From Day One at a reasonable price.

The French Team Get Real

Despite all that time and effort, it sometimes seemed as if we were not getting any closer to an actual boat. But now that’s changing…big time:

  • Vincent Lebailly, the chosen designer, will be starting the detailed design this week.
  • Maxime has personally guaranteed Vincent’s initial fee of at least €12,000. This guy is seriously real.
  • A team of students at one of France’s universities, CentraleSupélec, are just finishing up investigating ways that the Adventure 40 keel can be made grounding resistant—more on that in the next article.

Our Turn to Get Real, Too

So now it’s time for us to show we are real, too:

  • The French team have created a GoFundMe page.
  • The initial funding goal, though we hope to raise more, is a modest €5000 (US$5500).
  • Phyllis and I have already made the first donation of €100.

Why It Matters

We need to collectively show:

  • To Maxime¹ that it’s not just him reaching into his pocket, and that we are there with him, albeit at much smaller amounts.
  • Reassure Maxime’s family that investing his time and their savings in the Adventure 40 is worth it.
  • To show Vincent that he is designing a boat for committed people, not just talkers.
  • To give Maxime more credibility as he negotiates with prospective boatbuilders and equipment vendors.

¹Limosa Workshop (see banner) is Maxime’s new company dedicated to making the Adventure 40 real. Limosa is a genus of birds that make long oceanic migrations. Huge thank you to AAC member and professional designer Scott Arenz for the banner.

How It Will Be Spent

The money raised will be spent on the design process, including:

  • A set of drawings.
  • A full 3D model of the boat that can be viewed and manipulated in an online app.

Here are two examples of what we will get for our (and Maxime’s) money:

Example only, this is not the Adventure 40.
Example only, this is not the Adventure 40.

How It Won’t Be Spent

  • Not one penny to Attainable Adventure Cruising, or me.
  • Not one penny to Maxime for his time. I hope that one day he will make a fair profit for all his time, effort, and investment, but that day is not today.

Who Should Donate?

Obviously, all of us who dream of one day owning an Adventure 40 should donate, but even if, like Phyllis and me, you already have a boat that satisfies your needs², I would encourage you to make a donation, just like we did.

Why? Having just been through the secondhand boat-buying process, and now being deep into a refit, I can tell you that both experiences were, and continue to be, absolutely horrible.

And that’s for me, a deeply-experienced boat owner with major leverage over industry players conferred by my job.

For others, the experience will be worse. The way the previous two owners of our boat were treated is truly horrific—I can see the evidence every day as I fix the carnage left behind by those who “professionally maintained” the boat and the mistakes made by the builder and original dealer.

Bottom line, the cruising yacht industry, including builders, brokers, surveyors and boatyards, is, with a few shining exceptions, broken. This is the worst situation I have seen in all my 50 years of boat ownership, and trust me, I have seen some bad shit.

And, worse still, the buying frenzy that came with Covid—who would have called that one—has left the inventory of decent secondhand boats at its lowest level in decades.

We need to fix this. The Adventure 40 can at least help do that by setting an example of elegance, simplicity, quality, reliability and value, that will benefit us all.

By making a donation to the Adventure 40 we are funding positive change to a lifestyle we love, no matter what offshore boat we own, or aspire to own.

²That said an Adventure 40 would seriously tempt us to change boats again.

How It Works

With GoFundMe we are making a donation to the Adventure 40 design project.

This is different than platforms like KickStarter that are used to fund an already designed and prototyped product, and where payments are linked to specific deliverables to each person depending on the amount pledged.

Credit Where Credit is Due

That said, the names of those who donate to this vital first round will be displayed at the factory and/or on the prototype³, as a reminder to all who come after of your vital contribution, regardless of amount contributed.

³If you prefer to remain anonymous just tick the box when you donate and your name will not appear.

Future Funding

Of course, this is just the first round. So what do the French team plan for future funding? There are lots of options:

  • KickStarter or the like
  • Equity investors (venture capital)
  • Boat deposits
  • Builder funding
  • A combination of the above
  • Something Maxime has not thought of

Whatever, the more we contribute at this stage, the easier the next stage will be.

If you have ideas or thoughts on future funding, please leave a comment.

Disclaimer

I have now spent some nine months communicating with Maxime and just had a fun and informative zoom call with him. Based on that I think he is a sincere and honourable person who is going to make this happen. That’s why I donated €100.

I’m also impressed that Vincent, an established naval architect, is willing to start work based on Maxime’s fee guarantee alone.

I also sincerely believe everything I wrote in this article is correct, but I have no way to verify any of it beyond all doubt.

So I need to make clear that I and Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd are not guaranteeing any of this in any way.

And, further, I have no control of the project, and no deal for any revenue from it. I’m a reporter here, that’s it.

Thanks, Pascal

One more thing before the donation button. Pascal has 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.

How Much Each?

So how much should each of us donate? That’s up to you. Phyllis and I went with €100 because it has a nice ring to it, and seems a rational number, but If that doesn’t work for you, that’s absolutely fine. The GoFundMe minimum is €5.

It’s way better for the project if you make a smaller donation, than no donation at all.

That said, if you want an Adventure 40 and can afford more, give more.

And if you want to make a substantial direct investment in the Adventure 40 project, please write to moc.duolcsnagrom@ofni and I will pass on your interest to Maxime.

The more we raise, the more credibility Maxime will have as he negotiates with the hard-nosed business people he needs to convince to get the boat built.

As any startup founder will tell you, the people who matter will put a lot more effort into a project that has a successful first round of financing under its belt.

Given that, let’s not stop at €5000 but rather raise as much as we can.


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Richard Samuels

Having decided that I am not a cruiser, I recently gave up my Yamaha 33 for a Merit 25 as my sailing consists of racing on the Columbia River and day sailing. I live at a club which is the home of many classic cruising boats including many Cascades, Ericksons and Cals. We have some Tartans, a Colvin Gazelle and an Alajuela. Properly prepared, many of these could cross oceans. The Alajuela spent seven years cruising and one of the Cascades won the Pacific Cup in 2008.

When I walk the docks and see some of the abominations which were sold as cruising boats, I see the need for the Adventure 40. Most of the cruising in the Northwest takes place in the Columbia River, the Puget Sound and the Inside Passage. While most of this is protected waters, a trip to the Sound requires crossing the Columbia Bar, aka The Graveyard of the Pacific, and sailing the coast. This is why I contributed.

Rick in Portland

Dick Stevenson

Hi John,
Exciting progress.
Perhaps I am missing something obvious: it would not be the first time nor the last.
But, why not have the first dozen or so on the “committed” list to receive the first boats pony up a deposit that could and should eventually defray the purchase price of the boat. A few thousand each, from those who have an oar in the water, would likely generate a chunk of change better than depending on donations from what are essentially interested onlookers.
At first blush, that seems like a reasonable way to generate working capital to cover initial expenses and the money shifts from “donation” to “deposit” and the “owner” can feel like he/she has a place in line and a place in the process.
Random thoughts, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Michael Feiertag

I agree that a donation to show support for Maxime’s risk on design fee makes sense now. With some specs and drawings, a deposit from early buyers, perhaps with incentive for the first few, would then make sense to me.

Phil Balderson

I’ve made my donation, because I think this is a genuinely groundbreaking project that I’d love to see become reality.

Timothy Jenne

Thanks for giving us this opportunity. We have been watching, waiting, waiting, cheering, and now it’s moving forward in the right direction. (The gestation period for a project like this is quite long.)
We have located our boat + adventure platform and we’re making steps to getting this whole dream going. New Adventures Sailing, LLC on our new-to-us Kaufman 47 fits the bill and matches the criteria found in this project, with the exception of size. We have plans to charter and take people on adventures as well as teach blue water/heavy weather sailing techniques in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
I’m glad to contribute and put our money where our heart is.
Great work!

Stein Varjord

Hi John,

As some here may have noticed, I’m a multihull fanatic, and already have a cat, so I’m not a potential customer. Still, I strongly agree with the diagnosis of the leisure boating business: Rotten to the core, with honourable exceptions. Thus, I love the way of thinking in this project and think it can be a breath of fresh air. Perhaps it could even inspire others to adjust their narrow minded short sighted perspectives. Maxime seems to be the right type of person to bring it into reality.

AAC has enough seriously interested people, with a combined massive competence. We have opinions and actively improve our competence. We can really make things change. That’s why I’ll happily match the 100 € donation. It’ll take about 9 days to arrive, due to some circumstances, but it’ll come. I’m looking forward to following this.

Kresten Stets

50€ from denmark hope to see the project fly

Nathan Moore

I love seeing the small donations. To my mind, it implies strong support for the project from a broad base, not just the well-heeled. @John, do you know how many boats a production builder makes in a year? Do we know what sales rate would make the A40 successful?

Pedro Fernando

Lagoon is said to have built 6000 hulls plus, since 1984 (thats 157 boats/year). Seawind – the most successful Australian builder – sold 60 hulls, from plans only, of their newest model, the 1370, which unveiled late 2021. They are in bussiness since 1982. Both well known builders/brands, and that takes some time to develop i would say.

Maxime Gérardin

A huge thank you to all of you who, together, reached and exceeded the initial €5,000 goal so quickly! Your 97 contributions so far demonstrate a serious momentum and will be a boost to the credibility and speed of the project. It’s great to feel that we are strongly supported, as Vincent and his team start their crucial work on the preliminary design – most sincere thanks to you all!

Here I copy what I just posted as an update to the GoFundMe:

Now that prospective donors might wonder what point there is in adding their contribution, let’s state how we will put any additional amount to a good use:
€12,000 is the minimum that the project will have to spend in this phase (preliminary design + travels, if no unexpected expense shows up). With €8,700 already donated, plus the few thousands that I will put myself anyway, we’re already there.
But we could also go beyond that, and expand the scope of the current phase. To start with, there’s still work to be done in the keel department. As you know, AAC set the very challenging requirement that the A40 be prepared against a full-speed grounding, and the next report by John will tell how we’ve made substantial progress towards this goal. As usual at AAC, I won’t frontrun this coming article – however, let it be said that, while we know where we’re headed, carrying out more computations, or even an experiment, would take things further. Up to now, this was considered for a subsequent phase of the project. But if we find out that we can pay now for some specific work on the keel and grounding, then of course things will be accelerated! In keeping with our collective momentum and with your generosity, any advance regarding keels and grounding won’t go into a for-profit patent: any patent on the subject would be of the Creative Commons, or equivalent, type.

With this in mind, I’ve raised the target to €15,000: let’s see how far we can get!

Also, beyond the amount, the number of donors still matters a lot: the more donors we can claim, the faster and the further the project will progress!

Again, a huge thank you to all of you!

Marc Jackson

Slim chances of owning one, but I’ll invest in keeping this dream alive! Cheers to all!

Star Tracker

This is amazing! Unfortunately, I am off work at the moment, a motorcycle accident has left me unable to walk for this season, but as soon as I get some money flowing in again I’ll chip in. Pre-COVID I built and owned a boatyard, and John you are 100% correct on the state of the industry. There is a literal plague of owners who bought boats without any survey for premium prices due to covid, many are now being required by insurance to get surveyed. I do not envy the person I am apprenticing under as I learn the ins and outs of surveying having to deliver that news, and even more I feel for the owners knowing the state of the industry. Overcharging, year+ long waitlists and totally unskilled labour being brought in due to demand on one side. Materials/parts are seeing massive shortages(try 12+ months for something as simple as a fridge control board, on a fridge only months out of warranty from a major manufacturer), and huge price increases on the other. My understanding from a conversation with a sales rep for a supplier I used when I was on the tools was that some thru-hull fittings were up over 100% after a huge increase last year as well, though I have not personally confirmed that. The whole reason I got into it in the first place all those years ago was because of my first boat, from the survey that caught none of the structural or other issues and signed off on the “brand new” engine that in reality had a nice paint job, was nothing of the sort on through the refit as I couch surfed while gutting and starting over. Unfortunately lost that at the start of COVID, then took a while to find employment as I had spent most of my working life doing that one thing.
While I will likely never afford an adventure 40(I would in a heartbeat jump on it in a few years if I hadn’t lost everything at the start of COVID) I see this project has 3 benefits.
1. Safe, sensible proper cruising boats, with the state of the industry that is something I think most will struggle terribly to turn most of the used boats I see into.
2The trickle down effect, someday they will be used boats, and though I have every expectation they will hold value better than anything else, they will provide a platform for more amazing adventures several times over through their lives, across different classes of people, not just those who can afford a Dashew or similar.
3Inspiration. The design choices you make will(hopefully) influence the wider industry, and inspire better choices for those refitting on a budget.

Boris Essender

Une petite contribution de la part de Sailing Europa, pour vous encourager dans ce projet original. Bon courage!

Maxime Gérardin

Merci infiniment à vous deux !!

Jakob Vedefors

Looking forward to your keel reaserch. I am sure you have already seen this but if not, check out Linjetts (Swedish boatbuilder) work with their keel https://youtu.be/TGWjmboWcYc

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Jakob,

I didn’t know of Linjett, thank you, and glad to know they’ve done and tested this! Their setup is very consistent with our thinking, although different from what we plan to do, probably because of different missions. More to come in the next article!

Mark GADUE

Mark and Marjorie from Vermont donate 50 Euro to the A 40 project. As my mom used to say, where can you go and have so much fun for so little money? Many of us have been hurt by the pandemic. But Hope floats on our dreams and our imaginations.

Joshua Scholnick

The Sword 39 looks awesome. Easy transition from cockpit to saloon, protected seating, traveler, sprit, running back stay, coach roof. What’s not to like?

Stephen Cox

Just donated. Dreaming about a doing short-handed circumnavigation with an Adventure 40. But even if I don’t, I’d like to see this project succeed. It is well-conceived and I respect the creativity, perseverance, ethics and goodwill of the team. Standing by for Round 2!

Jonathan Cohn

6 Months since since this fundraising began and nary an update. I don’t expect much when I donate on gofundme but regular progress reports are pretty easy to do in this day and age. Has the 3d modeling begun? Has the designer started? What monies have been spent? I expect many others are also anxiously waiting. Please let us know what’s going on. Hoping to see more on this concept while I’m stuck inside this winter.

Jonathan Cohn

Great news! I will look forward to the article. I know you teased it in the recent podcast with 59 North and I’ve been checking in regularly. Looking forward to the Annapolis Boat Show this week. Hope to see the Adventure 40 concept there scaring the status quo manufacturers in the years to come.