Adventure 40 June 2023 Progress Report

June 2023

We are making lots of progress on making the Adventure 40 a real boat you can buy. Let’s take look at the state of play.

But, first off, a quick recap of how we got here:

A Brief History

  1. I first conceived the idea for a simple, reliable and reasonably priced offshore voyaging boat eleven years ago.
  2. In early 2021, Maxime and Pascal took on the project.
    • Pascal left the project in 2022.
  3. In the rest of 2021, Maxime and Pascal, using the original A40 articles as a base, wrote a specification to guide the designer.
  4. In late 2021 Maxime and Pascal appointed Vincent Lebailly and his team to design the boat.
  5. We published and discussed the specification over the first 7 months of 2022:
  6. In April of 2022 we opened a gofundme campaign to help pay for the design, which raised over €15,000 in just a few weeks.
  7. Vincent and his team completed the first design iteration in the third quarter of 2022 and we revealed and discussed that in four articles:
  8. The above articles generated lively discussion—over a thousand comments.
  9. Maxime and Vincent used that input to inform the second design iteration, which was completed in early 2023.
  10. We published the first Version 2 article on the deck in April of 2023.

Task List

We have come a long way in the last two years since Maxime grasped the nettle to make this happen, but there is still much to do:

  • One more Version 2 design-reveal article covering the cockpit.
    • I plan to write and publish this in August.
  • Ongoing articles on systems, including rigging, engine, electrical, etc.
    • I plan, when there is something to write about, to publish one A40 article every two months in summer (our sailing season) and one a month in winter.
  • Produce a set of renderings of the Version 2 boat to be used in marketing going forward.
  • Refine the Adventure 40 area at AAC to make a clearer path from concept to order.
    • I plan to do this over the winter of 2023/24.
  • Select a builder.
  • Structural engineering.
    • The French team has done some preliminary work on this, but the majority will need to wait for a builder to be selected so they can be part of this process.
  • Fix a price and produce a detailed specification.
  • Start taking orders with deposits.
  • Construct deck and hull mock-ups, and test.
  • Build tooling and moulds.
  • Complete and test-sail Hull #1.
  • Commence production.

Final Renderings Tease

Talking of the final renderings, I have seen them in an almost finished state and am over the moon about how the boat looks and the design changes made since the version 1 design.

Am I going to share these new renderings? Yes…in the next article. In the mean time here’s a small version to get you as excited as I am.

Sorry, it won’t get bigger if you click on it.

Why am I being such a jerk? Simple, if we show the full size rendering the comments to this post will turn into a discussion of the boat without the context of an article explaining the changes and then we will have to do it all again on the next article.

Schedule

And that brings me to the schedule. Maxime has set two deadlines:

  1. Late 2024 to have everything in place to start taking orders, including a builder.
  2. About 1 to 1-1/5 years from the builder being selected to the first boat being delivered, so late 2025 to mid-2026.

If this first deadline can’t be met, Maxime will wind up the project, although that might change a bit if he is close to achieving the milestones when a deadline arrives, but obviously we can’t expect him to keep investing time, energy, and money into this indefinitely without a clear revenue plan.

Price

The 800-lb gorilla in the room is what will the price be?

Sorry, we don’t know, and can’t know until a builder has signed on and done a detailed costing.

What I can say is that I personally—this is me speaking, not Maxime—see no reason that the price can’t be close to that originally envisioned but adjusted for inflation, or about US$295,000 in today’s dollars¹ without sails, or about US$315,000 after the owner buys sails.

That may sound like a lot of money, and it is, but as someone who has just bought an 18-year-old smaller production boat—two-thirds the size of an A40—and then refitted her to a standard that is not even close to that of the Adventure 40, I can tell you it’s the deal of the century.

Also, the Adventure 40 buyer won’t go through the horrors I have over the last two years.

Of course, to hit this price target without cutting quality we must stick to the Adventure 40 core principles, which is why I’m such a pain in the ass, constantly reminding people of said principles in the comments.

Also, keep in mind that the Adventure 40 will have no dealer-related costs and very low marketing costs. The marvels of unbundling.

For example, I’m guessing that when someone buys a typical production sailboat for say US$400,000 dollars, what they are really getting is a US$200,000 boat with the other US$200,000 going to profit, marketing, and sales.

So Maxime and the builder can actually spend more on the build, but on a simpler boat, thereby delivering better quality for less money.

Also, because all Adventure 40s will be identical, with no options, simple gear, and built to a higher standard than most production boats, Maxime and the builder will have much lower warranty expenses.

For example, an in-build screwup is way less likely on a boat with a tiller than it is on a boat with a wheel, and way, way less likely than on a boat with two rudders and two wheels and a bunch of huge curved plastic ports and windows, some in the hull. That’s just two examples of scores of things on the Adventure 40 that will be easier to build right.

And for those who still think that I’m dreaming about bringing her in at US$295,000 because she is a 40-foot boat, please read this.

Of course, the wild card in all of this is the exchange rate, since we are talking price in US dollars but the boat will be built in Europe with costs in Euros.

¹Matt, Erik de Jong, and I did quite a bit of research and costing in the early days that supported the US$200,000 price. I started from that number and used this inflation calculator, and then added a guesstimate of US$25,000 to cover the amount that boat-building costs have inflated over and above core inflation due to demand. If we get a recession, I’m guessing that some of that added $25,000 may go away as builders start looking at rapidly diminishing order books.

Work in France

For the last two years, while all this was going on, and while working closely with Vincent and his team, Maxime has been visiting:

  • Boat shows
  • Prospective builders
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Specialized engineering companies
  • Keel foundry

Maxime has been using the information he has gathered, together with his engineering training, to make progress on knotty problems like the vane gear installation and engineering a super-strong keel (more on the latter in a moment).

And let’s not forget that Maxime also has a demanding day job and a young family that he has to fit all this around. I’m guessing that the lights have burned late at his Paris apartment!

Talking of which, all of us who look forward to a sailing Adventure 40 should thank Maxime’s wife, Christel, for being an active and enthusiastic partner in the project.

The Keel

The project Maxime has put the most time and effort into so far is making the keel as close to grounding proof as is practical.

We already published the results of preliminary modelling.

And since then he has done a lot more work and produced another paper (link below), which I strongly recommend you take the time to read. The highlights are:

  • Most production boat keels are not engineered to withstand any sort of grounding.
  • Standards such as American Bureau of Shipping and ISO/CE make no mention of grounding resistance, and are even inadequate for hard-usage sailing over time without a grounding—Members of the World Sailing technical committee have reported on this to a committee I’m a member of.
  • However, work has been done on grounding resistance for superyachts.
    • Maxime has visited the foremost keel foundry in France, who have already built superyacht keels to withstand groundings.
  • It’s important to understand that just building the keel stronger does nothing useful.
    • It’s fundamental that to dissipate impact force safely over time, something must bend and/or distort.
    • Building the structure super stiff, while intuitively comforting, is actually counterproductive.
  • There is no reason that a high-performance fin keel like on the Adventure 40 must be any less grounding resistant than a longer keel, or an encapsulated one. It’s all about the engineering.

Bottom line, most lay people (including me, until Maxime sorted me out) are wrong about how to make a grounding-resistant keel, and the stuff you read about the subject on forums is, to put it gently, most-all total horseshit. But this is understandable because none of this is intuitive.

For example, the two pictures below show how a structure can be built that looks strong to lay people but is failure prone in real cruising.

You can read more about this kind of thing here.

That said, the generally accepted wisdom that lead keels absorb more impact than iron and steel ones is true.

Maxime and his advisors have taken that to the next level by actually modelling the impact on a lead keel and further figuring out how to improve the shock absorption with the addition of cavities in the keel forming a crush zone, to the point that the forces transmitted to the hull become manageable.

Here’s what that looks like dynamically:

But wait, most of the damage we see from groundings is at the keel to hull joint, so why are we not making more of that?

Simple, because once they have both reduced and modelled the forces, it’s relatively simple…well, for an engineer with a bunch of relevant training and experience…to design a hull structure to withstand those defined forces.

Stop! Read the last paragraph again. It’s really important and is a big part of why the A40 keel will be more robust than pretty much any production boat keel out there.

Maxime has tackled this head on and knows how to solve it.

He has also lined up an engineering firm with the skills to design the hull-to-keel area to withstand the now-known forces.

Maxime’s second paper:

My Deal

In other news, Maxime and I have struck a royalty deal where I, and in the event of my death, Phyllis, will receive a small royalty based on the purchase payment for each boat in recognition of the work I have put into this over the last eleven years and for coming up with and defining the concept.

So far, said agreement is just a couple of emails, since we don’t want to incur contracting costs before we get decent cash flow.

And, anyway, my thinking is if someone is going to weasel out of making a promised royalty payment, they are going to do that no matter how much contracting we do. I trust Maxime.

That said, let me be super clear:

  • This is Maxime’s project, not mine.
  • He is the boss and always will be, I’m just a reporter and sometime advisor.
    • Some of my advice he takes, and some he does not, and that’s cool with me, and the way it will be going forward.
  • I don’t have, and never will have, any control over, or responsibility for, the design, engineering and/or building of the boat, its quality, or fitness for task.
  • I don’t work for Maxime, or his company, and I have no equity invested.
  • If you buy an Adventure 40 and have a problem, I can’t help you and have no responsibility to make things right.

Bottom line, I’m 72 years old (this month) and have no interest in being operationally involved in another business. AAC is quite enough, thank you.

All that said, I’m still totally committed to doing everything I reasonably can to make the Adventure 40 a reality.

State of Finances

As of the time of writing, all the money already contributed has been spent on the design, as agreed.

None of the money contributed has gone, or will go, to me or AAC.

As before, Maxime and Christel are willing to pay ongoing costs that exceed donations out of their own pockets, but obviously there’s a limit to that.

The Critical Part

Clearly, although Maxime has made great progress to date, the key part of this is finding a builder. Of course, the ideal situation to make that happen would be having a bunch of deposits in hand.

But that’s not practical since final price and specification can’t be fixed without the builder’s input—a classic chicken-or-egg problem.

But let’s not get defeatist about this. We have over 650, mostly highly engaged—our open and click rate on the A40 list is off the charts—people signed up as interested in the Adventure 40 and more joining the list every month.

And, further to that, we can point to the incredible support the gofundme campaign received.

But here’s the best part for a builder: the preliminary design and most of the specification is done and at no cost to them.

So all a builder needs to do before taking orders is fund the engineering and do a cost analysis to fix price. No, not trivial, particularly the engineering, but less expense than the rollout of a new design would generally be, particularly when balanced against the potential of building hundreds of identical low-hassle boats over time.

So why don’t we have a builder signed up now? Primarily, I think, because of the crazy surge in new boat orders since Covid.

But that cycle will end, probably with a nasty bump—these things almost always do—and when that happens there will be a bunch of builders looking to fill the capacity they ramped up in the go-go years.

And what better answer than a turnkey project with low start-up costs, since tooling could be at least partially financed out of initial deposits.

That said, we need to realize that the moulds, other tooling, and engineering added together will, Maxime advises me, cost not far off a million dollars. (By the way, that’s almost exactly what I estimated eleven years ago, so half what I thought, when adjusted for inflation.)

At this point the nay-sayers will be crowing, “that’s never going to happen, you’re dreaming”. The same as they did when I initially talked about my ideas for the four successful businesses I have started, or when I first wrote about the A40.

The point being that starting a business that depends on a new idea is always met with derision and scorn. But, on the other hand, it’s businesses with a new idea that are generally successful, or, as I used to say in my entrepreneurial years, “If it’s easy, everyone is doing it so there’s no profit in it”.

Or to put it another way:

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.

Howard Aiken

The difference between real entrepreneurs and the rest is the drive to overcome all the negativity and keep going, despite setbacks. I think Maxime is that sort of person.

And, after all, while a million dollars is a lot of money to most of us individually, it’s trivial in terms of new-business start-up costs.

Heck, if just 5% of the people who have signed up as interested in an Adventure 40 paid a 10% deposit, it would be covered with no out-of-pocket costs to the builder. Or if just 2% put up a deposit, I’m guessing it would be relatively easy for an established builder to finance the rest with debt.

Anyway, can I tell you exactly how we are going to get to success? Of course not. The idea that a business start-up can be planned ahead of time to that level of detail is the stuff of B-school bullshit, not the reality. In the real world, the road is full of bumps and wrong turns but real entrepreneurs keep on driving.

So let’s stay optimistic and keep plugging away while ignoring the nay-sayers.

Help Make This Happen

To that end, if you are willing to make a deposit on a boat, or some other investment in the project, before the price and schedule are fixed, please explain in a comment what terms you would want. If even a few people sign on to your idea, it could make Maxime’s task way easier.

One idea would be that most, but not all, of the deposit would be escrowed and refundable if certain predefined goals were not met by agreed dates.

Or, if you are interested in investing significant money, email us and we will pass your interest on to Maxime.

It would be way cool to have even a few deposits, or a chunk of cash, to wave under a prospective builder’s nose.

That said, please, no hand waving along the lines of “I’m not willing to contribute anything, but how about…”. At this point in the project we need participation, not chatter.

For The Rest of Us

The rest of us can still help by making additional contributions to the gofundme campaign to fund the second design iteration and producing marketing quality renderings.

Phyllis and I have kicked this off with our second contribution.

Donate to The Adventure 40 Project

Mailing List

And if you have not done so already, sign up to be kept informed of Adventure 40 developments. The bigger the list, the more impressive to a builder.

Comments

It you have any questions, please ask in a comment.

But please stay on the topics discussed in this article. And particularly please do not use a magnifying glass on the version 2 rendering and then start a comment thread on what you see.

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Mathieu Henry

Very exciting news to read about project timelines and milestones. Definitely looking forward to see the details of version 2.

As tentative buyer of the Adventure 40, but someone who knows very little about the logistics of producing sailboats I would be interested in knowing what is the typical annual production capacity of a builder for a boat such as the A40. IF theres a large amount of orders to start, it could be years until boats are delivered to their owners correct?

Perhaps there is an opportunity here to structure a system for deposits where there is minimum refundable amount (lets say $10,000) that would lock in the purchase price at the time of the deposit and put you in the queue for a new A40. Then there would be the option to increase the amount of your deposit (non-refundable) to move yourself up the queue and receive a new A40 sooner.

This would create some competition in the deposit process and reward those who provide larger deposits. And people making the minimum required refundable-deposit would still be incentivized by the obtaining the lock on the purchase price which will inevitability increase over time with inflation. Since the A40 is to be a one design boat, constantly having change in the order of the purchaser queue shouldn’t effect the production schedule.

Mathieu Henry

Hi John,

I understand your concern over the idea of “deeper pockets” moving up the queue with larger deposits tainting the purchasing experience for others. But I don’t think that mentality should apply to early stages of funding prior to regular production.

Incentivizing larger deposits early on will help the project reach its finically goals sooner and with less orders, which should ease the logistics of starting production. It’s also important to remember that if the final sale price is to be the same for everyone, then theres no need to compare how deep peoples pockets are.

Whichever way the project chooses to generate funding and take orders I’m looking forward to participating. I’m still pretty far down on the waitlist for moorage at my local yacht club, so I’m not in a hurry to get new boat but definitely have eyes for the A40

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Mathieu,

many thanks for the input. At first I had the same reaction as John when reading your initial comment – moving people up and down the line doesn’t seem fair! But after all, the question by John stands “before the price and schedule are fixed” – very different from the quite ordinary deposits that will be taken after these conditions are known. So, if there’s a way to put a meaningful scheme in place that early, yes, your idea of “sorting” the contributions by amount may be part of it.

That said, please bear in mind that this discussion stands before the price is fixed. By the way, you write “the final price is to be the same for everyone”: this will be true once production is running, but of course we should not rule out that owners who come out early and accept some uncertainty at the time of deposit get some sort of discount. This may be true of the few first “normal” deposits, and that’s even truer of some super-early commitment.

And thank you for the donation!

Tom Borgstrom

I like the idea of a refundable deposit to lock in your slot in the production queue, similar to how Tesla handled orders in its early days (they had my deposit for 2 years before I got my car).

The deposit could be some material amount ($10,000?) to keep the tire-kickers out, but would need to be refundable at any time and for any reason. But your position in line would be based on when you placed the deposit.

I don’t look at this as some sort of “Kickstarter” campaign where your up-front purchase deposit is at risk until the product is (or isn’t) delivered. I’ve been burned before with Kickstarter campaigns run by amateurs who didn’t know how to set up or scale manufacturing, leaving me with nothing in the end.

I would hope that the builder has the wherewithal and commitment to take on this project based on the potential market represented by the volume of early deposits. If they can deliver on the expected quality, schedule and price then I expect people interested enough to put down some serious cash will follow through with a purchase in the end.

Having seen production lead times at various yards in Europe (stretching into 2026 for some), my biggest concern is that it may be the next decade before I could get my hands on an Adventure 40. And that’s too late for my plans.

Tom Borgstrom

John,

To me I guess it depends on how big / established the selected builder is. A larger builder, that comes out with new boats periodically as a regular part of its business, should be able to slot this A40 design in without “startup” funding. The amount of cash we put up would primarily be representative of the size of the market available for a boat like the A40.

A smaller or startup builder might need the deposit money a la Kickstarter, but the concern for many might come down to putting a large unrefundable deposit into someone with an unproven track record let alone the full six-figure purchase price.

One of the reasons A40 has seen so much traction here is there is really no other new boat that ticks all of its boxes, even at a higher price. HR makes great boats, but have gone down the twin rudder path with their new ~40 footers. The proposed Kraken 44 looks promising but who knows if/when it will actually come out. The used market can produce some gems from time to time, but availability of the appropriate boat is unpredictable.

For whatever reason, perhaps listening too closely boat show foot traffic, the market/builders doesn’t/don’t seem to have picked up on the demand for a boat like the A40. I wouldn’t discount the value of having a large group of potential buyers part with serous cash, for at least a period of time, as a signal that a viable market does indeed exist for a boat like the A40.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Tom,

Many thanks for your donation on the GoFundMe.

In addition to the point by John on the risk, for the buyer, of a totally refundable deposit, I’m not sure it would be that convincing to a builder: sure it demonstrates that some people care for the project and want to see it succeed, but if they can walk back 100% freely, is it worth that much? The GoFundMe already demonstrates (and keeps demonstrating, thank you all!) something of the same magnitude or close. Or the number of such deposits would have to be really large!

Charlie Armor

Making the deposit refundable will burden a start-up business with a liability that looks very worrying to prospective investors. Unless the proportion being refunded is quite small I’m not sure if it could be made to work.

However, given the timescales one major risk for anyone putting down a deposit is that their own situation changes before their name nears the top of the production schedule.

Because very few options (if any?) are likely to be offered would it be possible to make places on the production schedule transferable so that my deposit becomes a tradeable asset?

This doesn’t reduce my risk of the A40 not realising the hopes I have for it but it does reduce my exposure to unforeseen changes in my own circumstances (health, GBP/Euro exchange rates, changing family plans etc.)

John Cobb

I would be willing to make such a deposit based on your idea of putting it in escrow and making it fully or partially refundable based on certain milestones as the boat moved towards production. The devil will be in the details but I believe that would be doable for me.

Making the place in the production schedule transferable is an excellent idea.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi John C.,

yes, thank you! If many share your willingness to do such a thing, we will definitely investigate it.

(on transferability, see my answer to Charlie Armor)

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Charlie,

many thanks for doubling down on your previous donation, much appreciated!

I totally see the advantages of making the deposit tradable. I’m afraid it’s not that straightforward, legally: if we’re speaking of a really tradable thing, from which the holder can possibly make a net profit in the end, then it’s highly regulated (at least here), and allowed to ordinary companies on very restrictive conditions only. If it turns out many of you want to do this, we can investigate it, but might end up losing some time and money with lawyers.

As a reference, when one year ago I toured the possible platforms before choosing GoFundMe, all of them were extremely vigilant that we don’t use them to create rights for donators on the company – even just the right to buy a product in the future with some discount.

That said, once we’re in production, it will always be possible to switch places in the line and compensate with the price – but this will be two distinct contract modifications between the company and the two buyers, not something done directly between them.

Matt Marsh

Financial regulators across Europe (and increasingly in North America and Asia) are, thanks to all the cryptocurrency scams recently, getting really twitchy about anything that could be considered a “security”. I would recommend staying away from that.
Taking deposits against future deliveries is a good idea.
Making those deposits partially refundable (eg. option to refund at 90% until tooling work commences, 60% until the prototype is launched, 30% until prototype sea trials are complete, and then the deposit becomes non-refundable) seems quite workable as long as those milestones are clearly defined.
Offering two or three tiers of deposits (eg. $X cash up front gets you a spot in the queue without knowing which hull number; $X*2 up front gets you one of the first 50 boats and an $X discount off the sticker price on delivery; $X*4 up front gets you a specific hull number in the first 6 months and an $X*2 discount) might also be worth considering.

She is quite clearly a couple’s boat, and we are a family of four, so Katy and I won’t be buying one yet; I can certainly imagine owning an A40 after the kids have moved out though! It’s a timeless design, and will still be just as good in 15 years as it is now. This is a boat that the builder will be able to keep churning out for years without any pressure to redesign, or to replace expensive tooling, just because of fashion and the “need” to always have something new and different.

Matt Marsh

I’ve been thinking about that for a while, too. I imagine the Adventure 47 and 54 (ish) as being generally similar to the currently planned Adventure 40 in most respects. They’d be 4- and 6-person cruisers, respectively; stretched in length and with a hair more freeboard, but with only a minimal change in beam, draught, and midship cross-sectional area versus the original 40-foot parent.

What makes big boats intimidating and difficult to handle isn’t their length, it’s their weight…. which requires more sail area to move…. which requires more stability to withstand, and higher sheet / halyard forces to handle…. which means a wider, deeper boat…. which adds weight….

If you are careful about not getting caught in the “longer boats must be enormous, voluminous, and massive” trap, you can fit all the essentials for comfortable long-term 4- or 6-person cruising into something very much like the A40, just made longer to fit the extra berths & provisions, and with a sail plan that is still easily workable by one or two people without automation. And you can keep the relative cost in check: if the A40 is $300k, then the A47 I have in mind is about 20% bigger and comes in at about $360k. The A54 being 40% bigger would land at about $420k, as opposed to the ~$600k you get if you just build a 54-footer proportioned by the usual scaling laws which would make it almost exactly twice the size of the 40.

But that’s getting off topic for today, I’m sure!

Maxime Gérardin

Hi John,

yes, to my knowledge, sorting the deposits by amount wouldn’t raise these issues (of course the rules and possible outcomes would have to be clearly set in the contract).

Charlie Armor

Maxime, apologies for the long delay in replying. I may have over complicated my request by using the term ‘tradeable’. From my perspective making a profit on the transfer of my position in the waiting list isn’t really that important. I’d be happy to know I could get (upto) the face value of the deposit back. Perhaps this might require you to act as an intermediary in the transaction and possibly charge a transaction fee to me and or the buyer.

In the unlikely event that the Adventure 40 isn’t selling like hot cakes I’d have to accept that there might not be anyone willing to pay me the full value of my deposit but it seems likely it will still have some value.

I’m confident the Adventure 40 will be in demand so if you find a buyer that’s prepared to pay more than I did perhaps you can pocket the difference? As long as there’s an opportunity to realise the market value of the deposit, upto the amount originally paid, I’d be happy.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Charlie,

thank you for the clarification. Obviously this doesn’t fall under the above-mentionned legal issue, and one can only agree with what you wrote: it’s in the order of things that a small fraction of buyers will see their circumstances change drastically between the first deposit and delivery, and yes, sure, as long as there are other buyers turning up, we have to be accommodating – all the more so when the cause of the change is bad news regarding health or family…

Mark GADUE

This (A 40) process has been fascinating, overall. Sometimes not, but mostly.

There are two points I would like to make and hopefully they’re both relevant.

I’ll post my first point as a question instead of a statement. Isn’t it unreasonable to think that the a40 design is going to be perfect initially regardless of the initial quality of design or the depth of experience of the designers? Consider some of the most successful sailboat production runs in history. I can think of three; The allberg 30 the tartan 27 and the tartan 34. Even with the best design things change over time as those three prove. When theory meets experience, theory must adapt and evolve to experience. The design of the a40 will not remain static. There may be advantages to getting the boat in its second year run, and so on. The buyers of the a40 will be among some of the most experienced, studied and thoughtful sailors on the planet. Of course the design will change with experience.

Second, this is a business. Get as much money as quickly as you can any way you you can, that is legal and ethical. If some of us have more money for whatever reason, and are willing to spend it, then the designers and builders should do whatever they can to access that money to whatever advantage they can create for themselves. If that money also creates advantages in terms of access to the product for the consumer I believe we have to accept that as the way of the world. In fact, collecting money is as important, or more important, than the design and the process of contracting a builder. If it’s business, it’s about the money. This will only succeed if those taking the risk can earn a profit from it.

Mark Gadue

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Mark,

yes, that’s likely, there will be changes in the long run. But not often: expect minor and very gradual improvements only (the models you mention built upon relatively limited industry experience at the time – which by the way makes them even more remarkable). The moment that will allow for substantial changes is rather between the prototype and series production: we’ll make room for this!

And yes this is a business, but a long-term-oriented one: our time and efforts go to things that increase its value and stability on the long run (this is why we, among other things, devoted some time to the keel issue), rather than respond to every shorter-lived opportunity. Plus, the collective motivation that comes with acheiving something fundamentally relevant, and useful to many, should not be overlooked!

Mark GADUE

Hi John,

You ask your members to stick to the topic in their comments, a good rule.

My comment was in the context of the article directly in front of me, and the comments that had preceded mine, both yours and others who had commented previously. 

I was not, as you imply, commenting on the nature of business and the ways to succeed in business which is totally outside the context of the article published.  

I was responding to comments that appeared in the article you wrote, such as: 

“…but obviously we can’t expect him (Maxine) to keep investing time, energy, and money into this indefinitely without a clear revenue plan.”

And 

“As before, Maxime and Christel are willing to pay ongoing costs that exceed donations out of their own pockets, but obviously there’s a limit to that.”

My comment was in empathy for the sacrifices that Maxime and his wife are making in this project.  I don’t find those financial sacrifices either necessary or prudent for long term success.  In no way was I saying,

“that a total focus on money (in business) is the way to go or even the most likely to yield profits. Instead I have found that a relentless focus on product quality and customer experience eventually leads to profit.” 
 
The only time I even mention the word profit was in regard to a reward for risk, a commonly held belief.

Since you personalized it with your record of success in four businesses, I have run a successful business myself for over forty years, with the fourth generation of my family entering that business now.  I have been a paid consultant to many other businesses in my industry to help them succeed as well. In fact as a consultant I have commented more than once to you directly that you do not charge enough for membership in this forum.  I altered my payment plan when you did raise your rates even though I had no obligation to do so.,  You underestimate the value AAC, which I think is a shame for someone who provides as much content as you do.

Maxine and his wife too deserve more than they are getting financially.  I am one of the members who has contributed money to this “go fund me” effort even though I have no intention of ever purchasing an A 40 myself.  They deserve more.  I think they need to be a little more concerned with self preservation and a little less altruistic.  That was the essence of my comment about business.

Mark Gadue