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Thank you for sharing in our journey of building a Fusion Catamaran! We are so excited to be able to chronicle our adventure for our family, friends, and supporters, from our initial decision to (hopefully) a successful launch and beyond. Please post your comments, questions, and cautionary tales-we love to hear from you!



Monday, September 2, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

By the time we returned to visit XYZZY in early August, the last kit piece (the nosecones) was being fitted, and work was proceeding apace on the customizations and interior.  She really looks like a boat now!

Nosecones are the Last Major Kit Pieces
 
Most of the next phase of work on the exterior will consist of fairing the seams smooth, glassing (fiber glassing) joints, and then gel-coating to make everything disappear!  That means long, patient hours of grinding and sanding while fiberglass dust settles everywhere.  (Each time we step aboard, I begin itching within minutes, even though I'm very careful to not touch much of anything-I really don't know how the workers can stand it!) 

And in case you didn't know, "fair" is a term that is used whenever a boat is built. When material is bent or curved or cut, or a line drawn, a boatbuilder must be concerned about fairness. A "fair curve" or line is one that is as smooth as it can be as it follows the path it must take around the hull of a boat. A fair line is free of extraneous bumps or hollows, and an unfair line needs to be smoothed out. There's seldom any curve that must be more fair than the "sheer" of a boat. (The sheer is the break in the hull of any boat that runs from bow to stern and separates the side of the hull from the deck-so much jargon!)

We've also discussed quite a few customizations for our boat, and now that the major assembly is complete, it's time to work on those.  One of the biggest changes we are making is to extend the coach roof back towards the targa bar (arch) at the stern of the boat.  We are constantly amazed by the number of boats we see with little or no sun protection for the cockpit, and we know from charter experience that the cockpit is really the biggest room in the "house", so it needs to be dry and comfortable!  Below you can see how first a wooden structure is built to support the extension.  Next, melamine sheets are cut to form the extension, and then lastly fiberglass is applied both on top and underneath, to make the extension appear as if it is part of the original roofline.  Sparing no details, our builder carefully flared the sides to follow the flow of the existing roof, and even moved the upward curling lip at the back of the original roof to the back edge of the extension, to really complete the aesthetic!  I'm convinced he's really an artist as well as a shipwright!

Tim prepares the underlying temporary wooden structure


Finished Support Structure
 
                                    
Melamine Roof Extension

Another customization in the cockpit will be the helm station.  The original Fusion design calls for the helm station to be on the port (left) side of the cockpit, and for the driver to sit on a seat looking through a window in front of him through the interior of the cabin and then out through the front windows of the salon!  Alternatively, he could stand up and poke his head above the coach roof to see above the cabin, open to the elements. 

Usual Fusion Helm Station Arrangement

When we first looked at the two Fusions already built, this was the aspect we disliked the most.  It seemed very uncomfortable, not to mention unsafe; in addition we wanted the space in front of the wheel for the electronic displays for the navigation systems, and not a window. We discussed many ideas of how to improve this design; what we came up with will be a covered, raised helm station, so that when the driver is seated, he will be able to look out over the coach roof, and be protected from the sun and rain.  The beginnings of this design are seen below; the window cutout is filled in and the helm floor is raised up:

 
 

Additionally, lots of work is happening inside the salon and hulls, to turn the empty shell into our living quarters.  On the port (remember, left!) side we will have a full owner's cabin with a spacious (for a boat) head (bathroom) in the aft (rear), and extended bedroom area from there forwards.  The construction of a desk/storage/closet area in the middle of the hull, between the head and the bed will be an area to hang clothes, store books or clothes, and get ready for the day. 


Midships "Living Room"
Owner's side Head

In the starboard (right) side of the boat, we will have two cabins and a second (smaller) bathroom, for guests.  The aft cabin will also house a washer/dryer (in the spot where the bucket is below) and function as a storage/office/tool room, unless we have another guest (grandson?) for the third bedroom. 

Third Cabin/Office/Laundry Room
Guest Bedroom Suite
Guest Head
The main cabin, or salon is also taking shape as we plan for the dinette/seating area, dual refrigerator/freezer units, and kitchen layout, but the major work here will probably wait until most of the work in the hulls is done, as it is a great place for staging.  To be able to work inside, they've even installed a temporary door and a window air conditioner!  A main feature of our salon will be a custom table, designed to raise and lower, with storage in the base for our laptops and chargers. We are having this designed by Release Marine of Savannah, GA, who design amazing tables of all types of wood.  We went to them with an idea of a comfortable work/entertainment space, and a table that would adapt easily to both requirements, and after several meetings, we have settled on a design that is truly one-of-a-kind.  We will be making a trip later in the fall to see how it is coming along.

Main Salon
Custom Table Design by Release Marine

Topside, we are starting to plan for the layout of the deck hardware (winches, cleats, blocks), rigging, and placement of solar panels.  This exercise has caused no end of drawing, planning, scratching of heads, and phone conferences with manufacturers, to make sure everything will fit and we will still have room to walk!  We discovered that, if we wanted our solar panels in time, we had to place an order by the end of August or pay costly air shipping from Italy, so Dennis and Rian have been busily exchanging thoughts:

A Bare Deck to be Covered in Panels and Deck Hardware - like an empty canvas!


A "Rough" Drawing

We've also begun to make some of the myriad purchase of "stuff" needed for the boat.  One of the first purchases were our anchors, both primary and secondary, pictured here:

Our Anchors! There will be no dragging on this boat!
And then lastly, it has begun to be time to start sorting out our land-based life and see what's going to kids, what's going to storage, what's coming along (not much), and what needs to be sold.  These are sometimes very difficult decisions, and every item seems to be the center of a 20-minute discussion: "remember when we got this?  remember who helped us pick this out?  this belonged to so-and-so..." it's much harder than I'd thought it would be.

One possession that was a no-brainer was to sell our "little" boat, Kanaloa.  We'd stored her away at the beginning of this hurricane season; with all the traveling, we didn't want to be worried about having to fly back and move her, and with the very busy fall schedule preparing for XYZZY, we didn't anticipate having much time to sail her.  So we listed her on WildJibe, thinking we'd at least start the process, and in three days, we had a buyer!  She is going to a wonderfully exciting new life in St. Thomas, to be a day charter boat in the US Virgin Islands!  We hope we get to see her in action one day soon.




So, as we move into autumn, we are packing, moving, working, and dreaming our way towards our winter/spring launch date.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! The dream is ever closer to reality - must be very exciting! Great to see the layout so clear and well developed. Looking forward to the real thing!!
    Dennis

    ReplyDelete