Welcome to Our Blog

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!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sarasota Summer

As Spring blossoms into Summer, the pace has picked up on XYZZY and it seems that new, exciting steps are happening almost every day. Crews of five and six people are now working six days a week. With our sights set on an early fall launch date and a debut at the Fall 2014 Annapolis Boat show, we meet several times a week with our builders to measure progress and stay ahead of what needs to be purchased and installed next.
The best ideas happen on napkins with drinks!
Living just down the street from the boatyard has had definite advantages, and Dennis goes off to "work" there almost every morning, doing whatever tasks and errands Rian will give him!  Leaving in the morning, he'll promise to stay "just an hour or two", and then walk back in around 7:00 in the evening, covered in sweat and fiberglass dust, but grinning from ear to ear!  Clearly, programming has lost its siren call!
We've been seeing a lot of Mike and Shawn of Cabinetry by Mike Reed lately; now that most of the messy sanding and gel-coating inside has been finished up, it is time for them to step in and begin fitting the beautiful cabinets and frames they've been working on in their shop these past few months.  True artists of wood, their considerable skill and craftsmanship is evident in each and every piece they create, and there are no shortcuts taken.  Once these cabinets are fitted to the openings, they will be whisked away to the finisher for final staining and sealing.  In the pictures below, the trim is a wood called Anigre, while the panels are carmelized bamboo veneer over super-light plywood.  The Anigre will receive a light stain in addition to the semi-gloss sealants, to make it blend with the bamboo.  The result will be a light, yet warm wood interior topped with creamy soft walls and headliner. 
Finished Sample, stained and sealed

Giving life to bare walls, Mike is a master
Here trim is still unfinished and appears much lighter
Mike and Shawn are an expert team
Looking down the stairs into starboard hull
Starboard side cabinets
Mike is also crafting a cockpit table for us as well, and here Mike and Rian are discussing shape and placement of the design.

Our wrap-around front windows have finally arrived from Australia, but will need to wait crated until almost the very end, as they are one of the last items to be installed. 
Our hull windows have arrived and are ready to be fitted into the custom design we opted for, rather than going with traditional small portholes.  These tempered glass windows have the portholes set into them, and will allow the hulls to be bright and airy, yet strong enough to withstand blue water passages.
The engines, which have been here for several months already, can now be fitted into the engine compartments (Dennis euphemistically calls them "engine rooms", but they're really NOT rooms, believe me!) to ascertain where all the mount points and connections will be.

Tim carefully lowers the engine for final fitting before completing the compartment
 The helm seat has arrived, and it looks like our eyes were a bit bigger than the space allotted for it!  When we hoisted it up, the seat back just barely fit under the coach roof, and would not have been able to move at all!  Looks like we should have ordered the petite size!  But after a bit of (tense) collective head scratching, plans were made to lower the base plate into the generator compartment underneath, enlarge the opening for the mini-roof above, and send the helm seat legs back for a slightly shorter version.  With a bit of thinking outside the box, the day was saved.

Uh oh!
Ingenuity at Work!
 We encountered a similar problem when we realized that several items (AC unit, Lithium ION batteries) were slightly too tall to fit under the salon seats as we had intended.  For equipment we didn't already have, we mocked up replicas to determine positioning, but alas, we were short a couple of inches! However, another round of brainstorming brought an easy solution: cut the seating unit and lift it up to the required height, to gain back needed room. 
A Battery Mock Up

Another Uh Oh!
You may be saying to yourself, "didn't these people have drawings, didn't they measure?"  Well, of course we did, and 95% of the build has come to fruition exactly as planned, but there are always a few surprises, and the true skill of Rian and his team shine in their ability to adapt and rework as necessary, without any compromise to the integrity and quality.  I remember building models from kits when I was younger, and how frustrated I was when my completed (horse, airplane, dollhouse) never looked like the picture on the box, even though I'd followed the numbered instructions exactly!  Any builder worth the title can follow plans, but it takes a craftsman to confidently tweak, adapt, and adjust to achieve perfection even better than the "picture on the box". 
One of the next big projects will be wiring the boat, and with our combination of Mastervolt C-Zone units (kind of like electrical routers, for my networking friends) and lithium batteries, we felt investing in a professional electrical design team would be money well spent to have the electrical/electronic system function as it should.  We have engaged Boksa Marine for this effort, and although XYZZY is probably the smallest "yacht" they've ever worked on, we are really impressed with the level of professionalism and attention to detail they bring to the table.  Since we have both a DC system and an AC system, we had to supply lists of equipment and placement for both, and then let Mr. Thomas Boschart work his magic to produce wiring diagrams and load analyses for us.  We have something close to 700 wire leads between the two systems! Once the theoretical design is complete, then of course the challenge will be to install it as per the drawings! And hope the lights turn on :)


In between all these projects, we've been getting to know the Sarasota Bay area with our new little dinghy, putting her through her paces, each time happier with our choice!  Plugh is a quiet, dependable tender, and her 20Hp Honda outboard gets us where we want to go while staying dry and comfortable.  We've been able to anchor off the beach to snorkel, or zip across the bay for dinner and a sunset.


Lastly, July 7th will be a milestone day in our build: Mack Sails is delivering our mast and rigging, and will be stepping the mast to test the rig and measure for sails.  While I know it will then come back down again until time for launch, this will be a major step in turning XYZZY into a "real sailboat"!  You all can count on another blog entry devoted to that day!  And if anyone plans to be in the area at that time, please plan to come by and watch!

Summer Storm over Sarasota Bay
                        "Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made."
                                                                                                             ~Robert Rose


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