Thursday, March 7, 2013

Alan's new boat.....

This morning I had the most unexpected pleasure of being shown over Alan Harrington's new boat.  I simply don't have a suitable term to summarize my impression of this boat - common superlatives don't do justice to this thing! It simply is the most impressive boat I have ever been on  - being a fantastic combination of nautical design, workmanship and technology you are ever likely to find! Set in the backdrop of the V&A Marina did no harm either.

Besides the great design-concept and fantastic workmanship on this boat, the input from Alan has also been outstanding. Alan is a very hands-on boat building client, and clearly gave tremendous input to the build. This is not his first build, and his ability to conceptualize and research the whole process is more than impressive. It shows in all the systems and detailing - from the running rigging, the winches, through to the electrical systems, electronics and recreational gear. This boat is showcase for all the contractors involved - its a one-boat boatshow if you ask me, and a dam fine one at that!

I haven't mentioned the Nexus guys yet, Roger, Jonathan and Mark Paarman (the surfing lot), plus John Henrick. They are an amazing team, some were onboard today, and really good guys. Alan has had a great time working with them, and it shows in the relationships, the attitudes, and ultimately the karma of this boat. After all, building a boat is half the fun (alternatively all the stress) - it is critical to work with the best guys. It shows clearly in the couple of hours I spent on the boat.

For more on Nexus cats see www.nexuscatamarans.com. 

Oh by the way, the boat is a Nexus 600, I think the name is "Te Kane" - was that right Al?


Some pics from my cellphone. This doesn't show half the space in the backyard - that's what it is - huge. If they moved the furniture you could almost go jogging in this department. Ample seating, good high quality drop blinds all around if you want them, hot and cold water outdoor showers... ideal for the tropics, diving, partying and general chilling..... the feel is quality, ample, appropriate but suitably unflashy. Quite an achievement to get so much value into one space without any bling.... 
Note the raised helm position behind the cabin top - sorry I didn't get a pic of that, I was a bit distracted, maybe.... but it is simple, well equipped, comfortable and well positioned. And out of the way.... the hatches upfront cover the anchor and chain lockers, ample and accessible. Two 50Kg anchors (CQRs or Bruces I think they are), plus a good 100m of chain, on electrical windlasses controlled from the helm. Winches are size 60, mostly electrical. The mainsail has a modified stackpack, falling neatly into a broad tray you could walk on. Simple and effective. Halyards all made of this new kind of spectra which name I forget. The kit is all top-notch.
The tender is a neat little RIB with a 60 Hp Suzuki 4-stroke, and a centre console. RIBs are another one Alan's passions so don't expect anything less. The davit system works via a neat process on an electrical winch. Job done... Nice gas braai on this side, and a very nice nylon-based fish cleaning station on the other side. By the way, there is a spare ducky stowed up front with the anchors, and a 15Hp stowed below with the genset....
The galley - like a nice house. Full gas/electric stove, microwave above, cappuccino machine (critical item!!). Under the open lid is a dish-drying drain box with enclosed fan. There are about 3 freezers and four fridges on this boat. Another microwave thing on the other side. It all oozes quality. The wood finishing throughout the boat is bamboo, my personal favourite.... lots of ceiling hatches/ventilators/skylights. Some face forward, some face back.
Ha! the toyroom. here we have a flight simulator on par with the best, with every piece of marine electronics known to man, and then simplified into a few multifunction screens. Here you can take on the ferries through Gibraltar or the Solent, fully confident that you will see them well before they hit you. I'm not going to enumerate the items here, if you want to know whether it has x, y or z, the answer is yes! The ICOM M801E is a nice touch alongside the ICOM M603 VHF, alongside the satphone, alongside the rest.....mostly Furuno stuff. 

On the left hand side are the power control panels - here you can control all electrical systems on the boat in pictorial format. Think home-automation to the 95th power.... this is seriously cool stuff.
Some creature comforts. TV and a brilliant Bose sound system. In fact there is another sound system too, almost as good. But this boat is not about TVs and bling. Its for divers, fishermen, sea lovers, sailors, adventurers, and holidaymakers. Stay at home if TV's your thing. The TV is for when you happen to be in Monaco during the grand-prix I think. All cabins are well air-conditioned. There is  a laundry with superb washing machine and dryer. Watermaker and generous tankage. Hot and cold water, obviously. Lots of light and space, and great bedding and mattresses. Each cabin has marine instrumentation showing speeds, wind etc etc etc! There is a 19 KVA genset, mega battery bank, and 10 KVA inverters. Inmarsat digital comms. Two large calorifiers, powered by electricity or engine heat....lots of space around everything.
The saloon, chill-room and late night drinking station if its cold outside (another one outside). Upholstery is fine-leather by the way.

Beyond what the piccies show, there is loads of stuff hidden away. Bilges, engine rooms, electrical boards, tanks, air conditioners, chain lockers etc etc. All of it is clean as a whistle, reeks of quality, and no hidden suprises that one finds in so many boats. Its clean and painted, and you get the impression there is no space for yucky stuff like dirt, creepies and stinky things. No panels in this boat - inside Alan had the GRP coated, stippled and painted clean white. Transparency rules. Unpretentious, simple, and clean forever. BIG YES.

Can it sail? I believe these boats sail well, but haven't experienced it yet. It sure looks the part.  The rigging is large and realistic looking. It has a nice easily-reefable main, large genoa, assym spinnaker and a code-zero. Did I mention two huge engines, about 100 Hp each. Generous diesel tankage (was it 2200 litres?). Its a mobile boat. They can really move. 22 knots is possible, in practice you will average well over ten knots...but you will wish the journey could last forever!

Accommodation. Yes, plenty, all with ensuite facilities etc etc. Obviously. Its like a dam good house in that respect. 

How much does it cost. Um yes. But its worth it - just find the money or syndicate it. Or contact Alan for a charter! 

Just as we were leaving - i.e. Chris Sutton and I, Alan pops up with six bottles of fine wine from their estate for the two of us - the Graceland brand - how much better can it get?! See http://www.gracelandvineyards.com/wine.html for more about this! Thanks Alan for a great day!