The Catamaran Group learned on its recent French tour to the Yapluka Boat Building Yard that the design team led by Martin Myers is gearing its yard to the future production of luxury custom mega catamarans over 140 in length.
Each new build allows us to become more efficient and effective in improving the quality of our catamarans. We are constantly evolving to improve the design and engineering process. This will give us opportunities in years to come to create catamarans over 140 feet in length," said Mr. Myers.
The Group had the opportunity to view various stages in the construction process from 60 feet up to 72 feet hulls. This rare opportunity allowed The Group to assess just how far Yapluka has mastered the customization process with regards large, luxury catamarans.
The Group toured precisely laid out Yapluka facilities with Mr. Myers describing in detail various procedures relating to hull plating, woodworking and hull finishing including key input on how the yard structures itself for the general process of building mega catamarans exceeding 100 feet in length.
Many of the techniques - including using non-inflammable aluminum to increase stability - were borrowed from the aeronautics industry. In fact, the sheer size of the hull superstructures along with the various specialized construction areas reminds one of airplane design/construction facility.
The yard itself is spotless and carefully organised. Attention to detail combined with well organized and trained work crews ensures a efficient production line with the ability for the owner/project manager to add in further customization requests at key points in the process.
Mr. Myers first provided a breakdown of the hull plating process with regards a Yapluka 60 hull. This includes using the biggest sheets of aluminum possible to reduce the amount of welding on the hull. This leads to minimal deformation or unevenness in the hull and a high quality finish.
The entire sheeting process is verified by a third party certification organization called VERITAS. This further emphasizes the care and research put into the construction process that generally takes at least one year from start to end.
There are virtually no restrictions to the interior from the closed bulkheads when it comes to customizing the aluminum frames. Mr. Myers pointed out the similarity to an airplane hull in the length & breadth of space available to the owner and the options to shape the cabins in his or her vision. The same applies for the salon area with a multitude of other avenues available in determining the various connection points between the cockpit, salon and cabins.
"This particular hull demonstrates the advantages of customized hulls when it comes to maximizing space and connection points between the salon area, for example, and the interior," said
We asked Mr. Myers how owners react to the impressive walk through bulkheads which allow the client to actually visualize his future boat and provide further input on customization."They are always impressed by the amount of space...we also pre-install the interior in the woodshop mock-up which allows them to physically walk through it, confirm bulkhead positioning and make additional changes," said Mr. Myers.
The entire Yapluka 'interior' building process is transparent and allows the client to provide further input for improvement. Once they validate the changes in the woodshop, the interior is varnished, stocked and primed for inclusion in the hull inside the ‘finishing’ area.
"The ability to customize and visualize their future boat in our facilities is what draws customer to Yapluka," said Mr. Myers.
The Group had the opportunity to first walk underneath a massive Yapluka 72 before venturing above the mezzanine into the upper areas of the mega catamaran where specialized crews were working on completing various interior and exterior sections.
Even though the hull was only 80% complete, it was clear that was going to be a beautifully finished luxury boat. At this stage, it was only four weeks away from receiving its final coat of paint with roughly 30 days before the salon area was complete.
When the times comes for launch the boat will slip gently out of giant factory doors and gently splash down into the canal - virtually on the doorstep of the Yapluka headquarters.
If one word comes to mind when visiting the Yapluka Yard, it is ‘Unbelievable’. One can imagine a time when luxury mega catamarans over 150 feet become a regular sight in the pristine sailing waters of The Caribbean and Mediterranean.