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"Mala Conducta"-the best Gunboat never built


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There's a piece of multihull history that's just begging to be told. I've been following this story from the sidelines for several years now. The story of this boat serves as an important lesson about the yachting industry, as well as a turning point in the history of Gunboat, but there are so many subplots and twists to this boat's past, involving so many characters...and the best part is the story is still unfolding.  A development this morning gave me a good laugh so I decided I had to share. 

In the Gunboat South Africa era (2005/6?) a pair of brothers from Latin America approached PJ about buying a Gunboat 62/66. The brothers loved the design but felt the price tag was too steep. Pj assured them that they could never build a boat like a Gunboat for less money, anywhere, and his offering was the best deal going. To try and close the deal PJ (apparently) comped a week's charter aboard Gb6202 Safari (IIRC). The two parties had gotten down to details in the contract but the $3.4m (or whatever the price was) was just too high. The brothers figured PJ was making heaps of money at that price and they wanted a deeper discount than Pj could offer. Despite the free charter, negotiations stalled.

Around that same time, PJ decided to stretch the 62 tooling to 66 feet (basically in order to accommodate more equipment and offer more luxury). Now...PJ and MM had had an agreement where MM would get royalties from every GB62 sold...but PJ argued that he was no longer selling 62's, he was selling 66's, so MM was no longer entitled to royalties. Pj told MM to go pound sand. That obviously wasn't a popular decision with MM. 

Back to the brothers...Frustrated with negotiations with PJ, the brothers approached MM asking if MM would sell a "likeness" of the GB62 design. The brothers wanted to have a GB62 built themselves (without all of the cream that they thought PJ was skimming). MM figured any sense of loyalty between PJ and MM was sorta out of the window so they happily helped. MM changed the bow profile, some corners were rounded, some construction details were changed...but it was a GB62v.2 in spirit if not in name. The brothers went to several builders before settling on Lyman Morse in Maine (back when JB Turner was still there, before JB left for Front Street).

PJ was furious that he'd been "betrayed" by MM. He'd spent $100's of thousands on design for the Gunboat 62, he'd spent months trying to close these guys, he had comped a charter, the sale was HIS fish to land, it was HIS design to sell. To MM, after the 62/66 royalty situation, it was the quick and the dead. "Mala" was the final and definitive nail in the coffin for the relationship between GB and MM (though their relationship had apparently been on the rocks for a long time). That breakup ended up driving PJ and GB to Nigel Irens Design for the Gunboat 78 (started in SA), then later the GB60 (China) and finally the GB55 (USA). The GB/MM era was over. Some would argue (including myself) that Gunboat never found its footing after the split with MM. MM would have to wait until the HH line to find commercial success in the market segment again, when MM and Hudson would join forces to settle their blood feud with PJ. 

As for the not-a-Gunboat 62, "Mala Conducta" was wildly overbudget and way behind schedule. The "outrageous" $3.4m that PJ had been offering for a Gunboat was a bargain in comparison to the (reported) $7m that "Mala" ended up costing. (That excludes the very real possibility that the brothers would've been victims of GB's bankruptcy in SA if they'd gone with PJ...but ignore that fact for rhetorical purposes). Despite the cost and delays the boat was fantastic. I got to see her not long after launch (2009?) and went for a sail. She was heads and shoulders better than any comparable Gunboat of her day. Interior finish was beautiful, the styling updates were perfect. She was the best boat Gunboat never built. There were teething issues (as you'd expect). They snapped a rudder or two, they had issues with the rudder cassettes, but the boat was fast and strong. Before you knew it she was off to the Caribbean and onward to Panama. 

As for GB/PJ, by the time Mala launched PJ/GB had gone out of business in S. Africa (PJ insists it doesn't count as a bankruptcy, though many would contest that characterization. A difference without a distinction, maybe?). The global economy was melting down and orders were canceling left and right. In truth, PJ had never really been making money hand over fist the way the brothers had assumed, or even making money at all. Even though he had 4 boats under build, without new orders he couldn't finish the boats that he already had contracts for. It turned out buying a Gunboat 62 at a loss for PJ actually WAS a good deal. The first GB "bankruptcy" in SA had revealed the Ponzi scheme nature of boatbuilding. Borrow from Paul to pay Peter in this case, I guess. In the end, Gunboat would go bankrupt 3 more times, repeating the same Ponzi scheme over and over again ("FAKE NEWS! Not bankruptcies!" PJ is yelling at his computer screen somewhere). Having seen behind the curtain, though, I'm much more sympathetic to PJ's difficulties. It's just really fucking hard to build a boat "on time, on budget, on spec", especially if there's some expectation of profitability or a sustainable business model. 

About a year after launch "Mala Conducta" was struck by lightning in Panama. Structurally the boat was ok but the electrical system was plagued by issues. "Mala" was an early adopter of Lithium batteries and networked electrical systems. They backtracked to Curaçao to haul out and fix the boat. They flew some techs down from Maine to work on her and at some point during her refit the Lithium batteries caught fire. The contractors barely had time to get off before the boat was engulfed in flames. In a stroke of unfortunate luck, Curaçao has some excellent firefighting equipment as a result of oil refinery/fuel storage industry on the island. Instead of spraying water on the burning boat (which wouldn't have worked) they used chemical (foam?) to extinguish the fire. That meant they put the fire out moments before the boat was inarguably a total loss. It had the appearance of a boat, but it wasn't a boat. The resin had burned out, the foam was gone, but the "shell" was intact. I was told you could push your finger through the deck. Below shoulder-height the boat was "fine" but the main bulkhead was toast, the ceiling/deck was scorched, the jack stands had punched through the flooded hulls. To the insurers (reluctant to pay out on a $5m+ claim) it was a repair job. To everyone else it was a total loss. Engineers were flown in, boatbuilders, etc. and no one wanted to touch the project. The insurance claim went to court where it languished for about a decade. The story went quiet.

Throughout the saga I followed the story out of sheer morbid curiosity, but I continued paying attention long after the fire because I wanted to believe there was an opportunity there. A power cat! A cheap Hall mast! A sailing cat using a kite instead of a mast! But alas...there's nothing more expensive than a cheap boat. I talked with the guys at MM, I talked to the skipper, the broker, everyone said it was trashed. I was told nearly a year ago that the case had been resolved and the assets would be for sale but I didn't make a move. There was no play to be made and I passed on whatever opportunity might exist. 

That's why I was so surprised when I saw that a couple of hippies bought it about 6 months ago. They also have a Lagoon 560 that they seemingly live on full time.

https://m.facebook.com/Ocean.Nomad/

They managed to get both engines running, jury rigged a stumpy alloy pole for a makeshift mast, strapped the Hall mast on deck, repaired the obvious holes, and splashed the boat. They excitedly put a call out on FB looking for volunteers to crew from Curaçao to the US (in convoy with their other cat). They set sail...and...it seemed to be working! They sailed around Cuba, cruised the Bahamas, and made it to Savannah. Their FB posts showed them hiking waterfalls, swimming with the pigs in Staniel, basically living the dream. It was never revealed what they paid for it, but for a heartbeat I thought "Damn, maybe they DID get a deal and I missed it!" That thought was brief, though. I knew that any refit would be in the millions. There was no deal there. Inevitably the project would be abandoned. It was just a matter of time.

That's why I got such a good laugh this AM. The project is for sale, "any reasonable offer considered".

https://yachthub.com/list/boats-for-sale/used/sail-catamarans/morrelli-and-melvin-62-luxury-performance-sailing-cat-mala-conducta/231214

I feel bad for the hippies. I'm sure this adventure HAS been an adventure, but it must've also been expensive and time consuming. Any "adult in the room" would've told them to save their money and spend their time elsewhere. It seems to me like this boat has some bad karma wrapped up in it. Luckily for them, they seem to be pulling the plug before the bleeding gets to be too bad. 

Anyway, this story has been going on for years now. It's like "the Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. The drama keeps unfolding, each chapter more tragi-comic than the last. Eventually, maybe  someone will hire a bulldozer to turn this  boat into landfill, or maybe someone with more money than sense will fix it for real. Either way, it'll be interesting to see how this story ends. 

What's the lesson? Buy used. Or buy new from a billionaire who doesn't care about profit. Or don't buy a cheap used boat. Or don't start a high-end boatbuilding business without a bankruptcy lawyer on speed dial. I dunno. 

That's the "Mala Conducta" story. 

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Well if you have "Conducta" in your name a lightning strike is just a matter of time !

I've been involved in boatbuilding as a glassie, it's the same story the world over,

"If you want to make a small fortune building boats start with a big one"

"Did you hear about the boat builder who won the lottery ?"

They asked him "What are you going to do with the money ?"

"Oh I'll just carry on till it runs out" Boom boom.

There was a multitude of boatbuilders here in Perth in the late eighties, now they are few servicing the local fisherman which are fewer by the year or one who services the very top end of the (export) market with luxury tenders. Most just repair the ageing fleet, no one builds multihulls here and most mono's are imported. 

As one boat builder said as he retired "they all want European quality for a Chines price."

Lots of whining from the boat owners about rip off repair costs, ha, I used to repair boats but spent so much time chasing my pay cheque I gave it away, do house repair instead, much higher on peoples priorities.

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Saw classifieds on Yachtworld featuring photos of Mala Conducta for a few years. They were asking around $3.5MM. Not certain if it was for a new build or MC used.  Either way, the economics make no sense if the build cost was $7MM.  Interesting. 

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1 hour ago, Rasputin22 said:

What was the low down on the rudders?

Dirty gunboat secret is that there were a huge number of rudder failures in the early days. The VARA style dagger rudders failed, as did the bearing systems. The GB48 and Mala had the transom hung pintle/gudgeon style dagger rudders, and I remember hearing about those failing too.

The fix was basically more carbon. 

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Sounds like the early days of pretty much any highly loaded foil development. I know one beach cat vendor went through 4x iterations to get a set that work under foiling conditions, and that isn't in the wave state a GB48 would experience.

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16 minutes ago, soma said:

Dirty gunboat secret is that there were a huge number of rudder failures in the early days. The VARA style dagger rudders failed, as did the bearing systems. The GB48 and Mala had the transom hung pintle/gudgeon style dagger rudders, and I remember hearing about those failing too.

The fix was basically more carbon. 

Well that should not have been a surprise since the VARA Rudder originated on the Melges 30 and SOCA 30. Not sure which one of those boats used it first. The SOCA was a nice little rocketship out of Trinidad that never got the attention it deserved. 

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3 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

Well that should not have been a surprise since the VARA Rudder originated on the Melges 30 and SOCA 30. Not sure which one of those boats used it first. The SOCA was a nice little rocketship out of Trinidad that never got the attention it deserved. 

The Soca version came first. I think there was a threat of legal action but I never heard anything further. 

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    I made a visit to the SOCA shop during a Hurricane layover in Trinidad back in 1999 I think it was. Great bunch of guys and a surprise to see such an advanced boat project taking place down there. But come to think of it there was an equally amazing stuff going on with the big catamaran project out at the old seaplane hangar near Chagaramas. French spin-off and I can't think of the design name at the moment. You mentioned it a while back I think SOMA. Wonder where that mold ever got off to?

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17 hours ago, tofi33 said:

Mala was my favourite boat ever. MM nailed the design on that one.

1

Yeah, MM really did nail it. It makes me sad to think about what could've been. The 62/66 was a quick boat and WAY ahead of its time, but the styling was sorta simplistic, the interior layout wasn't quite right, and the build methodology was crude. I always wished that MM and GB coulda made their relationship work. A "real" v.2 of the 62/66 line designed by Pete Melvin, built in modern tooling (like the 55 and 60), with a good infrastructure and cheap labor in SA and it'd be a very different world right now. Gunboat would still be PJ's, there'd be dozens more GBs afloat, and it'd be one big happy family.  

I also liked the MM65's that were built in California. It was a shame that they didn't catch on. Gizmo and Mauliola(sp?) are beautiful boats, too. 

 

 

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19 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

(steps back quickly after throwing grenade in room)

Never followed or dug but always wondered about that one.  So many big names and big colors and big talk to have produced what seems to be a big flop that can't get out of its own way??

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7 minutes ago, Wess said:

Never followed or dug but always wondered about that one.  So many big names and big colors and big talk to have produced what seems to be a big flop that can't get out of its own way??

No way is that boat a flop! In the right hands, it's the fastest Gunboat of them all. She beat Phaedo in every head-to-head matchup (on the water). The only reason she lost on the water to Elvis was that the team onboard Extreme (including me) were new to the boat. I think there may be a perception that it was a flop, but that's only because the owner was ready to move on so It hasn't sailed much since their first season.

Now...the build was another story. They were screwed over by PJ in the 1st bankruptcy in S. Africa. She was eventually shipped to Westerly in Cali and finished very well, though.

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On 4/8/2019 at 7:16 PM, Rasputin22 said:

    I made a visit to the SOCA shop during a Hurricane layover in Trinidad back in 1999 I think it was. Great bunch of guys and a surprise to see such an advanced boat project taking place down there. But come to think of it there was an equally amazing stuff going on with the big catamaran project out at the old seaplane hangar near Chagaramas. French spin-off and I can't think of the design name at the moment. You mentioned it a while back I think SOMA. Wonder where that mold ever got off to?

Cats in Trinidad were the Aikane 56 or the HH 90 ; Both were VPLP designs , Both companies failed because of the ultimate cost of labor

 

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On 4/8/2019 at 8:28 AM, soma said:

What's the lesson? Buy used. Or buy new from a billionaire who doesn't care about profit. Or don't buy a cheap used boat. Or don't start a high-end boatbuilding business without a bankruptcy lawyer on speed dial. I dunno. 

That's the "Mala Conducta" story. 

7 million bucks and warranty issues on a 66' cat is a joke.  2 jokes actually.  

The "lesson" for the designers and builders seems to involve clueless clients with bottomless pockets.  For the owners, the lesson is to be involved in the build.  The following is the advice we give to clients, based on my experiences as builder, client, owners rep, sales rep and being in the middle of a dispute where both parties are right, but one or both of them is going to lose money:

A respectable builder (get references) will not rip you off, but nor will he go broke trying to save you some money.  He will have overheads, profit margins, contingency fees, non productive office staff and mark ups on materials.  He may have other clients who don't pay their bills and overdraft/loan interest to pay.  He may expect you to pay for a showroom finish as the boat 'represents' him.   If you do go this route, get a quote on an item (the tender, beam or hull) detailing the hours, costs and payment schedule.  This is not a trivial task,  expect to pay for it.     Then compare the finished item against the quote.  If you are both happy, then that becomes the standard for the rest of the build, including the detailed quote.   You still have to ensure it is met for each step (especially the payment schedule), but there is less chance of you being ripped off or the builder going belly up.  An advantage of a modular boat is that you can cost, build and pay for each item individually.  If it starts to go pear shaped, you don't lose the entire boat. 

Self building a big boat will take a long time, even with a rapid build system, basic fitout and non showroom finish.  

A compromise solution is to run the job yourself.  You (or a trusted representative) organise the shed, buy the tools (few and not expensive), and materials, pay the wages, make the tea, etc and employ as many builders and sub contractors as you need or can oversee.  If you have spare time, help with the build.  Not only are you in control of timing and finance, but you know exactly what is in the boat, who supplied it, who the sales rep is and what he promised, what it costs,  how it is installed and how to fix it.  Warranty issues are rare, builders and owners are happy, the boat costs much less than a pro build and if you are organised, takes less time.  Plus, you have the unbelievable buzz of being able to answer the "stunning boat, who built it?" question with 'Me".

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Great story Soma. I think there are a lot of lessons there. Total shame regarding the fire and ensuing mess. Part of me says to buy that boat for the rig, the other part of me says anything on that boat is probably cursed with bad ju-ju and will work for a few trips than fail catastrophically for in-explainable reasons at a less than opportune time.

Proa, unless you are very seriously retired, no one with $3mil+ in the bank has the time to run a pro build shop for the 12-18 months it would take it build a Gunboat. They would have to have a very trusted office manager running the main show, the ability to manage all high level business decisions remotely, kids out of the house and a wife that is more understanding than God. Clearly you've found some owners who have made it work, and I would try to do the same if I was in that situation (simply because I'm OCD as hell and run a composites shop as is, the 'I don't trust anyone but me' syndrome), but its not a sustainable model, nor one most designers would sign onto at this level.

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4 hours ago, harryproa said:

7 million bucks and warranty issues on a 66' cat is a joke.  2 jokes actually.  

The "lesson" for the designers and builders seems to involve clueless clients with bottomless pockets.  For the owners, the lesson is to be involved in the build.  The following is the advice we give to clients, based on my experiences as builder, client, owners rep, sales rep and being in the middle of a dispute where both parties are right, but one or both of them is going to lose money:

A respectable builder (get references) will not rip you off, but nor will he go broke trying to save you some money.  He will have overheads, profit margins, contingency fees, non productive office staff and mark ups on materials.  He may have other clients who don't pay their bills and overdraft/loan interest to pay.  He may expect you to pay for a showroom finish as the boat 'represents' him.   If you do go this route, get a quote on an item (the tender, beam or hull) detailing the hours, costs and payment schedule.  This is not a trivial task,  expect to pay for it.     Then compare the finished item against the quote.  If you are both happy, then that becomes the standard for the rest of the build, including the detailed quote.   You still have to ensure it is met for each step (especially the payment schedule), but there is less chance of you being ripped off or the builder going belly up.  An advantage of a modular boat is that you can cost, build and pay for each item individually.  If it starts to go pear shaped, you don't lose the entire boat. 

Self building a big boat will take a long time, even with a rapid build system, basic fitout and non showroom finish.  

A compromise solution is to run the job yourself.  You (or a trusted representative) organise the shed, buy the tools (few and not expensive), and materials, pay the wages, make the tea, etc and employ as many builders and sub contractors as you need or can oversee.  If you have spare time, help with the build.  Not only are you in control of timing and finance, but you know exactly what is in the boat, who supplied it, who the sales rep is and what he promised, what it costs,  how it is installed and how to fix it.  Warranty issues are rare, builders and owners are happy, the boat costs much less than a pro build and if you are organised, takes less time.  Plus, you have the unbelievable buzz of being able to answer the "stunning boat, who built it?" question with 'Me".

How many man hours does this take from you? 

Edit: samc put it better

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On 4/11/2019 at 11:17 PM, samc99us said:

Proa, unless you are very seriously retired, no one with $3mil+ in the bank has the time to run a pro build shop for the 12-18 months it would take it build a Gunboat. They would have to have a very trusted office manager running the main show, the ability to manage all high level business decisions remotely, kids out of the house and a wife that is more understanding than God. Clearly you've found some owners who have made it work, and I would try to do the same if I was in that situation (simply because I'm OCD as hell and run a composites shop as is, the 'I don't trust anyone but me' syndrome), but its not a sustainable model, nor one most designers would sign onto at this level.

Too true.  And why so many of them pay so much more than they need to for their boats, and still have cost over runs, warranty, weight and delivery date issues.   And have to spend so much money keeping them running.  It does not have to be like this.  

No idea if i would "sign onto it at that level", but if it cost me 7 million bucks to build a 66' cat that weighed 14 tons, I would seriously think about changing my business model.    Nor could I justify charging "100's of thousands of dollars in design fees for a 62'ter".  But if I did, the rudders most certainly would not break.

Sailplane,

The extra hours from me as a designer are nil.  The plans are the same regardless, and talking to owners about options, building, etc is all part of the service (which I really enjoy) regardless of how they build.   One of our 20m/66'ters was built like this.  Oil engineer owner, spent, 1 month in the Indian Ocean, one month at home with wife, kids and 2 boat builders.  Another is hands on involved building his 60'ter with a large pro builder.   

The hours of the owner are whatever he puts into it. The more he contributes, the better informed he is.   With one builder, maybe a week to set it up and a day a week to keep it running/ helping.    If the owner was in a hurry, wanted lots of bells and whistles and could handle half a dozen builders, it could be a full time job.   Back in the home building boom in Aus, it was a common way for people to build their one off boats.  

 

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On 4/9/2019 at 12:41 PM, soma said:

No way is that boat a flop! In the right hands, it's the fastest Gunboat of them all. She beat Phaedo in every head-to-head matchup (on the water). The only reason she lost on the water to Elvis was that the team onboard Extreme (including me) were new to the boat. I think there may be a perception that it was a flop, but that's only because the owner was ready to move on so It hasn't sailed much since their first season.

Now...the build was another story. They were screwed over by PJ in the 1st bankruptcy in S. Africa. She was eventually shipped to Westerly in Cali and finished very well, though.

There must be some drama when a guy spends a fortune to finish a boat, quits sailing it after a year, then tries to sell it for $5mm but has to keep reducing the price to the current $2.75mm.

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Thanks very much for the story, SOMA! Shortly after I toured Safari, I stopped by MM to tell them how much I loved the boat and to beg them for more high def images (of which there was a paucity at the time). They were kind enough to burn some plans and 3d renders onto a disk for me. The obsession I felt for the overall design has never really left me. Thanks again...

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I just spent three months doing a refit at Thunderbolt Marine, Mala Conducta showed up there about three-ish weeks ago. Jury rigged pole, mast on deck, plywood and composite patches on port side, but otherwise pretty clean and shiny outside. I asked about her, and was told that there’d been a fire, the new owners had bought her cheap and planned to restore her. A week or so later I heard that the new owners were in absolute shock over budgetary quotes for the main works, and were squawking heavily but that the yard wasn’t giving much ground. Now having heard the full story here, and knowing that TMI subcontracts all rigging and electronics work very expensively, it seems unlikely they get out of TMI much under $1M as a SWAG. We left the yard April 11th, and no work had started yet. 

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On ‎4‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 12:41 PM, soma said:

No way is that boat a flop! In the right hands, it's the fastest Gunboat of them all. She beat Phaedo in every head-to-head matchup (on the water). The only reason she lost on the water to Elvis was that the team onboard Extreme (including me) were new to the boat. I think there may be a perception that it was a flop, but that's only because the owner was ready to move on so It hasn't sailed much since their first season.

Now...the build was another story. They were screwed over by PJ in the 1st bankruptcy in S. Africa. She was eventually shipped to Westerly in Cali and finished very well, though.

It is also a fairly complicated boat that has some "extreme" systems. That is not a two person cruising boat.

It's a fine looking boat. Malcom was kind enough to run me through it. Was just too much for a micky like me.

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On ‎4‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 6:28 PM, soma said:

There's a piece of multihull history that's just begging to be told.

You have some great writing skills. Fantastic read.

On ‎4‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 6:28 PM, soma said:

They backtracked to Curaçao to haul out and fix the boat. They flew some techs down from Maine to work on her and at some point during her refit the Lithium batteries caught fire. The contractors barely had time to get off before the boat was engulfed in flames. In a stroke of unfortunate luck, Curaçao has some excellent firefighting equipment as a result of oil refinery/fuel storage industry on the island. Instead of spraying water on the burning boat (which wouldn't have worked) they used chemical (foam?) to extinguish the fire. 

Lithium metal batteries cannot be extinguished with fire as they react and potentially release hydrogen. Lithium Ion have very little lithium and can/should be doused with water. I've heard of a couple of stories now of lithium batteries catching on fire and we replaced the BMS and li-Ion batteries in our boat with mastervolt 24/5000. Mine are close to a seacock which is gonna be my battery extinguisher should I ever need one. The benefits of Li-Ion on a boat are frankly incredible, but fire is most certainly a risk. My next boat will have the batteries in a sealed box below the waterline with a sea water fire hydrant.

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4 hours ago, mpenman said:

You have some great writing skills. Fantastic read.

Lithium metal batteries cannot be extinguished with fire as they react and potentially release hydrogen. Lithium Ion have very little lithium and can/should be doused with water. I've heard of a couple of stories now of lithium batteries catching on fire and we replaced the BMS and li-Ion batteries in our boat with mastervolt 24/5000. Mine are close to a seacock which is gonna be my battery extinguisher should I ever need one. The benefits of Li-Ion on a boat are frankly incredible, but fire is most certainly a risk. My next boat will have the batteries in a sealed box below the waterline with a sea water fire hydrant.

That must be a treat for when fire departments respond to marina fires. I like your train of thought. With some of the funky new batteries out there, it seems prudent to factor a proper fire suppression system into the mix depending on the battery type. Whether we’re talking a CO2 type system in a mostly sealed battery compartment, chemical foam, etc. , it seems worth the weight penalty on something like a liveaboard world cruiser. 

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6 hours ago, mpenman said:

It is also a fairly complicated boat that has some "extreme" systems. That is not a two person cruising boat.

It's a fine looking boat. Malcom was kind enough to run me through it. Was just too much for a micky like me.

She also has severe damage to primary composites structures that are designed to take the sailing loads. Ignoring the systems, I would think $1mil to repair those bits to any sort of useful standard is cheap/unrealistic. From the photos I’ve seen and the fact that the original owners no longer own the boat, you either have to be a composites wizard with a lot of time on your hands or simply crazy to even begin this work. The best answer would be to gut her for what is useable (which very well may include much of the interior) and build a new shell to take the bits. For the same money, I would rather have a HH48/49.

All a real shame as per Soma’s wonderful story she was a fantastic boat when originally launched and it’s sad that she ended up in this state.

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#fallsfortroll.

For starters a connector that is quickly disconnected (non locking, magnetic style) and allows for the dropout of the battery system is very expensive at these currents. It might not exist. Then there is weight and complexity. Oh, and depending on how the boat is wired you won’t be able to start your engines afterwards. Further, one tends to keep batteries low for righting moment reasons and close to high power systems. Those aren’t all mounted on the bridge deck.

Another way to look at this is a yacht of this size and complexity is really quite similar to an airplane. If Boeing and/or Airbus had a good way to jettison their lithium batteries they would have implemented it. They don’t, so it doesn’t happen. An automatic fire extinguisher system in the compartment is probably the simplest solution. I don’t know what some of the latest silent running submarines are doing but they have also found a way to manage this risk in an even worse environment and one where jettisoning your primary propulsion batteries isn’t feasible.

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14 minutes ago, samc99us said:

#fallsfortroll.

For starters a connector that is quickly disconnected (non locking, magnetic style) and allows for the dropout of the battery system is very expensive at these currents. It might not exist. Then there is weight and complexity. Oh, and depending on how the boat is wired you won’t be able to start your engines afterwards. Further, one tends to keep batteries low for righting moment reasons and close to high power systems. Those aren’t all mounted on the bridge deck.

Another way to look at this is a yacht of this size and complexity is really quite similar to an airplane. If Boeing and/or Airbus had a good way to jettison their lithium batteries they would have implemented it. They don’t, so it doesn’t happen. An automatic fire extinguisher system in the compartment is probably the simplest solution. I don’t know what some of the latest silent running submarines are doing but they have also found a way to manage this risk in an even worse environment and one where jettisoning your primary propulsion batteries isn’t feasible.

Dammit. You took all the fun out of my reply. I could add a little more, but your reply, coupled with a proper mic drop is good enough!

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2 hours ago, samc99us said:

#fallsfortroll.

For starters a connector that is quickly disconnected (non locking, magnetic style) and allows for the dropout of the battery system is very expensive at these currents. It might not exist. Then there is weight and complexity. Oh, and depending on how the boat is wired you won’t be able to start your engines afterwards. Further, one tends to keep batteries low for righting moment reasons and close to high power systems. Those aren’t all mounted on the bridge deck.

Another way to look at this is a yacht of this size and complexity is really quite similar to an airplane. If Boeing and/or Airbus had a good way to jettison their lithium batteries they would have implemented it. They don’t, so it doesn’t happen. An automatic fire extinguisher system in the compartment is probably the simplest solution. I don’t know what some of the latest silent running submarines are doing but they have also found a way to manage this risk in an even worse environment and one where jettisoning your primary propulsion batteries isn’t feasible.

Maybe. But your comparisons are off.

Weight and complexity compared to what? Extinguishing and flooding systems as above?

And as for not starting engines afterwards, a fire will likely be the end of the burning bank either way.

Lithiums are relatively light so low siting less important. And their highest loads probably are as near the bridge deck as anywhere (capstan, winches).

If boats had the same maintenance budget and regime as commercial jets then that comparison might make sense, but they don't.

Given the loss on Mala, and that another poster is planning an actual flooding mechanism, the idea of a disconnection and dump doesn't seem much more costly or complex. But whatever, if you like this sort of boat you're right on top of avoiding complexity and cost.

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I'll wade back in. I switched out Ni-Cad on the airplane to lead acid. Made much more sense for warm weather ops and I did not like the install of the Ni-Cads that had a few 'false alarms'.

Compared to boats they are not comparable in terms of setup. They're in a perfectly pristine environment with no sea water...…...man, dont' West Marine just love seawater!!!!!

On a boat, Li-ion are almost impossible to beat if installed correctly. They accept a charge all the way to 100% and take a serious charge to boot. They suck up the output of a 4.5kw array with aplomb. You can run them down to 20% with almost no issue (yah,yah I know i'll get flamed for that)

In the very, very off chance that batteries catch on fire it's way easier to flood a battery than to jettison it. If you are carrying a bank of say 4-6 24/5000 you need a pretty big jettison hole to 'dump' the batteries. With the batteries in a sealed battery compartment why not use an unlimited supply of fire suppressant through a simple thru-hull fitting.

Once again, given the amount of Li-Ion batteries now installed, this is becoming less common. Mastervolt IMHO is rock solid, maybe not the leading edge tech, but rock solid and tested.

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Yes, I can see flooding working, although not quickly if on the hard like Mala.

As much improved as they are, lithiums are still a greater fire risk than lead batteries and fire at sea is bad. On an otherwise unsinkable multi it's the worst. I'd gladly destroy/abandon batteries that otherwise risked burning uncontrollably. Not being able to start the engine is small beer by comparison.

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8 hours ago, bigmarv said:

Weight and complexity compared to what? Extinguishing and flooding systems as above?

And as for not starting engines afterwards, a fire will likely be the end of the burning bank either way.

Lithiums are relatively light so low siting less important. And their highest loads probably are as near the bridge deck as anywhere (capstan, winches).

If boats had the same maintenance budget and regime as commercial jets then that comparison might make sense, but they don't.

Given the loss on Mala, and that another poster is planning an actual flooding mechanism, the idea of a disconnection and dump doesn't seem much more costly or complex. But whatever, if you like this sort of boat you're right on top of avoiding complexity and cost.

I think you have a good idea here.  Your arguments make more sense than the objections raised so far.  No need for a magnetic disconnect when a simple variation on the old blade switch would work beautifully.  Instead of pivoting the blade, it would just drop away along with the batteries.  The greatest hazard would be an accidental jettison (oops!).

s-l500.jpg.b1c3c98710062e01238d3e79461b7692.jpg

7 hours ago, mpenman said:

it's way easier to flood a battery than to jettison it.

Poppycock.  Without seeing actual design proposals, that statement is nonsense.  Requiring the battery bank to be installed below the waterline is a design limitation for multihulls, just as @bigmarv's idea might be too complicated for monohulls.  But separating a burning battery bank from the boat is a better guarantee against disaster than fighting the fire on board.  There are important safety differences between lithium, lithium-ion and LiFePo4 batteries but still, water and lithium don't mix.

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4 minutes ago, ProaSailor said:

Poppycock.  Without seeing actual design proposals, that statement is nonsense.  Requiring the battery bank to be installed below the waterline is a design limitation for multihulls, just as @bigmarv's idea might be too complicated for monohulls.  But separating a burning battery bank from the boat is a better guarantee against disaster than fighting the fire on board.  There are important safety differences between lithium, lithium-ion and LiFePo4 batteries but still, water and lithium don't mix.

"Poppycock", ain't heard that in a while. :D

Most definitely better to separate a burning battery and toss it into the water than have it burning on the boat. On this particular boat we are looking at 5-6 24/5000 batteries at about 128lbs a pop. Two to three in each hull. The batteries are also connected in parallel. Therefore the whole bank needs to be jettisoned or you need a way to potentially extinguish all three batteries. The 24/5000 once it's on fire is something you won't want to handle manually I don't believe. The best option at the moment is flooding the battery bank either with water or some type of fire retardant. Li-ion has very little lithium and water is still a method to extinguish. You have limitless amounts if the boat is sitting in the water.

If we are not on the boat, I would prefer it not burn to the waterline, but that is of less a concern than when we are on the boat.

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12 minutes ago, mpenman said:

"Poppycock", ain't heard that in a while. :D

Most definitely better to separate a burning battery and toss it into the water than have it burning on the boat. On this particular boat we are looking at 5-6 24/5000 batteries at about 128lbs a pop. Two to three in each hull. The batteries are also connected in parallel. Therefore the whole bank needs to be jettisoned or you need a way to potentially extinguish all three batteries. The 24/5000 once it's on fire is something you won't want to handle manually I don't believe. The best option at the moment is flooding the battery bank either with water or some type of fire retardant. Li-ion has very little lithium and water is still a method to extinguish. You have limitless amounts if the boat is sitting in the water.

If we are not on the boat, I would prefer it not burn to the waterline, but that is of less a concern than when we are on the boat.

NiMH and solar panels. Choose safety. If Boeing couldn't get it right for the 787, how will you have the engineering to do it right?

All the lithium chemistries are unstable and will react to provocation - drive a nail into a phone battery sometime. Or drop your phone between the airplane seats, then recline.

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37 minutes ago, martin.langhoff said:

NiMH and solar panels. Choose safety. If Boeing couldn't get it right for the 787, how will you have the engineering to do it right?

All the lithium chemistries are unstable and will react to provocation - drive a nail into a phone battery sometime. Or drop your phone between the airplane seats, then recline.

Our batteries are Li-Ion no NiMH. It's also the setup on our current boat. We have solara panels thru a number of Victron charge controllers.

Currently the risk/reward is acceptable to us.

That does not mean we are not aware of the risks. I'd just like to improve the system on the next boat.

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On 4/13/2019 at 3:48 PM, eastern motors said:

There must be some drama when a guy spends a fortune to finish a boat, quits sailing it after a year, then tries to sell it for $5mm but has to keep reducing the price to the current $2.75mm.

It’s the nature of custom boats, I’m afraid.  It’s a fine madness! :D We still pinch ourselves that Amati came in on time, on budget, and she’s still in good shape 20 years on.  So it is possible.  

She’s paid off too!

Thanks for the tale, Soma- 

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NiMH is stable. All Li chemistries are unstable and require particular charging rates at different charge levels, life points and temperatures. This means charging is controlled by software, and bugs often result in, um, expansive situations. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, soma said:

Impressive that she sailed back on her own bottom. Frankly decent sail ship for a jimmy rigged sail. Looks like a job for Soma to restore....ain't that what you're doing with all these boats, making em better than new :D

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image.thumb.png.7514dc1e7133def4e59670272f06b563.png

 

Is this steering system a jury rig or the original? That blue tape around the opening to the port hull and the shiny plastic make it look like a new install. It does look awkward and dodgy.

 

Is there anyway to fix the bulkhead and/other structural issues with glass or some combo of glass and carbon at a lower cost in $ but at a cost in weight? Would that save much? Or is the hull repair necessarily a two comma fix? 

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3 hours ago, Student_Driver said:

image.thumb.png.7514dc1e7133def4e59670272f06b563.png

 

Is this steering system a jury rig or the original? That blue tape around the opening to the port hull and the shiny plastic make it look like a new install. It does look awkward and dodgy.

That would appear to be the original steering design. I remember the steering on that boat was great. 

3 hours ago, Student_Driver said:

Is there anyway to fix the bulkhead and/other structural issues with glass or some combo of glass and carbon at a lower cost in $ but at a cost in weight? Would that save much? Or is the hull repair necessarily a two comma fix? 

Carbon isn't the expensive part (at all). It's a 7-digit labor bill regardless of material. 

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On 4/20/2019 at 11:23 PM, martin.langhoff said:

NiMH is stable. All Li chemistries are unstable and require particular charging rates at different charge levels, life points and temperatures. This means charging is controlled by software, and bugs often result in, um, expansive situations. 

Unless you give it a pop from the "Great charger in the Sky."   At that point, every cell in the banks are suspect, and should be treated as a time bomb (or time flare, as the case may be.)

- Stumbling

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1 hour ago, stumblingthunder said:

Unless you give it a pop from the "Great charger in the Sky."   At that point, every cell in the banks are suspect, and should be treated as a time bomb (or time flare, as the case may be.)

- Stumbling

At that point you have all the energy you'll ever need... :)

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Getting back to the original Soma "Mala Conducta" post,  what has not been delved into is the lamination rate for big carbon multihulls, or anything big and carbon.  Perhaps PJ, who undoubtedly probably has the best notebook full of high tech cruising cats, should have been listened to.  

The answer can be extrapolated from the SNAME/Robert Scott 2nd Edition 1996 book "Fiberglass Boat Design and Construction", pages 125 and 126 Economics.  "Productivity of labor is highly dependent upon experience, the complexity of the part being fabricated, the efficiency of the plant, degree of automationin material handling and fabrication, number of different boat models being produced, and the level of quality, among other factors.  For general guidance, the layup rate of a production of 10 or more identical parts can be assumed as follows:  Single Skin with frames - pleasure boats = 20 lbs/MH; Single Skin with frames - Military Boats = 12 lbs/MH; Sandwich Construction - pleasure boats = 10 lbs/MH; Sandwich Construction - Military boats = 6 lbs/MH.   … The above rates include not only laminating, but margins for other related activities such as sweeping and cleaning, material handling, mold preparation, moving subassemblies - in short, all of the labor demands (other than supervision) required to lay up and assemble the hull structure.  The manhour requirements for constructing one, two and five identical boats can be estimated by increasing the foregoing values by 30, 15 and 5% respectively.   …Unfortunately data of this type is difficult to obtain and is usually applicable to only the source from which it was obtained."

First lets extrapolate for being a one-off (30% increase) and use the Sandwich Construction - Military Boat base rate as to being somewhat more applicable than the pleasure boat rate, because of the higher standards expected of a one-off builder.  Taking the inverse of 6 /bs/MH =   0.167 MH/lb x 1.30 = 0.217 MH/lb = 4.6 lbs/MH.

But Mala Conducta is a carbon fiber boat.  Lets just go with carbon fiber being  double that of an E-glass, and say that the lbs/MH is half = 2.3 lbs/MH.  Maybe can be rounded down to 2.0 lbs/MH or rounded up to 2.5 lbs/MH.  Wouldn't mind a bunch of help here, with others chiming in on man hours rates they have seen/heard of.  Idea is to get a helpful graph.

So what happens when we extrapolate our curve(s) out for pre-preg carbon.  Should we be at half the rate of hand lay-up carbon?  Say 1.0 lb/MH, or about half again of what hand laid carbon might be?  If we are dealing with a one-off builder who is not paying out a dealer commission, supporting a 10%-15% advertising budget, or a corporate or conglomerate owner expecting a 10%-15% profit returned to them (the 1970's model of conglomerate owned boatbuilding companies), then maybe we can say materials is half and labor is half.  Assuming the boatbuilder didn't underestimate the materials, estimating at 2 lbs/MH vs 1 lbs/MH shouldn't be a doubling of the cost of a boat.

Here is where I would love to have PJ's notebook, or someone of equal knowledge, and also of one of the AC syndicates or Open 60's or Jules Verne Multi's. 

Do we need to start making a distinction between hull lamination and deck lamination rates?  Yes, for two reasons.  The Robert Scott book didn't really talk about the complexity of a hull or deck mold or plug(s).  I think Rhino 1.0 was back in 1998.   Window, port or cove recesses used to be simpler.  So now lets throw in milled Janicki hull and deck plugs/molds.  Shapes have gotten sleeker, but not necessarily as fast to build, especially when transitioning from thick cores down to single skin recesses.  Kaching!  

Secondly, what is easy to do/show on the weight conscious designer/structural guy's drawing, can be a huge lamination rate changer in practice.  Want a winch doubler on your Winnabago 34?  Slap on two pieces cut off of your 12" wide tabbing roll of DB1708 or even more basic 2 scraps of 1 1/2 oz mat.  Instantly 0.08 to 0.12" of thickness.  Want a doubler on a Gunboat or custom jobbie?  At 0.01" thick per pre-preg layer, say 6 to 8 individually cut and placed individually cut pieces, radius corners, with each succeeding layer geometrically similar.  Of course, the carbon pre-preg isn't just sitting in a box in/on the deck, you have to go to your refrigerator to get them, cut them, put your clean suit back on, climb into/onto the deck, put your clean booties on, etc.  And then at the end have the proper "oven" to ramp up the heat and hit the desired temperature rate and then post cure.  Not out the door into the Costa Mesa haze.  

Its bad enough if you estimate say for 2.0 lbs/MH and are off by half at 1.0 lbs/MH  But what if your hull takes 0.5 lbs/MH and because of complexity your deck takes down in the 1/4 lbs/MH Range.  Off by a factor of 4 or 8 for lamination labor.  Kaching!  Kaching!   Yikes!  I don't think the man hour graph needs to go all of the way down to zero,  but for custom carbon pre-preg hulls, decks and even masts, I bet there are many instances of under 1 lb/MH.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/5/2019 at 11:52 AM, solosailor said:

Great for cell phones and tablets but quit dangerous scaled up.

Yep. My buddy burned his house down last month due to some LiFePO4 batteries he had charging in his basement catching fire. He was really excited about those batteries when he bought them. Now, not so much. 

 

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3 minutes ago, MisterMoon said:

Yep. My buddy burned his house down last month due to some LiPO4 batteries he had charging in his basement catching fire. He was really excited about those batteries when he bought them. Now, not so much. 

Please tell us more?  Why did that happen?  It's certainly not routine or common.

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I don't know much more than that. He bought them off Ebay, not from a major manufacturer. I'm pretty sure they were put together by some dude buying the cells and assembling them into 12V batteries.The insurance company is considering litigation to recover some of their losses. My guess is there is no blood in that turnip and they are going to eat the whole thing. They weren't from some major manufacturer. He had them on a smart charger and they were awakened by the smell of smoke right before the smoke alarms went off. They lost practically everything in the house due to smoke/fire damage. The house was razed two weeks ago and they are building anew. 

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On 5/3/2019 at 2:53 PM, Student_Driver said:

Soma.  Thanks.  Out of curiosity. What is thr labor component/percentage of cost in a new build?

Short answer...it depends.

An HH66 in China is about 100,000hrs in labor....but the labor is less than $10/hr. So $1m on a $4M boat. 

A Gunboat 55 in NC was about 50,000hrs in labor...but the labor is over $40/hr. So $2m on a $1.6M boat.

The BOM for the HH66 is probably around $2m. A GB55 should be about $1.5m.

The BOM doesn't really change much as you move labor markets. Hall will charge you the same for the mast, North Sails, B&G, Mastervolt, etc (ignore tariffs and Trump-effects for these purposes). The only number you can control is total labor hours and labor rate. 

 

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51 minutes ago, MisterMoon said:

Yep. My buddy burned his house down last month due to some LiFePO4 batteries he had charging in his basement catching fire. He was really excited about those batteries when he bought them. Now, not so much. 

 

Fuck that’s terrible. 

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5 hours ago, MisterMoon said:

Yep. My buddy burned his house down last month due to some LiFePO4 batteries he had charging in his basement catching fire. He was really excited about those batteries when he bought them. Now, not so much. 

 

Are you sure they were LiFePO4 and not LiPo? LiPos are known for their tendency to catch fire ( I have experienced it myself) , while LiFePO4 are supposed to be safe. 

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10 hours ago, soma said:

...

A Gunboat 55 in NC was about 50,000hrs in labor...but the labor is over $40/hr. So $2m on a $1.6M boat.

...

 

That says it all.

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23 hours ago, MisterMoon said:

Yep. My buddy burned his house down last month due to some LiFePO4 batteries he had charging in his basement catching fire. He was really excited about those batteries when he bought them. Now, not so much. 

 

Terrible but folks have been charging large LiPo's at home for a few years now...several houses burned down in that time...LiPo's not LiFePO4's (latter is  much safer.)..use a lipo sack and a modern smart charger. There were a number of older 'smart' chargers that had issues and would overcharge LiPo's with a resulting fire. Basically use caution, not saying your buddy didn't but he was also charging while they were sleeping (a big no-no) and I doubt with a lipo sack or any other fire protection system.

LiFePO4's are safe, they are the backbone for most electric cars and they aren't going up in smoke if treated right, same as lead acid or nickel metal. The key is the power electronics and smart battery management devices. Generally your phone manufacturers get that right which is why you don't see cellphones catching fire. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule (see Samsung), but I trust em. The trouble in the marine business is do you trust the electronics manufacturer? Personally I don't trust most (too many offshore failuires and reboots required of high end electronics that were professionally installed and maintained, so I have a healthy skepticism) and would be having some long conversations with my chosen supplier...using a board designed last week isn't an option for me. Oceanvolt is one brand I do think has a deep understanding of the problem and risks with reliable solutions and I'm sure Soma and others have good technical solutions to this problem.

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1 hour ago, samc99us said:

Umm, which, Mala? Posts like this are super confusing, maybe intentional...

Yup, that's the word. Mala apparently sold. I got in touch with the hippies to see if I could buy the mast and they said the boat had sold. I'm dead curious who got it, for how much, and what the buyers plans are. 

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17 minutes ago, soma said:

Yup, that's the word. Mala apparently sold. I got in touch with the hippies to see if I could buy the mast and they said the boat had sold. I'm dead curious who got it, for how much, and what the buyers plans are. 

Hello Soma,

A little off-topic for the thread maybe but are you familiar with the other MM cat "Mauliola" for sale? Here's a link: https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2016/morrelli-melvin-custom-catamaran--3523467/

They say it was launched in 2012, spent two years on "extensive sea trials" in the pacific, then spent two years from 2014-2016 on the hard being modified/upgraded. As such they're listing it as a 2016. Is it normal for a high-end cat like this to need four years of "ironing out the bumps" so to speak?

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24 minutes ago, Tylo said:

Hello Soma,

A little off-topic for the thread maybe but are you familiar with the other MM cat "Mauliola" for sale? Here's a link: https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2016/morrelli-melvin-custom-catamaran--3523467/

They say it was launched in 2012, spent two years on "extensive sea trials" in the pacific, then spent two years from 2014-2016 on the hard being modified/upgraded. As such they're listing it as a 2016. Is it normal for a high-end cat like this to need four years of "ironing out the bumps" so to speak?

Wow, that's some interesting marketing!  The LM62 "Mala" was a predecessor to the MM65's Gizmo and Mauliola. The GB62 was what they describe as a V.1 hull, the GB66 was a v1.2, the LM62 was a v.2, and the Westerly built MM65 was a v.3. I do like the general design of the later MM65 versions, but the aft cockpit was a real departure from the GB vibe obviously. I find the Westerly interior finish to be a little minimalist for my taste. I really don't like the mast base winch in the wing round/anchor locker area. Last I heard they were totally unrealistic about price, but maybe that's changed. I'd think low $2's would be a great price for that boat. I think they were asking mid $3's. I can think of LOTS of worse boats to buy than that one, and few better. Put it this way...I'd take an MM anything any day over an Irens anything  

As for 4 years of "seatrials"? Yeah, that's total BS. I know her sistership has been reliable and great. I think the 4 year seatrial BS is an attempt to avoid depreciation. 

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21 minutes ago, soma said:

Wow, that's some interesting marketing!  The LM62 "Mala" was a predecessor to the MM65's Gizmo and Mauliola. The GB62 was what they describe as a V.1 hull, the GB66 was a v1.2, the LM62 was a v.2, and the Westerly built MM65 was a v.3. I do like the general design of the later MM65 versions, but the aft cockpit was a real departure from the GB vibe obviously. I find the Westerly interior finish to be a little minimalist for my taste. I really don't like the mast base winch in the wing round/anchor locker area. Last I heard they were totally unrealistic about price, but maybe that's changed. I'd think low $2's would be a great price for that boat. I think they were asking mid $3's. I can think of LOTS of worse boats to buy than that one, and few better. Put it this way...I'd take an MM anything any day over an Irens anything  

 As for 4 years of "seatrials"? Yeah, that's total BS. I know her sistership has been reliable and great. I think the 4 year seatrial BS is an attempt to avoid depreciation. 

Very interesting, thank you!

Yes I remember her being for sale maybe two or three years ago at over $3m as you say. She disappeared off the general market though, and the original owners' sailing blog stopped updating pretty abruptly so I figured she had sold. I don't know if you found your way to the website they've set up for the boat to sell it, but on it they're linking to that same old blog that was last updated in 2016. Maybe it's the same owners who are trying to sell again, and maybe at a more realistic price this time.

Oh well, speculation aside it's a very interesting looking boat with a lot of unique solutions like that "winching pit" with all those halyards leading to it, the jib track that swerves around the mast and the dedicated gym! And yes, now that you mention it the two year "sea trial" was probably just a long (and, judging by their blog, enjoyable) pacific crossing. Thanks for the info!

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22 hours ago, nyker said:

Are you sure they were LiFePO4 and not LiPo? LiPos are known for their tendency to catch fire ( I have experienced it myself) , while LiFePO4 are supposed to be safe. 

I've seen LiFePO4 batteries cooked in a microwave oven and they burned slowly, did not explode. Super safe.

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  • 1 year later...

First let me say that, Soma, your initial article is brilliant and is the first place I send people when they ask me the story of our boat.  A few details are off, but that only became transparent over time and with a lot of scraping, cleaning, in-person and independent expert investigations, etc.  You were close enough to help point us in the right direction a few times when the trail on our repair journey became cold.  Thank you!  As to the new owners, you'll have to stop by some time and determine for yourself our state of sanity, but the coffers are certainly not overflowing ;-)

As to possible opportunities lost, I'm sure it wouldn't surprise you to hear that you can't believe everything that's asserted when a multi-million dollar insurance claim is at stake.  Let's just suffice it to say that both parties were somewhat correct in their 8-year battle - the boat was obviously repairable and without investing millions, but it certainly would have been impossible without millions to make her "like she was".  What was INCORRECT is that "all the resin crystalized", which we didn't just hear in your article but from parties close to the war, and we simply went to look for ourselves and sought the truth.  Other than the 26+, 6-inch diameter or greater core samples scattered through all ends of both hulls, the only real damage was to the port side quadrant from behind the forward bulkhead to the chainplate, above hip height, and of course the battery room and deck, which other than the outer skin, were completely toasted.  The rest was 8 year old smoke smudge and melted headliners.  Don't get me wrong, it was daunting and carried risk.  We jumped in anyway.  I mean, one step on to the sugarscoops and we were in love - how bad could it really be ;-)

In short, the priority was sea-worthy, safe, and pretty - in that order.  To spare you the novela, we hired a phenomenal team to tackle the carbon work and in 4.5 months, three experts completed the supposedly impossible.  (Of course we made them attend the first sea trial, just in case, but not a creak to be heard.).   The re-rigging, plumping, wiring, polishing, etc. we have done mostly ourselves with the generous guidance of many sailing friends and consultants.  

The journey is far from over, however, and we're still renovating the interior as we sail.  Of course that takes a back seat to all the fix-it and maintenance work that keeps cropping up - what an exasperating task that is - so is taking much longer that we'd hoped.  The fact that we were, and still are, doing all from paradise shores softens the labor pains we experienced trying to get her cruising worthy 6 months after purchasing her.  We only missed our deadline by a month.  

The gory details can be bought with a beer and some well placed "oohs" and "aahs" when you come visiting.

PS:  The name "Nizhóní" is Navaho meaning "beautiful inside and out, and at one with itself and the universe".  We had a huge renaming extravaganza with my cousin doing the Navaho Blessing Ceremony, burning sweet grass and cedar to exorcise all the bad ju-ju.  "Mala Conducta" and her unfortunate luck are behind us and Nizhóní is on her best behavior.  Should be safe to step aboard ;-)

 

Edited by Miss Chief
mispelling
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Awesome epilogue. Glad it worked out for you guys. I knew my post had some truthiness but maybe wasn’t 100% accurate...glad the rumors about the damage were overblown. I look forward to meeting you someday hopefully. 
 

Now I have to NOT think about the one that got away...

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7 hours ago, Miss Chief said:

PS:  The name "Nizhóní" is Navaho meaning "beautiful inside and out, and at one with itself and the universe".  We had a huge renaming extravaganza with my cousin doing the Navaho Blessing Ceremony, burning sweet grass and cedar to exorcise all the bad ju-ju.  "Mala Conducta" and her unfortunate luck are behind us and Nizhóní is on her best behavior.  Should be safe to step aboard ;-)

Any pictures/vids of Nizhóní that you can share?

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I sure wish Miss Chief would put the details here for those of us who are FB impaired. But congratulations on a job well done or mostly finished anyway.

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On 4/1/2021 at 10:40 AM, Miss Chief said:

 

PS:  The name "Nizhóní" is Navaho meaning "beautiful inside and out, and at one with itself and the universe".  We had a huge renaming extravaganza with my cousin doing the Navaho Blessing Ceremony, burning sweet grass and cedar to exorcise all the bad ju-ju.  "Mala Conducta" and her unfortunate luck are behind us and Nizhóní is on her best behavior.  Should be safe to step aboard ;-)

 

Damn that's awesome. Sometimes it's best to jump on a plane and go look with your own eyes!!!!!

Well done on the boat.

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Found the pics in the FB link Soma posted. 

Has it always had this triangle mainsheet system? Looks like a single sheet setup -- is it a problem when you need a twist close hauled, or when you want to flatten the main on a reach? I always thought the two-sheet system on Catanas was kind of clever -- you get the same control without  traveller, and can blow the windward sheet with the leeward acting as a preventer (of stress on the mast rigging).

Single port side dggerboard?

 

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