Matt Allen commissions a new Ichi Ban

Premier Composites building new Shaun Carkeek-designed C60

Tuesday July 30th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australia

Australian yachtsman Matt Allen gave the green light in late February to Dubai-based Premier Composite Technologies and designer Shaun Carkeek for a new potential Rolex Sydney Hobart race winner. The results is the C60.

The commission came with the ambitious aim of the finished boat being in Sydney by November to give th team ample time to commission, tune and train their new boat prior the traditional Boxing Day start. But Project Manager Neil Cox, who has previously managed VO70 builds for Puma and Camper, reports that the build of the new C60 in Dubai is bang on schedule.

It is requiring all of Cox’s technical, forward planning and management skills to ensure there are no hiccups between now and the time in early October, when the latest  Ichi Ban must be shipped to Australia.

One of the fundamental assets in the accuracy, speed and efficiency of PCT’s build is the 28metre long 5-axis milling machine, which is the biggest in the Middle East. The female moulds were all built quickly, accurately and efficiently in-house. ##

The plan is to sell a number of C60s and hence Cox and his team are looking at setting up for series production.

The C60 hull skins were cooked in mid-June with the deck not far behind and in July the structural fit out of the hull began.

“We are working to maximum output with all the guys working full throttle," says Cox. "It is a real balancing act and at this point we are holding schedule. From day one we knew this would be tight and in the first two months the boat still had to be designed and engineered. We are designing details, anything and everything from the engine box, to mast collars, supporting structures and it is all about everything continuing to come together at the right time, and with the new flush deck there are some challenges along the way. The small parts are all on schedule here and we have something in the oven every single night at the moment.#

“We are doing well although we are up against a very tight timeline but there is absolutely no skimping on detail. We have it all factored in and the guys on the floor are doing a great job.”

Carkeek Design Partners has allocated their principal designer and draftsman to work within PCT’s premises to minimise delays and optimise communication and this has really helped to accelerate the design process and transfer of information from CDP to the yard.

Shipping time is fixed for early October and once on-board the ship, the boat will not be seen for five to six weeks.

Cox continues: “With a boat like this there’s probably going to be about four to five days of commissioning relevant to rig tuning and the actual running up of the systems. So you would think there’s probably at least a good solid week of sailing before you had your first real day of sailing unaffected by commissioning - with this schedule that will hopefully be early December. So then if you have two or three weeks with really good uninterrupted sailing before the start of the Sydney-Hobart, you’d be pretty happy with that.”

And for Cox himself there is the small, added incentive that he will sail on the boat in the Sydney-Hobart: “I’ve been asked to do the Sydney Hobart. The Hobart is something you cherish forever because at the end of the day you normally go sailing with a great bunch of guys – who are not only great sailors but also your friends.

“I am also very fortunate as it’s the process that keeps bringing me back. It’s the design, the people creating the design and detail, and what you learn through those different processes working together.”

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