Well, I had to fly about 10,000 miles (over the North Pole no less) to fly-a-hull and find out just how fast, luxurious, and well-built a brand-new HH66 catamaran is but man, I’m so glad I did. And since I have a bunch of stories planned that will be coming out in the coming months about how the HH66 sails, the progress of the first HH55 that’s just about completed, and an in-depth report about how these all-carbon rocket ships are built by the Hudson Yacht Group in Xiamen, China, I can’t give away too much now.
But, since I just got back from two-full days of sailing new HH66 in decent breeze with the designer (and legendary multihull maven Gino Morrelli). And since I spent almost the same amount of time in the factory meeting the Hudson Yacht Group’s multi-national boatbuilding team, and digging in to the details of how these all-carbon catamarans are built. And since all the images of the factory and flying a hull on the waters off Xiamen (and eating dim sum and getting a crazy foot massage while my Chinese masseuse watched “Mission Impossible” on TV too) are still fresh in my pre-holiday mind, it seems unfair not to provide a little preview of the stories to come. And needless to say, flying a hull on this bad boy was fun.
So, I’ll just state the obvious that it takes courage, skill, and significant investment to build an 66-foot-long all-carbon fast cat. But since the hulls and bridgdeck of HH66 Night Fury I sailed on were simply covered with multiple layers of clearcoat over the raw carbon, it’s clear that HH president and transplanted New Zealander Paul Hakes has all three in abundance.
And as you can see in these shots, Hakes and company accomplished the extremely difficult task of building large catamaran with an impossibly sexy carbon checkerboard weave outerskin (that has long, flat sides that show every tiny ripple and imperfection) that’s simply covered and sealed with epoxy with clearcoat. No paint. No fairing compound. Just pure carbon.
I also saw hulls that were in various states of completion. These photos show the light color carbon hulls take on after they are sandblasted to accept primer and paint properly.
While this cat that’s much further along has been primed, its ports have been cut out, trampoline holes have been drilled, and the interior is being installed.