Compiled by Dan Spurr
Scott Jutson: From Ocean Racers to Powercats
The randomness of life sometimes redirects one’s career—sometimes out of necessity, occasionally out of choice. For yacht designer Scott Jutson, the switch from specializing in high-performance sailboats to power catamarans was a bit of both. He found a lucrative market for his power catamaran designs—recreational and commercial—and found the new challenges stimulating. Today, it’s his main business.
First, some background. Jutson was born in Texas, and studied yacht design at The Landing School, in Arundel, Maine, graduating in 1985. “My final project,” he writes, “was the Australian 18′ [5.5m] skiff Colorbond21, which was built in Boston by rowing-shell manufacturer Composite Engineering. It was controversial for the school as our graduation project design was required to have an engine installation. The boat is now part of the permanent collection of the Australian Maritime Museum.” To earn that distinction Colorbond21 placed second in the 1986 World Championships.
So how did the boat end up in Australia? Jutson was working as a maxi boat crew in the early ’80s, married a Kiwi he met in Antigua, and lived in Sydney from 1985 onward.
In Sydney, Jutson’s emerging practice focused mostly on racing monohulls, emphasizing “solid well-engineered platforms that always had uniquely long, competitive life spans.” A good example is Brindabella, a 75′ (22.9m) yacht built in 1993 by Boatspeed, in Australia. Jutson says, “As the first IMS maxi she was not allowed to use carbon, so she is all Kevlar. Once she was launched, the rule was changed by the ITC [the Ocean Racing Council’s International Technical Committee] to allow all carbon.” SP Systems (since bought and absorbed by Gurit) engineered most of the boat, while Jutson did the keel, rudder, and mast. The owner successfully campaigned her for 14 years, competing in all the major east coast Australian events, recording the fastest time in the famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race for a conventionally ballasted boat, covering the 628-nm course in one day, 20 hours.
Jutson followed Brindabella with True Blue, which Aussie David Adams sailed to victory in the 40′ to 50′ (12.1m to 15.2m) class of the BOC Challenge singlehanded around-the-world race in 1994–95. Two things are interesting about this boat: first, due to budgetary limitations, True Blue was built with western red cedar as a core material for Kevlar composite skins, and the keel was mild steel. Second, Jutson ignored the prevailing thinking that the “wide skiff style” was the only way to win. Such extremely shallow, flat-bottom boats excel off the wind, but suffer upwind. Rather, Jutson “applied rigorous VPP [velocity prediction program] analysis using a global wind model” to gain an advantage in the light air of the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, willing to give up some speed and time on the Southern Ocean sleigh ride. It worked, and Adams finished 10 days ahead of the then class record.
Jutson designed cruising sailboats as well, and then began moving into powerboats.
Jutson: “The market for custom racing yachts was drying up following various rule changes as well as the rise of economic rationalism and changing family dynamics. While I had designed a number of sailing cats, the challenge we set was to do something innovative for long-range power cruising. The cat, to me, was the obvious platform, and the evidence grew up around us, at least in the Southern Hemisphere, with the rise and ultimate global dominance of the fast-ferry industry based on the catamaran platform. Translating this to the private market is not so obvious, as other factors continue to have their influence.”
Asked to elaborate on those factors, Jutson wrote, “Let’s take North Sea wind-farm-support vessels as an example. Commercial operators have to comply with strict safety standards, and ride comfort (as set by vertical acceleration limits) is one of them. Their passengers are the technicians they deliver for servicing. They are not mariners. The successful boat operator (who charters to Siemens, etc.) is one that can be licensed and operate in the broadest window of conditions over the contracted period and still comply with mandated seakeeping requirements. As a result of practical dictates, almost the entire fleet is composed of cats. There is no fashion or image issue here, just the practical reality of the best platform for the required outcome in somewhat extraordinary conditions. The fast-ferry market reached the same conclusion long ago. This, then, points out the private market ‘issue’ where people are led to believe that a 10-knot monohull trawler is the safest, best option for bluewater power cruising. Yet it cannot outrun the typical weather system, it requires complex stabilizer systems, and, for its speed, it is not particularly economical.”
In 2005 Jutson was lured back to the U.S. by a Pacific Northwest company that commissioned two 50′ powercats. “As part of the plan,” Jutson says ruefully, “we got bought up and moved lock, stock, and barrel to Vancouver. Suffice it to say, 12 months later they shuttered, leaving us high and dry.”
Fortunately for Jutson, he has found plenty of work in North America since, much of it in the aluminum workboat sector. Recent projects on his website include a 48′ (14.6m) research vessel for Coastal Carolina University (Conway, South Carolina) and a 44′ (13.4m) pilot boat, both catamarans and both built by Armstrong Marine (Port Angeles, Washington). Of the latter, Jutson says it “could be the first displacement catamaran purpose-designed for pilot boat service.” The challenge, he goes on to explain, was to “eliminate the surging typical of a planing boat in the 14-18-knot speed range when the pilot is being deployed. The semi-displacement catamaran, which does not have a resistance hump, will hold speed accurately throughout the speed range as well as resisting roll, making the whole process much safer and faster.”
Recreational yacht builds include a 49′ (14.9m) aluminum trawler catamaran built by LeClercq Marine (Seattle, Washington); and a 35′ (10.7m) aluminum catamaran with stepped asymmetric hulls. Twin 350-hp (263-kW) Yamaha outboards deliver speeds of 40+ knots. Service is sport fishing on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
As noted above, Jutson also has his eye on the expanding European wind-farm market. One challenge he cites is new rules allowing for crew boats with more than 12 crew for on-station operations. On his website Jutson writes that “crew transfer from larger vessels requires dynamic positioning to avoid damaging the monopole structures, and that requires a substantial re-think in crew-transfer devices for this new generation on intermediate-size vessels which are too small for the Ampelmann device and too big for the gen 1 Houlder TAS [turbine access system].”
He says that the semi-displacement catamaran hullform is the near universal choice for such service; and for the next generation of crew boats he’s looking at a number of intriguing developments, such as asymmetric hulls with Hysucat foil system and variable-pitch drive systems.
Finally, Jutson worked with the Kodiak Brown Bear Center, which operates a remote lakefront lodge in Alaska and needed a boat to take guests to several viewing stations on the lake. Among the considerations was how to deliver the boat. The solution was to build the 30-footer (9.1m) in three parts, fly them in by helicopter, and reassemble the boat on-site. Thanks to the accuracy of 3D software and CNC cutting at Armstrong Marine, the parts came together flawlessly.
Such projects have proved that Jutson’s move from racing sailboats to power catamarans was not only financially sound, but one that opened new doors intellectually as well.
Edensaw is celebrating its 30th anniversary in business. No mean feat.
Last we looked in on the Port Townsend, Washington, purveyor of plywood, hardwood, and tools (Professional BoatBuilder No. 135, page 8), the company was well ensconced in its new 40,000-sq-ft (3,717m2) warehouse and office building. Finished in 2005, it was the latest in a succession of expansions that reflect a solid, well-managed niche business.
Edensaw’s marketing director, Anna Nasset, summarizes how it all began:
“Both originally boatbuilders, Charley Moore and Kiwi Jim Ferris met in Port Townsend. Moore was working at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, and Ferris, having sailed to town from his homeland of New Zealand, was finishing up his own boat. The two saw a need for the Olympic Peninsula as a center of boatbuilding on the West Coast, and yet the inability to get the woods they needed. They headed to Roy Newman of Newman Lumber in Gulfport, Mississippi, where he gave them 30-day terms. They loaded up a truck, headed back to Port Townsend, and sold the wood. Thus Edensaw Woods was born.”
That was 1984. Moore and Ferris hired their first employee, Artie Franklin, the next year, and he’s still there. So is their first truck driver, Milo. A timeline of landmark moments can be found on the company website.
They’ve continued to add staff as well as more space (65,000 sq ft/6,045m2) for products, tools (for a woodworker a visit to the showroom is like being a kid in a candy store), and some extraordinarily exotic woods popular with the interior designers of megayachts: anegre, ebony gaboon, iroko, bubinga, makore, padouk, purple heart…a walk through the warehouse is enough to make one weep for the beauty and aroma. A family visit to Edensaw isn’t going to thrill the kids quite like Disneyland, but for you it will be unforgettable.
Edensaw, 211 Seton Rd., Port Townsend, WA 98368 USA, tel. 800–745–3336, website www.edensaw.com.
Fuji Rudder Forensics
An e-mail asking for advice arrived from a writer and sailor named Michael Robertson, owner of a 1978 Fuji that he and his wife are sailing from the West Coast to the South Pacific. The boat was designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built in Japan.
“We hauled Del Viento here in Guaymas, Mexico. On previous haulouts our rudder has dripped for days. Determined to learn whether there is any damage inside—and to learn about the construction of our rudder in general—I cut out a 12″ x 18″ [305mm x 457mm] panel from one side. Based on what I’d read, I expected to see wet foam surround flat bars of stainless welded to the stock and extending outward to serve as the rudder skeleton.
“Per the attached picture, I found the rudder is made from a sandwich of two pieces of foam glued together with epoxy and surrounded by the outer skin. Deep inside, there is a flat wall of fiberglass, behind which seems to be the stock. I dug it all out where I’d cut my hole. The foam was delaminated in places from the outer skin I cut out, entirely from the other layer of foam (the epoxy layer between the two was about as strong and brittle as the thin layer of caramelized sugar on a crème brûlée), and partially from the skin of the other side of the rudder. The foam that is in there now is like that dark orange stuff you find inside a split-open buoy—the kind of stuff I can rub between my fingers and it crumbles into a powder.”
I wrote Robertson asking a few questions. First, where is the water weeping out of the rudder? From the lower hinge assembly, he said, adding that there was no “practical means of disassembling.” Second, is the water rust colored? No, he said, “but now I see there’s no metal in there to rust.” Thirdly, beyond the epoxy/foam disbond, are there any other signs of structural failure? “Nothing else beyond two large and two small blisters on the outside skin.”
Robertson’s plan was to buy some high-density closed-cell foam and epoxy it in place of the foam he’d removed, and then cover it up by reglassing the skin. This he did, and as of this writing the boat has logged 200 miles without rudder failure.
Two questions we’d like to ask readers: Why are there no stainless steel webs in this part of the rudder? Is the observable method of construction sound? “Appears to be the case,” Robertson wrote. “Okay for 36 years and lots of miles so far. But I wonder how common this is on skeg/keel-hung rudders vs. spade?”
All good questions? Any thoughts, dear readers?
French boatbuilder Aureus Yachts last year introduced an all-carbon 50′ (15.2m) sailing yacht touted as being fully automated with hydraulic and electrical systems for steering, ground tackle, and sail handling. Why? The company’s website translates the French explanation: “The yacht’s ‘push button’ technology, with its hydraulic and electric systems, means you can perform all maneuvers alone at the helm, guaranteeing perfect control and extreme sensations for more intimate, hedonistic journeys.” So said, these technological advances enable this model, called the Absolute, to “be manned easily by a single person.”
It was pricey, so for customers somewhat less hedonistic, the company recently announced two lesser-priced versions: one with a vacuum-infused fiberglass/PVC/epoxy resin laminate for $898,000 (€659,000) without sails, and the “Essential” offshore model with carbon reinforcements in “the most exposed areas,” plus sails, electronics, and a carbon mast. Price: $1,150,000 (€844,000). All are designed by Emanuele Rossi Yacht Design (Ventimiglia, Italy).
Aureus employs 52 staff working in composites, cabinetmaking, upholstery (leather is standard on the Absolute), and has an oven for post-curing carbon/epoxy parts. Owners may choose between teak or synthetic decks, or neither.
Regarding style, one of Aureus’s missions is “to bring a contemporary urban look to life at sea—out with the decorative excesses of yesterday.” The interior was designed by Eric Benqué, a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (Paris, France) with a strong interest in furniture and interiors.
In keeping with the modernist philosophy of simplicity, the carbon rig incorporates a self-tending jib with electric furling; larger headsails are still important to the inventory. The published polars show the Aureus XV making 8.4 knots in 25 knots of wind with an angle of 45°.
The yard was once owned by Poncin (see “The Poncin Experiment,” PBB No. 115), and also builds the Catana 42 (12.8m) multihull along with the Catana Shipyard. It has no dealers. A project manager and a sales representative from the factory are assigned to each customer. On delivery, they along with systems technicians spend a week with the new owner sailing around La Rochelle, going over everything from sail handling to systems to spares. Judging from the company’s website, they would like the customer experience to be like buying a Rolls Royce.
Basic specifications: LOA 49.31′ (15.03m), LWL 45.2′ (13.78m), beam 15.35′ (4.68m), draft 8.53′ or 9.67′ (2.6m or 2.95m), displacement 29,762 lbs (13,500 kg), sail area 1,335 sq ft (124m2).
AP Yacht Conception, ZI la Penissiere, RN 137 17230 Marans, France, tel. +33 (0) 5 46 00 87 70, website www.aureus-yachts.com.
Remote Alerts for Smoke and CO
Fire is an ever-present danger aboard any boat—occupied or unattended. But how is one, especially in the latter case, to know if a fire has started or is in the early stages of starting? Central station systems with a cellular interlink are options, but they are costly. As an alternative, one of my recommendations has been to install wirelessly interconnected smoke alarms, with one in a sheltered weather-deck area where it can be heard outside the vessel. While imperfect, it might still alert neighbors in a crowded marina.
I recently saw a new product, Nest Protect, that I believe holds promise for alerting an owner or operator to a fire aboard his or her unattended boat. I purchased and installed two Nest smoke/CO alarms for my own evaluation. While at $99 they aren’t inexpensive, they have a variety of desirable features.
Installation and Wi-Fi setup with the Apple or Droid app is fairly easy, and once set up the units are interlinked. This contradicts Consumer Reports magazine, which described the process as “an exercise in frustration.” (Setup may have been updated since that was written; Nest’s parent company is owned by Google, so one would expect easy online setup.) I downloaded the app on a Droid phone and an iPad, and both work well and are easy to use. Mine are communicating with different routers in different buildings. The app tells you the condition of each detector, if it’s operating correctly and online, the battery condition, and the last time it was updated and tested.
The talking feature for alarms and other conditions provides an initial heads-up if smoke or CO levels are detected, before sounding the full-blown alarm, as well as letting you know it’s successfully connected to the Internet. On the light ring on the unit’s face, different colors alert users to different conditions: green “All is OK”; red “A dangerous situation exists.” A nightlight feature lights up when you walk under it.
Every first-generation product is bound to have some flaws, and Nest is no exception. The app must be running for you to receive the alert via the app, not e-mail as I would have expected. This means only those with the app linked to your account receive the alert, rather than a list of e-mail addresses you could input for family members, slip neighbors, and others. Finally, the installation manual typeface is ridiculously small.
I’d like to see an e-mail-reporting feature. But, if the vessel or the marina where it’s stored has Wi-Fi, this product offers boat owners a less costly option for being alerted to a potential catastrophe in the making.
Nest, 900 Hansen Way, Palto Alto, CA 94304 USA, website www.nest.com.
There’s an App for That
Machinists know that when making a screw thread with a tap, selecting the correct bit for the pre-drill hole is critical. According to cutting tool specialist Dormer Tools, differences in types and standards of available taps make it difficult even to rely on calculation formulas. To simplify the calculation, the company developed the Threadsize Calculator app, available online via iTunes (and you thought it was just for music!).
According to Dormer Tools’ press release, “The user inputs the size of their desired thread, selects the process and relevant standard and the calculator determines the correct drill size to use.”
Here’s proof once again that any job is easy with the right tool. In this case, the Dormer Threadsize Calculator makes sure you’re using the right tool. And the app is free.
Dormer Tools, 2511 Technology Dr., Suite #113, Elgin, IL 60012 USA; tel. 847–783–5700, website www.dormertools.com.
Forespar Strainer Mounts in Tight Places
The California maker and marketer of boat products began some 48 years ago with mostly rigging for sailboats, but over the years has smartly diversified into broader segments. One of the most notable is its line of Marelon (tough plastic) seacocks, through-hulls, and related plumbing fittings. Recently Forespar introduced the Marelon T-150 Strainer for raw-water filtration, which typically would be for engine cooling.
The new T-150 was designed to be somewhat smaller than other strainers on the market, and mount in tight locations, while still providing “all the benefits of traditional ‘top basket’ strainers”—including Forespar’s own MF-810 strainer. The T-150 measures 5¼″ (133mm) wide at the T, 8¼″ (210mm) tall, and 4″ (102mm) in diameter. The ports are 1½″ (38mm) NPSM parallel threads, and adapters are available for fittings from ¾″ to 1¼″ (19mm to 32mm). It’s rated at 40 gallons per minute (151 liters per minute) with #8 mesh, and pressure-tested to 150 psi.
A mounting bracket is included, utilizing just two ¼″ (6mm) fasteners. The C-clamp shape enables the strainer body to snap into place and rotate to any desired direction. Any collected debris is visible through the clear polycarbonate bucket. The basket is stainless steel.
Suggested retail price is $149.50.
Forespar Products Corp., 22322 Gilberto, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 USA, tel. 949–858–8820, fax 949–858–0505, website www.forespar.com.