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They come in threes

by John Curnow, Global Editor, 30 Nov 2022 21:00 UTC
Cure 55 has definite quayside appeal © Cure Marine

Ordinarily, you'd assume the worst when you see that line. It's like 'Oh no', what's next if you're on the second, or 'check this out' if you're looking back at all three in wonderment, if somewhat obscured by the tears in your eyes.

Today, we're really fortunate. For this is not just a good news story, it's a blast.

Yes, we might just be looking at renders for now, but this project is very much real and alive, as is evident by the pics of the mould you see here. Now the reason for the headline is simply because three owners have lined up to get a Cure 55 from Cure Marine, and for any new vessel, that's always some sort of testament to the overall ethos, the design, and just as importantly, the team behind it all.

Interestingly, there are three main souls to factor into all this, in Ian McMahon, Anthony Bullman, and Dave Biggar. Now it looks like we might have a wee 'three' theme going on here, and those could be coming along pretty smartly from here on in, so don't say you weren't warned!

So what's the Cure?

Naturally, when you're in the composites game, and also the boating industry, 'cure' very much fits. Cook in one, chill in other... Dave Biggar elaborates for us, "Ian and I have been in and around building boats for the last 17 years. We did take a break for about the last five years, however." Notably, a break from boats did not mean kicking back, for they applied themselves into some very sizable entities in the composites/manufacturing industries, both jointly and separately.

This in turn, and as a matter of course, have delivered some tremendous synergies for what is going on at and with Cure Marine. "One of my other businesses is Zone RV, and that stems out into a few different branches itself within composites. We've just installed one of the biggest 3D printers in the Southern Hemisphere, which is actually 80 feet long, by 25 feet wide, by about 12 feet high.

"We now have the ability there to do prints for 80-foot hulls, which I'm pretty excited about. We've also got all types of automation and robots for tooling and manufacturing, as well as the very sophisticated composite facility here in this precinct."

Automation, or more precisely the accuracy and known quantities it demands/affords, is what leads to a key component of Cure, namely efficiency. Living in the digital realm and transferring it into the production domain is real at Cure, and you feel like you're just waiting for the white flash, just like in Tron, to teleport you between the two.

"I'd say that's probably one of my main passions around manufacturing in this age. The opportunity out there at the moment for being able to manufacture as part of Industry 4.0, or this digitized world, is just massive.

"Wind the clock back 17 years when I got into business and started building my first boat, compared to the opportunity we've got now, and how we can conduct business is so incredibly different. I'm really passionate about building in Australia: the thinking that we come up with, and how passionate we can get when we have the right team of people."

"I love building teams and leveraging technology. The opportunity is there in this express catamaran market, and we've got the tools at our fingertips, some of the best boat builders in the world, and terrific new facilities here on the Sunshine Coast to be able to cope with this. We're investing heavily into what we've got going on," said Biggar.

Did someone say Colin Chapman?

They should have. The key word in the paragraph above is: express. There'll be no lump, or more precisely two, in your tea here. It's more akin to a vodka Red Bull kind of thing. Mass, or the lack there of, is the best way to ensure pace, and it was the late Lotus founder's absolute mantra. Why have any old window crank in your car (electric ones weren't quite de rigueur in those days), when you could have an alloy one with holes drilled in it. Weighed a lot less, and looked way cool too. Do keep this whole premise in mind as we move forward BTW.

So you can see that Cure Marine is very personal, and this is the case for all three individuals mentioned earlier. Now the custom Stuart Bloomfield-penned 70-foot carbon cat being built out back in yet another of one of the myriad of sheds in this compound is a real nexus point in the whole equation.

Biggar continues, "Boats are a funny thing; for they seem to suck you back in. Five or six years ago, Ian and I decided to stop building boats because we were busy running the other businesses. Obviously, Ian and I have a fairly large bug for building high performance boats.

"Ian was off working in our industrial fibreglass business, Cure Composites and one day said, 'Dave, I'm getting itchy feet here. I keep getting tapped on the shoulder to do some builds and it just so happens that a pretty nice one has come along that I'm interested in. It's a 70-foot full carbon fibre, high performance sailing cat.' All I said was, 'let's do it, but let's do it thoroughly'."

Part of the overall thinking around that time was that Biggar was firstly pondering, then actively seeking out, a genuine express cat for his family to go voyaging on. 50 feet was the magic number, and he knew cats, and the engineering required for them, but what could he find? Budget was not so much of an issue, but nothing from Europe, America, Asia, Australia, or South Africa met the specification. Namely, a great boat, genuine pace, ecologically sound, and capable of being away for extended time.

Did we mention displacement? "Unfortunately, I just can't accept, or it probably would've bugged me fairly heavily, if I had ended up with a 50 odd foot cat that was in 13, 14, 15 metric tonne lightship range. I know that that is not a high-performance boat, for I've built 52-foot high performance sailing cats that have come in at six and a half, and 60-footers at 10 and 11. That's the standard that I was going to stick to."

So by the time the big green button had been pushed on the custom 70, it was also time to find the naval architect. Paul Bury got the nod not only because he is Australian, but also because of his time with Wally Yachts and then Bill Tripp's office, both of which are held in very high regard by Biggar, for their adherence to both the style and performance functions of a form.

Not surprisingly, the Cure Marine 55 is targeted at nine and half metric tonnes lightship (Which is sort of three times three. Boom. Boom). Now you get where this cat is going, and it will do so smartly, as well.

For when two is one (which adds up to three, of course)

It's hard to get too excited by a mould usually, except for this one. Even incomplete it shows all the thinking going on here. A unitary platform will be extracted from the mould, with all the tanks, Diesels, furniture and so forth in the hulls, the for'ard beam and longeron (prodder) are all integral, then the deck goes on, followed by the mullions and coachhouse roof, and you're done. Three steps. Speedy. Efficient. Effective.

Best of all, it means all the gear is part of the infusion process, which means no additional taping, and it is WAY stronger!

Next you might be asking what it is going to cost you? That would be AUD2.6m, including GST. Sounds like a bargain to me. Next you're going to ask what you get as standard with your all-carbon wonder, and that would be a good time to bring in Anthony Bullman: "Naturally, it is a pretty extensive standard specification with a boat like this. We've gone through a fairly long and rigorous process of assessment and discussion with all of the guys involved here for all of the items being put into or on the Cure 55."

Bullman continues, "Quickly we came to the conclusion that we needed to put the best parts into this boat everywhere we can. So, we've gone with Hall Spars for the carbon mast, and Profurl furlers for the staysail, jib, and Code Zero."

There's also a very sexy Park Avenue boom, which is incredibly functional, and this too is very much part of the overarching ethos at Cure. "One of the key factors with the whole boat is safety. So in terms of attaching the halyard, we wanted the mainsail stack to be as low as possible, and the latest iteration of the Switch Track car system achieves this really well. So much so that we have a carbon casing under the boom to flake the mainsail into, and the cover over the top is flat. It is not only safer, it looks better, too," explained Bullman.

The Cure 55 is powered by North Sails. The final package will be close to these numbers: there's a 109m2 3Di main, with a two metre square top, and a 55m2 self-tacking jib, which might sound small, but then consider the weight - 9.5 metric tonnes lightship (13 tonne maximum displacement). Cure like to say, 'horsepower to spare', and I bet they're right.

The air draft is 25.3 metres, draft with daggerboards down is 2.41m, and up is 1.53, so that's certainly going to allow you to get close to the beach.

"The staysail is around 22.8m2, a code 55 is an option, and that's around 118m2, then we're running with furling gennaker at 196m2, and there is an optional masthead bag, which will be around 235m2. We're not pushing too much weight, and that's the key factor, for when you're handling sails, they're not as big."

"There is an electric winch in the cockpit for the main halyard as standard, there's also one for the mainsheet, and an additional manual one too. So you can lock that off and use the electric solely if you like. The ones for'ard of the mast are manual, but importantly, the traveller is electric, and adjustable from the helming pods, which are switchable to inboard, centre, and outboard via a foot pedal."

So ease of use seems to be a true hallmark here, and outside the only real main option is whether to go masthead or not.

B&G wind gear is standard, or you can opt for Raymarine. Dyform rigging is standard, to account for ease of servicing, and then the running rigging is Dyneema core with Technora cases for heat and wear. There are twin 57hp Yanmar saildrives with Gory three-bladed folding screws.

"These are located under the aft bunks as a way to bring weight forward and close to the centre of gravity and buoyancy. All of our tankage (800 litres of diesel and 800 litres of water) is also right down low in the hulls, and with the standard watermaker, you'll be able to stay on site much, much longer."

Light me up all day, every day

OK. So watermakers, like a lot of things on modern boats, love power and here is where one of the cross-pollination aspects from the other businesses comes into play. The LiFePO4 batteries are in the super accessible tech-pit, right near the mast bulkhead, and the big news is the Cure 55 is a 48V boat, optional single thruster and all.

Bullman explains, "We are running 240V for our induction cooktop, and oven via the inverter. This means we don't have to have any gas on board. Also, 48V creates a lot of efficiency. We can then run 48V winches, and a 48V windlass. Then there's the wiring. There is a huge difference between 12 and 48V and we save an incredible 250kg, just in the wiring alone!"

So as we have discussed along the way, efficiency is not only a key criterion at Cure, it is daily workplace mantra in design and build. Take the optional aircon as an example. "We've broken it down because of the efficiency reasons, as well. So, if you do want aircon in the starboard owner's cabin, then that would be a tick in the box for that option. And then if you want aircon in the port side aft cabin, that's another unit, as too in the saloon area, with another unit there.

"By running three smaller units it simply saves a lot of ducting and wiring etc, and it's a lot more efficient."

So what's the total prize pool, as it were? There is 13kWh of stored juice, and it is replenished from 3kW of rigid solar panels on the lid, because these just work better and last longer, as well as high output alternators on the donks. So again, the lessons learned in the Outback with Zone RV get put to good use.

It all means you can run the aircon, cook the roast, keep all the drinks on ice, have hot water showers all day, and whatever else you can dream up. No stinky, smelly genset here...

The final frontier

So to be fast, you're going to want the hulls to be slippery, and that means low volume. It's not that there's no room to swing a cat, it is just that you need to understand your priorities. If having a huge saloon and aft deck for when your eyes are actually open means more to you than having the Honeymoon Suite at the George V, then the Cure 55 is your kind of boat. Because of her beam, and overall structure/layout, she has the cockpit of a 60+foot cat, and the saloon of an 80-foot mono.

"The space and volume we've got on this boat is sensational. I think second to none really in her size range, given she's a 55. In addition to the owner's hull to starboard, we've got an aft cabin in the port hull and up for'ard we have options there for either another double berth, a workshop, more storage, or the water office, even bunks for kids."

"Then in terms of storage there are the monster sail lockers up for'ard where you can do inflatable SUPs, electric bike, kite surfing, DPVs, foilboards, or whatever, as well as the lazarettes where normally the Diesels would be," said Bullman.

Internally, cold space comes in the form of a 190l refrigerator, 90l freezer, and you can have an optional bar fridge in the centre of the saloon too. Icemakers can be included, as too a diesel heater if you like to keep your drinks cold and your body warm. Essentially, you've got a sail away package that is more than cruising ready, but you can add your own versions of comfort to that.

Randy Crawford

You know, One day I'll fly away... So here it is. Yes. You will be able to fly a hull.

Paul Bury and the team have not only worked with Cure Marine to meet the brief, they have also done all the engineering. You'll note the Cure 55 has the all-important dockside appeal, but lurking beneath that is some serious intent.

The hulls are canted in by 2.5 degrees, so that when she's heeled over she runs on her true hull form. Now you will be higher than that in heavier airs, and if you have kept her lightship, then up until you hit the rev limiter, which is the standard load cell on the shrouds, you will fly.

The car analogy is interesting here, because the imagery shows the bows canted in, as we say - which in automotive speak is negative camber. In a performance road car it might be 1.5 degrees, and a racecar more like 5 or 6 degrees. Great for cornering. Not so good for tyre wear. Anyway, I love this aspect if for nothing else than it shows utter intent, and looks both muscular and menacing all at the same time.

Bring it on, huh! The fine entries, slightly reverse bows, and crash bulkheads don't really have a chance for airtime against the in-your-face stance. Q.E.D.

Got you thinking? Should have by now. 2023 is going to be a big year for Cure Marine. There is a distinct chance the first three will make it out by next Christmas. If you can be in the area, then book a time have a look for yourself, and if you cannot get to Coolum Beach, then check out or simply download the PDF of the full specification and options.

As for me, I know I'll be back, if only to see if I can be there for the white flash and become part of the digital frontier.

OK. We have stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please use the search window at the top of the home page if you are after something specific, as only the latest news appears on the website as you scroll down. We enjoy bringing you the best stories from all over the globe.

If you want to see what is happening in the other Hemisphere, go to the top of the SailWorldCruising home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you. Also, we have just had a significant upgrade to our systems, and trainspotters will have seen that the menu bar now includes editorial which collects the latest from our team and also lets you see what each member has been up to of late.

Finally, stay safe, and let's see where it all goes now.

John Curnow
Editor, Sail World AUS

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