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Is the cookie cutter relevant in the digital age?

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail World AUS 4 Jul 2023 06:30 UTC

Please note from the outset that this is an oversimplification. It does, however, serve as brilliant analogy on a number of levels. So, whilst the overarching complexities are a bit more serious, as it turns out, the core nature of the whole thing is not as estranged from the entire notion as you might think.

There's also more than a decent tad of Airfix® model kit involved in the scenario, as well. So, if you take all of that onboard and hold it, as well as remember back to it being All about threes, and later on we had The prequel, then we can be off to look at the progression of the cure.

As in Cure Marine...

Don't think much as happened in the intervening time? Well, yes and no. In the case of the Cure 55, the project might well still be at plug stage, but there's a reason for that. Especially so in the design for manufacture world. Simply put, you want to be entirely sure you have it correct all the way through your process before you hit 'go', otherwise you run the risk of any error being magnified via step and repeat.

You do not want to have to go back along the route to find the root evil, for this is not only painful, but expensive. It's like looking for that one line of errant code in a massive computer program. Taking our theme on board, it certainly can be one of the pitfalls of the cookie cutter, too. Caveat emptor. Time spent diligently early on always yields a win later on in the piece...

Also, designer Angelo Finocchiaro came on board since we last looked at the cure. He's ideally suited to this company and its overarching ethos, for he definitely lives in a digital world, but has a complete understanding that the products he helps to create operate exclusively in an analogue environment. No clearer demonstration could be made of this than just one door separates his working environment of laptop and screens from the very floor they are making the Cure 55 on.

So now as they get all the various panels for construction sorted out digitally, which came first? That process, or the selection of fabrics and treatments to make the interior as remarkable and distinguished as the Paul Bury penned exterior?

"I would say that they run at the same time. Every decision you take has to be taken in consideration of everything else. So, the texture of the material will be dependent on what's available in the market, and also what's best with the purpose of building the boats. Everything is connected and there is not one single choice that doesn't affect anything else in the boat," stated Finocchiaro.

Remember here too that a lot of the vessel is created inside the moulds as part of the production process, before the final vessel is lifted out from the tooling. If it was an Airfix model then you'd certainly read the instructions super-carefully, and the wise also painted certain parts before assembly. No real difference in methodology here, just scale, complexity and nature of materials.

Digital AND Analogue

"We're also pushing the boundaries with every technology available. So, we're obviously using 3D modelling and 3D printing, but we're then integrating it all with 3D scanning to be totally precise about our measurements. In every single area where we have some concern, or we're not a hundred percent sure, we go for a full-scale, one-to-one mock-up. This is especially important from an ergonomic point of view, as everything needs to work and flow nicely for a good living experience whilst on board."

One notable example is in the port hull, where the Cure 55 has a separate shower and head, both served by a communal companionway. This added overall amenity was considered crucial by the builders, who not only have a large array of vessels constructed to their names, but many a nautical mile on board, as well. After all, proper liveability is a key component of the Cure ethos.

"The challenge was to keep the two areas separate. There is not a lot of room to play with and we needed every single millimetre everywhere to get the final result. The mock up was crucial to achieving this, as it is always different than just simply looking at it on screen. In terms of the arrangement with doors, and also separate shower space, this process enabled us to guarantee one hundred percent satisfaction."

As for the starboard owner's hull, with the head for'ard, Finocchiaro just says, "Everything is really generously sized, so it's a really, really comfortable place."

In terms of the interior, the work was put into setting the parameters precisely, so that the panels work together harmoniously. Bury supplied the panel and laminate information, and the Cure's Director, Ian McMahon overlaid that real-world experience he is so renowned for.

Coming back to cookies, and it is important to note that obviously all the parts get cooked off during construction, but the Cure 55 will have one added benefit, in that it will also be post-cured before paint at something in the order of up to 55 degrees Celsius for 8 hours.

In a way, this is a bit like baking biscuits. Put them in the prescribed time and they are solid, but still chewable. Leave them in for a while longer, and they go from edible to grinding discs. Hard and durable are good things to have, and in the case of the Cure 55, just about the entire vessel will have the post cure, so high latitude and very low latitude cruising will be yours to come for years and years, without any degradation in appearance or performance.

In my book that's called real comfort, but let's face it, a hull lifting express cat called the Comfort 55 kind of smacks in the face of the whole premise, so Cure 55 works for me, and clearly them, too!

Got a date?

We do. Early 2024 will be the first splashing of Cure 55 hull #1. From afar that may look ambitious, but with supply issues being 'normalised', and hopefully some continued expansion of team members, then it is all doable. Seeing plugs mid-way though 2023 might not inspire you, but if you get the core thinking behind Tron, then you can absolutely get the Cure 55.

Remember, the Cure 55 is not only about being an express out on the water, but also resemble a wiggle of Samantha's nose when it comes to overall build time. Hey presto... and it's the Welter-Meunier P88 down the Mulsanne Straight (405kph).

"Any overall delays were taken now, rather than mid-build," said Lee Randall. "Better to make sure right here right now that the actual boat is within our strict tolerances."

Now the global structure looks better each time I see it, and it includes the longeron and forebeam. The canoe sides are effectively done, and the cockpit plug reveals just how much space is going to be available out aft. This means the 'lid' is the last item, which is kind of apt when you think about it. Whether it is in one or two parts is yet to be finalised, but it/they will contain the slim mullions the design requires. The moulds for this may yet come out of the Southern Hemisphere's largest 3D printer (like 24m long) that sits just up the road inside another part of the group's overall manufacturing facilities.

The whole Cure 55 project is all about exact replication, every step of the way. This in turn means precision when it comes to weight, as well. Want to lift that hull? Then kilos are not your friend. Going freehand and other perils have to be removed to deliver to the original premise. Right laminates, right resin, and right cure all add up to right weight. To do it properly, you have to build a vessel up to, and not down to weight.

At any rate, sometime in October, my bet is the Cure 55 will look more like a cat and less like a steel and MDF art installation at a museum of modern art. From there it will be all about final fitout and curing, as well as the glamorous two-pack paint. Funnily enough, the Hall Spars stick will be the first item ready out of the lot as it is in lamination right about now, so once it is all completed, it will categorically be time to go for a yacht. Giddy up!

Other than that, as the world expands once more, things like componentry for the 48V system means it is now available to spec and not requiring to be run through an inverter. Not that there won't be an inverter for other jobs, but it won't need to be tasked with important house items like A/C.

"It all goes along with designing a boat that's going to be relevant in five years, not just for six months. I do believe that we're probably one of the only companies around in our space that's designing a boat that will be relevant then, and as adaptable to new tech coming on down the line that may suit us and our owners," said Randall.

"It's really funny when you talk about this greenwashing thing, and then say, hybrid power. For a lot of clients, it's not about the actual movement of the boat, it's about the power regeneration. Naturally, sail is the best way to move from point A to point B. Diesel delivers reliability and range for the rest, and as you do not have huge mass, the motors are not huge."

Randall added, "A lot of experts talk about things not being there yet, wherever there is, but the thing is that we'll be adaptable, just as we are now. By way of example, hull #1 is saildrive and hull # 2 is shaft. So, we have the capability to work into the future, but that will be done against what is relevant."

If you're lucky!

Well, that's right. Should it come to pass, Cure Marine will do you a custom project, just as it has been done with the soon-to-be-launched Stuart Bloomfield-penned Cure Marine Custom 70. Now with more colour on her significant topsides, and that massive forebeam and longeron structure including integral king pole sitting beside her, this thing is transforming more and more into an anthracite glazed, super stylish weapon. It is a very good looking bit of kit.

"Every custom boat or proposition we look at still has to fit the company profile, and the company philosophy, in terms of the design for manufacture process. This current Custom 70 should be sea trialling after the end of August. It has already had two post cures, and of course will get heated up again for final paint. Most of her interior and everything is now all made, with some of it already in situ, and the rest standing by to go in when the time is right. I think it's closer to the end than it looks right now."

The reality is that apart from paint, it is windows, upholstery, and some electrical, which in an organisation like this is very close to the old wiggle of Samantha's nose. Yes, we are straight back to oversimplification, but if you saw the amount of this sort of sub-assembly thing they do across the entire business, you'd get the point. Add in the skill of the crew working directly on her and it merely serves as a solid underscore.

Cure Marine the brand may just be a toddler, but the structure behind it is 20 years old, and the skills behind the core team are even older than that. They are as tough as the post-cured vessels they build, and nearly as stylish as the two-pack gloss topcoat that reflects back. Not that they're worried about any of that. At Cure, the star atop the tree of resin cans is all about the embodiment of the thinking, and the delivery of the resultant product. This is how they judge themselves.

Very soon, any naysayer will get the chance to ponder all of that for themselves. No doubt in total silence. In the meantime, don't throw out your assortment of cookie cutters. They still have a job to do...

OK. There it is. There is so much more on the group's websites for you. Simply use the search field, or 'edition' pull-down menu up the top on the right of the masthead to find it all. Please enjoy your yachting, stay safe, and thanks for tuning into Sail-World.com

John Curnow
Editor, Sail World AUS

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