Karnic yacht is using some very advance process to produce their boat. In my opinion it is a very clever way of using CAD tools. as everything is detail in 3D model it is then very easy to control and correct part if something goes wrong in production. The idea of keeping track of every operation and label each part is also great as it certainly add quality to the product and help with after sales.
The investment they made upfront will certainly helps them to develop new model at a cheaper price and because they have record of past model the quality should keep going up.
During development of new yacht the problem is often the lack of history and data which means that very often you need to redeisgn everything from zero as very few components can be reuse from one model to another.
With only 30-35 employees they can produce up to 300 boats per year!
I have learn when working at Jeanneau how to put such kind of process in place and I wish I could help boatyard in Japan and Asia to follow this example and increase their productivity.
Lately I have spend some time studying about plywood construction for sailing yacht.
The main idea is to create a boat from flat sheet pre cut to the right size by a CNC. This a very cost efficient way of building a yacht and can be done "at home", some kind of DIY way of boat building.
The other advantage of the plywood construction is that every single boat can be easily modified to suit owner in terms of interior fittings or the deck layout depending on the owner preferences.
DIY in Japan is not so popular and there may be a problem of finding the space for someone to built his own boat. I also believe this technique could be used by small yard to produce their own boat in a semi-custom way.
When I was in France I have worked a couple of months when student in a very small wooden boatyard. There was one architect and one boat builder. They were able to built two 30ft to 40ft yacht every year.
Nowadays it is very expensive to purchase a new boat especially here in Japan as most and maybe all the sailing yacht are from US and Europe. For a small 20ft sailing yacht the import price becomes very significant. Once more most boatbuilder does not propose boat under 28ft with cabin anymore due to the development and tooling cost.I believe that using the flat pack plywood method could be an option to propose affordable sailing yacht for new owner.
I have sail on couple of 20ft 25ft sailing yacht that have 4 berths and a small galley. This was perfect to spend a weekend with friends without having to go to the hotel.
Now I guess I should design a yacht that preform well and looks good. Keeping a boat easy to built without compromising on the final design is the main challenge.
I really love sailing yacht but unfortunately I could find time and opportunity to sail since arrived in Japan. To compensate I have start designing a Class 40 yacht. This is a very popular racing class in Europe but these boats can be found all over the world. This is a very simple racing class with clear regulations, it leave some freedom to architect but do not allow expensive material such as carbon fiber so final price of the yacht stay reasonnable.
These boats are single or twin handed. The accomodations is very minimal to keep the yacht as light as possible.
The great thing with sailing yacht this size is that they can be made in any yard with minimum investment cost as no mould are required. The hull and deck shape are very simple so they can be produce over plywood frame.
Team Japan is now part of the America's Cup competition. I am very please to see that many Japanese company take part of this event. Softbank with the Team Japan, Toyota with the New Zealand and Yanmar with USA Oracle. However I am surprised by the little press coverage or interest from locals. Even from the main Softbank webpage, it is very hard to find a link to the AC's website.
I wish these big company will also advertise their engagment in Japan and help to promote sailing yacht here; the Tokyo Olympic coming soon will hopefully helps as well.
photo from Japan team website
This video is presenting all the modern process used by Cranchi to produce boats. I have seen couple of similar yard in France and Germany since the last 10 years.
Those yards are applying automotive process with a very high degree of conception using 3D CAD software. The result is cheaper boat price with a consistant quality level from one boat to another.
In the UK no yards is having that much computer control process so what I have expreience is that every single boat is different from one to another and it is difficult to control final cost due to long man hours required to adjust and correct geometry and fitting of every components.
The high level of 3D CAD + CNC process also have the advantage to reduce warranty cost as the yard know exactly what is fitted on the boat, its geometry and specification. This way the yards can send directly the right part to the dealer. Others yards often need to have one of their employee to go check the boat and measure part to recreate an exact custom made component.
I have heard many times in the UK that boat produce with lot of CNC and "robot" are inferior in quality than the handcrafted one. I disagree on this as very often those people are confusing quality product with luxury product. Most of the product we are buying now from car to mobile phone are produced using automoatic system and everybody will agree that their quality is far more higher than similar product that could have been handcraft. The luxury part is coming from the choice of materials and the detailing.
The reason automatic system is mainly used in lower luxury yacht is mainly that the number of boats produced is much higher so it is easier to pay back for the investment for such machine and thanks to these machine, the final price of boat is also going down.