Building In The Philippines
I've now been to the Philippines around 7 times, and continue to be impressed with the potential. The Clark and Subic Bay Freeport (no duty) zones are excellent locations for manufacturing, Subic Bay being a former US Naval base, and as such is very modern and well developed. Clark is also an interesting and fast growing area, with the former US Air Force base (Clark Field) at the center, and as such the surrounding area is also well developed and growing fast. It is ideal for low cost skilled manufacturing, a fact not unknown to many major corporations, and two already there are Yokohama Tires, and Texas Instruments, both of whom have major manufacturing facilities at the Clark Freeport Zone:.
The surrounding infrastructure is also well established, with a brand new airport, good hotels, and a 'state of the art'
Medical Center has just opened:
Over the past several years, as New Zealand became too expensive for volume production, I have visited several countries, including factories in China, looking for the best place to supply the demand with a quality product. But all have various problems, either in quality, infrastructure, political issues, or language issues.
Production trailerable trimarans are relatively complicated boats, so building them in a high cost country is very difficult, but one also needs a highly skilled workforce, who understands English well. This is the case with Filipino workers who have now built over 25 F-boats, and all to a very high standard. A perfect example of their skills is the F-85SR 'Mail Order Bride', as built at Multihulls Direct, which came in second only to an F-25C in the recent 700 mile Race to Alaska, in very tough windward conditions. Nothing broke, and the boat proved to be a credit to the Multihulls Direct team.
Owner Wayne Gorrie had come to Subic Bay to purchase 'Mail Order Bride' (formerly KatRat) and hence the name. The F-33, F-33SR and the new F-45 are all being built by the exact same team, and thus you can be sure of a boat that is tough, well built, and going to last.
I was in the Philippines again last month, checking out the F-33 progress, and for more discussions on getting things ramped up. Or more specifically, on how we are going to meet the demand for the F-22. But first, let's be clear that I am the main hold up here, as I will not release the F-22 for full mass production until after I am satisfied that every aspect is as good as it can be, and, more importantly, it is easy and quick to build.
Multihulls Direct will be building the F-22, F-33, and F-45 at Clark, and under license to Farrier Marine. We have been in discussions for a while on this, and are now finally ready to start the ball rolling, and get the F-22 production molds setup in the Philippines. I am now happy with all production aspects (only a few niggles remain), and Michael Mallory has an experienced production mold maker ready to get going. So a 40 foot container will be turning up at Farrier Marine soon, in which we will be shipping the production plugs, molds, and the assembly jigs necessary to get started.
Note that F-22 volume production will still not happen overnight, as setting up for volume production is a big job if it is to be done properly. As always, I am more interested in providing solid well done very advanced boats, than something just rushed out the door. I am not going to change now and if anyone wants a rushed boat then there are plenty around.
Note that the F-22 built at Clark will be the basic F-22 with standard cabin and aft cockpit, very simple and low cost, and to be produced in a very high volume. The F-22R and future cabin variations will be produced in New Zealand.
It will take a while before we have all aspects of the above sorted out, and not every detail will be available or on the web at present. But it is envisaged that it will be possible to order all models online, as is already possible with the NZ produced F-22, with everything properly detailed and priced upfront. It will just take a while to get this setup, but one thing we can say now is that the shipping cost from the Philippines will be included to many major countries. For a reasonable fee, we can also come and assembly your boat for you out of the container, but this is not hard with the supplied assembly instructions, and anyone with basic practical skills can do it.