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Building In The Philippines

July, 2015

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.

The F-85SR Katrat at Subic bay

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.

Not many know that the F-27 actually took over 7 years to develop, the first drawings for such a boat being done in 1978. It remained in production for over 25 years, later as the C28, and it is still looked upon as the benchmark for trailerable multihulls. However, it is now a little tired and nearing the end of its run. There were a few rocks along the way, and I often think that if we had just taken 12 months longer in the development back in 1985, it would have been easier and quicker to make, more advanced (such as bow pole from the start instead of a spinnaker pole), and probably good enough for a 40 year production run. Taking an extra 12 months of refinement for a smoother run, and a further 10 years of production, looks very insignificant now. So a little extra time on the F-22 can be well worth while, and will only improve the final result. 

While at Clark, F-33 #7 was being water tested at nearby Subic Bay, after which it was then packed into a container for shipping to California. Hull #8 was also in the final stages, and this will be going to a Philippine owner. The Clark factory was looking great as usual, with work continuing on F-33 production molds so that we can turn them out even faster. A container load of foam had also just arrived for the first two F-45s to be built.

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.

All new production boats (F-22, F-33 and F-45) will be made under the Farrier Marine brand, with Multihulls Direct contracted to do the building, under license to Farrier Marine. Thus every boat will now come with a Farrier Marine HIN (Hull Identification Number). Deposits and progress payments can now also be sent to Farrier Marine's USA bank account, which will be more convenient for most.

Exterior view of the two F-boat factories in the Clark complex

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.

Summary Of Model Range

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.

Demonstration sails remain a little hard to offer right now, as boats are still few, and we don't have a factory demo boat. However, after 40 years, F-boat sailing characteristics and performance are well known, and the new models are progressive developments, so are just better again.

The actual ordering process will remain much the same for a while with myself handling the F-22 matters, with all pricing etc online, while Michael Mallory of Multihulls Direct will continue to handle all F-33 and F-45 pricing and sales, with technical help from me when needed.

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