There have been some scheduling changes with other 5X customers, so the Outremer folks offered us an earlier build option (which we accepted) that will move our delivery date to June 20th, 6 months earlier than planned! This also means that most of the decisions regarding design options have to be made over the next two weeks rather than in January and March of next year.
The earlier delivery option will use a set of 5X hulls that have already been built and are currently in their molds ready to start the construction process. Wildling will be 5X hull number 11!
We have had a number of email exchanges and Skype calls this week to go over the details, and we’re pretty close to having everything finalized. There is also a final set of decisions that we need to make regarding sails, colors and fabrics, but those are not necessary right now, so Robin and I will take care of them when we visit the factory in January.
Outremer uses a precisely controlled process for building the hulls and bridgedeck sections called resin infusion. The way it works is the fiberglass fabric is laid into the mold, then a huge plastic membrane is fitted over the top of the fiberglass, then a network of hoses is installed that will deliver the resin. A vacuum pump extracts all the air while resin is pumped into the mold. The combination of the infusion process and the vacuum bagging means that the resin is evenly distributed to all parts of the fiberglass layup, in the precise quantity needed to ensure maximum strength without any excess resin. This keeps the finished structure light, with no reduction in strength.
Most series production catamarans now use this infusion process as it ensures that every molded section is made exactly the same, with no variation in quality, strength and weight, and with no wasted materials. It’s also much safer for the builders as the exposure to resin vapors is dramatically reduced. The equipment and techniques required to correctly perform infusion are complex, and one mistake means the entire section has to be thrown in the trash! Outremer contracts the infusion out to a company that specializes in this process and does nothing but resin infusion for production boat builders.