After Hugh Murray, president of Catamaran Company visited the yard last month it was time for Zsolt Esztergomy to go and see the yard first hand and assess one of Europe's leading mega catamaran builders.
What he found was a builder operating at the very top of its game in a sophisticated design and construction environment that would be the envy of any major engineering firm..
Yapluka Yachting Industries is located in Caen the capital of historic Normandy, just a stone's throw from the beaches where the marines landed and heroically fought German units.
Zsolt arrived just prior to the launch of a 70-foot semi-custom model, Bella Donna, that promises to be a real head turner.
John Smit, Project Manager and future skipper of Bella Dona, has spent the last 12 months coordinating the completion of this semi-custom catamaran for his owner.
He has thus far been very impressed with the Yapluka boat building process.
"I am very happy and would definitely build another boat at this yard for my owner if the opportunity ever arose," said Mr. Smit.
Sophisticated Construction Facilities
"Walking through the Yapluka shipyard is truly a humbling experience and in itself reflects the emergence of mega catamarans as a new reality in today's marketplace," said Zsolt.
Everywhere one looks one sees modern design facilities and office areas.
An awesome new 5000 square meter factory towers over a few smaller buildings where single-handed boats are made for global circumnavigation.
Various conference rooms adjoin specialized construction hangars that contribute to the various design phases that make up the process of building a semi-custom 'super catamaran'.
"Fast decision making and implementation of designs are facilitated by careful attention to hull construction, interior design, marine architecture and a robust office support system," said Zsolt.
Highly Skilled Design Teams
"My impression after the first walk trough was of a quiet, focused group of people working in a modern clean environment, achieving a product of high standard. Presently 2x70 foot semi-custom - almost custom! - Catamarans are under construction."
Hull #2, mentioned earlier, is about a month away from splashing in the water. Zsolt also saw hull # 3 get turned the right side up as he walked through the state-of-the-art facility.
Hull #1 Wonderful, is happily chartering in the BVI while Hull # 2 Bella Donna will be a private vessel for blue water cruising.
Customization is the Name of the Game
"When I look at the difference between these two catamarans I am amazed at how much customization contrast there is between the two boats. This reflects the different needs of a private and charter catamaran," said Zsolt.
The contrasts in the two designs include a different fly bridge, bimini; anchor location and carbon rig with Kevlar stays.
One model opted for a Jacuzzi while the other went for a home gym!
Other differences extend to the interior layout where the bulkheads are situated differently.
Additionally, wood and floor finishing allowed one hull to look modern while the other adopted a traditional tone.
An Owner's Dream
"If I were personally to build a semi-custom 70-foot catamaran I would feel very happy knowing that Yapluka could meet my specific owner needs, whatever direction they may run," said Zsolt.
"One would conclude after visiting the Yapluka facility that you are buying a solid, tested product perfectly customized to your needs. Plus, you are getting exceptional value for your money from this solid European builder"