Hobart by way of Bristol – Comanche Takes Shape in MaineSymmetrix Tooling
On October 15, 2013, Symmetrix Composite Tooling received the go-ahead to start work from a long-time client, Hodgdon Yachts. The project was hush-hush and big – a very secretive 100 foot sailboat with a tight production schedule and speed written all over it. After extensive work by a world renowned design team, the work by Symmetrix would be under tight scrutiny and would have to be exact. Oh, and the job had to be out the door in 9 weeks.
The world now knows that super secretive project is Jim Clark’s new ocean racer, Comanche. Clark brought on Ken Read, president of North Sails Group and former America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailor, as skipper and told him to “come up with the fastest monohull on the planet.” Read reached out to VPLP and Guillaume Verdier based on their long history of offshore speed with both multi-and-monohulls as well as their joint success at the most recent Vendée Globe. (Check out the August edition of Seahorse Magazine for an in depth interview discussing this project with Guillaume Verdier and Xavier Guildaud of VPLP). Comanche was going to be a bit bigger – 100’ LOA with a 26’ beam. Twin rudders, a canting keel and manual winches complete this powerful ocean racer. Clark and Read wanted a boat for the classic offshore races and, just maybe, a trip around the world. The start of the 2014 Sydney-Hobart race was coming quickly; construction would need to start immediately.
Next, enter Symmetrix. The project entered the Symmetrix shop as a CAD file and exited as a 285 square meter master pattern in seven pieces. In the nine week interim, the CAD file was used to map frames to be fabricated, materials were cut within a hair of the required specs set by the client, and the final product was carefully examined by both Symmetrix and the client before it had a chance of leaving the shop. By making use of Siemens’s NX CAD/CAM software, Symmetrix was able to translate the vision of the naval architects into a fully functional surface. In this case, the Symmetrix team again worked closely with repeat-customer Hodgon Yachts to assure that we understood their needs and process. Materials selection was made by the Symmetrix team of expert composite manufacturers, among them decades of experience and, again, with input from the client regarding heat and vacuum tolerances. The boat was delivered to Tim Hodgdon and his team at Hodgdon Yachts who are now building the boat under the careful eyes of Tim Hacket and Brandon Linton.
Since delivery, Symmetrix has worked on two additional segments of the Comanche project – internal structuring and an offshore dodger. Like everything else associated with this job, the pieces were considerable in size. The boat and its components are on their way to an on-time build and delivery to Australia for the Sydney Hobart Race in December 2014. You can read a progress report at Sailing World. As always, Symmetrix prides itself on meeting the schedule and specifications provided by the customer. It is always a treat to work with an innovative design, and it feels even better when paired with a long standing and forward thinking customer. We look forward to the boat’s splashing later this summer.