MATERIALS AND BUILDING METHODS
What are the Raku cats made from?
The Composite Structure (hulls, decks, bulkheads, floors etc) is made of Foam Sandwich Construction. That is; from PVC foam cores with fibreglass skins in epoxy or Vinylester (VE) resin.
What is special about the way Raku Cats are built?
The Raku cats are built entirely from flat panels except for the hull bottoms (hull shoes) which are strip planked panels that are ripped down into narrow strips (typcially 35mm to 50mm wide). Some of the panels above the waterline have slight curvature induced to avoid having a "boxy" aesthetic.
Is strip planking difficult?
No, definitely not. Provided you follow a couple of basic fundamentals (like orienting the strips correctly on the hull mould) it's a very straight forward process. In fact you will find the planking of the hulls proceeds quite quickly.
Can I build hard chine hulls?
No. We take great pride in putting the time and effort to optimise our hull shapes for performance, seakeeping and style. The cost of underwater form is a very small fraction of the investment you are going to put into your boat in terms of time, effort and financial outlay, and yet it's an important element in the way your boat looks and performs. Putting in that little extra effort will enhance the value of investment and pay a dividend when it's time to sell.
What skills did I need to build my catamaran.
It's not essential to have any special skills but if you don't understand composite construction you need to study up on the basics. We provide a number of publications such as the Guide to Composite Yacht Construction to assist in this area. It is a big commitment though to start a boat building project and you're going to need a degree of staying power. On the positive side there's a lot of satisfaction to be had in creating your own sea voyaging vessel.
Can I use balsa cored panels?
Using foam in preference to balsa will contribute to confidence in the longevity of the product you have built, and when it comes time to sell you will have a broader cross section of potential buyers who will be interested in the product you have on offer. Stay with foam.
Can I purchase some of the components ready made?
Yes, we are working with a number of builders and manufacturers to supply standard components including daggerboards, rudders and bow spars but we do not have a price list available at this point in time. We will announce on our news page when we have pricing available.
Can I, and should I use honeycomb panels for the interior?
You can pretty much use any material of your choosing for the interior fitout, however we generally recommend foam/glass primarily because it is practical. Fitting locker lids, cupboards and draws can be a pain if you don't have something solid to fix to. We generally recommend a panel thickness of 10mm simply for practical purposes. 400gsm glass skins are generally adequate, 600gsm is more robust.
What is a longeron and does the Raku have one?
Well technically speaking it's a longitudinal stringer or beam in an aircraft fuselage. Somehow the term got merged into catamaran technology as the spar that goes forward from the wing deck in front of the mast, extending forward of the forebeam to support the tack of the screecher and spinnaker. We used to call it the catwalk but these days many of them are so narrow they're not all that easy to walk on. We're happy for you to call it the longeron (or anything else that gets the message across), but on our drawings and spec's we're calling it the "bow spar". As for the forebeam? Well at least for now forebeam works fine and that's what we're sticking with.
Do I get a copy of the electronic model with the plans?
Manufacture of all kinds of products is rapidly becoming more automated with the implementation of multi axis CNC, sophisticated moulding techniques and additive printing. We are totally on board with providing our builders with any technologies that will help to streamline the build process. We are happy to provide 3D electronic models and cutting files for any component where these files can be used to advantage. However we don't automatically supply the model with the plans. If a CNC or 3D printing shop is making components for you we will provide the models or cutting files to them directly under our terms and conditions.
If you are CNC cutting your own panels you will have access to the CNC files, they are a standard inclusion with the plans.
What are the performance standards of Raku Catamarans?
Great performance comes from the effective integration of three crucial elements; a well-balanced design with minimal weight and windage, an effective combination of rig and sails, and the focus of a dedicated crew. For over 30 years our designs have been setting the benchmark for performance standards on the Australian racing scene. Many of the technologies we have applied to racing yacht design are applicable to cruising boats as well. It's the implementation of these technologies and design principles that have helped to establish the esteemed reputation for performance and seakeeping that our cruising designs enjoy today.