Last Thursday we visited the factory floor where our boat was built. It was very interesting to see how everything is still very manual, and the level of craftsmanship involved. We saw the huge molds used for the hulls, the vacuum infusion process, how all the parts are put together. No automation, no robots. And that is exactly what makes this place magic. I have lot of respect for the people who work in this place and for those who run it. Amazing work gets done here!
Also for me it was a perfect opportunity to find out what’s hidden in every every nook or cranny of my boat. Not many people get the chance to really see what’s “under the hood”.
Robertson and Caine was established in South Africa in 1991 and initially was in the monohull business. The company grew over the years and today employs over 1400 local people who have been trained into highly skilled workers. It takes 8 weeks to produce our boat, plus 2 weeks for commissioning. The number of boats that R&C can produce in a year (approx 180), is just a fraction compared to its French competitor, with the Lagoon. And that’s what makes the Leopard so “special”.
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The following day we had a chance to have dinner with Alex Simonis, the Naval Architect who designed our boat. He and his wife Laura are very interesting persons, with lot of stories to tell. Alex is a passionate sailor and it’s been great to hear his thoughts about the boat.
His new design of the L40 has been a game changer. Alex managed to strike a great balance between comfort and performance, and on top of this, he used an innovative interior layout design that Yuka just fell in love with.
The layout has been radically changed from the previous model and is unique in this size of boat, as the galley is now forward beside the foredeck door, alongside the nav station. This leaves the saloon aft area for the L-shaped lounge and plenty fresh air if you slide the large window open, nicely integrating the outside cockpit. Simply genius!