Uncovering the hidden artistry of building a catamaran was the experience of a lifetime, and too good not to share.
Picture yourself enjoying a morning coffee in the aft cockpit of a catamaran, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Caribbean. As you take in the majestic volcanic mountains, the spectacular sunrise, and the crystal-clear waters, you can't help but feel grateful for the incredible journey that has brought you here. This yacht has become a gateway to the world's most remote and pristine destinations, and you start to ponder the yacht of which you are inhibiting.
Uncovering the hidden artistry of building a catamaran was an opportunity that I will never forget. It is an art form, and creating a piece of art requires true craftsmanship from start to finish, with each artist specializing in their own craft, which comes together to create a masterpiece.
Watching the artist at work
Witnessing the creation of an ocean-going yacht is an experience, but the true magic lies in the attention to detail and personalized touches that make each vessel a unique paradise. At R&C we were amazed to discover the specialized trade skills that go into crafting each catamaran. From watching each piece of wood cut to seeing the intricate application of fabrics, we were immersed in the meticulous process that transforms raw materials into a magnificent vessel. By getting a firsthand look at the dedication and artistry that goes into each yacht, we were able to appreciate the bigger picture of what the factory achieves in creating a masterpiece of the sea.
The tour covered three factories situated in and around Cape Town, where the process remained uniformly consistent across all production lines. Each factory was managed with great attention to detail, and every line was supervised by managers with a keen eye for perfection. Combine all of that with a team of craftsmen who are experts at what they do, and alas, an R&C catamaran is born.
First Stop on the Tour: The Design Office
This is where it all begins, and this is where the tour is kicked off, the design room, where ideas are born and brought to life.
The tour of the R&C Factory begins at the heart of the design process: the Fishbowl. This panoramic room, named by the team, offers a bird's-eye view of the production line. Here, the visions are created, as the design team brings their ideas to life. Every detail is carefully considered, from the cabins' layout to the windows' placement.
As we started on our tour, we saw where it all began.
Step Two: The Moulding Shop
This is where the hulls are created and fused together by the bridgedeck. This is the art of creating a catamaran, and it was certainly a sight to see the line of boats starting to take their twin-hulled, catamaran shape.
It starts with half of a hull on each side of the bridgedeck, with the other half of the hulls as part of the bridge deck. From where they are bonded together and reinforced to ensure that the yacht is seaworthy and ready to take on the roughest of seas.
Once the hull is carefully and slowly “hulled-out” of mould, the catamaran is ready for the production line.
Step Three: The Assembly Line
The hull is moved over to the production line and gets set into the cradles, which will be home for the days of production.
At the assembly line, we were able to see the creation of the boat from start to finish, and this didn’t go without getting to see in person the beam that makes the forward door and cockpit possible; this is installed before the deck goes on. It is a custom-fabricated stainless steel beam, bonded and bolted to the bridgedeck and the main bulkhead. It is situated directly under the mast on all sailboats.
As the yacht makes its way down the production line, the final stage in the process is the splash into the pool, where the yacht is put through the paces to ensure that anything that could pose a problem is rectified before the yacht is ready to be launched to sea.
Step Four: The Catamaran has Exited the Building
After the rigorous quality control checks on the production line, the completed boats are then transported to the Royal Cape Marina for launch. Here, the yachts undergo in-water commissioning.
At this stop on our tour, we were treated to a stunning view of the newly-launched catamarans surrounding us and enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Royal Cape Marina, while taking in the magnificent sight of these vessels, ready to take on the world's oceans.
Final stop: Cape Grace Marina at the V&A Waterfront
The final step for the catamaran in Cape Town is the V&A Waterfront at Cape Grace Marina. From here, the yachts are commissioned to be sailed or prepared to be loaded onto a freighter heading to the yacht's final destination, be it the Med, the Caribbean, Florida or France.
For yachts heading into the Moorings Yacht Ownership Program, freight or ocean delivery will be dependent on the yacht’s base destination.
Reflecting: Passion and Dedication Shines Through on Exceptional Catamarans
As we left the R&C Factory in Cape Town, we couldn't help but feel moved by the passion and dedication that goes into creating each boat. Witnessing the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail firsthand was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Every step in the process was executed with care and pride. This unwavering commitment to quality makes these catamarans stand out in the competitive world of yacht-building.
As I reflect on our visit, I’m reminded that this is one part of a larger business that brings passion and excellence to every aspect of the operation - from marketing and sales to logistics and beyond. I felt privileged to have been a part of this journey and can't wait to see the next masterpiece that emerges from the Robertson and Caine Factory!