Monday, May 7, 2012

The Fusion 40 catamaran kit

I'm still kicking myself. I saw this starting last week. It looked like someone was building two 40' war canoes, or the ilk on a couple of jigs. I almost stopped to see what was going on, but a look at my watch made me give up the idea. Late as usual, am I. A visit to the yard on Thursday startled me. Where there was two canoe looking structures, there is now about one third of a boat sitting there.  

What I was seeing was a Fusion 40' sail cat kit designed by Garry Lidgard, currently being assembled for the owners by Mondo Marine at the Yacht Center in Sarasota Fl. Okay, that covers the journalistic  5 "W's" only the "How" is now left, and this will take some time.
It should only take a small crew about three weeks to fully assemble the hull and super structure. This is possible because all of the components are prefabricated and shipped to the site in two cargo containers.

The containers include all parts that are required for assembly, along with plans for the jigs, and the clever gantry structure you see above the hull. In this build case, Andrew Pounder from Fusion is conducting training in assembly as a step towards qualifying Mondo Marine as a Fusion agent.
The Fusion kits start with the basic hull, and to that you can add engines, molded interior furniture, rigging and deck hardware kits and more. The optional kit list is very large. You can also have Fusion sell you a factory built boat to your specs ready to go.

The Fusion website has a huge section devoted to builder's resources, and construction techniques, along with a builders forum area for owners to talk among themselves. It's a very well thought out kit system that can accommodate the needs of builders anywhere in the world.
There is fiberglass work, and then there is really good fiberglass work. Look at the gel coat line, and the straight as an arrow bevel lines. Now look at the cut edge. This was not gnawed with a sawzall following a hand drawn Sharpie line. This is first class composite layup work period.

I looked down the surfaces of several pieces and the mold work appeared to be flawless. The high quality of the Fusion components is because the molds are all shaped with high accuracy 5 axis router systems, driven by the CAD design. This coupled with vinylester vacuum infusion molding provides high precision lightweight structures that fit every time.

This is all possible because the Fusion components are manufactured by a collaboration between Cobra International and CMI (Composite Marine International) in the Cobra plant outside of Bangkok Thailand. This 1.1 million sq ft facility manufactures watercraft of all types, automotive composite components, and even motorcycle parts. Their facilities have autoclaves, large scale CNC routers for mold manufacturing, smaller scale systems for component shaping, clean rooms, paint shops, and employs about 3000+ personnel. I have talked about the need for this technology before, and the Cobra/CMI partnership embodies this approach.
I'm going to follow this with a few quick pieces during the hull construction over the next two weeks, and then I will check in periodically to show you the how the build out is going. You can also follow the owners viewpoint of their experience on their blog


  1. My experience of the Fusion 40 has been racing against "Blonde Moment" recently in the Hog's Breath Cafe series, in "Tribute" an Oram Mango 38 design. I had expected the Fusion to be very fast, and very difficult for us to beat, but it didn't turn out to be. In one passage race, which took us around 4 hours, we beat "Blonde Moment" by over 2 hours.

  2. I noted this post on Cruiser's forum in 2007. Is the really considerd "recent"?

    Maybe time for a rematch.

  3. Anon, I see what you mean, it was re-posted from 2007, and I consider it to be close to being an unpaid ad. Although I will leave it in place. Fast is relative, and depends on rig, weather, electronic tools, and skill of the crew. Overall I'm impressed by the Fusion.

    1. Have you checked out the other Fusion being built there? Not buy the same builder but being into electronics you may find it interesting. The guy building it use to be an avionics guy.

    2. Thanks Paul, I'm overdue on a follow up here, and I will check the other one out.

  4. Fusion cats are generally well built but I have inspected a couple of vessels that have been finished very poorly..


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