As we close off the first full year of HopYacht, we have been reflecting on the overall process of designing and building the first HopYacht 30. The conclusion? Bringing a totally new catamaran concept to market in just 14 months has been a rollercoaster ride for the team! Without a doubt it's also been a lot of fun! However, sprinkled in between the fun stuff, have been moments of frustration too.
HopYacht co-founder Paul Tomes, commented on how the seemingly obvious solution to overcome a build problem, often doesn’t work for a new design and this forces you to go looking for the not so obvious solution. Or what Paul likes to call ‘the second right answer’
‘This is when the real innovation happens and it is both challenging and exciting in the same breath,’ comments Paul.
'There have been times when we have questioned our sanity! Whilst we set out to provide a solution that would truly change the way people are able to sail, at times we wondered if we were perhaps pushing the boundaries a little too far?
On top of being all electric, one sail, demountable hulls, we've have added many other design features that are far from the norm. However, the feedback we received throughout this past year from our blog posts, social media and industry colleagues, has kept us resolved to stay on track. The positive response from visitors who stepped on board our first HopYacht at the Cape Town boat show, was also a real boost for us. Here a few of the comments that made the past year all the more worthwhile.
Firstly, we loved this comment from a North American client ...
‘When I first looked at the boat I wasn’t really sure if this is what I was looking for, but then I realised you didn’t design the boat for me, you designed it for my partner who’s never been that keen on sailing! It’s the perfect balance of comfort and fun sailing.'
From an experienced blue water sailor ...
‘I’ve owned much larger catamarans in the past and done enough offshore sailing now … this is the ideal boat for just my wife and I to enjoy more relaxed sailing bay to bay'.
It's interesting how different people view the boat differently. A young professional couple gave us this feedback ...
We were keen on your shared ownership boat, but having seen it now I think we’d like to own our own. The way you have designed the interior it’s kind of like a hotel room on water! I reckon we can also get it to earn its keep, by offering it on Air BnB!
On a recent test sail we had a fun quip from a client on the performance of our E-Propulsion electric pod drive motors …
‘This thing takes off like a Tesla!’
Perhaps a slight exaggeration, however compared to a traditional diesel engine, electric motors do have a lot more torque! To ensure the acceleration created isn’t an issue, the dual throttle control has a ‘dock mode’ button which reduces the power input. This means it’s harder to accidentally ‘over-cook’ things as you approach your mooring.
And finally, one of the comments we hear most often ...
‘This is really cute!’
At first it was difficult for us to take this onboard as positive feedback! When you’ve worked hard to create what you hope will be a game changing boat, ‘cute’ isn’t exactly the reaction we were hoping for. But it struck us that ‘cute’ is hugely positive, reinforcing that the HopYacht 30 is exceptionally easy to sail ... understandably traditional yacht terminology falls away! We can rest easy now knowing that we’ve achieved what we set out to do … well almost. We have a number of new features we will be adding in the new year. We think these will be pretty cool … but 'cute' is good too!
One of the exciting industry trends in 2022, has been the speed of change within the yacht building world, with growing recognition that solar power and electric propulsion is the way to go. One our clients summed this up beautifully …
'If you have room for a couple of decent sized solar panels on your boat, there is no rational reason to fit a diesel engine on any yacht!'
Music to our ears ... however I do expect at this point we might get a few raised eyebrows from die-hard diesel fans. It is clearly evident that there is a groundswell of support for electric motors on yachts now. Our clients either own electric cars or certainly try to rent one when they are travelling, so it's only natural that they expect the yachts they sail to help lower emissions as well!
As we head in to 2023 we are excited about the future of HopYacht. Boat 001 will be shipped to Greece in February. After re-commissioning the boat in Athens, we will sail her to Preveza in the Ionian Sea, via the Corinth Canal, ready for the start of the 2023 sailing season.
The construction of HopYacht 002 is already underway and 003 scheduled to commence early in the new year.
Hull 002 is a motor only version, incorporating a lot of new features. We will be sharing more details shortly!
Thank you everyone for all your feedback and support in 2022 and wishing you a wonderfully quiet fossil-fuel free yachting year in 2023.
PS. Boat 001 is being offered on a shared ownership basis and if you are currently dreaming of relaxed sailing holidays in Greece, we still have one share left.