What are the Raku cats made from?
The Composite Structure (hulls, decks, bulkheads, floors etc) is made of Foam Sandwich Construction. This 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 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 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. Putting in that little extra effort will 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.
I'm not experienced in working with Composites. What's the best construction method for me?
We strongly recommend to use a Duflex kit. It will save a lot of build hours and streamline the build process. Many professional boat builders use the Duflex kits, it's not just a process to make it easy for amateur builders.
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.
Where is Duflex made?
Duflex panels and Duflex kits are manufactured and sold to the European market by VDL Composites in Germany. For the rest of the world they are manufactured and sold by ATL Composites in Australia
Do I have to use a Duflex Kit or can I make my own panels?
Yes you can make your own panels but this introduces two additional technologies you will have to employ. The first is vacuum or infusion lamination in making your panels to ensure a void free laminate. (You dont need to do any vacuum laminating with a DuFlex kit). The second is you have to find a way to cut the panels to shape. The ideal is a CNC router using the cutting files we provide (they are a standard inclusion with the plans). If you dont have a CNC router you can make templates, cut your foam pieces to the required shape and then laminate them under vacuum or infusion.
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. Another possibility is ATL’s Hoop Pine veneered foam panels.
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.
Send it in. If it's on point we'll respond and maybe post the answer on this page