Camper & Nicholsons 42 Endeavour Page 2
Exclusive: Camper & Nicholsons 42 Endeavour
Part 2: The joinery throughout isn’t fancy and certainly wasn’t designed to be showy or ostentatious. It’s just flawless.
This traditional approach is more than just skin deep. Look closely at the way the cockpit is put together, for example, and you soon realize that this boat has been built the way all boats used to be: The furniture can come apart, and the sole is in two large sections that can be unbolted and lifted clear, in case major work is required on the engines or tanks. The quality looks traditional, too. The joinery throughout isn’t fancy and certainly wasn’t designed to be showy or ostentatious. It’s just flawless. Clearly not everyone will “get it.” C&N has the experienced buyer in mind for the Endeavour.
What everyone will get, though, is the buzz of driving this boat. Midship engines can give a boat great poise and balance, and shafts impart a sure-footed grip. (There are plenty of offshore aficionados who turn up their noses at stern drives for just these reasons.) Twin Yanmars provide ample power, and the Hunt deep-V is a thoroughbred among hulls—although on the day of our test off Santa Margarita on Italy’s Ligurian coast, it was difficult to find any lumps to give the hull a fair trial. The boat tracked well and accelerated beautifully, and the driving position was first rate. A slight hesitancy to the steering hydraulics had already been noted by the C&N test engineers—this first boat had 30 test hours on the clock by the time I caught up with her—and the rudders have since been modified as well, to tighten up the turning radius. I have no doubt that when all the tweaking and tuning are completed, the Endeavour will be a terrific driver’s machine, worthy of her name.
Tradition and heritage clearly have governed much of C&N’s thinking on this boat, but when it comes to hull laminates, the yard is right up to the minute. It uses a lamination technology called Sprint (see “Sprint to the Finish,” this story), developed by SP Systems, which is a combination of vacuum-bagging and hot-molding. Preimpregnated laminates are taken from a freezer and assembled dry on the mold at room temperature. The whole assembly is bagged and then baked, first for a two-hour “dwell” period at 140°F to get the resin flowing (while sensors ensure it’s reaching all the places it’s supposed to) and then for another 12 hours at 176°F. The whole process for one Endeavour hull, from opening the freezer to turning the oven off, takes around three days. The result is a strong structure, and the first Endeavour actually ended up significantly lighter than her designers anticipated.
C&N is building the first few Endeavour hulls on a male mold, or plug, for as managing director Giorgio Bendoni explains, there were originally no plans to go into production. “We just wanted to show the world that Camper & Nicholsons can still build beautiful things,” he adds. Bought in 2001 by Leonardo Ferragamo’s Nautor Group, C&N’s stock in trade was one-off sailboats, refits, and predelivery work on Nautor’s legendary Swan sailboats, which call in at Gosport on their way from the Finnish yard to their owners in the Mediterranean. But as enthusiasm for the powerboat project gathered momentum, the production manager was heard to say that the plug could easily do three or four more hulls, and one thing led to another. A female mold will be taken off one of these early hulls and used for subsequent boats.
Laminating a hull from the inside out involves an enormous amount of fairing and polishing of the hull skin, of course, but this first Endeavour’s flawless sheen shows no signs of its unconventional origins. C&N yard manager Ian Bowden confirms that even hulls from the new mold will undergo the same treatment, topped off with Awlgrip, to ensure a perfect finish: “Most of the hulls are likely to be dark blue or green,” he explains, and as we all know, dark, reflective surfaces show all imperfections, including the infamous print-through of the fiberglass mat.
But imperfections are not an option in this case. The venerable English yard prefers to do it the hard way, but do it right. Then again, that seems to be a C&N tradition.
Camper & Nicholsons Yachting Phone: (44) 23 9258 0221. www.cnyachting.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.