December 2009 PJ and I started Advanced Racing Catamarans. Easter 2010 we introduced the DNA in Cesenatico. This Easter we will have sold and delivered DNA number 100. We are doing 50 boats a year now and are very happy with the support we got from so many sailors. Our aim was to make a competive A-cat available within the A-cat community and to attract new sailors to that community.
We succeeded with the first part but I think that we can and should attract more new sailors.
The pro sailors have discovered us now, but apart from some Moth sailors we do not attract many from other classes. We do think that the A-cat is the ideal boat for many others. It is a simple boat, very refined and suitable for both the pro and the middle aged clubracer.
People who sail a Finn or Laser could sail an A-cat as well. It is even suitable for the sporty yachty who spends now a fortune on his boat and crew while he could have more fun with less effort on a DNA. Perhaps we should tell others more about our love for the A-cat and its wonderful simplicity.
The latter both in rigging the boat and sailing it. We hear that people are afraid that they will not be very competitive but what we see is that a good helsman becomes competitive pretty quickly. You do not have to be James Spithill or Dean Barker to sail an A-cat smoothly.
As a company we want it to make easier for sailors to buy ready to play boats, that's why we will start making our own masts and will offer trailers as well.
As a company our aim is to sell at least 80 boats every year, this will lead to a more continuous production with lower costs and higher quality.
One objective is to double the installed base of A-cats in Europe within 3-5 years.
When we started we thought that we could make even cheaper boats due to declining carbon prices. What we underestimated was the amount of money needed to setup a state of the art composites factory. Tooling costs are significant and with our tooling we can make 200 hundred boats per year as well.
The first 2 years of a be company are not the easiest, financial pressures and time connstraints were huge.
Life is improving though, I will sail more races this year and we have a great crew of motivated boat builders. PJ and I are less bothered by operational stress and can put more effort now in promoting the class and the boat.
We welcome input from sailors about product improvement and product innovation. The class remains a development class and we are happy to learn from others.
Right now my garden is full of snow and the Dutch people are only talking about ice skating, but I am longing to go on the water again and do some serious trapezing downwind.
CU all on the water soon.