The day has finally come when we get to see our new Selene 60 trawler for the first time. We’re excited to be able to witness the release of the hull! We have no idea how that works and are looking forward to learning. The Jet Tern driver picked us up at 9am as promised and we battled through the traffic to get to the factory. The journey took around an hour and a half! Candy thought we would want to be in the city to be able to go out at nights. Indeed, the hotel she had booked for us into was in a great position for that. To be honest we are here for the boat. We don’t have much energy left over to go out on the town! Next visit, we’ll stay closer by so we can get more time working with the team.
Welcome to China!
Anyway, we arrived at the Jet Tern factory to a great welcome from Candy. We spent the morning working hard going through the first layout plans bit by bit to discuss and agree what we wanted. This is just the first step. Where do we want things located? How do want to lay out the galley, for example. The hard part comes later when we have to design the systems later on.
We have to work out electrical systems, electronics, pluming and much more. In addition, we have to work out where all the electrical outlets need to go. With Selene, it really is at that level of detail. It’s amazing they can work so brilliantly with the owners to produce the perfect boat for each individual person. The objective for the week is to have the 15 page basic specification completed. This will be the bible the experts in the factory have a plan to work to.
Jet Tern Factory Tour
One of the first things on the agenda was to go and look at the hull. At this stage, she was still in the mould and the plan was to release that afternoon. We got a guided tour of the factory. A chance to look at all the boats that are currently under construction at various stages. They are building 12 at this point. This includes some in the new Guido de Groot design which is a stunning look. For us it’s not so practical for the long range cruiser. At least not in the smaller boats like the Selene 60 which is the smallest of the new Explorer range.
We had decided to go for the “Classic” Trawler after looking at both Selene 60 trawler designs . There’s a JACUZZI on the front deck of the Guido version !!!!! Really nice thought. But Ed has had enough of jacuzzis! He;s had to support all our ski chalets all these years. It would also be a bit impractical for what we plan to do with our boat.
Hand Crafted Boats
The factory was impressive – everything is made by hand with the most amazing carpenters and woodwork you’ve ever seen. The Selene guys are skilled and there’s no automated production line in sight. Every boat is crafted by hand. When you look at the images of the results of their labour it’s very impressive. We got to see the stunning Selene 103 Guido design Ocean Explorer yacht. The huge boat is the star of the bunch right now and in the stage of interior carpentry construction. They are also building the 72ft yacht for the guy in France whose 62 we considered buying. He is just one stage in front of us and his hull is sitting next to ours. There are also three smaller 42’s in production. And of course, our own hull which is the latest addition to the factory’s workload.
Everybody was fantastic and we got a really good feeling that they cared about the work they were doing. I just wish I knew a few words of Chinese so I could have thanked them! It would have been nice to commented on what they were showing us.
Our Selene 60 Trawler Hull Release
So Selene 6043 is all ready for release. In the early afternoon Howard arrived at the factory from his meetings and he watched over the release. He had just bought a drone to make video footage of their work to support their marketing efforts. Unfortunately didn’t know how to fly it! Ed volunteered to give it a go as its the Mavic Pro the same as ours. He should have found it easy of course! But when he looked at the control screen and it was all in Chinese 🙂
Together with the design guy from the factory, they did manage to get some footage. He also shot footage on the GoPro which we’ve included in the video here.
Releasing the hull means hooking up a fork lift to one side of the mould and basically pulling it off. It involved some quite violent shaking of the boat up and down and it was a bit scary. By now we already feel attached to this plastic shell! The operator suspends the hull from the ceiling by chains on a runner track. The idea is that they pull one half out with the fork lift. They then run the hull along the rails a little bit to free the other side. It didn’t quite go according to plan. The remote control for the track decided to pack up after one half was released. They fixed the track overnight and released the 2nd half the next day.
Shiny New Hull!
We can now stand proudly in front of the makings of our new Selene 60 trawler yacht – well half of it anyway! The boat comes in several pieces. The hull is one half, and the top deck is a 2nd mould which the factory are starting now. Together these make up the hull. The third section is the flybridge. There are also a number of other small pieces. The next major manufacturing milestone will be when the lamination team join the two halves together. This should be in a couple of months time. Hopefully we’ll see the boat looking whole on our next trip.
Lots of Work !
We spent the rest of the trip in intense work with Candy. Together, we looked at the sample room for the type of wood we wanted. We chose the leather for the seats, the wood trims, the chairs, the curtains, the granite for the worktops. It’s never ending, and we haven’t got to the technical stuff yet! That bit is Ed’s forte and I’m sure over the coming summer we will be having endless discussions. We need to agree the electrical configuration and how to get the boat running efficiently and smoothly. There will be a combination of engine power, two generators, inverters and battery systems. He already has a pretty good idea of what we want. This will certainly keep us happily researching and planning all summer! I doubt if we’re going to get much sailing done 🙂
New Style Interior Design
We talked at length with Howard about what we plan to do with our boat. He discussed the styles and designs we like and don’t like. We would really like to choose a modern interior design. However, we’re afraid that we will make mistakes and end up not liking it! We had started to agree on that. Eventually, we erred towards playing safe and stick to the standard contemporary interior we had seen many times. We decided not to try and design along the lines of Howard’s more recent projects.
Howard, however, had other ideas! We talked a bit and he decided he’ would create a new Selene 60 trawler interior style based on what we want. He introduced us to his chief interior architect. The architect demonstrated his software to us and showed us how he could mock up the interior electronically. Hopefully this way we will see it before we decide.
They promised that on the next visit we would have a questionnaire with Yes/No answers. Do you prefer “this one or that one” type of thing. They think that with 30 questions, they can design us the perfect interior. We are more than delighted with this, especially as Howard is going to produce mock-ups in cheap wood first as examples. He’s sure we’re going to love it when it’s finished – I hope!
We finished the basic specification document just in time for us to leave for the airport again on the Wednesday. We’ve had three days of work but a lot of fun and we’re both delighted about how it has gone. Can’t wait for the next trip!
And another very long journey home
So it was back to the ferry port for the crossing to Hong Kong airport with the last ferry. We had a VERY long wait in Hong Kong as the flight didn’t leave until 01h30. Then another horrendously long 12 hour flight back to London. I hate flying!!! Arriving at the crack of dawn without any sleep, we then had another VERY long wait in London. Finally 36 hours later after no sleep we parted again in Gatwick airport. Ed got on the plane back to Preveza in Greece. He is preparing our sailboat Liberation for the season. I got on the plane back home to Malta to do some work. Down with a bump!
Ed is having trouble motivating himself to get Liberation ready with the same love and care he normally does. His “boat” heart is elsewhere now. Counting the days to the next trip in October. Next time, I think we need to save up some extra pennies for Premium Economy seats! Or I need to lose the 40kgs I’ve put on in the last three years in a bit of a hurry. And Ed needs to shave down his shoulders 🙂 We are just not designed for long haul economy.