Last week another set of pictures published by Slovenian shipyard Ocean Tec catched my attention: A brand new sleek racing boat? A high-performance cruiser? German design bureau Judel/Vrolijk realized a hell of a fast rocket meant to travel fast in planning mode but to offer at least some cruising comfort for the very ambitious sailor: The JV43 touched the water.

The new “RED” shortly after christening

Judging from the pictures, this yacht incorporates latest findings in hydrodynamic hull shaping, sports a very wide bow section like we´ve seen in latest IMOCA or Class 40-yachts and looks damn fast. I immediately called up at Ocean Tec and Gaber Bregant, owner of the shipyard, transferred me to Luka Kepec who run the project. Yesterday, very late, we talked about this fascinating new boat.

Talking to Luka Kepec of Ocean Tec

NO FRILLS | Lars Reisberg: “Luka, thanks for sharing your precious time to answer my questions. Tell me, when did Ocean Tec become involved in actually building the JV43? Did the owner who had Judel/Vrolijk designed the boat want to have it build by your company in the first place?”

Luka Kepec | Ocean Tec: “You are welcome, Lars! Actually, it is the other way around: The designer will normally propose the builder he deems suitable to live up to the project´s demand. Maybe two builders. The proposals are then discussed and a final decision is taken together with the owner. In this case, we had been approached by Judel/Vrolijk. Later in the process we also got to meet the owners as well and finally became the shipyard realizing this project.”

Modern hull design

NO FRILLS “How can we imagine is a project like this done? Are the plans delivered completely finished by the designers when you guys come in or does Ocean Tec have a saying in the design or at least details, like structural things?”

Luka Kepec: “Not at all, we join the process in a pretty early stage, I´d say. At the start we only got a very basic design brief, some preliminary drawings, a sail plan, some interior layout-sketches and the preliminary specifications. This is just enough to work out a quotation and a first preliminary build schedule. Only after a build contract is in place the designer will start the proper design process. This includes engineering and all of the detailing. It’s a multiple way process where all parties are involved, and all solutions should be mutually agreed upon.”

Vacuum Infusion at Ocean Tec

NO FRILLS “What are some of the specialties of the JV43 building-wise? Any new materials, production techniques used?”

Luka Kepec: “At Ocean Tec we only utilize latest state-of-the-art materials and processes. This boat is build by using a three-stage vacuum infusion of e-glass and Corecell foam sandwich composite. This is for example the same material we use in the latest Class 40 racing boats for example. As the weight control is one of the most important aspects of this project, we as builder were forced to reach the limits of the vacuum infusion technology to fulfil this challenge.”

Deck and hull marriage!

NO FRILLS “Can you outline the principle production process of this boat? How was the timing in general for this boat?”

Luka Kepec: “As mentioned, a three-stage vacuum infusion as principal technology and strict weight control. For the JV43 we plan to have a one year building time. Actually, for this boat, we secured two orders for two owners, which made us double our efforts but also utilize some efficiency-gains.”

NO FRILLS “Did Ocean Tec build the keel as well? If not, where and how did the appendages have been made?”

Luka Kepec: “We do not make the keel. The sleep keel fin was built by Irons Brothers in the United Kimgdom and the bulb by the Italian specialist Fonderia SAT. JV43´s keel is made out of high strength steel with composite fairing connected to a lead bulb. The boat will have a draft of three meters in the end. Of course, we did the composite fairing and the keel assembly.”

From concept to galley

NO FRILLS “During construction works, did Judel/Vrolijk or the owner have special milestones or sections after which they visited the shipyard to check the boat´s progress?”

Luka Kepec: “Oh yes, of course! There are various milestones during the building process. Those are always agreed upon by the designers, the shipyard and partners. For us as the builder, we very much appreciate the involvement of the designer and the owners. This is very important as it is a complex project and simply requires the intense involvement of all parties. Especially because usually the development and engineering goes “hand in hand” with the build process. And important decisions are taken throughout the entire build process.”

The finished salon

NO FRILLS “How many people are involved in building a boat like the JV43 at Ocean Tec from how many departments?”

Luka Kepec: “For our part of the project a team of ten people was involved more or less on a daily basis. Plus, some works like electric installations, electronics installations were outsourced to specialists. As you can imagine, every department has a role in the project. Most important of course the R&D, but also the purchase, finance and most importantly the human resources department. Managing people these days is the key …”

Wow, what a cockpit!

NO FRILLS “I understand that the boat is now fully rigged and in the water, taken over by the owner. Is the shipyard further involved in the testing and fitting of this boat?”

Luka Kepec: “The boat is at the moment in the middle of the sea trails program. She will be fully handed over to the clients after these trails are successfully completed.”

Fast, beautiful: JV43 “RED”

NO FRILLS “Although being a custom one-off, would it be possible for more people to get a JV43 built by your company?”

Luka Kepec: “Oh yes, with pleasure! As you know, we are currently building two identical boats. As the molds are made from wood with MDF, the life span of those molds is limited of course. But we could build a few more, maybe 4 or 5. We definitely would love to build two more at least … so if anyone is interested in receiving a high-performance racer with cruising capabilities, feel free to get in touch.”

Luka, thanks so much for your time, all the best for this awesome project and see you around!


Also interesting to read:

From mock-up to reality: A Solaris is born

Appendages of sailboats, an interview with Matteo Polli

At JPK Composites of France: Where the magic happens