Boating NZ : FREE TO READ March 2014
“Laurie had been onto me for a while to get into composites, but I resisted because I’d rather build wooden boats. But when I saw the three Cookson boats in Sydney, they were superb and looked so beautiful, I thought if I’m going to build composite then that’s the standard I’m going to build them to.” Franklin’s first composite boats were Grand Slam and Southern Fun, which were variations on Davidson’s Wednesday night racer, Fantail. Southern Fun was built for a syndicate of which Franklin is a member and which still owns the boat. Although Southern Fun’s had a few modifications since 1983, she’s still competitive. “Even today there are racing yachtsmen who benchmark themselves against Southern Fun’s upwind performance,” chuckles Franklin. While moving to composite construction was an excellent tactic, business-wise, from a technical standpoint it required new skills such as vacuum bagging. By this time, all new race boats were being built in composite, and builders and designers were learning the techniques from each other. Franklin found that if he earned a commission because the likes of Davidson and Farr had recommended him, it was a much easier project because the designers had primed the client on likely building costs. In comparison, casual enquiries were often dreamers who lost interest when presented with the true cost of building their dream. “I always believed your work comes from the design office,” Franklin says, “and so I made sure I built the boat exactly the way the designer drew it. And it worked; the designers I worked with always came back with more clients.” Franklin also prided himself on accuracy, building boats millimetre- The luxurious cherry and jarrah interior of Inner Circle Picnic, built by Ian Franklin. A happy couple fishing from their Franklin 925, Gabrielli. 0314-81 96 Boating New Zealand March 2014 Retros&ClassicsMarch14.indd 96 18/02/2014 4:58:22 p.m.
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