Prototype launch

Launching day for boat #0. Now it’s testing testing testing.

The Nutshell 26 prototype (as yet unnamed) was launched yesterday at the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, South Africa.

The prototype has twin 14hp diesels instead of the standard electric pods. We are still looking for a suitable electric drive partner. The diesel option will include twin 9HP Yanmars in future, but these had a 4-month lead time.

The twin-cylinder 14HPs are too powerful (and heavy) for the boat but make for some great drag-racing.

A better option would be a 9HP diesel to starboard and a 10KW pod motor to port. This obviates solar and big batteries. What’s missing is a fly-by-wire control so that we don’t mix mechanical and electrical engine controls – which feel completely different in use.

Twin electric is still first choice but has the overhead of solar panels (5 x 400W on the roof) and sufficient battery reserve, to counter ‘range-anxiety’. The philosophy is to oversize the motors and use full-power sparingly. I can see sailing this simple rig to be such a pleasure motors will only be needed for calm days and mooring at a dock.

Sail trials start Monday but she is extremely responsive under power and manoeuvres easily. Good visibility all round. The passarel system works a treat – extending the aft deck enormously when stowed. The sail went up easily. Once up, the halyard is removed and the heads’l remains furled. This involves popping up in a bosuns chair but this is a breeze on the spare halyard.

The walking-around space is crazy-big. The size of an average 40’ cat. Enclosed by clear, side-awnings that deploy easily and look great (thanks North Sails) the 3.5 x 3.5m space had 7 people wandering around and chatting and didn’t feel even slightly crowded.

I’ll upload a video of the launch if anyone is interested.

Pics from before the intro

The Nutshell prototype is nearing completion. The hulls, deck, bridgedeck and coachroof are from female moulds. Also hatches, transoms, liner, space-frame and ceiling beams.

Looking good.

Happy 2022! Hulls are complete

The hulls of the prototype are now complete and ready to receive the bridge-deck. They’re looking good in pure white.

Further finishing is required and the moulds will be polished for the first production hull. In the meantime we will start installing systems and testing the de-mounting system.

No transom as yet
Fair and accurate. Looking good!

Canvas enclosures

Tents! Well you either love em or you’ve actually been camping.

But marine awnings? A whole different thing. They are so good nowadays they’re pretty much a standard on any boat. Strung between a coachroof-lid and a bulwark, they stop wind and rain from ruining your evening, while still giving you that terrific view of the cute bay or harbour that you chose to stop the night in.

So given the option of enclosing a space for the times when the weather’s a bit dodgy or living within three walls when every cell in your body screams “I wanna be outside on this perfect evening”!What do you do?

Well I overstated it a wee bit, but you get the picture? Having a nice wide aft deck, on a boat designed for barmy weather, I’d rather have it open and close it up when needed.

A boat with the mast at the back will always face into the wind
Close up the sides, the back and the doors separately to get the right combination of protection, ventilation and view.
The roof panel also slides away opening up one side completely, independently of the other – ta-dahh! A verandah..

Charter and rental options

The brochure outlining opportunities in the adventure tourism and hospitality industries is now available. As a business situated near sheltered waters, be it lagoon, river, canal, bay, island or lake consider exploring this option for when travel starts up again. As a private owner, placing your Nutshell in a managed fleet can generate income and significantly reduce the hassle of ownership.

In 2022 we intend to introduce a scheme whereby you can own shares in multiple destinations, or exchange usage with other owners for a more rounded sailing experience.

New Partnership

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Imagine this is the view from your apartment bedroom

Now imagine you could take your apartment for a spin

In association with Waterfront Houseboats we are about to catch up with your imagination.

The Waterfront Houseboat company operate funky sleep onboard houseboats in the Cape Grace Marina and the brand new Nutshell 26 can be your home-from-home there.

Welcome Aboard

Welcome to Waterfront House Boats. Situated at the Cape Grace Marina adjacent to the 5 star Cape Grace Hotel, at the very heart of the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town. This unique experience offers you the opportunity of “living on the water” with frolicking seals, fish and bird life to keep you entertained and all that the Waterfront and Cape Town has to offer on your doorstep.

Wake up with the sound of water lapping against the hull. Take an early morning stroll to buy your fresh croissants and eat them on board with a lovely cup of Nespresso coffee while enjoying expansive mountain and city views. With everything in easy and safe walking distance the entire V & A Waterfront is an extraordinary experience.

Eat out an any of the more than 80 restaurants and eateries. Ride bicycles or jog to the Sea Point promenade. Stroll across the swing bridge to the award winning Zeitz Mocca Museum or take a ride on the Cape Wheel. Visit the Watershed and OZCF markets selling produce, clothing, accessories and jewellery all of which is locally produced.

Or chat to us about our exclusive offerings such as a tour through the canals, a private dinner while moored off Quay 4 or even a trip to Granger Bay to enjoy the festival atmosphere created by The Grand.

Certainly a unique experience not to be missed.