What do ketchup and the Krogen 55' Expedition have in common?
You all know that famous 70's ketchup commercial. The one where the camera is focused on someone just waiting for that 'goodness' to come out of the bottle with Carly Simon's 'Anticipation' playing while we all sat glued to our TVs and watched and waited also. Many a ketchup lover also went through the same routine. We knew once it was out, it would be wonderful, but in the meantime, we were forced to wait and salivate. Sticking a knife in the bottle to make it come out faster would just plain ruin it!
And so it goes with the production of the new Krogen 55' Expedition. Tom Button and I returned today from a whirlwind trip to Taiwan to review progress on the tooling of the new 55' Expedition. We saw the completed hull mold being fitted with its supporting framework which will preserve the perfect shape of the mold when the plug is removed next week. We also saw the pilothouse roof plug being faired in preparation for using it to create a pilothouse roof mold. It is this simple tooling process that made me think of the commercial as I watched a crew of six people hand sand the fairing compound for six hours using sanding blocks of a variety of sizes and shapes. The plug was then vacuumed free of dust and Mr. Lin, his son Jeff, and Tom Button checked it for fairness. With their feedback, sections were marked, additional fairing compound applied, and once it dried, sanding commenced again. And so it will go until it is just right. Thirty-six man hours for each iteration and all for a surface area about the size of a bedroom! This same process went into creating the hull mold and will be repeated on the deck and superstructure plug.
But Tom and I did not fly 10,000 miles each direction just to check the fairness of the tooling. We were also there to walk the decks of the plug which will form the mold for the 55' Expedition's cockpit, boat deck, pilothouse, Portuguese bridge, and foredeck. Standing at the center of the Portuguese bridge looking forward towards the massive bow pulpit it was easy to envision the simplicity of handling either of the anchors while standing comfortably next to the hydraulic windlass. The surrounding foredeck with its massive bulwarks holds true to the Kadey-Krogen philosophy that the foredeck is a working space. That it should be safe and secure and as such should not be encumbered by changes in elevation or hardware such as cleats and dorade vents. I then walked around the Portuguese bridge stopping at various points along the way checking the ergonomics of opening doors, handling lines, and most impressively, standing at the wing docking stations both port and starboard sighting the unobstructed view both fore and aft which will make docking a breeze.
And so the visit went n checking, rechecking and making minor tweaks. In a few weeks the lamination of the actual deck and superstructure plug will start, right about the time the hull mold is popped from its plug. Check back often for updates to this exciting project and remember the old adage, 'good things come to those who wait'.