We have just got back from our first visit to the Alubat chantier to inspect Antipole in build. We took the night ferry from Portsmouth to Ouistreham/Caen and then drove down to Les Sables d’Olonne, north of La Rochelle. We got a good tour of the factory, which is impressive, with lots of boats in various stages of build.
The aluminium work and welding of Antipole is just being completed. As well as the hull and deck structure, the various fittings were being attached. We are having as much as possible in the way of cleats and hand-holds etc. welded on at this stage both for strength and to avoid the usual problems when fittings are screwed on later. We returned the next morning for another look and were surprised by how much progress had been made by the evening shift. The supporting struts had mostly been cut off and the welding joins were being polished off. You can see the shiny aluminium in this photo of the deck.
In this next photo you can see the sugar-scoop stern, which makes for easy boarding from a dinghy and also serves as an excellent bathing platform. On the left side is a recess where the bathing ladder will go. Note the stern arch, which will carry equipment such as radar, the wind generator and aerials well out of the crews’ way.
Inside, the cabin space is, at this stage, just hard metal ribs and it is not at all cosy. Only the engine is already in place, having been installed before the deck was fixed on.
On Thursday we drove back to Caen before taking the night crossing to Portsmouth. It seemed curious to arrive back this morning with the whole day ahead.
That’s it for now – more news in about a month!