Hi all on this thread.
My name is Mike van Dijk the former owner of a company called Pacific Multihulls and the Austrol Technology Group, sadly PM was wound up (as where my other 4 companies) after they were heavily affected by the GFC.
I often troll the web for news of my former business exploits, two being news of Abatao and the Pacific 40/Solitary Island 12 kit catamaran
(3 kits being sold one to Doug in SA, one to David QLD near Carins and another to Rick in California
USA). I keep in regular contact with all the owners and hope to visit SA next year to sail in the first P40 catamaran
which was completed by Doug earlier this year.
I found your post so I thought I would fill you in.
The boat known as Abatao (the name of the village where she was built) was built on Tarawa in the Republic of Kiribati. The Repubilc of Kiribati is a country made up of 32 atols and one island. The atols are very low lying about 2 mtrs above sea level which are heavy affected by storm surges which erode the shoreline. There is plenty to tell about Kiribati and the issues affecting this poor nation, but overall I met an Australian who is married to an I-Kiribati who was building boats on Abatao in Tarawa, we struck up a friendship/business relationship and decided that it would be a great thing to help this poor nation by creating employment
for the locals building catamarans. Hence Pacific Multihulls was born.
Abatao named by George the current
owner (which I was to call Pacific Juice or PJ - But I also love the name Abatao as I have many splendid memories of time spent at Abatao) was mostly build in Kiribati, with some of the electricals, soft furnishings, rig and sails
added in Brisbane
. Abatao is a modifed 43ft Gary Lidgard design. Some of the modifications being raised saloon/headroom in the hulls, extended aft section in the rear berth to allow the rear berth to be off the bridge deck
therefore easier to get onto. It also greatly increased the cockpit
Abatao is a beautiful boat, it has fantastic lines and sails
well. Around 5 years earlier to starting the build of the P46 I spotted the the beautiful lines of Shadowfax (Abatao'ss sistership) at Nelsons Bay mariner. I loved the design and maybe 2 years latter managed to get hold of the owner Colin. I was lucky that he had her at Oyster
Cove Marina for her winter clean up and bottom scrub. So he met and I helped him sail her from Nelsons Bay to Sydney
in over 38 knots and 2.5 to 3 mtrs seas. It was a breeze, she sailed and pointed well and ticked most of the boxes. But as the boat I was building was going to be our initial company demo boat, I was totally involved in the layout and requirements of what I wanted to be an ideal fast cruiser with plenty of comfort. I had sailed on many a cat and crawled over many under construction to get an idea of what made for a great all round performance crusiing cat with great areas for entertaining. The initial design was even more of a racer
with very low headroom
, very short cockpit
overhang, twin wheels etc. The Pacific 46 boat was to compete for sales with the likes of the Lightwave 45, but as more performance cruiser with daggers and some carbon etc where required.
I have many photos of her under construction, I went to Kiribati to oversea the launching and helped get her ready to deliver her from Brisbane
to Newcastle (where I reside) then got a crew together to take her to Sydney
where a new crew took over to sail her to Melbourne with the owner George.
Sadly nearing the later stages of Abatao's build the GFC hit causing many an issue for my companies. I had also sunk big $ into the start up of the Pacific 40 kit catamaran (we had 8 deposits for the P40 Kit) by the time the GFC hit we had paid back 5 deposits as people started backing out and were left with 3 orders. Sadly the initial kits were priced at cost to enter the market. If we hadn't lost
a container of core
off a ship in a cyclone and had not been delayed by the replacement core
being held up due to the Bejing Olympics
we may have just survived and delivered more kits before they the customers pulled out. Shame as the P40 is also an excellent kit boat, it ticked all the right boxes, no rot
cores (Polycore), large routed panels
, resin infused foam hulls, beamy, great power to weight ratio. Mark Stephens who I employed at the time in the kit factory did a great job designing her for me.
So close at the time, but now so far out of my reach, brings a tear to my eye and makes my wooden leg ache!
I would still love to resurrect the P46 and P40 projects if I ever have the chance to do so. They are great cats, sadly in Australia
we are being swamped by imported cats designed for charter
, which is such a shame.