The Dot Com Story
28 Mar 2006: First look
After scouring the "book of dreams" (Trade-A-Boat the none mariners) for a couple of months running, the goal of finding a live aboard sized cat, ie 35 foot plus with headroom for less than $180k was looking very tough.

Then one day, a rethumbing of the current edition yielded a private ad toward the back that chipped the curiosity. After a phone call and discussion about the vessel, a look had to be booked.

Upon following the directions to the Mary River behind the Maryborough aerodrome, I was greeted by Barry Williams, designer, builder and live aboard... He pointed to the vessel over the top of a second generation model of this craft currently being finished by his mate. We headed over in the small rough fibreglass dinghy and pulled around the back. The name become visible. "Dot Com" she was called. "Do you know what I do?", I asked Barry. I have looked upon a couple of things in my life that appeared as a sign, in a spiritual way, but it would seem that this could have been the most obvious...

After stepping aboard "Dot Com" it was immediately apparent that she had all the room required, was solidly built, and ideal as a foundation for the place that I wanted to get to. Barry was terrific in offering information about the vessel, showed design drawings. He also took the prize for the most honest person that I had met in a year...

I took a bunch of photos and after 3 hours, left feeling that I had found the vessel I sought.... Much like the feeling of stepping into a house for sale and knowing that it is the one.







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04 Apr 2006: Artist impressions
With a building interest in Dot Com, it made sense to look closely a what would happen to the appearance of the boat if she had the roof raised. To the right is some artist impressions that were created to test a facsimile of what she may look like post renovation.



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02 May 2006: Test Sail and Money Down
After what seemed a very long time, I finally had a unconditional contract on the house at Manly. I had stayed in touch with Barry, talking to him a number of times about my plans and further investigating the boat. He had had a number of people on the vessel and quite a few enquiries, but no one had stumped up the cash to take Dot Com off his hands. Lucky I was.

I arranged to take Gavin from the Express Multihulls factory with me to meet Barry at Tin Can Bay for a test sail, hull inspection and measuring for a replacement saloon roof, to raise the headroom from 170cm to 190+cm.

The test sail could not have gone better for Barry. It was a lovely day to be selling boats, with sunshine and a Westerly breeze which allowed Dot Com to reach 8 knots on a beam reach up the Sandy Straights.

Once again there were many photos and video taken of a boat that floated on or above her lines, and had virtually no wake.

Back at Tin Can, the outgoing tide made it easy to run her up on the sand for lunch and soon, a hull inspection.

With the sand exposed around us, we put down the beers and stepped onto newly arrived beach and walked around the boat looking for trouble. None could be found. Dot Com's generous proportions were supported by a very nice hull form, beach friendly mini keels and rudders that weren't too big.

With all checked, there was absolutely no reason to hand over a deposit and get the sale underway.



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23 May 2006: New Roof
With some money down and a commitment to buy, prep for the reno could commence. Down at the Express Multihulls factory, drawings were compared over and over with measurements taken from Dot Com. Then space was found on the factory floor. It is amazing to watch drawings and some markings on the concrete become a work of art produced in the media of foam and fibreglass.





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02 Jun 2006: Stop what your doing Gavin!
With construction well underway it was time to attend the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show with Express Multihulls and talk up the GBE Sportsdeck. We had a ball. Between the days in the sun, the company of John Brown (EM) and Alan Jenkins (Owner of Jassmarhi), the sights and smells of new craft on the water, the guys just up the way at the Cumberland stand and some solid prospects for boat purchases, it was great! The stopper was talking with Alan Calwadine, reputed for his ability to even making air lighter, he has produced a raft of line honours winning trailable yachts. His current project is a cat that is sure to be greased lightning. While talking about it, he did a drawing of the way that he was going to do the front of his saloon. Immediately seeing the logic in his work, I was on the phone to Gavin to halt works. Rejigging the drawings on my computer, Gavin was then set about arranging the front "wall" of the saloon roof to be near vertical under a "brow". This would accommodate a number of opening hatches for ventilation. The side "walls" would then be taken forward past this point, similar to a buttress, to make the profile of the new roof and the whole boat still aerodynamic. This produces something pleasing to the eye, while providing masses of ventilation, with the ability to keep the hatches open in light rain, while also removing the hatches from the beating of the sun rays. Traditional designs (Perry, Lightwave, Fusion, et al) have the saloon front slope forward to the deck with windows and/or hatches at an angle. The idea was no new and similar things can be seen on the Grainger E Series and dare I say it, the French.



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06 Jun 2006: Zipper Day
With the new roof fabricated at the factory it was time to make way for it on Dot Com. A Nikko line was placed around the edge of current saloon roof. With the new electric reciprocating saw and generator, Dot Com was about to change forever. During the late afternoon the current roof was separated. The next morning, it was cut into disposable sections and thrown onto the sand. With all hands on deck, the new roof was then lifted into place. It looked like Lego, but soon it would be bonded and faired to the deck. The future was upon us.



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