Johnno T9

Customer Story

Johnno’s experience building his T9 “Just a Toy”

In mid 2013 I decided to get back into sailing, but I needed a boat. The challenges would be to find a boat or class suitable to my personal priorities: enjoyable to sail, comfortable for my body type, size and weight, and be simple yet challenging.

After months of searching and considering my requirements, I contacted Steve Thompson with the challenge. The original design specification was simply, be as big as possible yet comply with Australia Sailing Trailor Sailor Rules and be fun to sail and race. I was not scared to push the boundaries in design or equipment and finally, I didn’t care about handicaps or ratings or perhaps even winning, I simply wanted my own boat that I could enjoy.

Steve and I were soon on the same page and the idea of the Thompson 9 was born. Steve would evaluate and design the yacht and I would learn and build her using simple tested techniques and advice from Thompson Boats.

Building in Canberra had its own challenges, with seasonal weather going from sub zero Winters to 30degree plus Summers however I had a big workshop and planned my layup schedules to fit in with suitable times in the year. I think the key to this was that I decided to use Epoxy Resin and utilise Vacuum Infusion process. This made it very easy to build at my own rate and ensure that I was not rushed when laying up and allowing the build to extend over several years.

Following Steve’s process of building, I first build a male deck mould which, in the end, gave me the skills and confidence to push on. The first full Infusion of the deck itself was pretty nerve racking. The deck with Carbon Foam Sandwich, was infused as a one piece, 30-foot unit and successfully popped off the mould a week later to my relief. The next step was building a female hull setup where I shaped and created the foam core of the hull, then infused the inside lining, again with a layup variety of Carbon Cloths. The bulkheads and keel boxes were layered up during Winter inside my offices and then fitted to the female hull shell when the weather heated up. Once the inside components were fitted, the deck was lowered into position and attached. The last step of the actual build was the outside of the hull. The Hull/Deck were rolled, and the outside Carbon laminate was then layered up and again infused.

It then became time to surface and finish the hull. This process was made easier because of the care taken throughout the build process. The designs were supplied in a way that I could create accurate building platforms and moulds. The process was modular, building major components separately and then assembling them which again made for more accurate final assembly.

As I had now spent several years building, I decided to have the Hull professionally fared and painted. I invited Innovation Composites (IC) to complete the work where on inspection, the owner referred that my hull was the most accurate and best home-built hull that he had seen. I took this as a compliment to both my skills and Steve’s building processes. It was a very proud moment. IC did a fantastic job with the finishing and paintwork, and I ended up with a very beautiful yacht hull.

In writing, it looks pretty simple, and it was. Yes, there was a lot of preparation, learning and work along the way but following Steve’s process which was very logical and broken down, it all fell into place. As a result, i was able to complete almost the whole build by myself in just over 3 years.

I consider myself pretty much a perfectionist when it comes to my boats. At the time I started, I was determined to build the best yacht I could. I started with, what I thought was, a great design, I built it to the highest standard I could, I used the latest technologies and materials available, and I then finished the hull with a professionally painted. It then took me another year to finish fitting her out, with the best equipment, spars and sails i could afford and then finally, 2018, I launched “Just A Toy”.

As for the final product, I believe that “Just A Toy” is a fantastic 9m (30ft) racing yacht and a great example of a Thompson Design. She looks like a though bred both on and off the water. The canting keel provides flexibility plenty of power when required and an excellent feature incorporated into this design. She has simple controls yet remains with fingertip balanced steering in 0-30 knots and is enjoyable to sail for everyone onboard in any conditions. Dare I say, there is no requirement for everyone to pack the back corner when going full tilt downwind like in many other sport boats or yachts. The Thompson 9 hull shape and buoyancy simply shines in this type of sailing or conditions and provides a great ride.

The final features of “Just A Toy” are:
• LOA 9m, Width 2.5m, Depth 2.3m
• Final weight 1100kg (400kg bulb) including all gear
• She is a Carbon/Foam sandwich layup with Epoxy Infusion.
• Canting Keel, electric/hydraulic/digital control
• Full Carbon Rig, custom made by Hall Spars NZ
• Full Sail inventory by ONE Sails Australia, (4T)
• Full B&G instruments and Harken fit out

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