7 Minute Read
Many thanks to Shane and Carmen, who are building a Fusion 40 in Australia, for agreeing to share their experiences on the project.
Fusion Catamarans design and sell a modular marine construction kit of components: resin infused, gelcoat and fibreglass components that enable you to build your own performance cruising catamaran or outsource the work to a yard.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your plans. Why did you decide to self build a Fusion 40? Are you planning a big trip, for example?
We decided to build a Fusion as this will be our home and we want to ensure it will meet our demands of travelling around the world
Priorities are that we want this to be a fast and comfortable boat.
Why did you choose the 40? Did you sail a Fusion Cat prior to deciding?
No, we have never sailed a Fusion Cat (yes you read that right, we have never sailed one and yet we are building one!)
We did a lot of research and decided on the 40 because we thought it looks stylish and it has the design aspects required for an ocean-going catamaran (ie. bridge clearance and beam)
Were there any other brands you considered?
Our original plan was to purchase a Dehler mono (42ft). Then we realised we would struggle with the lean factor on lengthy ocean crossings!
We looked at Schionning but didn’t like the balsa core and amount of labour involved. Fusions are foam and divinycell. We also looked at Seawind but were put off by the inability to customise the boat and the large capital outlay
Did you consider buying a second hand yacht?
Yes. We initially looked at Sonra, a Fusion 40, which was built in 2010. We seriously considered the purchase however due to the engine hours, having to replace the rigging, dated electrical coupled with the capital outlay (when we weren’t yet ready to cruise) it didn’t feel like the right decision at the time
How long will she take to build?
Our estimate is approximately 3 years
Can you share some of the challenges you have faced /expect to face on a project like this?
There are too many to list here!
Some of the main challenges:
Fatigue! Being self-motivated means long hours!
Moving to a new location without our friends and family close by for support
Working with nasty chemicals…boat building is a very undesirable job!
Have you made any significant modifications to the design? Is there a process to do this with Fusion?
We have completely rebuilt the bows from the standard kit. Now 13 degree reverse bow adding another foot to the waterline.
Increased the cockpit length and hull bridge by 2 feet.
We have also modified and extended the sterns by 3 feet, including modified transoms (another 3 feet at waterline)
So in a nutshell, we have made 3 major modifications to the original design (bows, bridge, transoms)
How much space do you need for a build like this?
We are currently leasing a slab at a local slipway approx 40 x 8 x 25 ft but can’t stress enough the importance of a dome cover for shelter.
In your opinion, what kind of experience is required to successfully pull off a project such as this?
Ha! So many things some to mind!
Are you completing the build on your own or do you have a team?
It’s just us! Shane and Carmen. With occasional help when required. Our mate Mark has been helping us out of late (thanks Mark!)
Can you give us an idea of the rough price differential between a self-build and a comparable manufactured cat?
Differential – It’s hard to say as we are capitalising on some unique items such as the rig, sails, electrical etc. At a guess we would say the rough saving of building (as we are owner builder) vs a production boat is approx. 20%.
What are the main advantages of a self-build catamaran like this over a production cat?
The main advantage is we have had the ability to modify and we have been able to increase the structural integrity of the boat to suit harsher ocean conditions
Are there any disadvantages?
Physical labour has been very taxing on our bodies!
Being in a rural area has restricted our ability to secure qualified labour
This build journey has meant Shane has stopped working in his trade
We are always itchy and sometimes we have questioned why we are even doing this! 😂
What is the best thing about the design?
You can make it what you want by being able to customise and modernise to suit current and modern designs and trends (which we have done)
Is there a design feature you don’t like? What would you change if anything?
We think the hatch behind the mast looks cumbersome. It breaks up the flush look of the windows. The installation of a flush hatch is a consideration if the area is not required for the mast rotation system.
This is “Pie in the Sky “ and applicable to an extended version only. If we could change the design we would alter the underwater profile from the mini keel aft to the sterns to have less camber (turn) and more width (fatter and flatter). The aim would be to provide greater volume and a smoother release.
What are the “Must Have” options for the boat over and above the essentials? eg electric winch, engine size, folding props, heating, water maker, inverter, solar, gen set etc….
12Vdc, 24Vdc and 240Vac systems
24V High output alternators coupled with Lithium-Ion Batteries
What are the “Nice to Haves”?
– Rotating carbon fibre wing mast with a Harken Split track car system
– Reefing Hooks
– OneSails carbon sails
– 39HP (vs standard 29HP) Yanmars
– Harken Electric winch
– Beautiful sports steering wheel
– Coffee machine and a kick ass stereo
Which features are not worth bothering with?
Integrated air-conditioning! Expensive!
Washing machine (says Shane 🤣)
How will you configure the helm?
Single helm station port side
How will you configure the living space – is there room for personalisation here?
No gas (full electric)
Full domestic appliances including induction cooktop
Customised feature coffee table
Swinging chart plotter
No navigation table
3rd bedroom will be interchangeable to a workshop
What kind of average speed on passage are you aiming for?
11 knots. Maximum 20+ ⛵️
How is the market for second-hand self-built Fusion cats?
We hear good things! We have already got brokers ringing us
What kind of finish are you aiming for in the interior?
Clean, light and modern. Neutral colours and soft textures.
How is the Fusion Owner’s community? Do you get good support from Fusion?
The Fusion community of owners has been amazing. Very grateful –
Call out to Nev and Amanda from Bossanova. Thankyou!!
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of building a Fusion 40?
Research research research and research some more. The kit is only the beginning. There is a lot of work to consider on top of assembling the kit itself. Would seriously consider buying a Fusion already semi built and refit/modify as required to save time (and frustration!)
You can follow Shane & Carmen’s progress at