During our December Shanghai trip, one of the days was dedicated to selecting our granite and marble slabs. Granite goes in the galley (kitchen), as you saw yesterday. And marble goes in the heads, the downstairs foyer, and on top of several furniture items throughout the boat.
So our mission was four different types of slabs. Two for the galley, one being for the turtles as we saw in yesterday's post. And two marbles. The ride out to the stoneyard was about an hour by company van.
Like a lot of things in Shanghai, the scale of this place is like nothing I have ever seen before. I wish I had a person in the above shot. But looking at that ladder should give you an idea. It's about 10 feet high. Those are huge chunks of quarried stone, waiting to be cut into slabs.
This will help you with the scale. Deb and I are in the middle. At right is Scott Hauck, our Hampton Yacht Specialist. At left, the one and only Mountain Chicken! That is his English name, evidently derived because he hops up and down on these hunks of stone like a dainty bird.
Here is another part with mind blowing scale. One or two men work in each bay, and each bay can process multiple slabs. Look at the depth of this building!
There is finished stone both inside and outside the building. After looking at about 100 choices, we selected these two marbles for Mahalo.
Deb and I both love beautiful granite in a home, or a boat for that matter. Searching in this cavernous building I found a stack of these slabs and they just took my breath away. I went to get Jeff Chen, HYG owner, so he could call and have the Wufang guys give a price. But even before they got there he said "you are going to be astonished with this price, it won't work." I'm thinking, well, in the overall context of this boat....
And then the guys showed up and told us the price. $25,000 US per slab. Well, that would have been nice!
Not finding anything else inside that worked for us, we continued the search outside. We had Mountain Chicken (see, I told you he always climbed up) and his crew raise up a few of these slabs and we knew we had our choice for galley counter tops and floor.
Mountain Chicken showing is "very excited" look. And happy Deb! (Especially happy that I gave up on the $25k/slab option.)
With the background for the floor selected, now we had to find just the right stone for the turtles themselves. After some more searching we found this mostly black stone and decided it was the one.
This is a repeat from yesterday's blog post, but just wanted to show again how the galley floor came out. Will be giving Mountain Chicken several high fives when we return to Shanghai!
This process took an entire day and no less than six people from Hampton accompanied us so we would find just what we wanted. We so appreciate all their dedication to boat building and our own Mahalo.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Workers at the Hampton factory in Shanghai are off until the end of February, for the traditional Chinese New Year's celebration. Xīnnián kuàilè.
So in the meantime we will revisit some of the action from our December trip to Shanghai.
If you are a Hawaii fan like we are you know sea turtles are very common there. There are trips so you can go see them in the water, even swim with them.
Tale of the Turtles
When I first saw this BoatTEST video on Youtube, starring hull #10 of our series, I got an idea. Here Steve is pointing out that the factory can "water jet cut" marble and granite. In this case they installed a stainless trim piece.
So I asked the factory if it would be possible to cut out granite in the shape of sea turtles? My idea was to have sea turtles in the galley floor!
They said they thought so, if I could come up with a design they would let me know or sure. They needed a full size PDF to put into their CAD software, which would then go into the CNC cutter.
I located an artist in Hawaii that had done some similar work: www.thomasdeir.com/
Thomas asked me to phone him, which I did. We had a lovely phone call and he wanted to know my thoughts, my motivations. Wanted to know "why Mahalo" and "what are you thankful for?"
I was very intrigued, he wasn't just looking for the work & commission. He wanted to know WHO he was doing the work for and WHY. After speaking with him I'd say we are probably kindred spirits (hey, we have both flown ultralights!).
Thomas asked if I could provide a scale drawing of the area, as well as some type of "concept drawing" for him to go on. So here's my funny little drawing I did in Power Point. I only show one baby, but my idea was always a mama and two babies. I had it in my head that we would use three different stones, one for the background (the sea) and two for the turtles.
Thomas did a rough drawing of the mama turtle, and also indicated he thought it would be better to just use one stone. I submitted this to the factory and they said "no problem." Also, separately they told me they were very excited about the turtles: "Turtles symbol of long life in China!"
Thomas then came up with this final drawing, which I was thrilled with. I submitted to the factory. While we were in Shanghai we went to a stone yard to pick out our granite and marble selections. I'll show you that in tomorrow's post. But I don't want to leave you hanging, so here is the finished floor:
Turtles swimming in the sea! How magical is that?
In the same construction space as Mahalo, her sister, Hull #14, is underway. You can easily tell Mahalo by her "reverse rake" front windows. This boat has the traditional windows which "rake back" just like a car. This is a customer boat (as opposed to a spec boat), we look forward to meeting the new owners.
If you have boated any length of time, I'm sure you will agree with me that one of the most important pieces of gear on board are binoculars. They help us see obstacles in the water, find docks and slips, other boats, identify buoys, enjoy wildlife, you name it.
We have a lot to acquire to outfit Mahalo, but luckily we already have our bino's - Steiner 7x50's and Fuji stabilized 14 power. After I acquired the Fuji's I took them on an ocean voyage on board the Delta I crew on. There wasn't a dedicated space for them, and at one point they were just sitting on the dash minding their own business when we took a big wave. They tumbled to the floor and no longer functioned. The repair was a painful $600+ lesson.
Here is a shot of Hampton Endurance 658 hull #10. If you had two pairs of binoculars, where would you put them? Probably to the right of the "instrument well" I'm guessing. Just laying there. There is some free space underneath that area, so I came up with the idea of doing a "well" that the bino's can rest in safely.
Here is the drawing I came up with for HYG, based on an actual picture of our helm. After a little discussion they agreed and are building out the space required.
We just have to cheat into this area above the stairs about 4". Unless we have an NBA player aboard, it won't be in anyone's way. (This picture obviously from a completed boat.)
Here you can see they have already created the binocular well to the right of the instrument area. Going to be great to have them right where we need them, but in no danger of falling. This is one of the great things about working with Hampton - we throw a good idea at them and they are all over it. Anything to build a better boat, they say.