It is of course well known that the Ed here owns a Flying Tiger 10m, Anarchy, and is a big proponent of the boat and the brand. The brand stalled under the original owners, and It is nice to see some direction with the new ownership of Flying Tiger. As such, we we thought it worthwhile for you to see some of what is happening with them.
I have recently returned from a working visit to the yard in Xiamen. They are quite busy there while preparing to ship (15) FT 7.5 models to various Chinese Naval Academies. It was a good opportunity for me to inspect the boats and they all look great. We anticipate further sales to the Academies as their sailing programs grow.
Bob and Ivan have designed a new rudder for the boat and the yard has the drawings in hand. The new blade and tiller will be built of carbon and will not feature a cassette. It is designed to fit the existing gudgeons and after testing will become standard equipment on all new boats delivered. The rudder will also be offered to existing owners at a reduced price. I don’t have the final dollar amount yet but it should prove to be cost contained. We plan to sail the prototype in the historically breezy Long Beach Race Week June 25-27.
As mentioned above, the yard is close to delivery of (15) FT 7.5s. We went through them piece by piece and are quite happy with the job the builder has done. The original FT 7.5 that was in San Diego and then the East coast is now headed back to SD. After some minor detailing it will be offered for sale well under replacement cost. Two more FT 7.5s will land in San Diego in May to bring the San Diego total to 5 boats.
Demo Races on the FT 7.5m
We are offering demo sails in San Diego on (2) FT 7.5 every Tuesday evening beginning April 19. We have a race committee provided by Harbor Sailboats and will match race the boats with owner prospects driving. Bring your crew of 3 total and we will provide a representative aboard with you for an evening of real world testing. If you fly in, I will put you up for the night on a charter boat and if you buy a 7.5, I will refund your airfare. (some restrictions apply) Email me for reservations as openings are limited. You don’t have to be an owner prospect to participate but you do have to be a promoter or at minimum, a guest celebrity.
We gave plans to the builder and are awaiting some specifics back on tooling and construction costs. This project was not as far along as some had thought before Flying Tiger Boats took over from HT. I have at least 4 followers who continue to express strong interest in the boat and we are exploring several possibilities before determining how and when to proceed. I personally like this boat a lot and would like to see it built, but it will have to be financially viable for everyone involved. When we receive a firm quote and timeline from the builder we will proceed to the next step.
New Zealand Dealership
We are very close to announcing a dealership agreement with an experienced group in New Zealand. The First FT 10m to hit their shores will arrive in about 2 months. We have had several conversations with European interests in a similar fashion but have yet to find the right fit. If there is an experienced EU group out there that has some interest I would be happy discuss the opportunity.
The FT 10 was born and sold on the internet with Sailing Anarchy members playing a very important role. While much of the low lying fruit has been picked, we believe the future of the fleet lies with producing a great product, customer support, and effective marketing. My first four months have been spent dealing primarily with administrative issues and climbing the learning curve on building issues. Now the time has come to devote more energy and resources to marketing. I know there is a lot of collective genius out there and I would like to tap into some of that brain power. As risky as it may sound, I am thinking about starting a marketing thread much like the original design thread to harvest some new ideas. The parameters are simple. There is not a lot of margin in these boats so the budget is pretty tight. We will be running some print ads in SW beginning in May but have always felt that the fleet members are our best resource. If you have read this far I would think you are likely a supporter of the project. What do you think? Do we start a thread to solicit marketing ideas?
Thanks for listening,
Tom Hirsh – Flying Tiger Boats