50 years delivering complex composite projects to the world's most demanding customers
McConaghy Boats and the McConaghy Group
Whether it’s building the world’s fastest racing yachts, a performance luxury yacht, a submarine to explore the Mariana Trench, a specialised component for a Formula One racing team, or developing solutions for architects, scientists and defence organisations, McConaghy has a proven track record of delivering on complex composite projects.
McConaghy boats was founded by John McConaghy in 1967, building 12, 16, and 18 foot skiffs, Tornado and A-class catamarans, moths and other high performance dinghies. Early boats were built of plywood, quickly after McConaghy began engineering and perfecting the vacuum formed foam sandwich, fibreglass / Kevlar construction method, which proved an immediate success.
As the company’s reputation grew, so did McConaghy's research and development into pre-preg composite techniques earning them a reputation as the best in the business and making the McConaghy name synonymous with light, strong and stiff laminated structures.
In the year 2000, long term McConaghy employees, Jono Morris and Mark Evans embraced the opportunity to take over the company from founder John McConaghy and long time business partner Steve Moxham. Since that time, the company has continued to pursue a very conservative financial strategy while also diversifying to extend its revenue base, a strategy that has seen it triple in size in the past decade.
In 2006, the company expanded and opened a 2,500 square meter facility in China which has since grown to 10,000m2 producing yachts ranging from Mach 2 foiling moths and the Olympic Class Elliott 6m, to Volvo 70 and America's Cup racers, luxury custom motor yachts and a whole range of industrial solutions and products including hovercrafts and their technically challenging carbon fibre propellers.
With manufacturing bases in Australia and China, McConaghy now deploys its wealth of talent across a number of different divisions, extending the strong commercial platform that has allowed it to defy industry trends and continues to thrive even in the toughest economic conditions.
The company was further strengthened in early 2014 with the signing of an investment agreement with Hong Kong based Tiger Group Investments, a prominent commercial marine company led by keen yachtsman Graham Porter. The new partnership with Tiger Group provides capital for investment in state of the art facilities, machinery and equipment at McConaghy’s operations in China and Sydney.
In 2014 McConaghy expanded its operation to New Zealand securing key engineering design and management personnel who provide detailed design and project management support to the McConaghy Group.
McConaghy is privately owned by Mark Evans and Tiger Group Investments the group has no debt, and owns all of its equipment. The company currently employs 200+ staff and operates from facilities in Australia, China and Hong Kong.
Our MISSION is unequivocal: "Create the best composite shop on the planet and bring the overwhelming advantages of composites to a wide-range of applications with cost effectiveness, high quality, precision, and innovation in materials, design, prototyping, production runs, and custom work."
World Class Facility in China
Our China factory enjoys multiple benefits from its location in the South China shipbuilding hub, close to Hong Kong. Key advantages include scale, costs, skilled disciplined labour, high transport connectivity and access to lower cost supplies. The foundation of our results is that the company is a 100% foreign-owned enterprise. This means that we have full control and ownership of our own facility, which we run to the same standards as our Sydney facility.
We have established relationships with reliable China-based supply chain partners, many of whom are foreign owned and now we have a secure access to a wide array of high-quality materials and equipment. Most of the world’s leading manufacturers are in China producing high quality including BMW, Dell, HP, Intel, IBM, Samsung and Sony. Our local staff are hard working, disciplined, and loyal - many have been with us since we started in China.
China’s labour costs are low by international standards, and that is an advantage for us, but also the labour supply of talented staff is plentiful - that is one of the significant reasons Apple make their products in China, it's is not just the low labour costs, it is the labour flexibility, capability and scale. There is availability of well-trained engineering, technical and design staff.
This year when we purchased three German made Kuka robots we were able to buy them from a local dealer, and then importantly we were able to employ a talented Chinese local (who holds an advanced engineering degree) to manage the install (and he has now joined us full time). Such an employee would be impossible to find in Australia. Being in China has enabled us to create scale in our own business, and develop production runs of yachts like our world class foiling moth, the Mach 2. We have now built over 600 foiling moths, which has now become the high-tech standard in its class globally.
We buy most of our carbon fibre from China (China now produces 10% of the worlds carbon fibre). We can also buy all our consumables from China at 50% of the cost available to our Australian operation. To support its economic expansion China continues to spend massively on infrastructure.
China’s annual infrastructure spending now surpasses that of the United States and the European Union combined. Being based in China, we have gained scale and competitiveness, both of which have enabled investment in new high-end manufacturing equipment. We have achieved a scalable base in China for building high performance race yachts and super yachts.
Strategically we moved into China as we saw the opportunity to develop a scalable base for building the highest performance race yachts and now superyachts. With the addition of Tiger Group as a strategic partner we are now also focused on the Commercial and Naval sectors bringing to them, for the first time, the benefits of composite construction (stronger, lighter, fatigue resistance, corrosion resistance, durability) delivered with pricing reflecting a world-leading cost structure.
Tiger Group is building some of the world’s most advanced container ships in China and now MC2 is now applying that same strategy to composite commercial vessel opportunities. We successfully have been building world-class performance yachts in China for 8 years, and are excited to offer our capability to the commercial vessel sector.
Tomorrow’s Technology Today
Innovation, R&D, and advancing composite technology has been in the DNA of McConaghy since the beginning.
We are constantly innovating, testing and improving our techniques, applying composite technology to new fields as well as refining the production, mechanical properties, and minimizing weight of composites in existing applications.
Maintaining a keen focus on research and development, which now extends to non-marine applications, we have has assembled a team of in-house experts covering all facets of composite building to create a company with unique capabilities.
The benefits of composites:
+ High Strength - Composite materials can be designed to meet the specific strength requirements of an application. A distinct advantage of composites, over other materials, is the ability to use many combinations of resins & reinforcements, & therefore custom tailor the mechanical & physical properties of a structure.
+ Lightweight - Composites offer materials that can be designed for both lightweight & high strength. In fact, composites are used to produce the highest strength to weight ratio structures known to man.
+ Corrosion Resistance - Composites provide long-term resistance to severe chemical & temperature environments. Composites are the material of choice for outdoor exposure, chemical handling applications & severe environment service.
+ Design Flexibility - Composites have an advantage over other materials because they can be moulded into complex shapes at relatively low cost. The flexibility offers designers a freedom, which is a hallmark of composite achievement.
+ Durability - Composite structures have a exceedingly long life span and exceptional fatigue properties. Coupled with low maintenance requirements, the longevity of composites is a benefit in critical applications. In a half-century of composite development, well-designed composite structures have yet to wear-out.
Customers benefit from the professional project management skills applied to every project undertaken. McConaghy has a reputation among its many repeat clients as their “go-to’’ builder; an organisation with the skill, experience and tenacity to tackle the most complex challenges and a track record of being able to deliver flawless product on time and on budget, no matter how complex the brief.
Recognising the offerings that composites can bring to commercial vessels, MC² Commercial Vessels is introducing a new generation of high-speed and high-efficiency craft constructed from composite materials that will set a new benchmark in operating efficiency, speed of service and operating
Consistently at the forefront of composite technology
McConaghy were one of the first builders in the world to apply prepreg carbon to sailing boat construction in the mid 1970’s. Built from materials previously only used in aerospace applications, the first prepreg carbon 18ft skiff, built by McConaghy, was a revelation and would set a performance benchmark for years to come. Customers and designers were soon demanding this performance in bigger and bigger yachts.
The first prepreg nomex cored maxi yacht was constructed by McConaghy Boats in 1987, engineered by Giovanni Belgrano and SP Systems, this yacht was the largest composite structure in the world at that time, outside of the US Space program.
McConaghy have been researching, testing and perfecting the techniques and processes required to build high strength durable and the lightest weight possible composite structures for over 40 years.
McConaghy have developed and continued to refine techniques for ensuring bonding between honeycomb cores (both Kevlar and Nomex) and carbon skins are robust and reliable. McConaghy have developed techniques for thermoforming Kevlar and nomex honeycomb cores as well as Corecell foams in house, ensuring that engineers can specify the best properties in the most challenging geometry.
Many challenges that other yards are still discovering when using prepregs and nomex material are challenges McConaghy overcame decades ago.
The fact that so many of our successful maxi yachts have performed faultlessly for decades' contrasts with the long list of known and lesser known failures in the industry.
Working closely with designers, engineers, material suppliers and leading industry specialists, McConaghy manages the processes and guarantees the outcomes expected from their customers. This ensures that McConaghy yachts are able to meet the requirements of specified resin contents, achieve the designers nominated component weights and geometry tolerances demanded by the world’s best designers and structural engineers.
Most of McConaghy’s manufacturing techniques are proprietary, and remain in-house, and have been developed through extensive testing programs on numerous projects across both facilities in Australia and China. McConaghy have experience with every moulding method and mould material, which can be adapted and optimised to suit each customer’s unique requirements. Our experience in moulding of prepreg composite structures covers the following:
+ Autoclaved female moulded cored & monolithic structures (such as MACH2 moth hulls & components) in CNC milled steel, aluminium, & composite tools.
+ Autoclaved mandrel moulded cored & monolithic structures (yacht masts & booms)
+ High temperature cured yacht hulls, decks and structures
+ Female mould carbon tools (infused over male plug)
+ Direct CNC milled female hull and deck tools
+ Hand built and 3D scanned direct female hull and deck tools
+ Hand built and 3D scanned male plug.
Group Managing Director
Evidence of Mark Evans’ business acumen and instinct for enterprise emerged early as a teenager growing up in Sydney where he raced dinghies and ran a successful side line business building, repairing and then selling boats.
In 1995 Mark joined McConaghy as a shipwright progressing to Production Manager in a relatively short time. In that capacity, he worked closely his business partner Jono Morris on the Farr 40 production project, a close collaboration that was further strengthened when they bought the company in 2000. For the next 17 years they capitalised on their complementary skills to manage the construction of some of the most successful maxi yachts built anywhere in the world.
Since 2006 Mark Evans has been based principally in China and instrumental in the training and skills transfer processes that have underpinned the company’s successful expansion offshore has been maintained.
His direct involvement, along with other key Australian personnel, has ensured that the usual standard of quality control and attention to detail that is synonymous with the McConaghy name. While running the Chinese operation Mark has overseen the production of more than 500 foiling moths including the Mach 2, the world’s fastest moth, more than 100 production racing yachts and twelve one-off racing yachts, including America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race contenders and more recently luxury performance catamarans.
In 2017 Mark become the Group Managing Director and assumed overall responsibility for McConaghy's operations globally.
Tiger Group Investments
In early 2014, Tiger Group Investments and McConaghy joined forces, and Tiger Group Investments became a 50% owner of McConaghy Group.
Tiger Group Investments is a private investment firm focusing exclusively on the maritime sector. With a proven record of creating value in their businesses through the cycles, taking advantage of financing and capital markets to maximise shareholder returns, Tiger Group seeks to extend their reputation as a value-driven and solution oriented leading market participant.
Since 1994, our investment record has greatly benefited from our involvement, directly and through our affiliates, in the technical management and operations of vessels. Through our global operating and financial infrastructure in the sector, including equity investment, debt and mezzanine, restructuring as well as our technical ship management capabilities, we are able to provide a wide range of solutions to our customers and portfolio companies.
Tiger’s strength as a ship operator is supported by a unique commitment to technical, commercial, crewing, and new build supervision services to Tiger’s fleet and third party clients.
The company has been recognised as both a financial innovator and developer of advanced ship designs offering unique benefits to charterers Tiger’s fleet is supported by ship management companies Seaspan and Greathorse Ship Management which provide technical, commercial, crewing, and new build supervision services to Tiger’s fleet and third party clients.
The Sydney to Hobart's most successful builder
2012 - Wild Oats XI 1 Day,18 Hours, 23 Minutes, 12 Seconds
2005 - Wild Oats XI 1 Day,18 Hours, 40 Minutes, 10 Seconds
DOUBLE LINE AND HANDICAP WINNERS
2012 - Wild Oats XI
2005 - Wild Oats XI
MOST SUCCESSIVE LINE HONOURS
2005 to 2008 - Wild Oats XI - 4 Successive Races, 7 in Total
RACE RECORD FOR UNDER 12.5m
1999 - Leroy Brown 2 Days 11 Hours 24 Minutes 50 Seconds
TIME PIECE WINNERS
2014 - Wild Oats XI - Line Honours
2014 - Wild Rose - Overall Handicap Winner
2013 - Wild Oats XI - Line Honours
2012 - Wild Oats XI - Line Honours
2012 - Wild Oats XI - Overall Handicap Winner
2012 - Wild Oats XI - Race Record
2011 - Loki - Overall Handicap Winner
2010 - Wild Oats XI - Line Honours
2009 - Alfa Romeo - Line Honours
2008 - Wild Oats XI - Line Honours
2007 - Wild Oats XI - Line Honours
2006 - Wild Oats XI - Line Honours
2005 - Wild Oats XI - Line Honours
2005 - Wild Oats XI - Overall Handicap Winner
2005 - Wild Oats XI - Race Record
2002 - Alfa Romeo - Line Honours
Over the past 68 years, the Rolex Sydney Hobart has become an iconic sporting event, it has gained international recognition as one of the largest yachting events in the world.
McConaghy Boats has always had very strong connections with the Rolex Sydney Hobart from building the ocean going racing yachts to the frantic last minute optimisations and alterations leading up to the Boxing Day start.
Over the years McConaghy built boats have had some extremely impressive results, since 1983 there have been 64 podium finishes. Rolex have been proud sponsors of the Sydney Hobart Race since 2002 and have presented 12 Rolex Time Pieces to McConaghy Boats Skippers.