Reprinted from the Aitkin Age Thursday, May 12, 2016 – by Shari Horton
Wayne Floe, CEO of FLOE International based out of McGregor, conceptualized it over 15 years ago. His vision and dream is about to come to fruition this summer with the launch of the luxury FLOE CRAFT Afina 3950C.
“The FLOE CRAFT Afina is a unique 39.5-foot sport yacht convertible that performs and maneuvers like a speedboat yet provides the comfort and entertainment space of a small yacht,” said Floe, who refers to it as the “ultimate crossover.”
“For sure, it was a huge commitment,” added Floe. “After prototype testing proved to be so successful, I knew that the FLOE CRAFT had to go to the next level and that meant I had to build a new building. You see my vision for FLOE CRAFT was to have them produced in a well-equipped, state-of-the art facility.”
“Another key ingredient in the production process was assembling a world-class team of people,” explained FLOE president Don VanderMey. That team includes Steve Gilman, director of operations, who brings a wealth of experience in design leadership along with an ensemble of specialists in design, engineering and production.
Development of the FLOE CRAFT Afina 3950C prototype began in 2008, and in the last two years alone, Floe’s engineering team has put in over 8,000 hours solely devoted to crafting the CAD model. The CAD model is so detailed that virtually every component right down to the switches are shown in 3D. FLOE also invested in a five-axis CNC machine that allows for very demanding 3D designs to be brought into reality via the production tooling that it cuts.
The revolutionary boat was designed to meet Wayne Floe’s six criteria: climate control, easy operation and maneuverability, expanded livability and comfort, a hull with exceptional performance, easy boarding and a design that entices everyone to want to spend more time onboard.
The FLOE CRAFT Afina 3950C provides the ability to extend the boating season thanks to its climate control, which includes both air conditioning and heat. It features an 11-foot power-retractable roof and 12-foot power side windows allowing passengers to fully enjoy their boating experience in comfort. With the touch of a button, the vessel virtually transforms from an open-air boat to an enclosed cabin in mere seconds.
“We believe we are the first fully-convertible boat in the industry,” said Gilman.
Regardless of one’s boating experience, this vessel is also easy and fun to maneuver thanks to a joystick system that enables anyone to dock like a pro.
The grand view cabin was designed with comfort in mind, featuring a 360-degree view, full galley and spacious seating. The 39.5-foot unideck open floor plan includes three zones of separate living space on one level. The state room below deck includes a full-size bed, ample seating space and bathroom with a stand-up shower and porcelain toilet.
The inverted V tunnel hull boasts shallow draft resulting in low drag and fuel efficiency.
“It planes off quickly and the overall speed and agility catches most people by surprise,” said VanderMey. In addition, boarding the vessel couldn’t be easier from the dock, beach or water with its four access points and a retractable ladder located in both the bow and stern.
Floe’s sixth criteria was exceeded by the inclusion of quality finishing touches like solid walnut cabinetry and accents, Soft Touch vinyls and a premium four-zone marine stereo system.
“Once you board this vessel, you may never want to leave,” added Gilman.
“After five years of tireless testing with three fully-functional prototype boats, we are confident we have the standards for all six areas covered,” concluded VanderMey.
The FLOE CRAFT Afina 3950C will be revealed this summer and if you can’t wait, catch a sneak peek and watch Floe’s vision unfold on FLOE International’s website at www.floeintl.com.