BOATBUILDERS Holly Farmer and Darren Schofield are not afraid to work 70 hours a week - sometimes it's been 100 hours, seven days a week just to keep up with production.
The Tauranga couple, operating as Fastcraft, are producing one of the fastest little yachts in the world using hydrofoiling technology.
It's called the Assassin Moth and it can reach speeds of up to 30 knots or 56km/h.
They are building one hydrofoil dinghy a week and in their first 14 months they have sold 60, all but six of them going overseas.
They expect to repeat the same sales number in their second year.
"We had a six-month waiting list but now we are down to eight weeks," said Holly.
"A lot of the sales came through word of mouth. The sailors read our blog on the website and the orders piled in."
Already, the Assassin Moth sales have neared $1 million, and much to their surprise, Fastcraft's freight forwarder Toll New Zealand nominated them for the Export NZ Bay of Plenty awards.
Fastcraft is a finalist in the emerging exporter category, along with Te Puna-based Pollen Plus, and Steve Bird Winery and Vineyards.
The winner will be announced at the gala dinner on June 25.
"The whole process has been quite exciting, and it's opened my eyes to the export business," said Holly.
"It's been a great learning experience."
When it comes to design and technology, Holly and Darren are on top of their game.
Darren, an experienced boatbuilder of 24 years, helped construct Team New Zealand's first 12m fibreglass boats, KZ7, KZ5 and KZ3, for the 1987 America's Cup at Fremantle, while working for Marten Marine in Auckland.
He later built two Australian America's Cup yachts during his 10 years in Sydney with McConaghy Boats.
Holly comes from a sailing family - her father, Te Puke-born Jonty Farmer was a three time Olympian in the Finn Class (11th at Mexico City in 1968 and 15th in Montreal in 1976), and finished second in the World Finn Gold Cup in Europe.
The family lived in Rotorua and Holly - who used to make model boats in her father's garage - travelled to regattas in Tauranga and Auckland.
She won the girls P Class nationals in 1992, being presented with the Naomi James trophy, and two years later she became the national women's match-racing champion, sailing Young 88 yachts.
The sailors read our blog on the website and the orders piled in.Holly FarmerHolly also campaigned in the Olympic Europe class in New Zealand and Australia.
Together, Holly and Darren have developed the ultimate in fast sailing. They call the Assassin Moth the Formula One of sailing.
It is 3.3m long, and fully rigged with an 8sq m sail it weighs 30kg, the same weight as a windsurfer.
"The Tornado and 18ft skiffs are the only competition for the hydrofoiling moths. It's faster than any other two-man boat," said Darren.
He engaged Emirates Team New Zealand technical director, Nick Holroyd, to design the hydrofoils which are shaped like (small) aeroplane wings underneath the rudder and centreboard.
At six knots of wind, the Assassin Moth lifts out of the water and immediately doubles its speed to 16 knots. All you see from the shore, is two carbon fibre sticks sailing the Assassin, but the wings underneath maintain the balance, as long as the sailor is in control.
"The two foils (wings) are flying through the water and they push the boat 750mm above the water," said Darren. "It's exciting all right. We've come up with a boat that's one of the quickest in the world; that's a pretty big achievement.
"It's the most spectacular sailing there is. It's a real adrenalin rush - getting so fast with so little wind. You are above the water and there's silence. It takes a lot of skill to race them hard."
Holly can't wait. She wants to make a sailing comeback at the World International Moth championships on Lake Macquarie near Sydney in January next year.
It is likely to attract 150 competitors, proving that the moth - one of sailing's oldest classes going back nearly 100 years - is making a strong resurgence.
Holly will be joined at Lake Macquarie by Darren's 15-year son Sam who has represented New Zealand in the Optimist Class. "He could be a surprise; he's pretty confident in the moth," said Darren.
New Zealand Olympic 470 sailor Andrew Brown and Danish Olympic 49er gold medallist Jonas Warrer will also be sailing the Assassin Moth.
Fastcraft is one of four builders in the world producing the hydrofoiling moth - two are in Australia though one manufactures in China, and the other is in Britain.
Holly and Darren believe they have a market advantage by producing a well-engineered, more affordable moth, which sells between $12,000-$18,000, or under US$10,000. The cheapest from the rivals is US$18,000.
Fastcraft has so far sold to England, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, United States and Australia.
Half of the Tauranga-built moths have gone to competitive sailors and the remainder to recreational yachties "who want to go fast. That's the market we want to develop," said Holly.
She and Darren moved here at the start of 2009 and set up in a 300sq m unit in Enterprise Dr, Papamoa.
They ran a team of nine but soon found they could be more efficient by utilising more space with almost half the staff.
They moved into a 600sq m factory across the street at Christmas and operate with a team of five including a qualified engineer and boatbuilder, as well as themselves.
Holly, the hands-on owner, puts on a mask and gets stuck into the production - well she did build model boats and finish off her home in Welcome Bay.
For two years before arriving in Tauranga, Holly and Darren built campervans, based on a boatbuilding design, for Jucy Rentals.
They built 300 of them, from the Jucy Crib and Cruiza to the Chaser which had a toilet and shower.
"They were for the second tier backpacking market," said Darren. Fastcraft, established in 2006, hired up to eight tradespeople at Silverdale, north of Auckland.
"We spent 2008 developing the moth, and decided to move to Bay and start selling them there," he said.
But that's not all. Fastcraft is planning to build aerodynamic 6m-long caravans, designed by Craig Loomes, of boatbuilder Lomocean in Auckland.
"It will be full composite fibreglass with a gel-coat finish," said Darren. "The front (of the caravan) is tapered to see around it without losing the internal volume, and it has a hip sticking out on the side for styling."
Darren and Holly believe caravans will make a comeback.
"With a motorhome, couples are stuck doing everything together.
But the wife can stay with the caravan in the camping ground while the husband goes fishing.
"We want to get the caravans going before next year's World Cup rugby because there will be shortage of accommodation," said Darren.
They are presently completing the tooling and mould for the caravan, and expect to begin production by the end of the year.
They know that across the road a dealer is importing second-hand European caravans, up to 20 years, for the same price that they can produce them new.
Fastcraft's caravans will sell under $40,000, and that's the incentive.