Light Weight = High Performance
Hopefully we have convinced you that a light weight boat is a high performance boat. Controlling the weight requires more than just selecting the right materials. It requires a design and building process which minimizes the need for secondary operations which use fillers and the like to make an acceptably finished boat. Clearly, leaving things out of the boat will make it lighter. It is the combination of materials, design, construction methods and what we leave ashore that let us make these boats much lighter for their size than the competition.
Start off with light weight materials:
- Basalt fibre, Kevlar & Carbon fibre
- Custom Divinycell foam vs. solid fiberglass or balsa core
- Nomex honeycomb ( for interiors )
- Epoxy resin
These materials are lighter and stronger, completely non-shrinking and will not absorb water. Most conventionally built boats (built with polyester or vinylester) are susceptible to water infusion and gain weight. The strength of the materials results in thinner yet stronger hulls. While the thinness doesn’t translate into much extra usable room in terms of length and width, it does add 1 inch to headroom, which is always at a premium.
Boat building techniques:
- Hulls with bridge deck and cabin sole made on one piece mold
- All interior modules are bonded in with carbon tapes
- Deck and cabin roof built on single mold
- Hull and deck bonded together with carbon and basalt fibre
- Vacuum bagged for 24 hours before infusion compacting the laminate
- Resin infusion
- Post cured @80 C for 8 hours
- Interior and exterior are finished using high quality 2K polyurethane paint
The in and outside of the boat leave the molds without shrinking and thus require very little filler materials to smooth out imperfections. The infusion process is carefully controlled and automated resulting in a minimum and consistent weight from boat to boat. Since the materials do not shrink, they take on the exact shape of the mold and do not require fillers to make the outside smooth. The boat is essentially completed (as to shape) when it is removed from the mold.
Not used on the boat:
- Gel coat on the exterior 400 kilo or 900 lbs
- Flow coat on the interior 200 kilo or 440 lbs
- Fairing compound 200 kilo or 440 lbs
- Bonding paste 400 kilo or 880 lbs
- Over 50% resin is saved 1000 kilo or 2200 lbs
The total weight saved is 2200 kilo or 4800 lbs
The amount of weight we save is about 30% of the total weight for the 445 catamaran (the percentage varies slightly depending on the size of the boat since, as an example engine weight is typically a bigger percentage of overall boat weigh in the smaller models). We don’t need gel-coat for the hull because the exterior is perfectly smooth out of the mold and takes a coat of polyurethane paint extremely well. The same is true for the interior vis-à-vis the flow coat.