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Boats

A Boat is Born, Part IV Page 2

Within just two hours, the infused part is fully cured. However, because of the tremendous heat created during curing, the hull will be left in the mold under vacuum until it has cooled to prevent deformation.

This same resin-infusion system is used to create the deck and stringers. To save more weight in the stringer system, it has been designed to pop from the mold completely finished and gelcoated except for the underside where it will be bonded to the hull using Plexus, a methacrylate adhesive. The builder says Plexus effectively “welds” the stringers to the hull. As with the hull, the idea here is to maximize strength and minimize weight. The goal is speed, which the builder hopes will exceed that of similar-size and -class craft. No one has dared mention a hard top-end number yet.

Prior to the Makaira crew’s matching and securing the superstructure and the now-infused hull, the team inspects the top of the battlewagon. Interior modules are being constructed simultaneously.

While the 64’s major structural parts are being infused, major interior components are constructed in modules. Nidacore has been chosen as the key construction material for interior soles and bulkheads because of ACU’s experience with it. A honeycomb-core material, it offers outstanding thermal and acoustical insulating properties and a high strength-to-weight ratio. Individual pieces are first scored, then shaped around a jig. Multiple pieces are epoxied together to form the finished part. Three-D modeling enables the team to build these modules to exact tolerances so that they fit together seamlessly when they are placed into this battlewagon’s hull.

After the soles and bulkheads have been created, the next task is constructing large cabinetry pieces and fitting them into the interior module. These pieces, which are cut by a CNC router to precise tolerances, are first dry-fit to ensure proper alignment, then secured with framing stock, epoxy, and good ol’ screws. Showers, fixtures, and even countertops are assembled outside the boat and then they are installed as modules.

Once the interior module is complete, the superstructure is lowered onto it and aligned, after which the two sections are fiberglassed together where they intersect at the bulkheads.

At the same time this is happening, the cured hull and its stringer grid are receiving wiring, plumbing, and hoses, followed by air handlers and water pumps. Also during this mechanical stage, fuel and water tanks are installed and pressure-tested. Finally come the engines and running gear.

The hull and deck are now ready to be joined. The 3D-modeling programs employed during the design process have resulted in precise tolerances; there’s just enough room between the two pieces to glass them into one monocoque-like structure.

At last the 64 looks like a boat. She almost is a boat. The crew begins fiberglassing every intersection between the hull, bulkhead, cabinets, and soles.

With bonding complete and cured, the Makaira team prepares to move into the final assembly and construction stage, which includes final joinery, electrical, mechanical, hardware, and soft goods work. Then it’ll be time for systems’ checks, engine start up, and the anxiously awaited sea trials. It won’t be too much longer now.

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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