So we have the lower hull – but that’s only half of the boat! The next step in the manufacturing process is to laminate the upper half. This will actually be the middle deck when its finished. For those who haven’t got a clue what lamination means, this is the process of building a very strong fibre-glass shell. This can be with traditional lamination or with infusion.
The hull is now sitting in the main factory hall on a cradle with steps for access. It’s starting to look like a boat! Obviously a lot of work to go to make all the other parts.
The process starts with a mould – a bit like making jelly 🙂 The gel coat is sprayed on the mould – which is the outer layer of the boat that gives its shiny finish. After that, layers upon layers are built up gradually with glass fibre matting. This is then layered with resin, then more matting and more resin in many layers. The result is a very strong structure which is then left in the mould to cure (dry). This takes several weeks – then the structure is released from the mould and work can begin.
Each individual section of the boat has a mould. When they are made, they are stuck together and can be changed and re-modelled by hand as needed. Imperfections in the structure can easily be corrected and sections can even be completely changed.
For flat sections – such as the decks – where strong weight bearing is needed – a technique called vacuum infusion is sometimes used. The vacuum improves the process and results in a very strong structure. Put simply, the resin is infused at the top and dribbles into all the crevices. The vacuum sucks the resin into all the small spaces in the glass fibre matting and ensures it is completely soaked.
August 2018 was about making the upper half of the boat. At the same time, the team were preparing the inside of the hull. The upper section was laminated by hand in the mould. The mould is upside down of course so its hard to work out what is what unless you know! The workers inside are spraying and laying down the layers of resin and glass fibre.
The deck and floor sections were laminated using vacuum infusion with the moulds looking a bit like a waffle. The waffle sections also add to the overall strenth of the structure.
Inside the hull, the miles of heavy duty electrical cable were being laid. The cables run through a network of conduits on each side of the boat. This will mean nothing is visible when the boat is finished. The bulk heads (interior main walls) were also being constructed. The bulkheads give the hull itself the strength – along with all the timber cross members. The lower floor was laid into the bow of the hull.
As the work continues, you can begin to see where the cabins will be. Destiny is starting to look like a boat!