take a look

A peek behind the curtains in the world of composite boat building, thanks to Stephens/Waring Design
We’re getting into the construction nitty-gritty on our custom 57-foot Spirit of Tradition powerboat, a collaboration with our friends over at C.W. Hood Yachts. And yet again, we are reminded when it comes to boats, what’s going on inside is as important as what’s going outside. On its outer surface, this 57 Express-Classic design is what the world expects a near-60-foot custom powerboat to be: A luxury vessel filled with all the amenities, range and speed to offer the flexibility and power to steam for distant horizons; yet offering enough comforts to rest elegantly at the dock for extended stays.
But, then, there is the inner tension of creating the molds and tools needed for a well built, one-off composite boat. We estimate that the tooling cost of a typical female-molded, fully kitted out, cored fiberglass boat can add about 20 to 30 percent to the cost to build that boat. So even though there’s no shortage of resources on this 57-footer — the budget is somewhere between $3.5 and $4 million — we wanted to give the owner a cost-effective solution to the brutal expenses of tooling and other production processes.
And how we tuned the construction design to add that value to a custom, one-off boat build, is a juicy engineering tale indeed.
The Better Built Composite Boat.
The trick to adding value in making a one-off boat is all about balancing the high costs of the tooling needed to build complex composite structures with the sensible production processes that best utilize various materials.
And the 800-pound marine engineering elephant in that one-off construction room, is how to eke the most out of the giant tools and molds needed for most every phase of the production boat process. Molds and tools must be cost effective, yet easy to work with, through the several levels of tool support needed for a year-long build.
And don’t forget, these tools and molds get thrown away when that one-off boat is built. That’s why it is critical to make every piece count before it winds up in a landfill, at great cost.
Read on.