Just how dangerous can a 15-foot log floating in the ocean be? Imagine cruising at 20 knots and crashing into that log, unknowingly, in the middle of the night. The thought of a hole in your hull at 2am and 50 miles from shore is enough to make any captain nervous. Luckily for Hatteras Yachts owners, this scenario has been re-created in their New Bern, North Carolina factory.
Everyone knows that Hatteras produces tough, durable, high-quality sportfishing boats. Born in the unpredictable waters of the Atlantic Ocean, every Hatteras has to be built to extreme measures. So how does the design team ensure that the hull of a Hatteras can take a direct hit from a log at 20+ knots? The video below is a demonstration of how strong the hull can be when it has gone through the resin-infusion process.
(Image below opens the YouTube video in a new window when clicked or tapped. You can also watch it here.)
So what does Hatteras actually do to make their hulls so strong? They start with the best materials. Only high-quality fiberglass and vinylester resin are used which creates a stiff and durable hull. Vinylester resin is chosen over Polyester and Epoxy because of its stretch characteristics, water resistance qualities, and its secondary bonding strength. It is also more expensive than Polyester resin, but when building a premium yacht like Hatteras, no expense is spared.
Hatteras uses a unique infusion process that goes a step beyond what most builders do when vacuum-bagging their hull.
"A lot of builders put vinylester in their skin coat, but almost no one besides Hatteras uses a vinylester gel coat below the waterline,” said Bob Arthur, Hatteras Yachts manager of structural and composites engineering.
Instead of vacuum-bagging the whole hull, which some builders do in order to remove excess resin from the lay-up quickly, Hatteras uses proprietary vinylester resin infusion technology to make its hulls lighter, stiffer and stronger. The process involves using the vacuum to carefully to pull the vinylester resin through the fiberglass part. “We would rather do infusion and get the cleaner, clearer hull surface it produces than to use vacuum-bagging,” said Arthur. “The infusion allows us to really dial in our resin-to-glass ratio for stiffness and strength.”
Watch the resin-infusion process:
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