First phase: from the computer to the cutting robot
Building began with the design of a hull on AUTOCAD in Switzerland, which was sent via email to Cut&Go. They programmed a robotic machine that, working in 2D, in just a few hours, carved in 20mm nautical plywood boards the 15 sections that define the shape of the vessel. Once these sections had been taken to the workshop, they were set up along the working area and the building of the hull of the boat began, in an inverted position.
Second phase: the hull takes shape
The hull started taking shape by putting together hundreds of planks that had been made at the workshop from American cedar boards. These planks were fixed with screws while the adhesive dried. When this part of the process ended, the screws were taken off so that the hull became a body of wood and epoxy resin with the desired shape.
Third phase. No fiberglass: a skin made with vegetable fibers
In order to protect the wood and obtain a durable finish, instead of using fiberglass, which is what is generally done, we added a skin made of linen vegetable fiber, impregnated and attached to the hull with organic epoxy resin.
The textile used, branded Bcomp2, is Amplitex 5008, a non-crimp bi-axial flax fabric with fibers oriented at +45° and -45°, suitable for manufacturing fiber reinforced composite products with a high performance and a low environmental impact. The total weight of the material is only 350 g/sqm which is about half the weight of a fiberglass textile of similar durability.
The linen, as assured by the manufacturer, is a regional product grown in Belgium and France. On the other hand, the balance of toxicity, greenhouse gas emissions and non-renewable energy consumption in the process of making the linen material, compared to fiberglass, is significantly favorable to the former, as can be appreciated in the following graphs.
The boat will be extraordinarily light, as the hull improvement when it comes to the intensity of material used in the construction process. The amount of resins used, which adds up to only 12% of the weight of the boat, allows for good waste management once the life-cycle end is reached, which can be of 50 years with adequate maintenance.
Fourth phase: turning the hull over
Our workshop is small, and we do not have a crane to turn it over and continue with the process. That is why Marc has created a series of wheels in plywood that, attached to the hull, allow us to turn it over on a set of bobbins and leave it in a position that will allow us to finish polishing the hull and to start to build the inside finishing, the cabin and deck. This is regular practice in the world of artisan naval construction, but the specific solutions are decided by each master woodworker. On 20th December 2018, we enjoyed our baptism at sea, and the operation (during which we figured out some improvable issues), was a success. The design and execution of the whole operation have left with us a series of images that make us want to re-baptist Marc Balaguer as ‘Marc Da Vinci‘.
Fifth phase: construction continues
Since January 2019, building of the deck, cabin and interiors is progressing at a good rate. We will continue to update this document with photographs of the construction as it progresses. The different building elements are generally made with nautical plywood planks and will be externally covered with the same skin as the hull. Externally, the boat will have the appearance of, let’s say, normal boats.