Fiberglass Dinghies: 7 Must Know Facts

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There used to be a time when wood used to be the main material used in the construction of boats, but as innovation and change occurred, it led to a shift.

Steel and various other materials were used to make boats.

Now, most of the boats are made from fiberglass, as the advantages of the fiberglass surpass those of most other construction materials. It’s resilient, strong and resistant to damage that can cause potential leaks.

Fiberglass boat construction itself underwent a shift in the way of production as the process became highly technology-oriented and less labor intensive.

Fiberglass has various types and uses that will be discussed in details in this article.  But first, let us have a look at the 8 things that you must know about the fiberglass dinghies that you need to know before buying one.

Must Know Fiberglass Dinghy Facts

1. Know the basics

It is necessary to know the basics of boat making to understand how fiberglass helps in the whole process.

The fiberglass has a female mold that is considered the primary stage of the boat structure. It is then sprayed with a gel coat and then the fiberglass sheet is applied over it so that it gets its wet outlook after applying resin on the whole sheet covered body.

This body is then transferred to the hull.

2. Fiberglass Has Changed The Design Of Dingies

There has been a shift in not just the material used to build boats, but also there have been several inspirations taken from aircraft and aerospace techniques and hence certain changes in the dynamics of the boat.

The design of the boat underwent certain changes to make the boat more durable, easy to handle and use in real-time conditions.

3. Types of fiberglass

The resins that are used in the preparation of Fiberglass boats are generally of three types:

Polyester: A commonly used resin, it is well known by many boat makers. This is popular because it is not at all expensive and generally available at all stores. It is also self-containing as it can be used for all purposes. Isophthalic base is gaining importance over time in comparison with the orthophthalic resin.

However, this material does not have much elasticity and hence is not used in high-performance boats. The gel coats are made up of this resin only as it is abrasion resistant, can survive higher weight, water resistant, chemical resistant etc.

Vinylester: This resin works as the best alternative to the polyester resin. This is because it has high elasticity or stretching capabilities. Therefore, it is used in mostly all sorts of boat building, but it is not that easily available. It also has good water resistant qualities along with good fatigue performance. It is costlier than polyester.

With an excellent property of secondary bonding strength, this allows the hull to be better connected with the body.

Epoxy: Considered as the best quality resin available in the environment, epoxies are costly. They deliver high performance and hence are used in boat projects that demand high performance. It is an adhesive that sticks the other things with the body of the boat properly, be it stringer or attaching cores or any other item.

4. Types of fiberglass cloth

The fiberglass cloth that is woven to cover the surface of the female primary body of the boat can range anywhere between 15 ounces to 48 ounces in weight. Lighter cloths in patterns like matt, twill, and satin. This can be used for various purposes in boat making. Some common types of fiberglass cloth are listed hereunder:

Mat: It is made up of E-Glass and is soluble in resin. It is used to bring thickness and hardness in the fiberglass layers one up the other. It has a tremendous amount of strength and the weight is comparatively low.

E-Glass: usually woven into cloth or collected together in roving, e-glass forms a good bond with the polyester resin and is used by the makers in abundance. It is the most commonly used cloth in the boat making industry. It is used for marine purposes.

S-Glass: Used in the aircraft industry, marine industry, it is a high-performance cloth that enables more tensile, impactful and textural glass. It is very much expensive and is also known as R-Glass in Europe. Its S-1 category can be very expensive in comparison to S-2 where the previous one is being used in aircraft and the latter one in the marine industry.

Unidirectional: Such type of cloth is built in a specific direction, usually a single one. As the cloth is not a woven one, it can be instituted with the resins and can be used anywhere in the boat. No kinks are developed as a result.

Bi-axial: These are cloth made in a single direction, but overlapped upon one another to get a strong surface. It is used by boat makers, according to the design and strength capacity of the boat that is being made.

Tri-axial: similarly, three layers are made up, one upon the other, to achieve an even stronger bond. It is woven 120 degrees to spread the load on the boat and make it a tensile structure.
Use core materials: These are the materials that are used to achieve a lightweight and strengthened structure or body of the boat. There are some boat makers that core the whole boat, whereas several who just core the waterline area of the boat. There are three types of core materials available like Balsa, PVC Foam and Honeycomb.

5. Fiberglass Dinghy Cost

Understand the cost: Separate costs of resins, clothes and the hull are just given in parts. When aggregated, a boat or dinghy has a different cost. It is hence necessary to look into the types of material used and the budget available with the boat builder.

6. Alternative methods of Construction

Many other methods of making boats have been developed. It is necessary to look into these methods and identify the best way through which cost can be reduced.

7. Fiberglass boat popularity

The making of boats with the help of Fiber Glass is in vogue nowadays. It is used properly and efficiently. Also, the structure obtained has lightweight and greater durability. The usage of fiberglass has been recommended as the best material that can be used in making boats and it is cost-effective to use it as the material.

Final Thoughts

Dinghies making could be a very difficult task when one does not know about its basics. Even when you are not making one, but are about to buy one, you should know what forms part of the body of your dinghy, the kind of material that is used in the boat before making the decision of purchase.

Many sites are coming up nowadays that dwell on providing a thorough analysis of the basics of boat building and providing the estimated costs of the parts as well as the boat as a whole. Many startups can be initiated due to the information available online and many boat lovers love the idea of preparing one’s own customized boat before taking it up for sale.

The whole process starting from the initial body of the boat to its fiberglass body to transferring it into the hull and attaching other core components to it is very interesting.
The boat making business is soaring as many boat lovers are buying boats and demanding for customized designs of the boats. Delivery of such boats is seen as a profitable business. The availability of the components and modern techniques have led to a revolution in the way boats are made and manufactured.

The new techniques involve mechanization of the whole work and the labor is supposed to use hi-tech tools and machines to make the surface of the boat even more strong and provide it an excellent finish. Standardization in the work is possible due to the mechanization of the whole process. The innovative technique in the field of aeronautics, aircraft, and marine are bringing about a breakthrough in the ways boats were designed and manufactured.

Sea coasts are widely available in the US and Europe. The availability of the coastal area has led to increasing in the demand of the boats and that too personalized ones. This has been a major factor in leading to all these changes happening in the structure of the boat and leading to the manufacturing of boats that are continuously being reduced in their weight, being completely able to bear pressure and easily handled by the owner.

The costs of the boat are also affordable and anyone trying to get one, can order it through the nearby country manufacturing stores or even online orders can be made on several accepted websites that are ranked and reviewed well by the users.