Let’s consider just some of the positives
- No limitations on shape – a designer can have a free hand without physical material limitations
- Weight saving equals reduced fuel consumption
- Stability and class compliancy – some additions at height can only be achieved using lightweight composites
- Zero corrosion -lower maintenance and repaint cycle
- Components completed and painted off site then glued and / or fastened in place giving minimal disruption on board the vessel, increasing overall productivity during a refit. Often allowing fitting to be completed in a matter of hours rather than days or even weeks
- Areas of the boat can be 3d scanned to 0.2mm accuracy, and parts can be built, painted and ready to fit prior to the boat even entering a yard
- No need for yard space as parts can be built off site and transported to the refit yard
- The latest materials and resin systems have made huge advances in recent times to comply with current and future fire regulations
- No hot works on the boat reduces overall costs and minimises disruption to other areas of the vessel, namely interior and systems
Compared to the negatives
There really is only one…..that is the raw material and basic construction cost is marginally higher, but it really is a false economy in most cases when considering the cost and results of the finished product delivered to the owner.
For example, the construction tolerances are far more refined when building with composites due to the way we process most parts or structures, this is particularly evident when trying to match other areas of the vessel with complex shapes and curves thus greatly reducing the finishing costs.
Consider the maintenance costs of a modern composite structure against the same in steel or aluminium. The protection and aesthetics of any superyacht is always high on the list of priorities so when you look at the overall spend including the corrosion treatment and associated logistics in performing those maintenance tasks, the return on investment in building with composites comes a lot quicker than people think. Then, when you start to consider the long-term savings over a 5 year period for example, there really is no comparison.
From a design perspective, using laser scanning technology, naval architects can now create a perfect virtual 3d image of the boat. This enables accuracy and versatility during the entire process from the initial design stages through to CNC production of moulds and parts. This whole package of design allows you to create photo like images that show the concept accurately to the client before construction begins. When you have this level of clarity it also lends itself to more structured pricing and the elimination of extra costs at the end of a project.