February 23, 2012

Sailboat built with advanced materials

THOMASTON - Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding is using several advances in construction and materials to build the Paris 63 Kiwi Spirit for Stanley Paris' attempt at an around-the-world solo voyage.

The sailboat's hull was made in a fiberglass form, said Lance Buchanan, the project manager. The form was waxed so the hull could be removed easily, then layers of carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar were set in place.

On top of those layers, workers installed Corecell foam, heated to make it flexible -- hence the term a "thermo-formed core" -- and epoxy was pumped into the Corecell at scores of spots to make a stiff, lightweight hull. Then the inner skin of carbon fiber and fiberglass was applied.

The hull will stay in the mold for about two months. The deck is being made separately, and will be fitted with the hull, with bulkheads and other connections adjusted to make for a tight fit, he said. Later, the deck will be removed so workers can install the boat's interior.

The interior is being built on a pattern of the hull made out of plywood. Precise 3-D modeling enables workers to build the interior in the open -- rather then below decks -- which is easier and faster but doesn't sacrifice quality fits, Buchanan said. Once the pre-made interior is installed, the deck will be attached to the hull and workers will finish all of the fittings.

He said the result will be a lightweight, strong boat that is faster and cheaper than a conventional sailboat.

-- Edward D. Murphy, staff writer


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