Insider Insights

Q & A  With Traditional Watercraft Inc.

Q. (Jessica Lynch, Seaward Yachts) We are excited to have the staff at Island Packet building our Seaward models.  What changes can customers expect from the new build processes?

A.(Bill Bolin, Traditional Watercraft Inc.) Jessica, the Seaward models remain unique in the industry and their unique and popular design features and clever systems require little change on our part.  Our approach will be to better document the overall construction, streamline assembly and reengineer fiberglass laminate schedules to provide evolutionary improvements to Seaward product, and to ensure every model is NMMA Certified and meets applicable ABYC standards (American Boat and Yacht Council).  Ultimately, our efforts will bring Seawards into compliance with CE requirements, which will allow for export into the EU.  These CE requirements were created using standards created by the ISO and are currently the most exhaustive and complete in the world.  We are proud to have been the first sailboat builder in the United States to be certified under these standards (back in1996!) and for Bob Johnson, President of IPY, to have been the sole US sailboat industry’s representative in the 10 year process to create these ISO standards.

Q.You mention laminate schedules.  Will you change the materials or weight of the models?

A. Our engineering staff looked carefully at the fiberglass laminates on each model and designed a laminate schedule that completely eliminates the prior use of chopper gun spray fiberglass application and employs our use of hand laminated, pressure fed resin application with proprietary roller application systems using directional (bi-axial and tri-axial) knitted cloths for greater consistency of product, optimized weight and strength, and significantly lower environmental impact from the molding process.  We are focused on engineering every model’s laminates to conform to established industry standards, both to ensure structural safety and to optimize sailing performance.

Q. I know you proposed and are using a special lamination process for the Seaward 46.  What is this technology and how will it be applied?

A. As the Seaward flagship, the 46 qualifies for some special attention.  For several years we have been using a state of the art lamination technology called “resin infusion” and the 46RK hull will benefit from this process, resulting in a thoroughly engineered, advanced hull laminate.  Essentially, once the gel and skin coat are applied into the hull mold, the rest of the laminate, including directional glass and carbon fiber cloths and inorganic Divinycell® coring material, is all placed in the mold in their designated areas and sequence without any resin.  Weights, fiber orientations, and all necessary reinforcement points are easily measured and verified before committing to the final resin infusion stage.  The entire mold, and in our case including the keel trunk as an integral part of the hull, is then wrapped in a sealed plastic bag and evacuated of air by a vacuum pump which compresses all materials together and holds them firmly against the mold’s surface, ready for the infusion of resin.  Once the integrity of the seal is confirmed, catalyzed vinylester resin is introduced through a series of supply lines along the centerline of the hull while vacuum pickup lines along the gunwales “pull” the resin completely through the laminate forming a finished part.  The actual resin infusion stage takes less than one hour to completely saturate all the structural laminate materials and cure into a single composite structure, after which it is ready to be removed from the mold for the assembly process.

Q. When will we start seeing these new Island Packet built Seawards?

A. The first IP-built 26RK will be on display at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis in October.  Our first 46 will ship later this fall to a private buyer and the first 32 may be seen at a winter boat show.  More will follow in quicker succession and by winter, all new Seaward product will be from our facilities here in Largo, FL.

Seaward customers- you always have your questions answered by emailing sales@seawardyachts.com

Leave a Reply