A client of mine sent me a thread posted by someone on why more catamarans are not built from epoxy
? And why in his view they all should be.
First off, epoxy
now is very expensive, and most epoxy boats must be postcured and later spray painted. This makes for a lighter boat, for sure, but the spray finishes never hold as long as gelcoat
. It is very hard to build a boat in production in this fashion as well.
Vinylester in my view is the best option right now as it is nearly impervious to water
incursion (they make water
pipes from the stuff!) and can be laid up in female tooling and gelcoated easily. Many builders will offer a vinylester upgrade if you ask for it and pay for it.
Polyester is the resin of choice for production builders because it is a lot cheaper than vinylester or epoxy and the majority of new cat buyers are terribly unsophisticated and shopping
for the most part. You can build a poly boat, with balas core
, and marine
ply bulkheads for a lot less than you can build a foam core
vinylester boat or a foam core epoxy boat. And since the poly/balsa boat is heavier, the hulls must be wider to handle the extra weight - but, guess what, most buyers want all that extra space! So they get "more boat for less money
." What they also get is a slower boat and a less durable boat over time. But, again, if getting the best price
and the most space for the money
is the short term goal, a poly/balsa/ply boat is the way to go. Hard to argue with the success of Moorings or Lagoon!
From a cost benefit standpoint I think vinylester is the way to go right now.
But if you get a poly boat, make sure it has a great epoxy barrier coat and you bottom paint
your boat regularly and do a new barrier coat job every five years to be safe.
Phil Berman, President