Both hulls and decks are built of fiberglass in our state-of-the-art facility in La Rochelle, France, but they are actually built in very different ways. As we explained in Part 1, each hull is built of layers of hand laid fiberglass and resin in open molds.
Decks, on the other hand, are “injection molded” in closed, 2-piece molds. This process allows the finished decks to come out of the molds strong and smooth, so smooth in fact that a finished boat won’t need a liner, but, it does require sophisticated engineering and incredible attention to detail during construction.
Injection molding requires the entire deck to be laid out with specific layers of fiberglass and reinforcing material in high load areas like winch pads and jib tracks etc to laid up all at once on the “bottom” part of the mold that is first sprayed with gel coat that will form the smooth outer later of the deck (pictured above).
Then the “top” which is also covered with a layer of cured gel coat is lowered on to the bottom part that’s laid out with the required sandwich material (pictured above). The two parts are then joined and form an air tight seal and then the magic happens.
It’s not actually “magic” but, once the two parts of the mold are sealed, workers can then start “injecting” the resin into the mold. The resin is pumped in through hoses (pictured above) and the seal insures complete resin saturation. This is ideal because it results in a strong deck without requiring excess resin.
Injection molded decks are virtually flawless (on both sides) when they come out of the mold.
Then workers use jigs to cut out the areas for ports and hatches as well as drill all necessary holes to install all the deck hardware.
Then the deck hardware is attached before the deck is the lowered on to the hull (we’ll talk about this later in a future instalment of this multi-part series).
And the best part is, the underside of the deck is beautiful. This allows for increased headroom (since no deck liner is needed) and the sleek, modern look Dufour Yachts are known for.
Click here for part 3 where we explain the construction and bonding process for the structural grid.