Our team of highly skilled and experienced boat builders spend hundreds of hours on each Rayglass GRP boat, perfecting every detail to produce the high quality, award-winning vessels we’re known for. The first and perhaps most important step of the building process is the moulding and laminating of the boat’s fibreglass hull.

In part one of our boat building series, we’ve taken a closer look at this vital step to show you all the work that goes into creating just one vessel.

Applying gelcoat and fibreglass layers

First, we wax the specifically designed Rayglass hull mould to ensure the finished vessel has a high gloss finish and so that the laminate slips freely from the mould later in the process.

Next, gelcoat is applied to the mould with advanced equipment before the thickness of the coat is measured to ensure consistency. This step creates the outermost layer of our fibreglass boats, giving the hulls their attractive shine and preventing water intrusion or sun damage.

The next step, which is the first layer of fibreglass, is of vital importance. Rayglass’s talented builders take extra care to ensure the layer is the appropriate thickness to build a barrier between the gelcoat on the boat’s exterior and the heavier laminates that make up its structure. This helps prevent what we call ‘print through’ – when the irregular patterns of heavy fibreglass show through on the boat’s exterior.

We then use a Venus Chopper Gun to apply the fibreglass and polyester resin, which hardens to the fibreglass laminate. From there, we roll the fibreglass into every nook and cranny of the mould to compact the fibreglass and rid the laminate of air bubbles.

Installing structural reinforcements

When the skin is complete, we apply layers of long strand continuous fibres and stitched fabrics like Double Bias. This layer adds structural strength and helps to spread impact stress evenly throughout the laminate (which allows our vessels to easily handle rough waters without becoming damaged). We then lay a mat on top called Cormat which provides even more strength and stiffness.

To further reduce the boat’s flex and increase strength, we also use balsa wood throughout our cabins and cockpit floors. The laminates and strengthening materials used in this stage are all specially designed by our engineering/laminating team, varying depending on the requirements of the task and the stress the materials will be under when they’re out on the water.

Each hull then has four longitudinal stringers, or support beams, installed. These are the backbone of the boat, they stiffen unsupported flat sections of the hull, support cockpit and cabin soles and distribute high load concentrations from engines and other mechanical systems.

Finishing and deck installation

After the hull’s structure is fully reinforced, our team grind the interior surface of the laminate extensively to ensure a smooth, high-quality finish.

The boat starts to really take shape after this when the bunks and decks are bonded and the deck is lowered onto the hull. Interior bulkheads and components are added to complete the structure of the boat, then Flocoat is applied to beautify and seal any exposed fibreglass.

This stage usually takes 6 to 8 weeks, after which the boat is sent to Rayglass HQ for its final fit out, which takes around a month. Come back to the Rayglass blog next month to find out more about the second and final stage of our boat building process!