The use of wood in yacht building
Denis Korablev
  • 28.06.2020
  • 205

The use of wood in yacht building

In yacht building, the advantage is the implementation of structures, the choice of which is economically profitable, although the financial side of the issue is not always the main one. What material should a yachtsman prefer to build his own yacht? There is no doubt that when building a yacht according to a unique author's project, when it is necessary to ensure the survivability of the vessel with a relatively small mass, only wood should be chosen as the construction material. At the same time, harmonious proportions of the length of the hull and the mass of the vessel, as well as the durability of the yacht, provided that the material and construction technology are correctly selected, will be ensured.

The tree species used in modern shipbuilding are pine, spruce, larch, fir, cedar, beech, oak, maple, etc. Pine is most popular due to its high mechanical strength and prevalence. Cedar stays well in water and can serve as a substitute for pine. In terms of strength and resistance to biological factors of destruction, there is no equal to larch, however, due to the remoteness of the growing places of this tree species from shipyards, it is used to a limited extent. Oak wood is also highly durable.

It is unlikely that a beginner shipbuilder should prefer fiberglass only because of the lack of appropriate equipment. Lack of experience with this material should push the shipbuilder to abandon its use, leaving this work to experienced craftsmen. It is known that after receiving many reports from different parts of the world about the low strength of fiberglass yachts, the stage of development of plastic yacht building was replaced by the stage of a balanced attitude to this material. Also a difficult material for amateurs when building yachts is reinforced cement. In addition to such a significant drawback as a large weight, this material can hide many defects that can only appear after years. If we consider aluminum, then a body made of "winged metal" will cost about 50% more than a similar fiberglass body, and only professionals can build it.

The idea of building a yacht from steel is attractive, mainly because of the possibility of realizing a durable hull at its low cost, especially if you plan to create a hull with sharp cheekbones. Building a steel vessel with round bilge hulls will be a challenge for a beginner. It will be necessary to carry out large-scale work on the installation of thermal insulation of the steel body, as well as labor-intensive measures to prevent and eliminate the consequences of corrosion processes.

Wood is the oldest of all materials used in shipbuilding. And it continues to retain its value, even with such an extensive use of modern materials. However, wooden yachts have been gaining popularity in recent years. They are durable and lightweight and also look beautiful and original. The unique properties of wood explains the assertion that it is impossible to build a vessel from another material with the same favorable ratio of displacement and length of the vessel along the structural waterline.

Experienced yachtsmen 2yachts note that it is possible to build a fairly light yacht from aluminum alloys, but hardly anyone it would come to mind to claim that such a vessel has been sailing for half a century, showing the same degree of reliability and durability as a wooden yacht. Yachts with steel hulls are almost twice as heavy as wooden ones, and even fiberglass yachts are actually heavier than wooden ones, but no one can guarantee such a long period of operation. Vessels with hulls made of reinforced cement are several times heavier than wooden ones.

Despite its ability to absorb water over time, wood is not subject to destruction due to the presence of a strong elastic cell structure. Wood decay can be prevented by proper selection of the species and the use of effective paints and impregnations during processing. One of the critical drawbacks of wood when used in shipbuilding is the difference in strength along and across the fibers, but with the creation of plywood and laminated multilayer structures, this drawback was practically eliminated along with another drawback - shape distortion under the influence of moisture. Modern technologies for making yachts from wood using plywood or diagonal glued siding are strikingly different from the established methods of building wooden boats. It is known that the volume of labor costs in the construction of yachts from wood is significant, as a result of which their cost can exceed up to 30% of the cost of fiberglass yachts.

Working with wood is pleasant and safe, natural material is environmentally friendly and absolutely harmless, and the results of a skillfully executed work can be admired. Sailing on a wooden yacht is able to bring real pleasure. Wooden ship designs are popular among amateur shipbuilders today and there is no doubt that they will remain so in the future. Wood is still relevant in relation to the construction of small pleasure yachts and boats, sailing ships.

Wood as a structural material

Wood remains a successful natural construction material, and in fact it is one of the strongest and most stable materials ever used by man for a variety of purposes. It is also a fact that humanity has not yet managed to synthesize a material similar to wood in a whole set of properties. The structure made of quality wood will have a lower mass than a similar structure made of materials of other origin, including Kevlar or carbon composites. The essence of wood properties lies in its organic structure. The structure of the tree consists of hollow tubes formed from dead cells, oriented in one direction and microcells made of cellulose. These structural tubes account for half of the total wood mass. The tubules are tightly bonded to each other by a resinous substance - lignin, and this natural composite often functions like modern epoxy laminates. The proportion of lignin is from 1/4 to 1/3 of the mass of the tree. It is noteworthy that a significant proportion of cellulose is in a crystallized state, which gives it increased moisture resistance, since the crystal is not able to absorb water.

The hollow structure of wood, in the form of tubes (tracheids) stretched along the tree trunk, gives it strength, while at the same time leaving it light. It is a unidirectional material, and the tracheids in it are close in strength to similar tubes made of steel, and stronger than tubes made of aluminum. Separate bundles of fibers are formed in the massif of any wood, which prevents the destruction of the structure of the entire material during overloads. Hollow cellulose tubes crumple under stress, rarely cracking. Also, these tubes are able to prevent the propagation of breaks into the thickness of the material. Under mechanical action, wood spreads a destructive force to as many tubes as possible, responding to the intrusion of a destructive object and taking its counter-shape. Thus, the wood is stabilized and keeps the structure from collapsing. It is an extremely durable material that can accept and absorb more energy per unit mass than modern metals or laminates.

If you are interested in yacht charter in any region of the world - help in choosing a vessel and preparing related documents for it 2yachts employees can help you - with us you will find the yacht of your dreams!