Hand-built by craftsmen
The HORIZON F14’s build method steers a course away from the typical mass market construction style for SUPs which are fabricated by milling a block of EPS foam, then sheathed with layers of glass fibre fabric.
This method creates various drawbacks including irreversible water absorption if fractured, and a trade off with weight versus robustness – less layers of fibreglass produce a lighter board but it becomes very delicate and fragile for the end user.
The Horizon Difference
A HORIZON F14 is hand-built by craftsmen in carbon fibre utilizing the same method as a high performance racing dinghy or yacht applying a technique called vacuum resin infusion.
Manufactured like a high performance racing dinghy or yacht – a carbon laminate is infused under vacuum in female moulds creating a hollow board. Internal framing is added for torsional and longitudinal stiffness.
- One core, one ‘sandwich construction’ with added layers where required for local strengthening.
- Monolithic in bow, transom & deck edges
- Lightweight core X-frame for rigidity and torsional stiffness
The Plug & Mould
Solent Boat Works constructed ‘board #1’ using the traditional construction method.
This was shaped and finished by hand to create a perfect board or plug. This ‘plug’ was polished and coated with a special release film to enable the SBW team to create two female moulds – a deck mould and a hull mould.
The layup process is started by placing layers of carbon fibre into the moulds which form the outer finished surface of the board. This is a skilled and difficult process to undertake to ensue the weave of the fibres is undamaged and visually appealing on the finished product.
The second stage involves creating templates to cut core materials which form the second layers. These core materials have incredible properties in terms of dent resistance, stiffness and weight. They are various thicknesses in different places of the board, with the majority of the board using 3mm core.
Once the core materials are in place, specific areas such as the bow, transom and leash points are given further layers of cloth to increase their strength. A final layer of fabric is placed over the core creating the ‘sandwich construction’.
The Vacuum Infusion
After the board’s laminate sandwich is set into the mould the infusion ‘stack’ is added:
- The laminate is covered with ‘peel ply’, a fabric designed to create a releasable layer between the laminated part and the infusion materials.
- Next comes an infusion mesh. This ensures that the resin is able to flow freely throughout the entire mould during the infusion process.
- Following the mesh, the remainder of the infusion equipment is attached, including the resin feed tubes, vacuum lines and sealant tape.
- Finally the vacuum bag film is placed over the entire mould tool. This creates a seal leaving only an entry point for the resin to get in, and an exit point for the vacuum pump to remove all the air.
The next stage is to evacuate the air and create a vacuum within the mould tool. The vacuum line is attached to a pump and once the vacuum is achieved a set of drop tests are performed to ensure there is no leak in the bag.
After a successful drop test, it is time to infuse the port with resin. This is undertaken by preparing the resin in the correct mix and temperature, placing the resin feed tube into the feed chamber and releasing the valve.
The vacuum inside the part then sucks the resin into the vacuum bag and impregnates the construction materials to an exact ratio of cloth, core and resin.
The parts are then post cured at their required temperature and the deck is then released from its mould and various components are added.
The hull has an ‘x-frame stiffener bonded in and then the two parts are joined. The join is then laminated, filled and faired.
Finally the completed HORIZON F14 is ready for its custom spray paint.
SOLENT BOAT WORKS
Ant McMahon & Jamie Stewart established Solent Boat Works in 2012.
The aim of SBW is to provide an environment offering industry leading levels of service and workmanship, specialising in race dinghy repairs, sophisticated new build projects, and bespoke light laminates using a range of processes including vacuum infusion and vacuum bagging techniques.