How It's Made: Fiberglass Hulls

Dufour Yachts walks us through the process that goes into building a fiberglass hull, from the mold, to the fiberglass hull that's ready for finishing.

Boatbuilding
Boat construction always starts with a hull mold. In this case, a perfectly clean, highly polished two-piece mold to ensure no imperfections make it into the final composite. Layers of gelcoat are sprayed onto the mold to form the outer layer of each hull. Each hull is then laid up with a precise number of layers of fiberglass, resin, and various core materials that are all placed in each mold by hand.Dufour Yachts
building dufour yachts
The hull is beginning to take shape as the layers of fiberglass and resin are applied to the hull mold. The rudder stock is reinforced to provide extra support and reduce the chance of damage to the hull.Dufour Yachts
building dufour yachts
At Dufour, the hull molds are built on special rollers so they can be rotated in-place. Rotating molds speed production as they are easier to work on than static molds, making it easier to lay various layers. The molds are extremely well-built to extremely high standards to ensure that so every hull comes out without imperfections and is identical.Dufour Yachts
building dufour yachts
All Dufour hulls for models under 50-feet are built of solid fiberglass, while the 500 GL – pictured above – and the 560 GL are laid up with solid fiberglass below the waterline and PVC core above the waterline to provide strength and stiffness. Here, workers reinforce high-load areas such as chainplate connections and keel areas with increased layers of fiberglass and resin.Dufour Yachts
building dufour yachts
Another important element of hull lamination for Dufour is the use of 2-part molds. This makes it easy to release the finished hull and it also allows for an inward-facing flange that forms a strong inward-facing hull-to-deck joint.Dufour Yachts
building dufour yachts
One of the first elements that’s added to freshly laid-up hull is the structural grid. Notice the inward-facing flange, and some of the other early tasks that are done at this stage like cutting out the hull ports and installing a strip of PVC core material to the aft area of the hull to provide increased stiffness.Dufour Yachts
building dufour yachts
The result of lay-up is a clean, slick looking hull that is now ready to be furnished and finished.Dufour Yachts
560 GL
The final result: the Dufour 560 GLDufour Yachts