From Neva Giant to Mana 24

The most difficult part of carrying out the world’s largest infusion was not the volume, said Teun de Vries, but the height.

The infusion specialist had been working for Polyworx, a Netherlands developer of flow simulation software, when the company was contacted in 2009 by the Russian Composites Group for help with a build at Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard, in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the Nevsky River. The 62m (203′) Alexandrite Coastal Mine Countermeasures Vessel, or what de Vries called “The Neva Giant,” was to be vacuum-bagged.

Recalling this project during the PechaKucha for boat designers in Amsterdam, last November, de Vries reeled off an impressive list of numbers: 21 tons of resin, 45 tons of fabric, 1 ½ km (0.9 mile) of spiral feed tube, all for one mold in a vacuum bag 85m x 35m (279′ x 115′). “Just be sure you don’t have any scissors lying around,” advised de Vries.

Adding to the challenge of executing a one-mold infusion on such a grand scale, the biggest obstacle to completing it was the hull’s 8m (26′) height. That’s because for every meter of height, you lose 0.1 bar of pressure, says de Vries. Watch the video above to find out how they pulled it off.

His presentation was one of 14 by designers, naval architects, and boatbuilders for the fast-paced event (PechaKucha’s format limits each speaker to 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each), sponsored by VriPack and Professional BoatBuilder magazine.

Presentations varied as widely as the designers in the room. It was the first PechaKucha for Hanneke Boon, a designer with U.K.-based James Wharram Designs, and to prepare she watched video of previous speakers. She noticed that many were “about making boats for wealthy people to take their very wealthy 50 Shades of Gray–type of lifestyle onto the water, no expense spared.”

Growing up in Amsterdam, she said, boats were the center of life. Her father, who in 1963 bought the first Waarschip 600 (6m/19.7′), an elegant light-displacement plywood design, instilled a “love of being on the water, sailing boats without needing the luxury of city life.”

As she demonstrates in the video above, that philosophy has guided her throughout her boat design career to create small boats “suitable for sea living.” Most recently, that has led to the Mana 24 (7.3m), which will be provided as an IKEA-style flat-pack kit with CNC-cut all-wooden parts. She said there is already a Greek group interested in using the design for a charter fleet in the Ionian Sea.

“The style of designing based on philosophy of the sea may not get the highest financial gain, but it has led to an enormous emotional satisfaction and friendships throughout the world,” she concludes.

Also among the speakers who shared recent projects, ideas, and challenges were Helge von der Linden, Donald MacPherson, and ProBoat’s technical editor, Steve D’Antonio. To watch more videos from Amsterdam PechaKucha, visit VriPack’s Youtube page.

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