Bluewater Baby’s design team has more than thirty years of near daily experience using a variety of skiffs, ranging from an inflatable to a sailing dinghy to a converted aluminum fishing boat, and everything in between. Using this experience and knowledge, we started with a blank sheet of paper for the design and looked for the best boat building material.
The Best Building Material
A quality boat begins with quality building materials. We first looked at the materials used in modern boatbuilding: fiberglass, wood, aluminum, the pressurized fabric of inflatables, and molded plastic. Next, we compared each material to the requirements of a skiff: 1) strength and 2) puncture resistance for safety, 3) light weight for ease of use, 4) pleasing appearance for fun, 5) resistance to the elements for a long life, 6) ease and success of a repair, and 7) maintenance requirements to maintain appearance. Our completely subjective results follow.
|Impervious to Elements||5||2||2||1||4|
|Ease and Success of Repair||5||5||1||1||1|
5 = best, 1 = worst
FIBERGLASS WINS BY LANDSLIDE!
Your skiff is often subjected to its own specific type of abuse – from rocky beaches, concrete docks, and other skiffs. A beautiful skiff is important to most boaters, but beauty which requires extensive maintenance is unsuitable in our minds. Unless skiff maintenance is your hobby, you must have a low maintenance boat in order to have a good appearance.
Varnished wood is probably the most beautiful of boatbuilding materials, but it takes a dedicated person and a lot of hard work to maintain wood. Some people would say an unpainted aluminum skiff is ruggedly beautiful, but it takes a lot of expensive painting and maintenance to get a “yacht finish” aluminum skiff. And from experience, we know that paint on an aluminum boat is an iffy proposition.
Fiberglass can be molded into suitable hydrodynamic shapes, and requires almost no maintenance because of the thick layer of gelcoat.
Ease of Repair
Although aluminum rated high in strength, it lost heavily in the ease of repair section because it requires a very knowledgeable welder with expensive equipment. Inflatables also did not fare well in the repair field simply because a glued-on patch can never be that secure in our minds. Wood repairs are available almost everywhere which is a good thing since wood has the unfortunate tendency to rot away if not maintained. Fiberglass requires only some easily obtainable cloth and resin. The repair job is easy, quick, and secure.
The Bluewater Baby is made from hand laid up bi-directional E glass fiberglass. This allows the technicians to orient the strands of fiberglass in the direction of the greatest anticipated loads. In deck areas there is glassed-in polypropylene honeycomb- just like in high end custom yachts. In the transom and backing plates, we use proven high-strength composites. Absolutely no wood is used in the Bluewater Baby. The result: light weight and very strong and no rotting – ever!
Light Weight Means Ease of Use
It’s a fact of life that at some point you will be called on to move your skiff by muscle power. Whether pushing off a beach or swinging her onto the yacht, the lighter the better in a skiff.
We take great pains to make the Bluewater Baby and Bluewater Lady as light as possible by our use of Hi-tech cores. Our bidirectional fiberglass is carefully laid by hand to ensure the lightest and strongest glass to resin ratio. But light weight at the expense of strength is unacceptable.