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38 South - Marlin 695 Series 2 - LEADERBOARD - Sept2021

Viking 90 - While you were sleeping

by Viking Yachts 4 May 15:33 UTC
Viking 90 © Viking Yachts

These are exciting times here at Viking, as the build process of hull No. 1 of our new flagship - the Viking 90 - got under way this spring.

One of the first milestones was the application of the gelcoat, which was executed by our five-man team in our Fiberglass Department last week. The gelcoat is the outer surface of the fiberglass hull consisting of a special pigmented resin that provides a smooth, shiny and durable surface. It also provides the color to the hull while protecting it from water intrusion and ultraviolet light.

Viking offers no fewer than 16 different gelcoat colors, everything from the new Nardo Grey to the classic Stars & Stripes Blue. As you'll see in these images, hull No. 1 will boast a Kingston Grey gelcoat.

The preparation of the mold for the first hull is a six-day process that involves cleaning, sealing and waxing the surfaces five times to ensure that it's absolutely perfect for the gelcoat. Once this process is complete, the mold can be used multiple times before any maintenance needs to be done.

The application of the gelcoat for the 90 takes about five hours. It must be sprayed onto the mold surface at a certain thickness (the proper millage). The gelcoat specialists - who have multiple years of experience (some decades) carrying out this precise process - consistently use a wet film gauge to ensure that the correct amount of gelcoat is applied. This is determined in "mils" - a unit used to measure coating thickness. (One mil equates to one thousandth of an inch.)

Two shipwrights spray the gelcoat, while two others manage the hose and other parts of the applicator system, making sure the sprayer is always comfortable. They must also carefully hold the hose away from the surfaces being sprayed to avoid any contamination. The fixture that holds the mold is rotated for optimal spraying angles.

A hybrid clear vinylester gelcoat is used on the bottom portion of the hull, providing a barrier coat of protection; a "clear" coat is used to allow for the inspection of the resin infusion process later in the build.

The gelcoat team, from left: Gelcoat Applicator Rafael Arriola; gelcoat crew Foreman Manuel Bonilla; Gelcoat Applicators Allan Colindres and Juan Agaton; and gelcoat crew Leadman Marvin Rodriguez. The crew carries out the gelcoating in the wee hours of the morning - from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. This is done for two reasons. First, there is no other boatbuilding being done at this time, which minimizes the chance for contamination. Second, this schedule increases build efficiency because the gelcoat has cured by 6 a.m., so the morning crew can immediately begin the next stages of construction.

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