Benefits of aluminium

There is a lot to be said for aluminium as a material for building yachts:

Lightweight
Aluminium is a lightweight material. It weighs three times less than steel. This means that the hull may weigh up to 50% less. A lighter hull offers better performance, a shallow draught, lower fuel consumption, less capital outlay for engine and propulsion systems.

Strong and safe
Aluminium guarantees a stiff and strong ship. Although it has a slightly lower tensile strength, the strength vs weight ratio of aluminium is equivalent to that of steel. There is much less risk of a hole in the hull in the case of a collision, than with a fibreglass hull. This makes aluminium yachts safer yachts, especially when at sea, when distances to reach the shore and emergency assistance are often vast.

Long service life
Aluminium does not rust. Aluminium reacts very quickly with the oxygen in the air. This results in a thin layer of aluminium oxide on the outside of the metal. Any further contact with oxygen on the inside of the aluminium part is made impossible. Thus, the metal will not be affected by corrosion. The oldest aluminium sea-going yacht - built in 1936 - is still very much afloat.

Comfortable
An aluminium hull is stiff and little affected by vibration. An aluminium hull behaves well in heavy swell and choppy seas.

Low maintenance costs
An aluminium yacht does not have to be painted, which reduces building and maintenance costs. An aluminium hull is easy to repair and has little vulnerability to small imperfections such as scratches.

Flexible building material
Glassfibre yachts are built with the use of a mould. The mould's size can not be varied, and each hull made from this mould is exactly the same as its predecessor. Mass-produced yachts are usually built this way. An aluminium hull is built on its own deck and frames and each yacht can thus be tailored to the individual customer's needs. Changes may even be made during the building stage. Aluminium is easy to deform, which makes it possible to build complex round bilge hulls.

High trade-in value
Aluminium yachts have a very long service life and therefor maintain their value.


PDF: Newsletter (in Dutch) about aluminium in the boatbuilding industry, published by the Dutch Centre for Aluminium