Baking tough-as-nails plastic boats
BREDA ~ Since 2004, Whaly has been making sturdy boats for fun and work. On YouTube you’ll see someone hauling a Whaly behind an all-terrain quad, bouncing it off the ground and trees and spinning it in the air. Not even 3 hammer blows cause any damage. The 7 Whaly models _ from 2.10 to 4.40m (6.9 to 14.4 ft.) are multi-purpose craft for work or pleasure. Dredging companies, fire departments, customs and other public services have been using them for years. “Charter companies and sailing schools are good clients of ours,” says Whaly owner Robin van der Steen.” Whalys are low-maintenance, one-piece, double-walled boats made of polyethylene, the world’s most common plastic.
Van der Steen exports them to 30 countries in Europe and the Mideast and is checking out the US market. He “bakes” his boats in an oven. Molds with colored polyethylene spend an hour in natural gas-fired oven in temperatures of up to 325C (617F). Finishing includes mounting such things as an outboard support and a grip rail and expelling air from the hull. Every Whaly loses air pressure through 2 tiny holes in the anchor hatch. Van der Steen: “If that does not happen, the boat will expand under a hot sun.”