Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Smart in plywood...The French get it right

Plywood is a wonderful material to make boats out of... It's as strong as steel by weight and good quality plywood is consistent which any boatbuiler loves. Of course, it has fallen out of favor (I won't bother to go into that silliness) but in some quarters Plywood is making a very real comeback.

Over in France there are quite a few small to medium sized production boatbuilders who are now building go-anywhere cruising boats in Ply. Plywood, because it is an economical material both in actual and tooling costs, makes all kinds of sense and really lends itself to less than Bendytoy production runs.

The French boating press is (on the whole) more interested in how a boat performs and fulfills its function rather than how much advertising they spend. So, the fact that designer David Reard's state of the art Phil 43 came out as the LN Boat of the Year in 2008 is no real surprise. In fact, it says a lot! Of course, it is just one of many serious plywood cruising yachts on offer going head to head against the Bendytoys, Hallberg Rassy's and suchlike while coming out on top kinda says it all.