68′ American

Engineered for Superior Speed and Performance

Most boat builders agree that the cold-molded wooden boats currently being produced generally out-perform glass boats because they are almost always lighter and faster. Thanks to the use of Kevlar and other high-tech building materials, reduced weight and speed doesn't have to come at the expense of strength. Building lighter and stronger boats is a principle goal at American Custom Yachts.

Every ACY custom sportfisherman features a uniquely-crafted hull that is precision-built for speed and efficiency. Utilizing computerized plasma cutters provided by shipbuilder Edison Chouest Offshore, ACY fabricates a permanent steel jig for each hull. This method ensures that each hull meets ACY's exacting specifications, while reducing hundreds of man-hours in set-up and breakdown time.

The keel, stringers and deck beams on each ACY are constructed of laminated wood for strength. American has found plywood laminated with fiberglass and Kevlar to be the ideal materials for boat hulls and structural bulkheads. The secret to the boat's light weight and speed is Kevlar – a high-tech polymer tougher than fiberglass – that can be applied at a much lighter ratio to achieve the same strength.

ACY hulls are constructed of fir stringers wrapped with diagonal layers of Bruynzeel plywood manufactured from mahogany. Three layers are applied to the bottom with each layer set at opposing angles for extra strength. Two layers are used on the hull sides for weight reduction. The plywood is formed and fastened to the longitudinal battens and stringers by a vacuum bagging process. The hull is then covered with a Kevlar and fiberglass mat and finished with fairing compound to complete the cold-molded process. Vacuum bagging assures even bonding and a fair outer surface, while eliminating the need to drive thousands of screws or nails to hold layers together while the epoxy cures and then remove the fastenings to plug thousands of holes.

American's cold-molded construction technique duplicates the weight-saving advantages of foam-core hulls while adding the extra strength of a wooden hull. On glass boats, most of the hull's weight is in the resin which is absorbed by the fiberglass. Because ACY's cores are made of wood instead of foam core, the inner and outer panels do not have to be as thick in resin and glass. The result is a stronger, lighter hull with a better glass to resin ratio.

Click on the images below to view ACY's unique hull construction technique step by step, or click here to view all images as a slideshow.

The keel and stringers are laid on a custom steel jig created with a computerized plasma cutter to ensure absolute accuracy. The engine room bulkheads have been inserted into the jig, and the bottom planking is complete. The hull sides are fully planked, and the hull is being prepped for glassing. Glassing is complete and the hull is being prepped for glazing and fairing. The fairing process begins with the application of glazing compound. The hull is glazed and sanded repeatedly to ensure a fair and even surface. Fairing complete, the hull is painted with primer, ready to be rolled over so interior construction can begin.