A quarter century legacy of safety at sea
The original Glacier Bay catamarans were engineered to meet the needs of two diverse, but demanding markets: Northwest sportsmen and Hawaiian seafarers. Alaskan sportsmen, often alone and subject to severe conditions, were looking for safety, structure and the strength to survive collisions with submerged “deadheads” far from civilization. In the South Pacific, island-hopping and fishing Hawaiians also sought a rugged craft, one capable of handling huge seas. Both of our original markets demanded a soft-riding hull with extraordinary capabilities and reserves of strength. Once the word was out, customers across the country and around the world discovered the benefits of Glacier Bay catamarans.
All composite construction for strength and durability
The secret to a Glacier Bay’s strength and long-lasting durability is an engineered combination of composite materials and methods designed for light weight and structural toughness. After the gel coat color is applied to the molds, layers of fine mat are applied before the structural build up follows. This “skin coat” assures your Glacier Bay will always retain the smooth surface of the polished mold. Then the structural build of layers of bi-directional and tri-directional knitted fiberglass are strategically applied and overlapped in water shock areas. Excess resin is painstakingly removed from the laminate using squeegees to insure proper glass-to-resin ratios. As an added measure of strength, layers of thick, 36-oz woven glass are applied in the hull bottoms.
After the initial hand-laid fiberglass, a series of bulkheads are installed to provide grid-like strength to the individual hulls and “yoke” the two together by spanning the tunnel sections. The bulkheads are fabricated from fiberglass-reinforced composite materials affording super strength while never prey to water absorption or rot. This same high-density composite is used in the transoms and is further reinforced by aluminum backing plates in engine mounting areas. After the bulkheads are installed, foam flotation is sprayed into strategic areas for strength and safety.
Resin-infused hatches, lids and other small parts produce light weight fiberglass components of extraordinary strength
Unlike boat builders that simply spray chopped glass into small parts and use heavy, solid “squeeze mold” hatches, we pay particular attention to even our smallest fiberglass parts for strength and weight-saving performance. That’s why parts like lids are resin-infused with composite cores resulting in stronger lids, perfect laminates and, when combined with all the other small fiberglass parts, significant weight savings. This technology also applies to parts like hardtops and t-tops which are vacuum-bonded for weight savings that lower the vertical centers of gravity while providing for built-ins like lights and speaker boxes. At Glacier Bay, we are wedding today’s technology to our legacy of durability at sea.
Durability and reliability guide the selection of components
Once bulkheads, stringer systems and flotation are installed into the hulls, polyethylene fuel cells are pressure checked then secured in place. Components like through hulls, bilge pumps and other systems are installed and wired using tinned strand copper boat cable that is labeled all along the wire for easy identification. All connections below the water line utilize waterproof connectors that, while expensive, provide the ultimate protection and ease of component replacement when necessary. Standard wiring and battery cables travel through PVC wiring chases throughout the boat for a chafe-free environment. Pulls for electronics are also installed in chases and in the hardtop frames for ease of rigging your instruments.
Hardware and electrical components are pre-installed before the deck goes on
All standard stainless steel hardware is 316-grade for higher resistance to staining in salt environments. Before the deck goes on, cleats and rod holders are installed with aluminum backing plates and aircraft-type locking nuts. Bow rails and grab rails get the same rugged treatment for safety and long-term durability. Electrical components like courtesy lights and convenience items like cup holders are installed and in place before the deck is lowered into the hull.
The Glacier Bay hull, stringer system and deck are bonded for unified structural integrity
The hull, deck and stringer system of a Glacier Bay are engineered to work together much like the grid system that supports an airplane and its wings. The stringer system is chemically bonded to the hull and to the deck to form the grid. Then, the deck and the hull are joined at the gunwales with an ingenious chemical/mechanical bond that uses two-part epoxy-coated stainless screws. These screws fuse the tops of the hull and deck by drilling into the composite backing glassed in the hull top ring, heating the epoxy which in turn, creates the chemical, composite bond. Heavy-duty gunwale molding and stainless sheer metal complete the watertight connection.
Care and craftsmanship mark the final assembly stages
In the final stages of assembly, components like companionway doors, windshield systems and tops are installed, wired and checked. Cabinetry and upholstery, gauges and panels all come together as the catamaran takes shape on the assembly line. As a final measure, each boat goes through an extensive quality audit and is signed off personally by supervisors and staff. Moreover, when the boat arrives at your dealership, their staff conducts yet another quality audit with the results fed into our continuous improvement program. Then, after you purchase your new Glacier Bay, you’ll participate in further research that will keep your and future owners’ boats first rate and Glacier Bay ready.
The result? Your Glacier Bay is a vessel you can depend on built to the certification standards of the National Marine Manufacturing Association and Yacht certified by the American Boat and Yacht Council. So, make your plans for your next adventure. Your Glacier Bay is built for it.