DIAB Divinycell HP sailing boat

A home-built boat project turned into a small business opportunity

The Rhode Island-based company Highland Solution Services, with Mark Nannini as its president, started with a sunken boat and is now a thriving small business.

Mark Nannini, then a Field Services Manager at CG Power Solutions, Inc., brought his restored Kiwi 35 to Key West for a race week in 2006. Some of his friends delivered the boat and managed to get it launched and secured. Due to an unfortunate chain of events Nannini found his boat sunk by the time he arrived.

Some months later, Nannini was debating on how to replace the boat. One member of his crew, who works in a marine design office, suggested they build a boat from scratch. Having decided to go ahead with the project, Nannini and his crew carried out extensive preconstruction testing. They tried different materials and procedures for the demanding construction process, with a boat hull to be made of 250F carbon prepreg. They also evaluated multiple products with the results indicating that Diab HP80 and HP100 foams would provide the best finished component. The HP line exhibited excellent dimensional stability and skin adhesion. The product properties were also reviewed by the project designer, Ross Weene of Rodger Martin Yacht Design, who felt that the HP product was well suited for the application.

The boat builders were not disappointed. They are certain they would not have been able to achieve such a high-quality end product without the Diab HP products. During regular inspections, no delamination has been found to date. With properties desired by both the boat builder and the structural engineer, the HP line offered minimal dimensional changes throughout a moderate temperature curing cycle.

Nannini named the boat Bella after his beloved niece, born a few months before the construction work started. Fighting numerous physical impairments, the girl was a constant source of inspiration during the six years that Nannini and his crew spent building the boat. Whenever a problem seemed too large to overcome, Nannini would think of his niece’s constant struggles and forge ahead. With the help of numerous friends, Nannini managed to complete and launch the boat in the summer of 2012.

Their first boat built from scratch, the boat constructors agree it turned out to be amazing. The project, which started as the construction of a single boat, has now turned into the beginnings of a small business. Since August 2011, Nannini is the President of Highland Composite Solutions LLC in Tiverton, Rhode Island. The company provides custom one-off parts utilizing wet, infusion and prepreg processes. The company also offers CNC cutting services for clients.

Sadly, Nannini’s niece, and his inspiration during the construction work, passed away just before the boat was launched, but her memory lives on in the boat that bears her name.

Louise Eriksson Jacka
Contact DIAB in: By clicking submit you are agreeing to Diab's External Privacy Policy, and the information entered above will be stored by Diab and will be used to contact you.