DIAB Divinycell vacuum infused fishing vessel

Seigla creates a SAGA of success with Diab cores

The tradition of building large boats with costly and rust-prone steel has been slow to change. Boatbuilder Seigla, however, has been championing the switch to sandwich composites for years. In 2011 the yard in Akureyri, Iceland delivered the world’s largest vacuum-infused fishing vessel, SAGA K.

Boatbuilding entrepreneurs Sverrir Bergsson and Sigurjón Ragnarsson were convinced early on about the possibilities and overwhelming advantages of composite materials. Seigla, the company they founded in 1991, fought for the vacuum infusion technique to be recognized by the Icelandic Maritime Administration. Seigla came into contact with Diab already in 1997, but the company chose to work closely with Diab after attending a theoretical and workshop-based seminar on vacuum infusion ten years ago.

Seigla’s first infusion project, a 15 m commercial fishing boat in 2003, was a point of no return. Not only did vacuum infusion give Seigla customers stronger, lighter, faster and more economical boats, it also led to a cleaner and healthier workshop. Today Seigla makes regular use of Diab materials and expertise, and in December 2011 the company pushed boundaries by delivering SAGA K.

At 18 meters long and 5.7 meters wide, SAGA K is probably the largest vacuum-infused fishing vessel in the world. Throughout its structure are Divinycell H60, H80 and H100 core materials from Diab, which were delivered in bulk and custom-cut on site. Though Seigla was already well familiar with Divinycell cores, the size of the boat necessitated new and greater thicknesses of 20 – 55 mm.

Today SAGA K has its home in the cold fishing waters north of Norway, where it has easily surpassed the expectations of its owners. In addition to being lightweight and economical, it has proven to have excellent insulating qualities. Whereas single-skin boats become damp or even soaking wet inside due to condensation, SAGA K is consistently dry throughout.

The dry conditions are more comfortable for the crew, of course, but they also protect the electrical instruments aboard SAGA K, which is equipped with the latest technology. On single-skin boats, condensation can accumulate under the roof panel of the wheelhouse to form huge blocks of ice in the freezing cold. When the temperature begins to rise, it can then rain inside the boat directly onto the electrical equipment. Yet this never happens aboard SAGA K.

Still another advantage SAGA K offers its owners is the possibility of thorough cleaning. Bearing in mind that fishing vessels are somewhat like floating food production companies, it is remarkable how little attention is generally paid to their hygiene.

Seigla took great care during the design process to ensure ease of cleaning, especially when it came to food handling areas. By using Divinycell core from Diab in the fish hold, the need for stiffeners was eliminated, resulting in a more open and more accessible compartment. An increased number of flat surfaces and a smaller number of corners make the fish hold – and indeed all of SAGA K – easier to clean and substantially more hygienic.

Of course, a fishing vessel that is light, comfortable and clean is not enough. It still has to catch fish. But even here SAGA K has exceeded its owners’ wildest expectations. After leaving harbor for its first fishing tour in January, SAGA K returned less than a month later with over 200 tons of fish, suggesting that the boat will provide a handsome return on investment.

Meanwhile, Seigla is investing experience from the SAGA K back into new projects. On the drawing board is a 24 m vessel, planned for vacuum infusion with Diab core material throughout.


Louise Eriksson Jacka
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