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Wind in Their sails
June 27, 2013   
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Poland’s largest builder of luxury sailboats, Delphia Yachts is a household name for many sailors around the world. Many associate the brand with quality, durability and user comfort.

Some Delphia yacht owners have circumnavigated the world in their boats. Others have cruised the Mediterranean or set sail time and again in search of adventure in the Baltic and North Seas.
The Delphia Yachts yard, based in the northeastern town of Olecko, was launched in 1990 by brothers Piotr and Wojciech Kot. The company has since become the largest builder of luxury yachts in Poland, with a product range comprising yachts between 7 and 15 meters in length.

Since Delphia Yachts produced its first sailboat, the Sportina in 1990, the yard has grown to become Poland’s largest manufacturer of sailboats with a range of eight models and production exceeding 150 units every year, resulting in the Delphia brand achieving global recognition. The rapidly growing market for sailing and motor boats has resulted in great demand for its products, with Western European markets accounting for 98 percent of the company’s export sales.

Demand for Delphia’s products has increased with each year as the result of a flourishing and dynamically developing dealership network extending as far as the United States, Russia, Japan and Australia.

For many years, Delphia has been a member of the Polish Chamber of Yacht Trade and Water Sports of which Wojciech Kot, the company’s co-owner, is president.

Delphia’s yachts are designed by professional craftsmen using state-of-the-art computer software and hi-tech equipment such as computer numerical control (CNC) machines. The company’s facilities employ vacuum infusion technology. Delphia has a long-standing relationship with the Ship Design and Research Center (CTO) in Gdańsk, northern Poland, where its boat prototypes are examined and tested.

Thanks to employing modern manufacturing technologies, the company says it can offer its products at competitive prices and use environmentally-friendly components and materials such as Low Styrene Emission resins.

To date, Delphia Yachts has built nearly 3,000 sailboats. The company says it continues to upgrade its products to meet customer expectations. This includes efforts to increase the strength of the boats’ hulls and decks as part of the “First Polish ocean-going yacht based on vacuum infusion technology” project coordinated by Paweł Masianis, head of Delphia Yachts’ design department.

The project began two years ago and a year ago a prototype of the boat was built in collaboration with the Gdańsk-based Ship Design and Research Center. The zl.2.8 million project has been co-financed by the National Center for Research and Development to the tune of more than zl.1 million.

The project covers design and technology data analysis as well as market research.

“The tests were conducted for our Delphia 47 sailboat built with the use of the vacuum infusion process,” says Masianis. “The vacuum infusion method is used worldwide to produce laminates—the material for the construction of boat hulls and decks. Except that laminates obtained with this method are chiefly used to construct racing boats. In our project, we applied such laminates to make recreational boats,” says Masianis.

Lamination is the technique of manufacturing a material in multiple layers so that the composite material achieves improved strength, stability and appearance.

The prototype tests included vibration, noise and acceleration measurements. They were carried out in the Gulf of Gdańsk in the north of Poland. The main aim was to assess the vibroacoustic and dynamic parameters of the designed vessel compared with previous designs based on traditional technology.

The vacuum infusion method is more expensive than the traditional manufacturing process—known as the hand lay-up technique—because it requires additional equipment and supplies such as foil needed to create a vacuum as well as a pipe system to supply the resin and maintain the vacuum.

“We build yachts with this method as an option requested by a customer,” Masianis says. The customer must then pay more. But demand for sailboats built with the vacuum infusion method runs high, according to Masianis, especially in the case of racing boats that must meet specific weight requirements. Besides vacuum infusion makes the production process repeatable.

Delphia Yachts uses vacuum infusion as the standard method for the production of its Delphia 24 One Design racing boat.

Although no part of the project has been patented, the very idea behind making non-racing sailboats with the vacuum infusion method is original, Masianis says. “Several ocean-going yachts based on infusion technology have been designed in Poland and abroad, but all these were racing boats,” says Masianis. “We offer such an option for pleasure, recreational boats.”
D. G.
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