Recreational boat builder Genmar Holdings Inc. has introduced a 24-foot tri-hull pontoon mostly rotational molded with more than 2,600 pounds of polyethylene.
Genmar showed the pontoon at a Minneapolis boat show Jan. 21-25. Dealers saw a prototype in late July.
``This is a breakthrough product'' in a market segment that has grown more than 50 percent during the past five years, said Irwin Jacobs, chairman of Minneapolis-based Genmar.
Genmar subsidiary Triumph Boats in Durham, N.C., used the patented Roplene process of dual-wall construction. Genmar has invested $35 million in the process since 1999, and ``almost $20 million was spent on it before we bought it,'' Jacobs said in a telephone interview.
``The mold is almost 24 feet long,'' said George Blaisdell, engineering director for Triumph and a new Genmar subsidiary, Windsor Craft Inc. ``When everything is cooled, you have a 22-foot, 8-inch pontoon.''
A forward mounting of the separately molded center pontoon brings the length to 24 feet. Each hull contains 550 pounds of resin.
The PE withstands saltwater - unlike a traditional pontoon's aluminum - and Genmar said the craft retains stability while cutting through water on planing hulls created by yacht experts Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering Inc. of Newport Beach, Calif.
Linear low density PE is used for the three hulls, fold-up cabana/changing station, console and base structure; high density PE for the floor and sides; and cross-linked PE for the fuel tank. The Durham facility has four rotomolding machines, including two clamshell models.
Historically, Windsor Craft was a high-end line of boats made with simulated wood. Genmar resurrected the brand name for this project. Larger and smaller pontoon designs are under consideration.
The base Windsor Craft costs $34,995 with a 115-horsepower, four-stroke engine.
Genmar purchased the Roplene technology in its 1999 acquisition of Logic Marine. ``We have been gathering Roplene patents for 10 years'' and making refinements, Blaisdell said.