UITWELLINGERGA – Unlike most of us, Paul Dijkstra always knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. A boatbuilder!
At the 2019 METSTRADE show, PDC – Paul Dijkstra Composites BV – won a Boat Builder Award nomination – recognition for his specialty: composite mold and hull construction. And what happens if you specialize in something? “We get the most complicated assignments,” says Dijkstra. “Nothing we do is standard.”
Early in his career, Dijkstra linked up with Adri Wolf, who had worked on Volvo Ocean racers and today heads production at Rondal, the Dutch specialist rig maker for massive performance sailing yachts.
“I learned much from Adri about composite construction,” says Dijkstra, who launched his company six years ago. Since then, PDC has become a household name in Dutch yacht building.
Dijkstra has developed a mold system that is cheaper than a 3D-milled one and behaves better with temperatures. His CNC mill makes airtight parts, a derivative of the method used for Volvo Ocean racers.
“We just built some molds for Rondal,” says Dijkstra. That was the catalyst for the Boat Builder Award nomination in the category of ‘innovative production process.’
This year he delivered a carbon, Dick Koopmans-designed rowing boat that is to cross the Atlantic Ocean. “The client wants to set a record,” says Dijkstra. “So, the boat’s weight must be just right. We made no hull-to-deck connection but placed two molds against each, so the hull becomes one whole.”
The outer skin is made of carbon, with Corecell foam on the inside. Dijkstra used Gurit prepreg laminate to ensure an optimal fiber/resin ratio and ideal weight.
He hopes one day to make an 18.3m (60ft.) composite IMOCA yacht for the Vendée Globe Challenge, the grueling non-stop round-the-world sailing event. “People think they can only be built in France. We can do that here, too,” he says.
Dijkstra’s portfolio backs up that claim. It shows various composite boats, including the I-Go-40 catamaran, a Peter Bosgraaf design that can be disassembled and fitted into two standard containers for shipping or storage.
The boat has an open bridge deck, 25 sq. m of outside floor space. Inside: six berths, a galley, a dining table and a bathroom. Dijkstra made the fast, light-weight craft of glass/carbon reinforced epoxy.
The off-the-grid boat requires no storage of fuel, gas and water. All equipment runs on electricity from solar panels and two electric motors via hydro-power regeneration. Right now, Dijkstra is building two full-custom carbon tenders of 8 and 16m. (26 and 52ft).