The making of a GEMINI WR880 RIB – A RIBs ONLY Exclusive!
Amongst the many RIB brands, GEMINI is positioned as a commercial RIB. These heavy duty RIBS are built in Cape Town, South Africa, sinds 1979. They’re built to last. So is this RIB GEMINI WR880.
Gemini Marine has been the sole provider to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) of South Africa for rescue craft from 4 meter to 8.5 meter Cabin class operating along the rugged South African coastline since 1984.Gerhard Neethling, Global Sales & Marketing at GEMINI
RIBs ONLY got an exclusive look behind the scenes how the RIB GEMINI WR880 is built (look here at the finished RIB). Some steps in the process have been omitted for trade secret reasons. This is not strange.
As a nautical journalist, I visited several shipyards. In every company I was not allowed to photograph or write about certain things for the same reason.
Many thanks go to:
- GEMINI Marine’s Tech Director & Founder Jeff Stephens
- Gerhard Neethling, Global Sales & Marketing
- Henning Blaauw, Chief Operations Officer
- And also to all the other employees for doing such a great job!
RIBs ONLY also wants to thank Arjen Maan, Company Director of novi marine in the Netherlands, importer and distributor of GEMINI RIBs.
After reading this article if you’re interested in buying a RIB that suits your needs, let this article inspire you.
I hope you enjoy this well documented article of how a RIB GEMINI WR880 is built. Here we go!
1 Preparing the mold
A polished and fully prepared hull mould. Ready for the next stage and process. Our Quality Assurance Process ensures that the same standard is achieved time and time again.
2 Gelcoat application on the hull
Gelcoat has been carefully applied to the hull mould. Consistency of thickness is very important during this application process. During each process a quality inspection is completed. A RIB is born.
QC check sheet is filled out before the next production process.
3 Fibreglass application
The first layer of fibreglass has been applied by hand. The spray strakes have been filled for additional strength. The keelson about to be filled with Unidirectional Fibreglass for additional strength.
The setting out the hull laminate by hand of this WR880 ensures that all the structural layers of fibreglass have the correct overlap, that the fiber is in the correct orientation and that the complete structure acts in unison once the VIP or Vacuum Infusion.
Strict attention to detail is required and managed through our Quality Assurance processes.
4 The Vacuum Infusion Process
The Vacuum Infusion Process. The difference in colour is the Resin being forced into the fibreglass from the resin pot through the tubes via vacuum.
Almost done. The additional tubes are to allow for a greater flow of resin to potentially dry areas. In addition, the infusion team needs to ensure that the resin doesn’t start to cure before it’s supposed to. The RIB hull is nearly ready.
Vacuum Infusion Process complete. Perfect. Notice the uniformity of the laminate.
One of the greatest benefits of the infusion process is a controlled perfect glass to resin ratio.
A polished and fully prepared Deck mould. Ready for the next stage.
5 Gelcoat application on the deck mould
Gelcoat being applied to the deck mould. Consistency of thickness is very important during this application process. Once again, Quality Assurance is in place and maintained.
6 First layer of fibreglass on the deck mould
The first layer of fibreglass has been applied. The foam core is prepared and is being carefully laid out on the underdeck prior to vacuum bonding.
Quality Management is ongoing to ensure uniformity and that standards are maintained.
7 Internal reinforcement structure: the Backbone
The Backbone of the GEMINI RIB product. This is the internal reinforcement structure in all our boats and it is about to be demoulded.
This is a very exclusive view of the WR880’s interior structure!
Mind that the steel structure you see on this photo prevents longitudinal, lateral and torsional distortion of the Backbone once demoulded.
8 The bonding of hull and Backbone
Chemical and mechanical bonding is vital to the installation of the Backbone. The “Peel Ply” (a protective covering) is removed just prior to the bonding area being marked out.
The application of bonding paste is carefully placed in all the required places.
The Backbone is installed into the hull of the WR880 while the newly cured laminate is still in the mould. The bonding paste is smoothed out over the flanges of the Backbone to ensure that there are no high spots for the next process.
The bonding paste is slightly elastic and is as strong as any laminate to which it is bonded!
Our Quality Assurance process is strictly adhered too, notice the uniformity of thickness of the bonding paste.
The complete RIB hull and Backbone being demoulded from the mould. Notice how clean the mould surface is and free of debris.
Once removed, the hull mould is immediately covered to prevent dust from settling on the surface and to prevent scratches on the mould surface.
9 The deck
The deck being demoulded. The (edges) flanges still need to be trimmed.
The deck is airlifted and in flight on its way to grinding bay for the next process fo this WR880 build.
The demoulded hull is placed on chocks.
Additional buoyancy, in the way of “twin pack” Polyurethane foam is added into the hull and covered with laminates of fibreglass to ensure that there is no ingress of water.
The deck is placed alongside. Electrical conduits are added to the underside of the deck prior to bolding. Hull and deck are now ready for pre-fitting.
The deck being pre-fitted to hull before bonding. The bracing in the hatch aperture keeps this area longitudinally uniform.
Final adjustments. The deck flange is trimmed and the hull and deck about to be bonded. It’s great to see the making of the GEMINI WR880 RIB a RIBs ONLY Exclusive being built in South Africa.
This is a critical moment in the production sequence as any misalignment after bonding cannot be rectified.
10 Hull and deck
The united pair. The hull and deck are now inseparably joined. The apertures in the splash well are cut out for the hatches to allow access into the transom bilge.
The edge finishes on the hull and deck will be ground away in the next process.
Final stages for the heavy work. The boat is being fitted with the necessary deck drainage and bailer systems. The underdeck flow coating is applied at this stage of the production process.
The boat in inverted and placed on tyres to allow for a close-up inspection of the hull to ensure that there is no imperfection in the finish. The hull is the most important part of the RIB. Look at that “V”.
The entire hull and transom are polished and buffed during this process. This is documented through our Quality Assurance Process.
11 The tube
The tube has been waiting in the wings for about a week. The artisan’s above are carefully applying bonding agent to the internal doublers, deck and tube to ensure proper bonding and correct tube alignment.
Our ISO Quality Management System requires that installation of the tube is checked to ensure that all joints and seems are correctly completed.
The tube is now bonded to the hull and deck. The finish line is in sight. The WR880 takes shape.
The two white stripes represent lines where the tube needs to be ground prior to the colour strip being fitted.
The colour strip has been now been installed. The artisan in the image is preparing the tube within the demarcated area as shown for the rubbing strake to be applied in the next process. You can choose other colours to make your GEMINI RIB a bit more exclusive.
The rubbing strake is in place and the tube patches are in the process of being measured and laid out on the tube to ensure geometric and aesthetic symmetry.
Our Quality Assurance processes enables us to pay strict attention to detail.
Final measurements and demarcations for the tube patches is complete.
On the port side (left), bonding agents are being applies for the tube patches. While on the starboard side (right) the tube patches are being trimmed and fitted.
The deck is covered with plastic to ensure that no damage is incurred.
12 Ready to go
Perfection. The legendary GEMINI name and brand is applied to the hull and is ready for shipping to a very enthusiastic and expectant customer. The making of GEMINI WR880 RIB – A RIBs ONLY Exclusive! Yes!
As with our production and Quality Management processes, the packaging of the final product is equally important and is part of the process. We go to great lengths to ensure that our product is packaged and shipped properly, secured in accordance with international shipping regulations.Gerhard Neethling, Global Sales & Marketing at GEMINI
When the RIB arrives at novi marine, there the lay-out of console and seats can be adjusted to the customer’s needs. Many options are possible of course.
This concludes the making of GEMINI WR880 RIB, a RIBs ONLY Exclusive! I hope you enjoyed it as much as me.