Vision Yachts, a boatbuilder based in Knysna, South Africa, has opened an office in the United States. Located in Edgewater, near Annapolis in Maryland, the new location has been opened on the back of solid growth and continued international interest, the company says.

The Knysna-based firm produces the Vision 450, a fibre glass sailing catamaran and a range of powerboats (Fusion 15 and Fusion 17) and it has been buoyed by home-grown advances in fibreglass lamination technology. The boatbuilder is aiming to increase annual production to around 100 powerboats and several yachts ranging 45ft and 60ft.

“We’ve recently opened an office in Edgewater, near Annapolis, in the US, so that we can provide guarantee support for our overseas customers,” says Vision Yachts director Brent Watts. “We’ve also just dispatched our first Fusion to Mexico and our South African orders are looking strong well into the future,” he adds.

In addition, Vision co-director James Turner notes that local use of fibreglass lamination technology has advanced steadily over the last 15 or 20 years, but had suddenly sky-rocketed recently, partly due to demand for high-end products like wind turbine blades required in South Africa as the country diversifies its energy mix. Turner says much of this innovation is happening locally and that the team at Vision Yachts has adopted and adapted these improvements with dramatic results.

“It’s an incredibly efficient process that’s knocked nearly a ton off the weight of the finished hull as it uses 35% less resin. This saves us up to 50% on gel-coat alone,” he nots.

The process also allows for other advantages. “You end up with a mono-structure that takes us less than three weeks to build as opposed to two months or more with the old system. In addition, the mono-structure is far stronger than the conventional system, so we can now offer a five year guarantee on our hulls instead of the conventional two," Turner concludes.

Vision Yachts continues to build the Fusion range using hand lamination, but the new technology, called resin transfer moulding, is being introduced for the construction of some of the parts on its powerboats early in the New Year.