Superyacht metalworks: Bimini construction aboard S/Y Nariida
Last updated: 24/05/2018
Nothing can beat cruising the sunny waters of the Mediterranean or Caribbean, with clear blue waters, amazing scenery and long hot summer days, but as glorious as these are, they can certainly take a toll on both the crew and the finish of the yacht.
The bimini has therefore now become an essential item for those who cruise or charter in these waters, providing protection from the sun and its damaging UV rays without interfering with the sailing pleasure or working of the yacht – when designed properly.
Yachting Pages follows the bimini construction project aboard 32m iconic sailing yacht ‘Nariida’ with Sara Manley from Links Marine Services S.L in Mallorca, from commission through to installation.
The bimini brief: Design and materials
“In September 2016, Links Marine Services was contracted by the captain of sailing superyacht Nariida, a 32m (105ft) Wally, originally built by Concordia Custom Yachts in 1994.
“At the initial meeting, Jason Murrell, manager of Links Marine Services, travelled to S/Y Nariida to meet with the owner and captain on board to discuss their ideas for the bimini, and to make recommendations on the best way to achieve what they were looking for.
“He needed to find out if a fixed or folding bimini was required and how much of the cockpit or helm position needed to be covered. In this case, they wanted something that could stay in place in all weathers: A rigid, flat bimini that was streamlined and followed the lines of the boat. They strongly felt that it needed to look as if it had always been part of the boat, not some after thought that had just been ‘tacked on’.”
Once the purpose and shape of the bimini had been decided, there were many factors to be taken into consideration. Sara explained:
Lighting: “Where should the light fittings be installed? Over the cockpit table, helm position or hatch?”
Material: “What material should the bimini be constructed in? There are several different finishes, the most common being high-polished stainless steel 316, or bead-blasted which gives it a semi-mat titanium appearance. On chase boats they are often instead constructed in aluminium.”
Sizing: “What will the final height and shape of the bimini be? Important so that the bimini doesn’t interfere with the view from the helm position. And what should the size of the tube be? Important as different sizes can affect the overall look of the final product.”
Fabric: “What fabric would be used to cover the bimini? This was decided early in the design stage, as cover maker Wayne Parker from Doyle Covers came in to give his recommendations on fabric types. He also advised where any sidescreens or windows should be placed and how they should be connected, as these are often essential to enable the helmsman to view the rigging.”
Fitting: “How will the bimini fit to the deck? Important as some biminis are permanent, but others will need to be able to be dismantled and put into a container for storage - often the case for race boats where they will be taken off for races and then reinstalled again for cruising."
“Once all this was decided, and measurements had been taken, the detailed design process began back at the workshop. Using these and the design specifications together with the boat plans, our naval architect Mauro Petrini was able to put together the final design details and produce a 3D CAD drawing to be submitted to the boat (pictured above) – this enabled the owner to view the bimini design from various angles to get a feel for how it would look in one place.”
Metal fabrication and bimini manufacture
“Once the design and material specification were agreed, the quote accepted and deposit paid, we were then able to begin the metal fabrication process. Normally just one welder would do the whole job, from welding to polishing and fitting on board. Our most experienced bimini maker, Ivo Borisov, a Lloyds-certified welder, produced the bimini for Nariida.
“Generally, we make all our biminis in the workshop in Marratxi, and Nariida was no exception. In the workshop, Ivo was able to work more efficiently as all of the tools are to hand and the project is out of the weather, but more importantly, as polishing is one of the most important parts of the job, this can be done away from the boat. The process of polishing is both dusty and dirty and therefore is best done away from a superyacht!
“Due to its large size (3.63m by 5.37m), Nariida’s fixed-top bimini was made in transportable pieces and then fitted in-situ. Above is a picture of the team getting another bimini frame ready for transport.”
Transporting and fitting the bimini on board
“Once the top was finished in the workshop, it was then transported to the boat where it was suspended in position on a scaffold. Once in place, the legs were fitted – fine-tuning the height, as final adjustments were needed to make sure it wasn’t in the way of the boom or so that it wasn't chaffed by main sheet or back stays and ensure that the height didn’t interfere with the view from the helm position. The legs were then welded in place and secured to the deck.
“After the bimini was in position and bolted in place, the electrician came to wire in the lights, and then it was up to cover-maker Wayne to come and measure up and take templates to the cover leaving the final article (pictured below), which after many hours of design, welding and fitting is now ready aboard Nariida for the quickly approaching summer season.”
The Nariida team at Links Marine Services
Jason Murrell: Owner/manager
Jason learnt to maintain and repair boats at his parent’s boat yard, later becoming a captain. With his welding and maintenance experience, he can provide practical solutions to almost any technical problem.
Mauro Petrini: Naval architect
Mauro joined the company in 2016. He has over 10 years’ worth of experience as a naval architect having worked for, amongst others, Feadship and Rene Van Der Velden in Holland.
Ivo Borisov: Lloyds-certified welder
Ivo is a highly skilled welder with Lloyds certification. He is Bulgarian, but has worked with Links in Mallorca for nearly seven years now.