Glue-molded wooden yachts are a specialty of Bopp und Dietrich. With different projects, the shipyard on Lake Steinhuder Meer offers something new again and again.
Bopp und Dietrich
Nobility and speed
Now you need to act very quickly. Three yacht builders must apply glue to the hull of a yacht with the keel upside down before the gum begins to boil. Epoxy reacts when exposed to heat. Heat, in turn, speeds up the chemical reaction. If you hesitate, the glue will begin to solidify while still in the boiler. However, these people are a well-played team: one goes to the keel and pours glue from a bucket onto the yacht's hull, the second rolls the glue with a large fur roller, and the third smears it with a notched trowel on a thin veneer.
At the shipyard Bopp und Dietrichlocated on the lake Steinhuder Meer and is engaged in the construction of small ships, an exclusive model is created for an individual order. The design was developed by the Bavarian designer Klaus Röder: an unusually large but simple cat.
“Customers are getting older,” explains the shipyard director Christian Dietrich- and they want maximum convenience. This client wants a yacht with one mast, one sail, one sheet, a winch and two cable stops. In addition, he wants a cockpit table with four seats for playing ramp and a cooler for beer. These were his wishes. "
Now Dietrich's team is bringing them to life. The glue is applied, the craftsmen reduce the speed of work: from "very fast" to "fast". Now the next layer of cladding is attached. The craftsman applies a thin veneer sheet to the top edge of the deck. Two clicks and the staples are all attached. He bends the veneer parallel to the other sheets on the yacht's hull. Click-click, now the keel is ready. Sheet by sheet, the layer expands, the pneumatic staple gun clicks without stopping. Finally, the three craftsmen roll out a roll of vacuum film, attach it and turn on the pump to create the necessary pressure for pressing.
When it comes to glue-molded wooden hulls, the shipyard Bopp und Dietrich one of the most famous companies in Germany dealing with this issue. In this construction method, thin veneer sheets are glued to each other along and diagonally. The hulls are so sturdy that they can do with far fewer stringers, frames and beams than a traditional wooden hull. The shipyard uses mahogany for interior and exterior decoration. The prized reddish brown wood remains the benchmark for shipbuilding for many customers, although hulls can also be molded from local softwoods.
Bopp und Dietrich
Bopp und Dietrich
The shipyard has gained its good reputation thanks to the success of the molded cabin light boats. with a sail area of 20 sq. m. Their production began 25 years ago: Matthias Bopp and Christian Dietrich work in a tradition-rich shipyard Linnekuhlalso located on Lake Steinhuder Meer. The company produces small yachts for regattas that are very successful. However, two young masters decide to start their own business. Initially, they build small pleasure boats, but soon the first 20s are coming out.
Shortly before this, a group of sailmakers also separated from their employer firm. Beilken... Like the shipyard Bopp und Dietrich, CO-Segel has to gradually build up its regular clientele. The two companies cooperate and soon a sail combination from the firm CO-Segel and yachts from B&D occupies a leading position in the yachting sector for regattas. 15 years from 1986 to 2006, German champions walked 20s from the firm Bopp und Dietrich.
Three times the helmsman of such a boat was Karol Jablonski... After cooperation with the company CO-Segel this is the second lucky break in the history of the shipyard. In the 80s, three late immigrants from Poland appeared on Lake Steinhuder Meer, who were related to yachting at their home, and now they were trying to get on their feet in their new homeland. Before becoming an internationally renowned skipper, Jablonski built 20s at Bopp und Dietrich and led them to victory. “He helped us move forward,” Dietrich recalls.
The centerboard boat in the repair shop hasn't seen a race for a long time. Instead of a modern, steep and short structure above the deck, the oval of the classic centerboard-boat deckhouse is whitewashed here. The surface looks matt. It is sanded as the yacht will be re-varnished. The foreman carefully tapes the front hatch with foil so that nothing drips into the cabin. On a carpenter's bench, there is a dismantled hatch cover, waiting for intermediate grinding, next to it is a rudder blade.
Repair orders are also part of the daily life of the shipyard. A firm cannot live off titles and prizes alone. Especially since the crisis hit 20m yachts. Last year, due to the insufficient number of this class of ships, they were deprived of the right to participate in the championships. The shipyard director Dietrich is saddened by this, and now looks at the 20s more like a spectator. Another lucky accident helped his company survive the reduction in the volume of orders associated with these events: ten years ago, the shipyard turned to Markus Glass - owner of a shipyard on the lake Starnberger See.
Glas, together with the designer Klaus Röder, developed in the 90s a new version of the L-yacht, an old German Grenzma-klasse... After the first rack-and-pinion vessels were successfully sold, the demand arose that the shipyard had to look for ways to increase production. Glas got the idea that the process of molding the case on glue can be transferred to specialists, and they themselves can handle the finishing. For today Christian Dietrich built about 50 buildings for his Bavarian counterpart.
While the yacht builder is willing to provide expert advice on modern wooden shipbuilding, he is quite reluctant to reveal his cards when it comes to details. Thanks to vacuum technology, Steinhud produces not only wooden hulls, but also state-of-the-art carbon fiber masts. However, even our own employees are not present during their manufacture. Only one retired master, with whom Dietrich came up with his technology. “We paid dearly for science, but now we think we can do it very well,” Dietrich downplays his skill.
All projects give a good workload for the company, but expand your enterprise Christian Dietrich does not seek. When Bopp and Dietrich started, they had two more masters. Today the shipyard employs three foremen and three apprentices. Bopp withdrew from the business in 2003. In addition, there is also a joiner and a retired master already mentioned, who work part-time. The extension would make the work less clear. And Dietrich would not want to create additional stress for himself. Therefore, he has time to concentrate on new projects.
For example, on an electric boat. The decrease in the number of yachts on Lake Steinhuder Meer and the constant increase in the age of sailors led him to start thinking about motor boats. However, on the Steinhuder Meer, internal combustion engines are prohibited and electric motors are limited to 10 hp. with. Therefore, there was a need for an electric boat that would be attractive at the same time. "Restrictions make our life very difficult", says Christian Dietrich. Despite this, the first prototype - a boat with a length of 6, 50 m - is already standing on the shipyard's bridge. Visually, it resembles classic motor boats.
The following vessel shall have the prescribed boundary dimensions: 7.60 m long and 2.50 m wide. Dietrich sees the biggest problem with electric boats in batteries. He found a solution and is importing lithium batteries directly from China. He thinks the prices are too high, but he is also confident: “Electric drives are a topic for the future. This also applies to the automotive industry. When she seriously deals with this issue, then development will go faster, and prices will not be so high. " It is possible that then the electric boat of the company Bopp und Dietrich will become one of the sales leaders.
Text and photos: Jan Maas
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