Materials / Construction

Selecting the proper boat is one of the most important decisions you will make concerning your boating equipment. A good decision will make your boating successful and enjoyable. Phoenix presents this information guide as a straightforward discussion of the criteria you should consider before selecting your boat.


Strength and Weight: The Functional Necessities


The engineering problem facing a small boat manufacturer is extremely complex. The challenge is to make a craft which will be strong enough to perform in the most rugged of conditions, yet light enough to respond to subtle movements of paddle, body or oar.


The boat must also have a blend of rigidity and flexibility. The manufacturer must select materials and reinforcement techniques to yield a hull which is rigid enough to maintain its design integrity in rough water. Achieving this functional rigidity is complicated by the fact that the boat in order to be both strong and light, must flex on impact with any unyielding object such as a rock, tree stump, or log. This flex on impact (or bend and then return to its original shape) characteristics must not compromise the weight or the hull's functional rigidity.


Materials and Construction


  • Fiberglass - Because there are so many types of fiberglass available, selection of the proper material is extremely important. The choice of fiberglass, weave, weight, and finish is critical to the integrity of the final product.

Phoenix, after extensive testing, selected a specially woven, aircraft quality fiberglass cloth. This cloth is made of tightly woven continuous fiberglass filaments. Phoenix chose this cloth to maximize the benefits of the high tensile strength of fiberglass and the high strength to weight ratio of a flat, closely woven cloth. Furthermore, when saturated with resin, the closeness of the weave of the Phoenix cloth maximizes the reinforcement of the final laminate. This high reinforcement ratio and low resin content significantly reduces weight while adding strength.

  • Nylon - The chief advantages of nylon are its great tear strength and its high "elongation". Phoenix uses a ballistic nylon cloth that is ideally suited in weave, weight, and cost. The composite laminate of plastic, fiberglass, and nylon achieves a unique blend of tear and tensile strength, "functional rigidity", "flex impact", and overall light weight and strength.
  • Plastic Resin - The plastic in Phoenix fiberglass/nylon small boats is a very complex, flexible, high-elongation isophthalic resin, originally developed for rocket motors. We modified this resin for use in our boats. It's strength and durability surpasses any other product that can be used.
  • Selective Reinforcement - Selective reinforcement strengthens the areas most vulnerable to damage and reduces overall weight. The picture above illustrates the construction of the hull of the fiberglass/nylon Phoenix Poke Boat. The gray areas designate the sections of selective reinforcement, and the number indicates the number of layers of reinforcing material in each section.
  • Seams - The deck and hull of the Phoenix Poke Boats and Vagabonds are joined together on the inside of the boats with several layers of fiberglass cloth and resin. Heavy-duty black tape is applied to the outside for cosmetic finish only.


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