Corecell Sandwich Construction

Corecell construction is superior to balsa wood

The type of coring used in the construction of the hull and deck lies at the foundation of any build. Coring is a structural stiffener sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass skin. Coring is particularly important to a catamaran builder because of the need to create stiffness with reduced weight. Builders wishing to build long-lasting boats choose performance composite foam core throughout the structure.

Most production catamaran builders choose to build their hulls and decks using balsa coring, which is made of balsa wood cut across the grain in thin slices to expose the end grain fibers.  Basla core is far cheaper than Corecell…and there is a reason, it’s an inferior product and creates lots of opportunities for long term problems.

Key advantages of Corecell foam cores

Zero water absorbtion

Corecell foam is a closed-cell structure that will never rot or absorb water. Balsa core, on the other hand, shows its weakness when exposed to water. Balsa will soak up water from any small cracks or weakness in the skins and has no resistance to water permeability. This leads to rot, loss of structural integrity, weight gain, and undermines the longevity and resale value of the boat.

Elastic enough to flex slightly on impact

The core also needs to have enough elasticity to absorb impact and maintain the bond to the skin. The Corecell foam acts as a shock absorber that supports the outside skin from severe impacts and protects the inside skin by dissipating the impact load over a wider area.

While Balsa core may be stiffer, it is also brittle. Brittleness leaves the core vulnerable to crack spread as the sandwich panel continues to flex on impact.

Long Lasting

Because Corecell does not absorb water, even if there is structural damage to the fiberglass, it will last much longer, and cost much less to maintain over the lifetime of the yacht. This is one of the reasons we've never had an issue with our core getting soft or rotting out like so many other balsa wood core boat experience.
Corecell Layup on Antares Hull
Corecell Foam
A quick video from Sail Magazine discussing the advantages of foam core boat construction.

Balsa Core Boat Pictures

When water seeps through small fiberglass cracks into the balsa core of boats, it can create serious damage.  Balsa absorbs water and will turn into a rotting mess.

Here are some photos of boats doing fiberglass repair, rebuilding the decks.  This is something you will never have to do on your Antares, as Corecell does not abosrb water when breached.