Bass Boat Technologies: The United States is, without question, the land of the bass boat technologies. A natural phenomenon in the land of Uncle Sam, where the many lakes and rivers lend themselves well to the use of this type of boat, the bass boat also has dozens of manufacturers. Vexus is one of the latest brands to appear on the market, and it comes with grand ambitions.
A natural phenomenon in the United States, the bass-boat is now conquering Europe and France. A reasonably rich universe with many brands on the market. So it’s not easy to make a name for yourself in this field…except when your name is Vexus.
Forrest L Wood, A Bass Boat Technologies Legend
To understand the birth of Vexus, you have to go back a bit to the time of Forrest L. Wood, who created the Ranger brand in 1968. Over the years, the brand has become a legend in the USA, just like its founder. After a few adventures and takeovers, Ranger finally fell into the hands of White River Marine (the owner of the Bass Pro Shop stores) in 2014. Forrest regained its independence, quickly followed by some of Ranger’s executives and employees. From this break, the Vexus brand was born, headed by, guess who…Forrest L Wood. . did not choose the brand’s name at random since it simultaneously expresses the notion of a vector and recalls the Lexus automobile brand, now a benchmark in terms of luxury and quality.
As a result, not only does Vexus not start from scratch, but the men who set it up to have taken advantage of their experience to produce the ultimate bass boat technologies, at least such is their ambition. As is done a lot in the USA, Vexus has set up its factory a stone’s throw from the Ranger factory, a good solution for finding qualified personnel.
A Completely Hi-Tech Factory
To push the doors of the factory, it is, therefore, necessary to go to Flippin, a small town in Arkansas, a little in the middle of nowhere but right next to a great lake. As soon as you arrive in the car park, the decor is a little off in the middle of green meadows and ranches since, emerging from the ground in 2018, the site covers nearly 13 hectares, including an 11,000 m2 factory. Covered with a very modern dark gray paint and glass facades, the building is very modern. The sign at the entrance to the car park announces the color “Advanced Marine Performance – The revolution is here).
Behind the door, the surprise continues. Very modern, the Vexus factory is also fully air-conditioned, a luxury in this corner of the United States, especially when building boats. And it doesn’t stop there. And a cafeteria is available to employees as well as a gym. It almost feels like being in a Californian start-up rather than in Arkansas.
The creation of a Vexus already begins in the research and development office with the latest generation software that allows the boat’s behavior to be simulated. Seeing the result on the water, we realize that it is effective.
An Ultra-Modern Research Office
Vexus started with aluminum boats on the production side and still has this range. We then discover a storage space with carefully selected aluminum sheets knowing that a sample of the aluminum used is kept for each boat. Then come the first machines, including a considerable press installed on a 2.50 m thick slab. At Vexus, we try to make everything in-house to ensure the final quality of the product. In the case of aluminum boats, we first start with cutting with laser machines. The sheet metal is shaped, and then we move on to welding, a key position in the factory that employs many people.
During the welding, the boat receives several reinforcements both at the level of the hull and the transom, the deck or even for the tank. We then place the elements such as the Livewell, the tubes for the rods, those for the cables, or the cooler and then block everything with expanded foam. In addition to improving rigidity and sealing, this reduces the noise level when sailing.
A Foolproof Structure
Then comes the painting and, after drying for 24 hours, installing the various accessories. The boats were designed to make it easy to fit extra accessories, just in case. Another characteristic of the manufacturer is that he manufactures the trailer simultaneously as the boat, and the latter follows the boat on the production line to ensure that it is perfectly adapted.
On the side of polyester boats, if the selection of materials is also demanding, the implementation of the fiberglass is done entirely by infusion with a very innovative process which makes it possible to use 40% less resin than traditional manufacture by contact. Hull, deck, and fittings are made in the same way. As for aluminum boats, reinforcements are installed, certain accessories or manufacturing elements, then the whole is foamed. Then, we make the necessary cutouts for the electronics or the dials, and then comes the decoration. The boats receive a gel coat, a coat of automotive type paint with a few glitters if necessary, and varnish to ensure maximum protection.
Whether aluminum or polyester, each boat benefits from detailed monitoring and complete traceability in terms of traceability.
A method that seems to be bearing fruit since 2019, Vexus produced 1,500 aluminum boats and around 1,000 fiberglass boats. A great success for a factory that emerged from the ground in 2017. Given the people’s motivation at Vexus, it seems that it is not ready to stop.