Warm return to Australian Wooden Boat Festival

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Exhibitor and sponsor, ATL Composites enjoyed a warm reception at this year’s Australian Wooden Boat Festival, promoting the WEST SYSTEM range of products and introducing Epifanes yacht coatings to the Australian market.

This year’s Australia Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart, 10 to 13 February 2023, was embraced by more than 90,000 visitors, most of them from interstate, and all sharing a deep appreciation of the art and craftsmanship behind wooden boats.

The ATL Composites team attended, exhibiting the complete range of WEST SYSTEM epoxy products and launching the Epifanes brand of yacht coatings to the Australian market.
“The Festival was full of enthusiasm both from the visitors and the exhibitors,” commented Lorraine Duckworth, Director at ATL.

“After a four-year wait, everyone was excited to be able to be there and you could feel the positivity.

“We were pleased to meet up with multiple long-term customers, both amateur and professional boat builders, many visiting from interstate who tracked us down to find out about new products.

“They also provided feedback about how they had used WEST SYSTEM on their project for many years and how good it was, praising ATL’s technical support and how we always respond in a timely manner and with helpful technical advice.

“It was wonderful to see the photos from owner-builders telling how their projects went, and how vital WEST SYTEM had been to their projects.”

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Introducing Epifanes at the Festival attracted a lot of attention. The brand is well-known and respected in Australia.

“People said they were very glad to hear that ATL Composites is the new importer,” said Lorraine.

“They told us they had used the products previously and loved them; they couldn’t say enough about the beautiful finishes they were able to achieve and that they would definitely be buying from us. It was a very positive reception for Epifanes.”

The professional boat builders and DIY market mentioned attributes such as UV stability and reliable build-up of thickness as features of Epifanes varnishes, and most importantly, the longevity and durability of the coating, even in extreme Australian conditions.

Boat Show Stand 2

Andrew Denman, Director at Denman Marine, was in charge of the rebuild of Te Rapunga, the 32-foot double-ended ketch that sailed the world under original owner and seafarer, George Dibbern in the 1930s to 1950s.

As well as sailing 100,000 nautical miles, Te Rapunga is famous for winning the first Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race in 1935 and the second Trans-Tasman Race in 1934.

Her owners, a Bruny Island consortium called Nature Pact, was committed to reviving Te Rapunga, which means “Longing for the dawn” in the Maori language.

Te Rapunga George Dibbern

At Denman Marine, she was built using traditional carvel planking in Huon Pine and Celery Top on hardwood frames and backbone. The original ballast and other recovered materials and fittings were re-used. One concession to modern materials is the use of WEST SYSTEM products for the deck beam lamination and any other laminated hardwood components, and Epifanes varnishes throughout the vessel.

Visitors to the 2023 AWBF were impressed with the vessel’s exquisite lines and the brilliant craftsmanship involved in her restoration.

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“Our staff were on the boat for the whole Festival and could soak up all the accolades, which was nice,” said Andrew. “And the owners put on a curated display about the boat’s history and the re-building process, which took around two and a half years.”

Te Rapunga Interior
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Andrew and his team used Epifanes throughout. “Given the quality of the project, we used the best materials throughout the boat. We’re building a boat to last another 100 years.”

The interior had a mix of timbers, mostly Huon Pine and Tasmanian Blackwood, all enhanced by Epifanes varnishes, including the Wood Finish Gloss and Wood Finish Satin over the top.

“It builds coating thickness quickly to achieve a nice, high-quality finish. I believe it is the best varnish available.”

More about the Epifanes range here.

Te Rapunga Exterior
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