Projects: Building a 23ft Sailor with WEST SYSTEM epoxy – by Adrian Donovan
A 23ft trailer sailor with built in ballast tanks and buoyancy tanks, four berths, galley and a large roomy cockpit – Adrian Donovan’s most recent (and unnamed) commission leaves little to be desired. The Suffolk based boat builder is used to his boats being described as “drop dead gorgeous” and being complimented on his fine finish and attention to detail, but what makes a boat this beautiful? We look at his process and the products that make it all possible.
Firstly, tell us a little about yourself
I’ve always led a marine life, first working on vessels in the Merchant Navy and then later in Global Challenge races. I left the Navy to pursue a nautical studies degree and since then I’ve worked for plenty of marine organisations, including the MCA, Britannia Sailing, Solent Sailing and SW Sailing of Plymouth. I’ve also spent lots of time in the superyacht industry, as captain of a number of private super yachts around the Mediterranean and Caribbean, and was even a skipper in two Global Challenge races.
What’s special about this project?
This is the first mainly plywood and epoxy boat we’ve worked on. She is a 23ft trailer sailor with built in ballast tanks and buoyancy tanks, four berths, galley and a large roomy cockpit – making her an excellent weekender or gunkholer for longer expeditions. She’s a customer commission that we’re really putting our all into.
Which WEST SYSTEM or PRO-SET epoxy products did you use? How did they help?
Throughout the build we used a variety of products, including: WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin®, 205 Fast Hardener®, 206 Slow Hardener® and 403, 406, 405, 407 Fillers. These were used in gluing, coating, sheathing and filleting. As it’s a predominantly plywood boat, epoxy was specified for the build.
What was the most rewarding part of the project?
Getting past the gluing, sheathing, filleting phase to the fit out phase of the build. That’s when she starts to look really great.
What’s your top tip for boatbuilders looking to start a similar project?
Be prepared to build in almost laboratory conditions. If there are issues with the resin not hardening or curing, or of blush then the conditions – temperature and humidity should be questioned.
Speaking of which, you should always buy the best pump set and store the whole lot in a temperature controlled cabinet.
Finally, plan how you’re going to dispose of the waste generated in this type of build. It can be quite extensive with endless rollers, brushes, gloves, mixing pots, trays, reams of peel ply, off-cuts of epoxy soaked glass fibre, used containers of resin and hardener, and cleaners and solvents – to name a few.
To see more of Adrian’s builds, find out more about his maritime career, or for his contact details, click here: www.adriandonovan.co.uk
To see the products that made this build, and so many more, possible: https://wessexresins.co.uk/west-system/