WEST SYSTEM: An historic fishing boat for the 21st century
The Shipyard and Marina in Betina, Croatia has been building boats for a staggering 270 years. It is one of the last bastions of traditional wooden shipbuilding on the Croatian Adriatic coast – but they’re still keen to move with the times. Here, Technical Director Joško Radić tells us about his team’s modern take on the BETINSKA GAJETA 700, a traditional fishing boat that was first built back in 1740.
How did the project come about?
There were several reasons we wanted to build a ‘new’ Gajeta. First of all, we wanted to showcase the incredible boatbuilding skills that our team has developed over the years and the quality finishing that we achieve on a daily basis. Secondly, we wanted to demonstrate that the future of wooden shipbuilding is in modern design methods, such as CAD-CAM software, CNC processing and laminating with epoxy resin. Thirdly, we wanted to show how it’s possible to build an ultra-traditional wooden boat that has the longevity and quality of a cutting-edge recreational daysailer that can sail in the toughest conditions.
We also want to race it!
Which WEST SYSTEM® or PRO-SET® epoxy products did you use?
The boat is built almost entirely with WEST SYSTEM products. We used 105 Epoxy Resin® combined with a range of hardeners: the 205 Fast Hardener®, 206 Slow Hardener® and the 207 Special Clear Hardener™. We also used the WEST SYSTEM 309 High Capacity Gear Pump.
The boat features a strip-plank laminated veneer/fibreglass hull. Instead of using solid wood for the structural elements, we laminated them (the keel, keelson, stems, frames, deck beams and stringers) with mahogany. Some parts of the cockpit are made with multiple layers of marine plywood; these were bent, glued over a mould and vacuum bagged.
What was the most rewarding part of the project?
Using modern products and processes – such as 3D CAD-CAM software, the CNC router, epoxy products and laminating – to achieve a traditional-looking boat with an exceptional quality finish was very satisfying.
What’s your top tip for boatbuilders looking to start a similar project?
It’s vital you use high quality designers. Laminate elements whenever it’s possible and appropriate to do so and take maximum care over the finish.
Also – respect WEST SYSTEM epoxy instructions! They’re always accurate.
To find out more about Shipyard and Marina in Betina, visit www.shipyard-betina.com.
If you would like to see your own boatbuilding project featured in epoxycraft for free, then get in touch with us now.
Want to know more about the full range of WEST SYSTEM epoxies? Visit the WEST SYSTEM website.