WEST SYSTEM: Carolina IV: creating a modern classic with epoxy
What happens when you combine classic design, the best hard woods and fittings, decades of boat-building knowledge and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy? The answer is a unique, luxury cruising sloop, the Carolina IV, which looks just as beautiful today as when it was built in 2000 by master boat builder Henning Bøgh of Walsteds Boatyard in Denmark.
“I’ve always been interested in boats and boatbuilding. I’ve never wanted to do anything else,” says Henning Bøgh, master boat builder and Head of Workshop at Walsteds Boatyard. “I joined the team here as an apprentice more than 30 years ago – I’m still here and I still love it.”
Nowadays, Henning is famous for his fabulous restoration work on classic and more modern boats and his colleagues say he always has an ingenious solution for even the most complex repairs. However, he has also delivered some landmark new builds and he enjoys the opportunity to take a construction project from paper designs to the open water.
One of the highpoints in Henning’s career came in 2000, when a Swedish client commissioned Walsteds to build a 46-foot classic sloop with a difference.
The Carolina IV, a rework of a classic Sparkman & Stephens sloop design, features graceful sheer and overhangs, subtle use of a variety of world-class woods and the size and quality of a true, off-shore cruising yacht. However, she was also built from top to bottom using modern epoxy construction techniques – making her one of a kind.
“When we got the design from Sparkman & Stephens I was really excited; it was a chance to indulge my love of classic boats,” says Henning. “At the same time, I knew we would have to push the boundaries of what we already knew about epoxy techniques to deliver the project successfully.”
Building a modern classic with epoxy
Henning and his team used WEST SYSTEM epoxy throughout the Carolina IV build. “We trusted the epoxy because it is so well known and so widely used in the industry,” says Henning. “We knew we’d be safe with WEST SYSTEM epoxy and that the product would undoubtedly deliver the best finish for our client.”
The epoxy system was used for building Carolina’s cold-moulded hull, which was constructed using four layers of veneer strips overlaid at different angles. The last layer of strips was positioned lengthwise to create the hull’s beautiful horizontal lines.
In another crucial phase of the build, Henning used WEST SYSTEM epoxy to create a half-metre Kevlar strip below the waterline, protecting the boat against even the coldest marine conditions. “The client planned to sail in icy waters, so we covered the bottom of the hull with Kevlar and laminated it with epoxy,” says Henning. “We then used vacuum bagging for consolidation to give us the perfect finish for the laminate.”
Coating Carolina with epoxy: keeping her as good as new
To finish the boat to the highest standards of quality and durability, Henning used WEST SYSTEM epoxy to coat the yachts hull.
“We wanted to give the client years of trouble-free sailing in a wide variety of settings and climates, from the Baltic to Barbados,” says Henning. “Epoxy offers lasting protection from abrasion and water ingress, which is just what we were looking for.”
“The final finish we achieved with WEST SYSTEM epoxy was exquisite, as well as extremely tough and resilient,” says Henning.
Carolina then and now
Fast-forward to 2015 and Carolina IV has sailed thousands of miles around the world, from the icy Baltic seas of Scandinavia, to the West Indies and North America. Although she has seen all climates and all conditions, she still looks like a new classic sloop that just left the yard.
“We have Carolina IV over-wintering here at the moment out of the water and I just went to have a look at her,” says Henning. “It’s quite remarkable: she still looks like a brand new boat; it’s amazing actually.”
As part of her routine maintenance, Carolina IV gets a new coat of varnish every two sailing seasons –that’s all. “The fact that we’ve never had to do anything to Carolina IV other than routine maintenance is testament to the strength and durability of coating with WEST SYSTEM epoxy,” says Henning. “It’s quite simply the best way to protect a wooden hull and Carolina IV is the proof.”
Because Carolina VI was built with WEST SYSTEM epoxy, she is stronger, stiffer and, crucially, more durable than other boats that use traditional materials and techniques. She’s become a modern classic and with just routine maintenance, she will be around for decades for future generations to enjoy.
To find out more about Walsteds Boatyard and see other breathtaking projects that they undertake, visit www.walsteds.com.
Discover the perfect coating system for your classic yacht at www.westsysteminternational.com
Image credit: Walsteds