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West System epoxy used in building an 18th century Gajeta - Part 8

by Jake Kavanagh 27 Aug 2019 04:00 PDT
The new boat performed well at the annual Gajeta regatta © Event Media / www.regate.com.hr

In our latest instalment of the building of a replica of an 18th century Croatian Gajeta, 'Lipa Moja' becomes the sum of her parts. Many hours of craftsmanship - combined with the precision of CNC cutting and the adhesive power of WEST SYSTEM® epoxy - have resulted in a beautiful vessel that is ready to race.

Perhaps spurred on by the deadline for the local regatta, the 9m replica fishing boat Lipa Moja quickly comes together. This is largely due to her team working on separate components, all of which reach completion at roughly the same time.

Naval architect Srdan Dokovic's idea to recreate a classic boat using traditional craftsmanship merged with modern tech has paid off. The butterfly is emerging from her cocoon.

The shapes for the rowlocks, blocks and other functional pieces have been cut from solid mahogany - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The shapes for the rowlocks, blocks and other functional pieces have been cut from solid mahogany and coated with WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin mixed with 207 Special Coating Hardener. The 207 hardener ensures a rich, deep gloss to the mixed epoxy coating and is usually built up in three layers wet-on-wet. When reinforced with several layers of UV resistant polyurethane varnish, the result is a transparent coating able to withstand the hot Croatian summer.

Sculls are made to the traditional pattern from solid lengths of pine - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

Although assisted by a small diesel, the Gajeta is true to its roots in having a set of sculls on board. These are made to the traditional pattern from solid lengths of pine. Again, they are sealed with WEST SYSTEM epoxy before being over-coated with UV stable varnish.

The hull is now painted with a two-pack polyurethane paint from International's Perfection range - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The hull is now painted with a two-pack polyurethane paint from International's Perfection range. The beauty of two-pack is that it is incredibly tough and there is no wastage as the pigment is mixed in an exact ratio to the hardener. A coat of two-pack can last for many years if properly applied, which offsets the higher cost of the raw material.

After a coat of primer and two coats of undercoat, the hull is looking great - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

After a coat of primer and two coats of undercoat, the hull is looking great. Two-pack paint cures (as opposed to 'dries') very quickly, which helps to speed up the painting process. The undercoat will protect the hull whilst the final work is done.

Next to go on is the toe rail, again made from mahogany and also coated with epoxy - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

Next to go on is the toe rail, again made from mahogany and also coated with WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin mixed with 207 Special Coating hardener to give that rich deep gloss. Note the drain holes.

Next to go on is the toe rail, again made from mahogany and also coated with epoxy - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

Next to go on is the toe rail, again made from mahogany and also coated with WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin mixed with 207 Special Coating hardener to give that rich deep gloss. Note the drain holes.

The aft deck is made up of 8mm teak planks set onto a bed of WEST SYSTEM G-Flex epoxy - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The aft deck is made up of 8mm teak planks set onto a bed of WEST SYSTEM G/Flex epoxy. This is a very tough, powerful thickened epoxy adhesive that has enough elasticity to allow the deck to move and so prevent any splitting. The seams are filled with a PU adhesive sealant. Large metal weights keep the whole thing flat during the curing process. The use of adhesive removes the need to screw the planks down, which eliminates potential leaks.

Note the proliferation of clamps. There never seem to be enough on a boat building project - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

Everything starts to fall into place. The team omitted to photograph the engine fitting or the erection of the mast but we can see those from the finished item. Note the proliferation of clamps. There never seem to be enough on a boat building project.

With the mast in and the detailing complete, all that remains is for the boat to be named - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

With the mast in and the detailing complete, all that remains is for the boat to be named. With so much work to get the hull smooth, no-one is going to risk denting it with a champagne bottle, so it is poured over the hull instead. That PU topcoat will shrug it off.

The new boat performed well at the annual Gajeta regatta - photo © Event Media / www.regate.com.hr

Underway and in her element. The boat performed well at the annual Gajeta regatta and turned appreciative heads wherever she went. Her epoxy sheathed and bonded hull will protect her for far longer than a traditional timber vessel, so this boat will be sailing for decades to come with relatively little maintenance required.

See more stories and tips at www.epoxycraft.com/projects/marine and epoxycraft.com/top-tips-best-ways-to-use-epoxy

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