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Southern Ocean adventure with West System

by ATL Composites 15 Dec 2021 17:00 PST
Lisa Blair and Lorraine Duckworth, ATL Composites © Lisa Blair

Ahead of her journey from Brisbane to Albany, WA preparing for her circumnavigation of the Antarctic in January, Lisa Blair met with Lorraine Duckworth from ATL Composites to stock up on West System products to keep her yacht ship-shape during her odyssey.

Lisa's 15.25-metre Hick 50, called "Climate Action Now", has undergone a structural upgrade completed by the specialists at Wright Marine at Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, with Lisa carrying out much of the refit work herself. In 2017, Lisa became the first woman to sail solo around Antarctica, but a dismasting meant she did not beat the record, held by Russian, Fedor Konyukhov.

Now, laden to the gunwales with kit - both scientific for undertaking several research projects on the waters and the seabed during her epic voyage, and spare parts for every kind of repair job while under way - Lisa is ready to take on the challenges of the Southern Ocean.

What do you anticipate will be your major challenges during your Southern Ocean and Antarctic quest?

This is my second voyage, so I'm not being over-confident. It's a long trip and I can't go too hard too soon. My goal is to complete the circumnavigation in 102 days and beat the current record. I need to pass Cape Horn and Iceberg Alley and do it safely. I have trained hard for this, both physically and to ensure that I'm strong mentally as well.

I have found getting to the start line is harder than the trip. Preparation is key. The weather is always a variable so I keep an eye on that.

What kinds of challenges does your yacht face in those waters?

The boat will do a lifetime's worth of work in three months. By the time it is halfway, things start to wear out and you have to start "re-building" the boat. There's constant movement and stresses, but I'm confident in the boat and know it's capable. I have 16,000 nautical miles of experience now, so I feel well prepared

How are you prepared with your onboard kit to carry out running repairs?

It's important to have spares and replacements for every part of the boat from engine, through to galley, and having the right products for onboard repairs is imperative. It has been great to have ATL as a sponsor and the composite products will cover everything from strenuous fibreglass repairs at sea, to patch repairs that can be completed with West System SIX10 Speciality Adhesive.

What do you like about Six10?

It's clean and efficient, with the static mixer there is no concern about dispensing the correct mix ratio. It's simple to use and fits in a standard caulking gun. Repairs can be actioned quickly.

West System® Six10 Thickened Epoxy Adhesive is packaged in a specially designed, self-metering cartridge. This innovative container provides many useful features:

  • It separates the resin and hardener for long term storage.
  • It accurately meters the proper 2:1 resin/hardener ratio.
  • It precisely dispenses the desired amount.
  • It fits into a standard caulking gun.

All adhesives rely on good surface "wet out" and saturation to achieve a good bond to the substrate. Six10 has a viscosity high enough to resist sagging but can still saturate and wet-out a surface without pre coating, thanks in part to shear thinning. This property also enables it to wet out light to moderate weight reinforcing fabrics such as fiberglass and carbon fibre. With its quick cure through, Six10 is ideal for small repair and reinforcing projects. Make repairs in less time and with less mess.

Other products included in Lisa's kit are West System 105 epoxy resin and hardeners plus the West System 301 pumps that will ensure easy and accurate dispensing.

"We've included selected West System powder modifiers 413 Microfibre Blend for any structural bonding applications," said Lorraine.

"We also included 411 Microsphere Blend for filleting and sandable patch work, plus a selection of application tools, gloves, mixing containers, 808-2 Plastic squeegees for wet-out fibreglass, 800-2 West System Roller Covers to coating applications, and the 804-8 Reusable Mixing Sticks to ensure efficient and safe use of West System epoxy products."

West System is the leading brand of Marine epoxy worldwide. Celebrating 50 years in 2019, West System products are the choice of both professional and amateur boatbuilders and can be tailored to exact repair and construction needs.

"We included multiaxial fibreglass tapes and full width rolls for any reinforcement requirements, and peel ply in both tape and full width rolls to limit the need for sanding prior to secondary bonding.

"Plus industry favourite, Techniglue R60 adhesive, which Lisa and Wright Marine used during the recent extensive refit project, was also included for structural bonding requirements."

The team at ATL Composites wishes Lisa "fair winds" and all the best for her record attempt.

For more about Lisa's adventure, her cause and sponsorship opportunities see

For West System in Australia see

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