Ingenuity and epoxy – Stabiliser systems

A popular 30-metre charter yacht spent a three month stint within the super sheds at The Boat Works for the installation of an upgraded stabilisation system which required 44.3mm thick reinforced epoxy pads infused onto the hull bottom to accommodate the new stabilisers.

Requiring the full range of talents of the team at Ocean Degree Yacht Services, Stella Marine and ATL Composites, and the full use of the haul-out, berthing and refit shed facilities at The Boat Works, the project was only the second time it was undertaken in Australia, and by the same expert team.

As Gary Cooper from Stella Marine explained, “The vessel sought to upgrade the stabiliser system from an underway only system to a ‘Stabilisation at Rest’ system, or STAR to enhance onboard comfort and stability”.

“The vessel originally had a 300 actuator system with a 1.1-square-metre fin. The upgrade to an ATB-Trac 370 stabiliser system, two 2-metre fins, will give them a larger actuator and an extended cord fin which will improve both underway stabilisation and also create enough forces to provide good stability while at anchor in any sea state or wave angle.”

Gary continued, “Being a busy charter vessel, it is imperative that they offer their clients an enjoyable experience on board. This upgrade will give unparalleled comfort to their client during a busy charter season. The STAR system is built for heavy-duty service. It eliminates the discomfort cause by the phenomenon of crowded waterways and choppy conditions.”

Project Manager, Rob Sabo at Ocean Degree said the four-week project took many weeks of preparation ahead of the actual work.

We built massive, 5m x 5m custom-designed benches that could be wheeled under both sides of the hull so we could carry out the upside-down vacuum bagging and infusion – which was also an innovation in this type of process.”

The hull had to be reinforced ahead of installation as the larger stabilisers will place an increased amount of force through the hull, therefore the hull needs additional laminate to increase the strength in a certain area to handle the new forces.

The reinforced epoxy pads are 44mm in the thickest section tapering out to zero.

“We specified KINETIX R118 epoxy infusion resin, based on the success we have had over the years resin infusing E-glass and carbon reinforcements.”

KINETIX R118 Infusion resin and KINETIX H141 Infusion hardener at 4:1 by weight mix ratio provides extended pot life of 80 minutes, a low mixed viscosity for fast flow rates, and will cure without B-stage at ambient temperatures of 25-degrees C. To increase the strengthening process, they post-cured for 10 Hours at 80 degrees.

ATL Composites supplied all the 1200g E-glass Quadraxial reinforcement for this project, after side-by-side tests revealed that the quality of ATL’s E-glass Quadraxial was superior and infused faster than other brands available locally.

Quadraxials also provide excellent longitudinal, transverse, and shear strength, and provide a good thickness build-up per layer.

Rob was able to rely on the performance of R118/H141 to be able to resin infuse in sectional increments with three shoots, 39 Layers – 13 at a time – of QK01200 which was 1200g E-glass Quadraxial (approximately 14mm thick laminate) without any concerns of exceeding exothermic reaction temperature.

“We’ve had a long run of successful results infusing with ATL’s KINETIX resin and the E glass is of a consistent high quality.”

Needless to say, the vessel’s Captain and owners are extremely happy with the results.

The superyacht has returned to charter in the Whitsundays and her crew have reported noticing a difference in stability and comfort, at sea and at rest.

“The new stabiliser system has made a massive difference to the boat’s performance,” says Levi Duncan, Director at Ocean Degree. “They’re able to operate effectively whilst at anchor, which they could not do previously.”

The Boat Works continues to raise its shed capacity on-site, with yet another major investment in marine infrastructure currently underway.

The new development offers boat owners and Captains even larger sheds with a staggering 20-metre clearance, creating the largest superyacht refit sheds on the Gold Coast.

“The new sheds are forecast to open for the first quarter of 2022, when charter and private superyachts arrive to undertake their refinishing works, major refit projects and maintenance,” said Shane Subichin, The Boat Works General Manager.

“At 20-metres in height, the new sheds ensure plenty of space for the installation of scaffold and scissor lifts at 16-metres wide x 50metres in length, ample working and storage area for vessels such as tri-deck superyachts, luxury commercial vessels, flybridge cruisers and passagemakers.”

Shipwrights Ocean Degree Yachts Services

Stabiliser Stella Marine

ATL Composites