Windy Boats – Achieving World-Class Results with Awlcraft SE

Thursday, August 1, 2019


On March 7th 2019, globally renowned yacht manufacturer Sunseeker International announced the death of its founder, Robert Braithwaite, aged 75. Wishing to pay tribute to 50 years of industry-leading craft, ex-Sunseeker employee Richard Jennings (now working at AkzoNobel) chose to dedicate the restoration of a 1989 Sunseeker Portofino 31 to the memory of its creator, using cutting-edge Awlgrip products to achieve a finish worthy of Braithwaite’s legacy.


Prior to the restoration, the 30-year old craft was in need of some renovation, due to aging gelcoat and paintwork. If left uncared for, it is common for boats to go to landfill after an average of 40 years, as is the current practice with the majority of GRP fiberglass yachts that reach the end of their lifetime in the UK. However, it took just 4 weeks to return the craft to excellent condition, with only 5 days dedicated to the priming and topcoat application process, a testament to how quickly even a luxury craft can be restored using products with the right application qualities.

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AkzoNobel works closely with leading industry names such as Desty Marine and maritime services company Ardent to demonstrate new products, such as Awlgrip Quick Build and Awlgrip HDT. Desty Marine provided the use of their state-of-the-art facilities at Hamble Point Marina, while Ardent supported in terms of boat movements, the location of parts and much more.

Following the stripping of the ancillary parts and the old finish, the deck and hull were sanded, and then primed with Quick Build Surfacer. This versatile, quick drying primer is formulated to increase productivity for series build manufacturers and OEMs.

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Awlgrip HDT was then applied onto the hoop and the deck. Awlgrip HDT is a high-performance polyurethane topcoat that combines hardness and micro-scratch resistance with repairability, outshining other topcoats with its gloss and excellent DOI (Distinction of Image).

Next, Awlcraft SE was applied – a fast-drying topcoat system formulated with excellent opacity, available in a huge variety of colors and finishes, including both metallic and pearlescent. A variety of colors were used, from Awlcraft SE Metallic Blue for the hull band and Awlcraft SE Metallic Silver for the boot line, to Awlcraft SE White for the iconic Sunseeker logos, with pearlescent blue used to add a contemporary look.

In order to enhance the finish even further, Awlgrip HDT Clear Coat was applied on the topsides of the boat, providing a superior quality clearcoat with the same benefits as Awlgrip HDT in terms of repairability and durability. Then, the final luxurious touch was applied using the world’s only high-quality natural diamond coating; Sun King Diamond Coating, created through a partnership between Jean Boulle Luxury and AkzoNobel for a lustrous diamond finish.

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“As a proud ex-employee of Sunseeker, I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to help keep Robert Braithwaite’s legacy alive,” Richard Jennings explained. “We were able to give the boat a new and contemporary appearance using the latest products and colors, while maintaining the classic Sunseeker lines and build quality.”

“According to boatbreakers in the UK, 80% of scrapped boats are ones made from GRP which usually end up in landfill – on average 3 boats a week. That’s a scary statistic – so why allow this to happen when you can upcycle them to their former glory? We believe strongly in sustainability, so it’s gratifying to be able to sustain the lifetime of a vessel by saving it from a premature retirement.”

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“I am delighted with the overall finish,” concluded Richard. “This was a real passion project for me and it couldn’t have gone more smoothly or achieved a better result. So I’m glad we were able to offer products to restore this fantastic craft, still based in Poole Dorset, the home of Sunseeker, and create a fitting tribute in memory of Sunseeker’s illustrious founder.”

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