West System provides materials for Atlantic-crossing rowing boat

The crew plans to be the first to sail its carbon fiber/fiberglass composite, pure class rowing boat non-stop 3,800 miles from Europe to South America.


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West System team on a boat
Photo Credit: West System

West System (Bay City, Mich., U.S.) announced on May 10 that it has sponsored a four-person crew aiming to be the first to row non-stop from mainland Europe to mainland South America in a pure class rowing boat.

The normal Atlantic challenge starts in the Canary Islands and finishes in the Caribbean. Instead, Jim Davidson, Justin Coleman, Rob Lucas and Tom Riley will be rowing from Portugal to French Guiana, adding another 800 miles onto the challenge, for a total trip of 3,800 miles.

The team is using a carbon fiber and fiberglass boat, named Trilogy, which was constructed in 2013 and has already completed three Atlantic crossings. “Our boat is a pure class rowing boat, so it gains no advantage from the wind,” Riley says. “We would be the first crew to make the journey in such a boat.”

Trilogy holds three rowing positions and a watertight cabin at either end. Power comes from solar panels and is stored in two marine batteries.

West System provided the team with materials to build a new, handmade rudder and daggerboard for the boat, including WEST SYSTEM 105 epoxy, WEST SYSTEM 205 fast hardener, WEST SYSTEM 207 special coating hardener, WEST SYSTEM 405 filleting blend, WEST SYSTEM 410 microlight, glass cloth for the rudder, biaxial cloth for the daggerboard and WEST SYSTEM SIX10 adhesive for any emergency repairs. The team worked with resins distributor Wessex Resins and Adhesives (Romsey, U.K.), for product recommendations. 

The new rudder was made with Western Red Cedar and Sapele used for the leading and trailing edges. The daggerboard was made using laminated African hardwood. A strip of unidirectional carbon fiber was added to both sides of the daggerboard for additional stiffness, and a jointed “yoke” was attached to the top of the rudder.

According to Riley, the team will set off from the marine of Portimao in Portugal, toward the Canary Islands, along hte African coast and then west across the Atlantic Ocean to French Guiana. The team plans on completing the trip in 60 days, and will use the challenge to raise money for charities Surfers Against Sewage and Our Blue Light.