Elite team support from AkzoNobel

Apr 1, 2023 | Featured Article, News

Two of the boats competing in the latest edition of The Ocean Race have been coated with high-performance products supplied by AkzoNobel’s Yacht Coatings business.

The WindWhisper Racing Team’s VO65 and Paul Meilhat’s IMOCA (Biotherm) boat both feature products from AkzoNobel’s Awlgrip range and will display the Awlgrip logo. They will also receive expert support during the demanding five-month event. 

Following an in-port race in Alicante, Spain, on January 8 2023, the race itself officially began on January 15. The foiling IMOCA fleet will sail the full 32,000 nautical mile (60,000 km) route, while the VO65s will take on a shorter challenge, competing for the inaugural The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup – which features three stages of racing that match legs one, six and seven of the around-the-world race.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with some of the world’s best sailors for what will no doubt be a gruelling test of performance and endurance,” says Jemma Lampkin, Commercial Director of AkzoNobel’s Yacht Coating business. “We’ve worked closely with the WindWhisper Racing Team and Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm team on the exact specification required to cope with the challenges they’ll be facing. Direct collaboration with users of our products is so important and we pride ourselves on giving the best support possible.” 


Biotherm support

“For the Biotherm Imoca being skippered by Paul Meilhat (our sponsorship is with Paul), we used a full Awlgrip paint system,” explains Matt Anzardo, Global Marketing Segment Manager AkzoNobel – Yacht. “This was a brand new Imoca that was built in Italy.  We supplied a series of epoxy primers and fillers, to provide a solid and smooth surface for the Awlgrip Topcoat to be applied. The system entailed prepping the surface, the application of Awlgrip Hullgard Extra, followed by the filler, Awlgrip Awlfair LW. This was then faired/sanded smooth to obtain a uniform finish. 

© IMOCA (International Monohull Open Class Association)]

“The filler then needs to be over-coated with another epoxy primer and Awlgrip Epoxy Surfacing was used, and then the final finishing primer of Awlgrip 545 Epoxy Primer.  At each of these stages the boat was sanded and cleaned off prior to the next application. 

“Once the Awlgrip 545 was cured and sanded, the Awlcraft SE base coat was used. Awlcraft SE is a two-stage product (base/clearcoat) system. The SE stands for Solids and Effects as it is available in solid colours and effects like metallic and pearls. This is a very fast-drying product which enables the applicator to quickly apply multiple coats and to create unique designs. Once the Awlcraft SE base coat was applied, it was followed by an Awlcraft 2000 Clear Coat.” 


WindWhisper support

For the VO65 WindWhisper, this was a boat that was previously painted and the system did vary slightly from the above. “The surface was properly prepped, with some areas needing some extra attention from some nicks and dings from usage,” explains Anzardo. “Those areas were addressed and then primed and spot areas faired smooth with Awlgrip Awlfair LW.  After this work was done, the Awlgrip 545 Epoxy Primer was applied, which is a finishing primer, prior to the application of the topcoat.  WindWhisper also went with the Awlcraft SE and the Awlcraft 2000 Clear in most areas.”  Anzardo goes on to explain: “On the deck areas, the team opted for our Awlcraft CS Clear Coat. The CS stands for Customisable Sheen.  This allows for customisation of the gloss levels to reduce the glare from sunlight bouncing off the deck. They also incorporated our Griptex non-skid component on the deck to provide traction while walking on the deck.” 

© WindWhisper Racing Team

In addition to providing much-needed protection for the two vessels as they navigate the various stages of the race, AkzoNobel’s yacht coatings products will also help to enhance their appearance – ensuring that they look great as well.

“The race is always an exciting spectacle and we’ll be following it all the way,” continues Lampkin. “We wish both teams smooth sailing and the very best of luck.”

The sailing event is due to finish in Genoa, Italy, at the end of June.