Building a biocomposite boat by Andrew OrmerodI

When investigating the use of biobased materials I was interested in getting first hand experience of their merits – partly in relation to application, development and commercialisation of products.

I was particularly keen to try a locally marketed UV-cured plant oil based resin.  One advantage was that the resin could be applied at the pace that the builder works at and then is cured when the resin and woven fibre are exposed to enough of the right wave length of light.  Unfortunately the need for light setting limited (at this stage of development in 2009) resin setting around natural fibres because they are rather opaque.  This meant that a woven glass matt that allowed light through had to be used as the matrix for the resin.

2008-07-23  East Malling Fruit Focus 23rd July 2008 552 2008-07-23  East Malling Fruit Focus 23rd July 2008 551


The mould and previous owner who built it.  

I bought a mould for a small tender and worked with a local specialist in biocomposites who built the hull.  He modified it producing a dagger board casing.

biocomposite boat 2Biocomposite boat.jpg


Boat under construction

The boat was finished with a wooden gunwales and seats and the hull was fitted out to take a generic topper mast, sail and rudder.

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Dinghy being tested out at Polkerris beach, Cornwall. 

The boat was tested out at Polkerris beach, Cornwall and the balance needed improving possibly with a heavier dagger board and air tanks would need to be fabricated to improve buoyancy when the dinghy capsizes.  This is all part of the development process!

Biobased resins are being developed and improved and the technology has I think improved since this boat was built in 2009.

Andrew Ormerod 2014





About cornucopiaalchemy

Dr. Andrew Ormerod has 14 years experience working as the Economic Botanist at the Eden Project - researching topical stories, artefacts, ethnobotanical inks, catering and retail links to exhibits. Previously I was involved with plant breeding and plant tissue culture working on a range of crops including winter cauliflowers, agricultural lupins, vining peas, wheat and barley and coconuts. I am now freelance and am interested in opportunities for lecturing; writing articles; consultancy linked to development of botanic gardens for crops based exhibits; supply chain work for unusual food or non-food crops with interesting stories about plants and people attached to them.
This entry was posted in bio based paints, Biocomposites, bioresins, Non food crops, Renewable materials. Bookmark the permalink.

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