DuFLEX the Key to Speed and Stability

Posted on April 23, 2021

ATL Composites has supplied DuFLEX Composite panels and KINETIX high performance epoxy systems for the latest designs from Norman R. Wright & Sons for two new custom designed Pilot Boats for PNG Ports Corporation.

“Siabo” is the first boat to hit the water from Wrights featuring their all-new Extra Long Waterline (XLW Class) design, which offers optimum seakeeping and efficiency in all sea conditions and speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Norman R. Wright & Sons was one of 10 companies to tender for the first of a fleet of 14.2-metre pilot craft.

The DuFLEX Building System was used for the entire vessel construction, including hull shell, frames, bulkheads, deck and superstructure. Panels were supplied as full-sized components and offered significant structural weight savings over infusion and other traditional methods, as well as eliminating the substantial costs associated with moulding.

Working with ATL Composites, Wright’s Naval Architects and Master Tradesmen integrated unique composite construction, combining resin-infused and pressed GRP cored panels with DNV-GL approval.

The design allows for a reduced centre of gravity for superior stability enhancing pilot safety when alongside ships, along with wide, flush, uninterrupted side decks around the entire vessel for optimum safety.

The two new boats are the first in what is expected to be a fleet catering to the growing ports, cargo and liquid natural gas infrastructure in Port Moresby and the 21 other surrounding PNG ports that they service.

PNG Ports Corporation visited Wright’s headquarters at Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, Brisbane and trialled a comparable vessel.

“They were impressed with our 110-year history, our factory and our history of support on similar fleets in North Queensland,” said Tony Riek, Managing Director.

The 14.2-metre design is customised specifically to the needs of PNG Ports Corp designs and is based on an evolution of Wrights’ highly successful Skirmish Class Pilot Boats which draw on over 80 years of Pilot Boat design and building expertise.

“Pilot Boats are a part of our DNA,” explained Tony. “We designed and built our first in 1935 and since then designed and built some of the sturdiest craft seen, in some of the harshest Australian waterways and beyond.

“The quality of our boats means many are still in continuous service after decades of operation. There are Pilot Boats still in operation which we built in 1993. We have a team of highly skilled and qualified naval architects and boat builders using the latest technology, processes and high-tech materials.”

ATL Composites engineered the vessel to meet DNV-GL: 1A HSLC R2 CREW, and worked closely with Adam Evripidou, Tony Riek and the Wrights’ team on developing and optimising build techniques.

DuFLEX Composite Panels reduce construction time and optimise structural weight in the production of light weight composite structures. Using DuFlex panels in boat construction avoids time-consuming laminating, coring and vacuum bagging steps normally required to fabricate high performance composites, and material waste, labour and tooling costs are greatly reduced

More information at www.duflex.com.au
Video of the boat in action:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-ZpYgBPZ5A