From an engineering point of view, wood, the oldest boat building material remains one of the best. Wood is light and strong, pliant yet remarkably stiff. It is warm, quiet and does not sweat. For the artistry of the shipwright, wood is also the material of choice, providing unmatched interior beauty and comfort.
The disadvantage of wood is that it requires a lot of maintenance to stop leaks and rot. Many production boats these days are made from glass reinforced plastic (GRP or fibreglass). Epoxy is the “glue” that holds all the fibres together. It is very strong and requires little maintenance, provided that it was well produced initially. Although GRP does not have the disadvantages of wood, it also has its unattractive features, not the least that its detractors despise it as “frozen snot”.
The combination of wood, epoxy (the strongest man-made adhesive) and the various fabrics used in composite wood/epoxy construction, optimizes wood’s strengths and eliminates its weaknesses. The wooden hull is covered inside and out with a coating of epoxy. By creating a barrier to moisture, the strong, light and durable wood/epoxy structure is stabilized, and leaks, blisters and rot are no longer a concern.
On the technology front, Elemiah also benefits from carbon technology used in the latest ocean racers for its lightness and strength. Elemiah’s two wooden, square section masts are wrapped with carbon.