When Pete de Roo made his first lab sample of Durepox in November 1983 tucked away in a dilapidated laboratory, little did he realise that his new development would one day become world famous. The first batch made at the Resene Automotive Ranui factory in April 1984 was just 100 litres.
Since those humble beginnings, Durepox has fulfilled the demanding needs of painters in the signage, trucking, industrial coatings and floor covering markets for many years, but nobody would ever have dreamt of its success among the international racing boat fraternity.
Durepox has figured strongly on the hull and deck of contestants in the Whitbread and previous America's Cups. The pinnacle of the product's fame was undoubtedly this year's America's Cup as seven of the twelve challengers in the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup defender all used Durepox.
Durepox is an epoxy urethane with amazing adhesion to carbon fibre, fibreglass and wood, which can be applied without sanding between coats. While developed as a primer, Durepox is used as a topcoat on racing boats as it has excellent water barrier properties and exceptional weather stability. Durepox was tested by the Otago Flume Laboratory and results showed that its satin finish gave a 15% less drag coefficient than a high gloss surface on rowing skulls. On a practical level, painters admire its fast dry properties and sandability after three hours with no shrink back.
Thanks to the Spanish entry DesafÌo Español and Emirates Team New Zealand who forwent the normal sponsorship arrangements that have precluded the promotion of Durepox on America's Cup boats in the past, the humble story of Durepox can at last be shared.
Resene staff painstakingly matched each hue on the Spanish entry to exacting Pantone standards in Durepox. Each sample was then sprayed out and flown to Valencia for approval before the careful task of hull painting could begin. The Spanish shore crew were rapt with their colourful boat that stood out from the crowd.
Emirates Team New Zealand required a custom made version of Durepox on their carbon fibre mat hull as they wanted the finish to be clear and glossy. Resene Automotive and Performance Coatings reformulated the product while keeping to the strict requirements laid down by the Measurement Committee. The result was an amazing finish, adding depth of colour to the 'Black Boat'.
The America's Cup rules are very demanding and Resene Automotive and Performance Coatings had to analyse paint samples from all the boats using Durepox to ensure that the product formulation was consistent with the original shipment and that no additives were used to gain any speed advantage. In one round of testing alone, 26 samples from seven boats were sent to the ESR forensics laboratory for forensic analysis.
Before the first sail was even unfurled, Durepox had well and truly won the heart of the design teams.
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